Japanese learning software

Discussion in 'NDS - Console and Game Discussions' started by Alyassus, Dec 25, 2006.

Dec 25, 2006

Japanese learning software by Alyassus at 12:03 PM (2,397 Views / 0 Likes) 19 replies

  1. Alyassus
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    Newcomer Alyassus Newbie

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    I want to make a list of released DS software that helps you learn japanese/kanji writing, etc. If you know any game that I missed then feel free to post here and I add it. Also I want to start a debate on which game is really best for your personal japanese skills. I will not sort it chronologically but by difficulty.

    What we have:

    1. Shikakui Atama wo Maruku Suru: DS Kanji no Shou

    This is the easiest kanji-learning game out there. The interface is of course completely in japanese and it uses some basic Kanji, so you have to know some, before you can start learning new ones. Still, this game helps you learn the first Kanji, maybe of JLPT level 4 and 3. This is where you can start. It teaches you with mini-games, where you usually answer through multiple-choice boxes.

    2. Zaidan Houjin Nippon Kanji Nouryoku Kentei Kyoukai Kounin: KanKen DS

    This is from the same guys that made the previous game on my list. It looks and feels quite different though. Its niveau is a bit higher, maybe JLPT level 3 and 2. You have to know even more Kanji already to understand the menus. This is really for people, who already have a decent knowledge of japanese language and Kanji. You also learn how to write Kanji yourself.

    3. Minna no DS Seminar: Kanpeki Kanji Ryoku

    And the winner is: Minna no DS Seminar! This is really top notch. It is aimed at native-speakers and JLPT level 4. It helps you learn very difficult Kanji that even some japanese people may not know. It is very good, but also very difficult.

    Last but not least, there is of course Kanji Sonomama Rakubiki Jiten, which is a very good japenese-english dictionary. You will find nearly everything in there and you can even draw Kanji (if you're good enough :-) )

    Now, to the next part:

    What we miss:

    1. There is no game that really teaches you the basics of japenese kanji. All games I listed require you to know many japanese words and a varying amount of Kanji. You will have to learn your first Kanji the old fashioned way. Something that helps you recognise the radicals would also be good.

    2. There is no software for grammar-learning. Again you will have to know grammer, sentence-structure and conjugation before you can actually use the japanese software we have so far.

    3. Vocabulary! No game teaches you japanese vocabulary. It could start as easy as showing you a picture of a watch and you have to type in "tokei". This would be really cool, as I myself have some problems with vocabulary learning. The best way is to write them on flah cards, but the are you really willing to create 1000+ flash cards for the most basic words? A game could make that so much easier.

    4. No Kanji-Lexicon. As of now, you can search for Kanji, by either writing its pronounciation and writing the Kanji itself. This is all well and good, but anyone who knows Kanji-Lexicons in physical form, knows that there are other methods. Namely searching by stroke number and radical number. A dictionary that allows that would be cool.

    5. Lastly, something that really sums up the above 4 points: A game made for foreigners learning japanese! I think this is a no-brainer. I myself am not so crazy about something like that. I take courses and read books to learn the basics. I could also use a game in japanese, if only there was one with a little less difficulty.

    So, this is it. If you have any comments or want to add something, please post here. Thanks for reading :-)
     
  2. FAST6191

    Reporter FAST6191 Techromancer

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    Hell of an introduction post there.

    I too would not mind a nice Japanese learning app although I feel as one would not sell (most S/N American/Eu people learn other roman alphabet using languages although I have noticed a fair few learn Russian) we will likely not see one.

    Although if I recall the was a nice homebrew app a little while ago that may function for some of the "missing" things, I will try and dig up a link.
     
  3. anotheruser22

    Newcomer anotheruser22 Advanced Member

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    Personally I don't like Kanpeki Kanji Ryoko. I just can't get into it, the feel just isn't there for me.

    Here's a few more to add to the list that were released (according to nintendo.co.jp anyway) on the 21st.

    1. ?????? ?????? Vol.10 THE ?????????????????????????
    http://www.d3p.co.jp/s_ds/s_ds_010.html

    2. ??????????????????????????
    http://www.nowpro.co.jp/products/game/kanji/index.html

    The second one particularly looks interesting. It's designed to allow you to practice Kanji and allows trace the character on the screen to remember it.... a little different to the software to date that only test your current knowledge.
     
  4. PineappleH

    Member PineappleH GBAtemp Regular

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    Great post! Very informative for people who want to learn Japanese.
     
