Mangafying the Kindle and using Rikaichan

皆さま、しばらくだよ!(Everyone, it’s been a very long time!)

Yes boys and girls, I’m one of the dreaded “flyjin”, those people who left Japan after the earthquake. Sadly, though I was going through a serious love/hate affair with Japan, I must say being uprooted affected me oddly, ensuing in a brief, alcohol fueled time in the states, and now more calm, somber moments in my home country. However, after scraping and clawing to gain thousands of hours in immersion, (occassionally practicing and/or SRSing) I felt that I should keep my Japanese going. Even though I’m not in Japan presently, I’m challenged with an opportunity to improve my Japanese outside Japan. Kewl eh?

Today I’ll chat a bit about my latest studies and observations, including, Kindle-fying some manga and easing (I mean slowly) into reading Japanese stories. I got some good tips from the internetz about putting Manga onto my kindle which you can see on the picture below.

That’s a page from Death Note volume 1. It’s “OK” reading so far on the Kindle, but I guess depending on the resolution on your images, it might be hit and miss. Sometimes the text is too small to read, and it will load slower than just Japanese text. Either way, since I have to “create an immersive environment”, i’m trying to figure out how to squeeze in some Japanese when I can. I followed this guide to get some manga on my kindle and got the following results:

What’s really cool about this is that the pages load and turn just like regular books on the kindle, so it makes for a nice, crisp reading experience. Sadly, I can’t read much of what is on screen right now (it’s WAY above my level), but it’s good to know I have it there.

Anyone who’s read through this blog knows that I documented a lot about starting and stopping learning Japanese while I was in an immersive environment. Luckily, being in Japan kept my hearing and visual learning constant, even when I was not “forcing” Japanese into my head. Now in a country with all the signs in English, I can’t say I have any immersion whatsoever, but I don’t feel weird because I have so much access to Japanese online. I’m continuing to study because I realized that this is a goal I want to execute, and for the first time in a long time I feel clear enough to actively pursue it.

My current modus operandi revolves around: core 2000 sentences (listening, translating and also writing sentences to practice.)

Occassionally watching movies in Japanese with Japanese subs.

Mixing in Japanese TV media from my collection.

Reading Manga (in Japanese) online.

Reading children’s short stories (what I can handle at the moment)

Tweeting in Japanese.

What I’d like to do to boost it up. 

Learn 10-20 Japanese songs by heart. (Rap, Rock, whatever).

Learn 10-20 short stories completely (grammatically and new vocab)

Possibly write a (VERY) short story in Japanese to test myself out. I will pretty much use the same vocab from all the stories I read and then mix it up.

What’s funny is that when I started this blog in late 2009, it was all about me just learning some Kanji bit by bit. Back then a page full of Kanji was quite frightening, and seemed impossible. I wailed and moaned endlessly on this blog, and I doubt i’ll stop wailing and moaning anytime soon. However, I can comfortably read some Japanese now, and I feverishly use the Rikaichan plugin for both my browsers, Chrome & Firefox.

You can see the icon below.

When that’s on, it allows me to hover over ANY Japanese that i’m reading on the webpage (twitter, web page, facebook) and then I will get a list of meanings and be able to read them in context. Honestly, I was sad not to have this initially. I’m sure if I was doing the studying I was doing then and had my Rikaichan setup, I wouldn’t feel as discouraged back then, because I will have the meanings ready and available. Here’s an example of how it looks.

So the obvious benefit of this wonderful plugin is that you will be able to do what’s called “Hyper Reference” something i”ll blog about later. But instead of slowing down to worry about Kanji, or maybe forgetting it, you will have the meaning (usually in context). then after a few times you will start remembering the word on your own (and behind it all there is listening, studying through SRS, etc). Many opportunities to solidify the meanings.

So, since i’ve been revamping my Japanese revision I thought to make a post. I keep saying i’ll make videos, but that requires a lot of content and preparation that I save for my other projects, like Jamaican in Japan or Jamaican in Egypt. So for now, I’ll be typing away!


About marcusbird

Writer, Designer, Filmmaker
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