Blog / April 2006

  • 24 April 2006View stories during a review session

    You can now view/edit stories for a kanji directly from the review page. This can be handy if you have trouble remembering some parts of a kanji and want to adapt your story, or check if some new stories have been shared.

    Simply click on the keyword displayed at the top left of the flash card to open a new window with the corresponding kanji in the Study area.

    Note: you will have to hit the "Reload" button on your browser once in the Review page.

    I have toyed with opening a popup window for this feature, but it didn't turn out as useful as I thought. It's just one of those ideas that sound better in theory than in practice.

    The popup window is never the right size (depending on how many shared stories appear below the kanji). You will often want to move it, or scroll it with the scrollbar, you have to close it, etc. It gets fairly annoying.

    The advantage of the popup window was to hide the left side column of the Study page, to focus on the kanji. But in that case you would have been unable to browse to other kanji which are related in order to build a story.

    Thus, the keyword link on the flashcard opens the Study area in a new window. Most modern browsers with "Tabbed Browsing" can open that window in a new tab, including Internet Explorer if you use an 'enhanced' version such as Crazy Browser.

    Simply click the middle mouse button on the keyword to open the corresponding Study area in a new tab, middle click once again to close the tab. Opera will open new windows in a tab by default, and you can configure Firefox to do the same (that is, always open a new tab for new windows, even with the left mouse button).

  • 16 April 2006NHK Japanese Lessons

    I've just found out today that NHK Radio is re-running their excellent Japanese Lessons, "Basic Japanese for You" and "Brush Up Your Japanese".

    I think there are just over a hundred lessons. It looks like NHK has restarted the series within the past few weeks. So for those like me who missed the bus the first time round, hop on!

    Tip: if you don't want to install the official RealPlayer or RealOne, look up "realplayer alternative" in Google. I have "Real Alternative 1.45" installed and it works like a charm. Be careful which pack you download, though. Many so called "codec packs" are filled with spyware.

    Another solution is to download a spyware-free RealPlayer through the BBC (I haven't tried that one, please don't sue me! :) )

  • 12 April 2006Forums a-coming !

    I have finally started working on adding a forum to the website! It was on my "to do" list since long, but there were a few things I was wary of.

    The main thing I was concerned with was that the forum would take time away from improving the Review and Study areas. But I think at this point the website's core functionality is there and it's working very well.

    Another concern was that I would loose focus.

    The most important thing for me is that I keep the website focused on its primary goal : to help you complete "Remembering the Kanji" Volume 1.

    There are thousands of "learning Japanese" forums out there. Interestingly, there are very few resources for those willing to learn to read and write over two thousand kanji, in particular with James Heisig's method.

    "Remembering the Kanji" is a self-learning method, and as such it takes a lot of dedication, discipline and patience.

    Thus, the primary goal of the forum will be to allow members to exchange tips, advice and encouragement for completing the method.

    Another important aspect of the forum of course is that it will allow you to discuss with other members about your goals, interests, etc and keep the motivation going.

    Until now, the website has been like a community, but one where nobody can talk to each other (save for sharing stories and tracking each other's progress on the member's list).

    I hope the forums will also be a place to practice the kanji that we have just learned, without worrying too much about vocabulary or grammar.

    I'm sure with your help we will be able to come up with all sorts of fun kanji games to keep the interest going!

    PS: as I read a bit about the history of forums I came upon this interesting article on Wikipedia : 2ちゃんねる ("2channel") is apparently the largest internet forum in the world.

  • 6 April 2006On (Chinese) readings of kanji

    I thought I'd post something that I had written some weeks ago already. It is an index of all the onyomi (音読み) groups, with the kanji count for each group, and corresponding links to the study area.

    It's not much, but if you are experimenting with "kanji chains" for remembering the Chinese readings, you might find it handy.

    As with the previous update, the tables are sortable, simply click in the column headers. Keep in mind the kanji counts include "Remembering the Kanji" Volume 3.

  • 3 April 2006Sortable tables

    You can now sort the lists from the Review Summary and the Failed Kanji List. Just click on the column headers in the table to sort the content in ascending or descending order.

    The ability to sort the tables is most useful on the Failed Kanji List, where you can sort on the "Remembered" or "Forgotten" columns.

    If you sort on the "Remembered" column, in descending order, you will see the kanji that you answered correctly several times, but failed probably due to lack of reviewing.

    If you sort on the "Forgotten" column, in descending order, you will see the kanji that you failed more than once, and which likely needs more time spent on the mnemonic.

    Note : please remember to click the "Reload" button on your browser whenever the website is updated. There are files such as Javascript and CSS Stylesheets which are cached by the browser and which will be outdated until you do a refresh of the page.

  • 2 April 2006Small update

    There was no clear visual feedback whenever a flashcard was loading on the review page, after it was upgraded to Ajax (see previous post).

    In the case of network latency, it would appear as if nothing happened until the next card was loaded. I have fixed that and added a small 'loading' message.

    PS: I am aware of a small annoyance currently in Mozilla Firefox: for some reason, you have to click once in the review page before the keyboard shortcuts work.