Posts tagged: Kana / Kanji

Road to Japan : One Year Anniversary

This month I’ve been studying Japanese for one year!

With absolutely no background or prior knowledge of the Japanese language I started learning. To me, the most logical first step was to learn some basic words and most of all: 平仮名 and 片仮名 (Hiragana and Katakana respectively), the basic phonetic script. Using the Nintendo DS has played a major role in all this using applications such as Project JDS (<- highly recommended) and My Japanese Coach to make a start. After learning 平仮名 and 片仮名 I worked on my vocabulary using Smart.FM and grammer skills using the book: Japanese for Busy People I: Romanized Version while making a start on 漢字(Kanji) via

So where are we now? Well, my trip to Japan helped a great deal in mastering basic vocabulary and grammer, no doubt about it. And it also taught me a basic understanding of Kanji. Being surrounded by a language and it’s characters gives one a feeling of “must understand this”. Added; Some Kanji make a whole lot of sense by themselves. For instance: The Kanji for train station looks like this: 駅. If magnified a bit one can clearly make out a train and its rails, some stairs and is that a bench perhaps? Here is the mentioned Kanji in a bigger form:

Can you see what I mean? On the right is the track with a train on it, and on the left are some stairs and what appears to be benches or maybe even an escalator. Of course this doesn’t mean that every kanji is decipherable by taking a good look and using a bit of imagination. Colors are a good example of this. Red: 赤 Blue: 青 Black: 黒White: 白. What shape is a color? This can only be learned by studying. My Japanese coach helps a little, so does Smart.FM, but I guess most of all’s Joyo Kanji. (Joyo Kanji are the first 1006 Kanji taught in primary school.) Since it also teaches you the right stroke order plus the 音読み (onyomi) and 訓読み (kunyomi); The different readings of a Kanji.

But the biggest help so far has been these books I picked up in Japan. (Very cheaply, I might add!) As I now understand the meaning of pretty much every first grade Kanji. Next challenge: Getting the on- & kunyomi stuck in my head and learning a greater understanding of creating sentences.

Happy 2010 and happy studying everyone!

Some web hosts suck

The Road To Japan will be broadened (anytime soon). But…

There are so many things I’d like to add to my Road To Japan page at the moment. But I can’t! Since I’m unable to edit the page since a few months. My web-host’s server allows me too little RAM to host this website properly and therefor when I open up the website administration I get a fatal error saying it’s RAM is depleted. I’m currently switching hosts, and after the site is hosted on a RAM-filled environment I can show you more stuff about my road to Japan.

I’ll restructure the page with sub-pages including: 日本語 (Japanese Language), personal events, Business, pictures from during my travels, and (wait for it…) more. Expect the language page to become the biggest though.

More about my mission to do a simple task such as opening a web-page in an editor soon.

Kanji Flashcards

A while back I promised a few sites to learn Kanji from, in the form of flashcards. Well, The Japan Times beat me to the punch!

That saves me time figuring out which site is right for you, and means I can start using these methods too. The time saved is valuable at the moment, as I’m just a little more then three weeks away from my first trip to Japan. Time better spend on learning the Japanese language.

My personal favorite is Smart.FM a website filled with study-courses and lessons in all kinds of subject, including our beloved Japanese. It has a build-in application for learning in different ways which does the job quite well. But, since I’m not even near any good at reading Kanji, I combine the lessons of Smart.FM with the material that provides. is a very well known website for just about anything. (I guess that’s why they called it *Rimshot, classhhhhh*).

What I do is the following;I take about 10 or so Kanji and write them on a piece of paper. (I couldn’t find any kanji-paper, so I use math-paper instead.) I write the on and kun readings beside it, to the right. And the meaning (Dutch, English, whatever suites you best) on the left side. And take a moment to study these. Then, I take a new sheet of paper, try to draw the Kanji, including correct stroke-order, on it. And try to repeat it’s reading and meaning in my mind. If I happen to fail, I go back to reviewing the words.

In between learning sessions, I stumbled upon the website ‘All Japanese all the time’. It’s a lot of fun to read his website, and a lot can be learned from his endurance-race to knowing the Japanese language.

アンパンマン と あそぼ あいうえお きょうしつ

Update し – The road is long, and hard. でも, おもしろい だよー!

After quite some time without an update to this page, I decided to let y’all know where I’m at.

I haven’t touched Project JDS in a long time for the simple reason that I don’t need to practice recognizing ひらがな or カタカナ anymore! Reading and writing Kana is now a basic part of my everyday Japanese language studies. All thanks to Project JDS in combination with My Japanese Coach! (Both highly recommended!)

And to help me get faster at reading Japanese I decided to look for another game to help me out.

So, I’ve started playing around with Anpanman to Asobo – aiueo Kyoushitsu. (アンパンマン と あそぼ あいうえお 教室)  A very simple and, well, childish game. But then again, most people learning 日本語 are of young age! And I’m just an old-guy trying to catch-up.. If you are any good with Kana you’ll get the hang of this game quickly. It consists of a lot of mini-games, that (except for the really かんたん (easy) games) focus on learning the aiueo (The Japanese ABC) and a lot of everyday words like dog (いぬ), cat (ねこ), ears  (みみ), and (like I’m used to by now in these Japanese-training-games); Sushi (すし).

This game offers a good way to expend your vocabulary, and could very well be used in paralel to My Japanese Coach, since it doesn’t offer a big challenge and aproaches the Japanese vocabulary from a child’s point of view. And let’s be honest: If you are just starting out with Nihongo, You are, in a way, just a kid learning your first words. And if you are just a kid, isn’t it nice if you are able to name everyday items like fruit, (りんご – apple, もも – Peach) animals, (きつね – fox, せみ – fly) or a pencil (えんぴつ)?

The game contains a lot of spoken (informal) Japanese too, if you are a starting student like me you won’t understand most of what the speech is about, but hard practice makes good practice! And it will help you understand Japanese faster, although in a very, very childish way. Which isn’t necessarily bad, but does make you wonder how much money you want to spend on learning Japanese on your Nintendo DS.

I wanna finish this post with a gift I got from someone who loves me:

School and Stuff

Writing plans for school and doing my job at the DJ workshop has taken up quite a lot of my time. So after about 3 weeks, Time for an update!

Prowess Records is waiting for our legal department to OK our contracts, till that time we’re still busy doing (even more) research and making a plan for promotional purposes. So much has been done the past school-year and the end is not even near, so we’ll keep pushing on and doing what we do best. Create chances for new, fresh artist. I had a busy and stressful school-year so far, but things are looking well, and I’ve learned so much this year.

Like Japanese! Well some anyway. For about two weeks now I’ve been doing my (Japanese) homework completely in Kana, and started practising some Kanji. (むずかし です よう!) Learning grammer is still going smooth, although the verb-bases confused the hell out of me at first. Expect an update about the verb-bases and Kanji-flashcards soon.

I hope the weather is as nice in your parts of the world as it is in mine. The weather is sweet today in Holland! またね!