  5. anotheruser22

    Newcomer anotheruser22 Advanced Member

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    One more Kanji software

    200 Mannin no KanKen - Tokoton Kanji Nou.

    Similar to Zaidan Houjin Nippon Kanji Nouryoku Kentei Kyoukai Kounin: KanKen DS..... designed for those who with to take the Kanji Proficiency Test ... aka.. Kanji Kentei or Kanken
     
  6. notchristopher

    Member notchristopher GBAtemp Regular

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    My brother is majoring in Asian studies and he's learning Japanese. He's also going to Japan this summer and is looking for a good dictionary. I showed him Kanji Sonomama Rakubiki Jiten and he loved it. He just wishes they would make one that pronounces the words for him. Kanji Sonomama Rakubiki Jiten is actually being marketed to English speaking consumers on some sites I found. They have a guide for it online at one of the retailers sites, but I seemed to misplace the link at the moment. Maybe one day soon they will make an English>Japanese one. But Kanji Sonomama Rakubiki Jiten is still better than buying a $200-$400 electronic dictionary.
     
  7. Tamyu

    Member Tamyu GBAtemp Regular

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    Hmm... While the reviews were, well, decent... I have to add my comments.

    I have the JLPT 1 - the top level. And trust me, you seriously do not need to know that many Kanji for it. My Japanese is quite good (I don`t mean to brag, but I would consider myself pretty much completely fluent.) and I still can`t get anything above level 7 of the real life Kanken. (My writing sucks - I can read fine up until 4 though)

    Anyway, my point is that there is no comparison between the JLPT and the Kanji Kentei. They are totally different, and only overlap in a few areas.

    In other words, any of the Kanken training softs won`t do much other than frustrate you if you`re just aiming for the JLPT. They are good practice for handwriting *after* you have the JLPT 1 though.
     
  8. -EX-

    Banned -EX- Racer

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    WTF, I thought you were a native. Are you Korean then or what?
     
  9. kernelPANIC

    Member kernelPANIC GBAtemp Fan

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    This is an excellent thread/post. Thank you for providing all this tips/hints.
    I wish that, just like there's a game that helps Japanese speakers learn English, there could be a game that went the other way around.
     
  10. Tamyu

    Member Tamyu GBAtemp Regular

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    Umm, no. I was born in the US, and am quite white. [​IMG] I`ve just lived here for...ever. (Okay, not quite, but for a very long time.)
    Why did you think I was native? If you have doubts, here is my pic. It`s a bit old, and I`m holding my son - but I`m quite visible. ^^;
     
  11. Scorpei

    Member Scorpei GBAtemp Maniac

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    Well, I was hoping maybe someone from the homebrew community could pick up on writing an app for beginners. I would if I knew any C++ but sadly I only know a teensy bit of java [​IMG]. There was a Kanji dictionary I think (homebrew).....

    *addition* As I'm trying to learn Japanese I'd help where ever I could (hosting or graphics for example...).
     
  12. Darkforce

    Former Staff Darkforce DERP!

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    Great first post Alyassus, welcome to the forums. There's a lot of interesting info in this thread. =)

    I've been meaning to learn Japanese for ages but keep putting it off lol - asides from a few basic vocab and a bit of grammar I don't really know anything. I've got a couple of good books but stuff doesn't stick in my head very well. I've thought about picking up the Japanese for Busy people books - they look really good?

    Also does anyone have any experience with Talkman on the PSP? Any good?

    =)
     
  13. anotheruser22

    Newcomer anotheruser22 Advanced Member

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    I have JLPT level 1 also and both agree and disagree with you. You do need to know 2000 Kanji for level 1. What you get in the test is only a subset of the 2000 Kanji as it's not practicle to test all of these. This is the same for the Kanji Kentei. Level 1 is 6000 Kanji. There is no way that all of this can be tested realistically although you still need to know them to pass as you don't know which Kanji you will be tested on.

    The JLPT like all multiple choice exams isn't a good marker of fluency. You're not asked to write anything nor is there any speaking component.
    I passed the exam about 7 years ago when I was 21 and I've improved so much since then. I still don't think i'm fluent though. I've studied Japanese on and off for over 10 years and when I think that I've been using English for 28 there is no way that I can express everything in Japanese that I can in English.
    My writing level is about level 3 or 4 in Kanji Kentei and there is still so much more I can learn.

    For those interested in learning Japanese I don't think there is any one method that you can do to achieve fluency. You need to find what's right for you and stick to it. Learning from a CD and book is great but if you raised in a room and just listened to a CD and never went outside would you been able to use what you've learnt of the CD? (I'm studying Chinese at the moment and a few weeks back had my first real chance to try Chinese and froze. A lot of Japanese people have this problem too. They have the knowledge in their head but can't speak it) Try and make some Japanese friends, there's plenty of people who are just as interested in learning English. This is how I learnt Japanese. Not a bible for you just what worked for me.

