No blooming excuse, can’t write it as ゆううつ anymore

The head-banging began, as it so often does, in the App Store.

iTunes flagged one of my apps (a kanji learning tool) for a fresh update. As usual, I kicked off the download and opened the app’s store page for more information on the changes.

Up top for the screenshot.

Back down for the commentary.

In five words: Dash it all to heck.

One hears of rabbits breeding like rabbits, but one isn’t ordinarily tempted to apply the same observation to the beautiful – and often maddeningly indecipherable – masses of squiggles that make up a large part of written moonspeak.

The news has been out since last year, but I’ve been so wrapped up in work that keeping track of the changes in another nation’s orthographic torture devices tended not to rank very high in my list of priorities.

With my current knowledge limited to a few hundred of these things, it was a bit of a shock (and not of the particularly pleasant variety) to learn that I would have to familiarise myself with nearly 200 more before I earn my Level 1 wings.

Among them: 鬱.

Yes, that’s right – anyone endeavouring to write the full title of 2006’s overhyped megahit in its original form will be expected to scratch out every single stroke of this little monster as part of the murderous exercise. All 29 of them.

Putting “Japanese” through its paces

Japanese_app 008

The iPod Touch puts Swiss army knives to shame. Never mind that you can’t use it to cut cheese, start a fire or skin a wild mountain goat. With a Touch in hand, you can bop along to the heavenly tunes of Palestrina one minute and study for the JLPT the next. Heck, why not do both at the same time?

(Because Latin and Japanese don’t really mix well, that’s why. But you could if you wanted to.)

Today, Diego turns the spotlight on an app that iPod Touch or iPhone-toting Nihongo students might consider adding to their software arsenal: codefromtokyo’s Japanese.

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Putting “Human Japanese” through its paces


Diego’s iPod Touch app review corner is back with a look at another handy companion for the Japanese language learner: Brian Rak’s Human Japanese (version 2.0.0 A).

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Putting “Kotoba!” through its paces


The best part about owning an iPod Touch (or an iPhone, for those lucky enough to live in places where it isn’t sold at an extortionate premium) is being able to download all those clever applications that keep marching onto the virtual shelves of the iTunes App Store. From war games to financial tools to the complete works of Shakespeare, there’s bound to be an app for almost any requirement somewhere in the App Store’s massive 20,000++ item catalogue. What’s more, some of the best apps are available at no cost to the user.

Today, we’re throwing the spotlight on a free dictionary app that students of the Japanese language will find useful: Pierre-Philippe di Costanzo’s Kotoba!.

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