Saturday, August 31, 2013

Know Japanese without Knowing Japanese!

I love peeking at Japanese language websites. They are a great mystery. The Great Wall of Language Barrier prevents you from knowing the news, trends, and opinions at the heart of the J-webs. There are a few tricks around this, none of them perfect, but worth mentioning.

Google Translate

You already know this, I hope. If I get a link to a Japanese language website, and there is no handy “English” link/button/tab at the top or bottom, I just google the web address and look at this:

What is this? How to become a what?

Ah! A butler! A wealth of butlering information from a Japanese perspective. Ooooh. Well, okay, maybe the translation is a little weak, but, hang on. I found an article that was obviously about the blogger visiting a butler café to judge the butlers, and he says:
 Because hell do we bite out Bukkake so butler cafe suddenly men and women of others between a familiar unexpectedly in less than a few minutes met, we can say with quite audacious soldier set.”
That’s a translation that leaves much to be desired, yes, but I know what he basically meant. Kinda. Soldier set?

Furigana Inserter

I use this in Firefox, but I believe there’s a Chrome version, possibly Android? 

Like it says, it can allow you to “cheat” by providing furigana in with the kanji. Not on top of the kanji, alas, but just right after in parentheses. 

Possibly, this page makes just as much sense with or without the cheat, depending on your level. I can tell it’s about flowers, or maybe just touchy-feely stuff. It’s an Ikebana page. I think the big practical side would be for studying. Those millions of kanji are not going to learn themselves, so go browse for crap you like and start studying. 


It’s like being able to ask someone, “What this word? And what’s that one? And that one? And that one?” and get a decent answer. Just mouse over and it starts grabbing at the hiragana and kanji, producing an instant dictionary entry.

Ooh, look at that, it even breaks the word down for you. That’s handy. Oh course! "Arms dealer." I am learning.

Also, it will give you multiple possibilities when there is room for interpretation. 

You can use your human brain to make the call. Is this Monday? Something about Monday? Lots of things start on Monday. (Hint: Or not.)

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