    - Keep studying Kanji (as boring as it can be at times). The more you can read the more you can not only understand words but the meaning of words. You will get to the point where you can see a word and not know what it means but guess the meaning or be able to write the Kanji for a word that you've never seen written before.
    - Make Japanese friends and write letters, chat with them. Even better if you can find someone local like at your local university on exchange.
    - Ask them questions about things you want to know and ask them to correct your Japanese (repeatedly!! as they often won't)
    - Watch Japanese dramas. When i'm not in Japan I often borrow movies from a video store that has recent Japanese TV.
    - Listen to Japanese music that you like while reading along with the words. This is useful as you can hear the words over and over again slowly while listening to your favourite music. I learnt a lot of Japanese from Mr. Children and Spitz.
    - Learn customs and culture. Language is tied with culture. If you know the culture it's easier to understand why words are said in certain cituations.
    - Try and read as much Japanese as you can. There's stacks of web pages out there that introduce Japanese and culture to beginners which I wish I had when I first started Japanese. Reading Manga is good but spread out and read other stuff too.
    - Go for the Japanese proficiency tests, it's a great way to build up your knowledge of Japanese. I first passed level 3, then 2 then 1. You can buy books for each level and there's stacks of free online resources too.
    - Don't play too much video games and study [​IMG]

    I would also steer clear of the Japanese DS titles released to date, great if it works for you but remember they're mostly designed for Japanese people and for a specific purpose i.e. Kanji Kentei. Also a decent electronic dictionary although expensive is a great investment. The DS one is more gimicky than practical.

    Good Luck!
     
  14. Alyassus
    OP

    Newcomer Alyassus Newbie

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    FAST6191: It's true that japanese is not the first choice for western people, who want to learn a foreign language. Yet, there are many different books on japanese language, books for beginners. I think it's a mulit-million dollar industry. So, why shouldn't such software that's made for the DS (the most widespreag handheld-console) make enough $$$? Maybe one day those japanese developers will get it :-)

    anotheruser22: Hmm... haven't heard of those two. Thanks for the comment anyway. Those games have not been released yet have they? I mean ROM-wise...

    PineappleH: Thank you. I hoped that someone, who starts learning japanese might find this interesting :-)

    anotheruser22: Yup, I missed that one, thanks. Haven't been able to try it out, yet. Sounds promising, though.

    Tamyu: Well, these were not really reviews, just short description of the respective titles. I cannot fully understand these programs, so I can't write a real "review" about them. I have to say, I may have overstressed this JLPT thing. I just used this to sort of show if the software is good for beginners or pros. I myself don't think JLPT is a very good test, as it is only multiple-choice.

    That makes it easier however and in this day and age, you don't really need to write stuff with your hand. I mean, do you know how much I write in my native language? When I'm not at the university I basically only use my PC for writing. That's why you really don't need to learn how to write Kanji that much. The PC will draw them for you :-) On a side-note, Shikakui Atama wo Maruku Suru does also use multiple-choice questions. So it's not only handwriting but also learning new pronounciations and such.

    kernelPANIC: Thanks for the nice comment :-)

    Darkforce: Thanks! Yeah learning japanese is really not easy. I have to sacrifice much of my free-time to read and learn. But at some point it is really fun and you will like learning new things.

    anotheruser22: Right On. Thanks for the tips on how to learn japanese. I agree, you should not only stick to one medium. I did not try to say that you should only learn japanese using these DS-programs. I own 3 different books and visit a weekly course. In addition to that I watch japanes Anime and read japanes Manga (at least I try :-) )
     
  15. Kosaka

    Newcomer Kosaka Newbie

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    Hey, btw wasn't there a Kanji game for the DS that's like a shooter in style of Typing of the Dead? I remeber seeing the official webpage for it once.

    Btw, it would nice if someone could actually somehow port the Knuckles in China Land game to the DS. The touch screen would make the game spetacular... the only problem would be editing it's kanji and vocabulary list, I think.

    Oh and these Kanji games are part of the reason that I'm getting a DS, it's nice too see that they are good for studying. [​IMG]
     
  16. Gestahl

    Member Gestahl GBAtemp Regular

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    I too got DS to learn Kanji and Japanese but the software mentioned in this thread requires a really high level of language proficiency. I hope a 'Japanese for foreigners' will come out eventually, if not, I'm going to write it myself and occupy the market niche. [​IMG]
     
  17. Gestahl

    Member Gestahl GBAtemp Regular

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    Oh, I just remembered - in the japanese version of Big Brain Academy (0073 - Yawaraka Atama Juku) you can practice the japanese numbers in the Calculate - Written Math activity. Kind of useful for beginners I think.

    And the Japanese Brain Age (0251 - Motto Nou wo Kitaeru Otona no DS Training) also has some training activities for Kanji, but they are, of course, for the intermediate level.
     
  18. FAST6191

    Reporter FAST6191 Techromancer

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  19. anotheruser22

    Newcomer anotheruser22 Advanced Member

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    Yep I know you weren't only suggesting to study on DS [​IMG] Looks like you're right into the study though which is great. Good luck to you!! What started your interest in Japanese? Have you got plans to go to Japan one day?
     
  20. njt

    Newcomer njt Advanced Member

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    Neat the tracing one does look helpful [​IMG]

    *gets wallet ready*
     

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