Rakubiki Jiten

So anyways, this is the Rakubiki Jiten. It's actually been amazingly helpful while over here in Japan. The rakubiki jiten is designed for high school students to study english. When you load the game, the main screen is displayed right away. There's no intro, or menu.. it's just loads the content. It gets the meat of your purpose.

On the touch screen, you enter in your kanji, english, hiragana, or katakana and spell out the words you wish to know the meaning for. You can write out some english word, and it'll give you the word in japanese, and vice versa. The recognition is EXTREMELY fuzzy though. I find myself entering some kanji 5 or 7 times before it finally registers correctly. Though.. in doing so, i memorize the kanji i'm trying to write because i have to redo it over and over again.

I've used it to figure out a couple things that i've come across while walking around. Like this image from the other day: here

This has the symbols 西��. I can write this into the rakubiki jiten and know that 西 is 㝫�, which means west; � is ��, which means steep slope; and � is 㝾㝡, which means town. Actually i've learned � before from class back in the day... so i guess i should've remembered instead of typing it in.

So the sign says West Slope City 19. Five says that Japan has a quite different way of addressing residences. Nagasaki, itself, is broken up into several different little towns or neighbors. 西�� is the neighbor i was in. These neighborhoods are broken up further using numbers. 19 is way the hell up the side of the mountain. Five lives down in 5, i think. Beyond that, within the numbers, a specific building or lot has a number assigned to it, and addresses are further broken up if that lot has multiple addresses... such as an apartment building.

It's pretty easy to find an address you're looking for... Within the City, just get to the neighbor, then the right division, then the right building, then the right apartment. Though, it's rather difficult for me since i've been completely set up on the gridded road manor of addressing and finding places. I can see how this works well for Japan since it's population density is incredibly high, but it would just be a bother for America to use this system.

Driving from road to road to road makes more sense since we're spread out and have plenty of space between residences.

Anyways, the Rakubiki Jiten is pretty slick. Though, it's not like i've been walking around with my DS writing in symbols i want to know the meaning of. I usually just take a picture if i'm curious and then check it out when i get back here. It's a great purchase for $42.. So if you're coming over here to this great land and own a DS, you might want to set aside the money to pick one up. Though, if you have a good dictionary, then you're probably already good to go.

Be careful though... don't buy the rakuhiki jiten by accident. That one is setup for students to learn just kanji and things, rather than english, so you won't find it useful at all.

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Anyways, One other piece of technology i've been using has been some additions with Google Gadget. For those who don't know, click on 'Personalized Homepage' when going to Google.com. You can add any number of little gadgets to keep yourself informed of what's happening in the world. I have it setup as my homepage with several news site, my gmail, the weather and a little gadget i made with a bunch of bookmarks of mine.

Well.. now that i was over here in Japan, i was trying to get the weather Gadget to display the forecast for Nagasaki. It's pretty important to know whether or not it's going to rain since my main mode of transportation is walking. Unfortunately, the closest city the weather gadget had was Fukuoka, and that was 2 hours away.

So i thought to myself.. "hey.. Google isn't just an english site. I bet google.co.jp has some weather gadgets to help me out.." Sure enough, i was right ^_^. Google Japan has a ton of gadgets that are actually in japanese too, so i can practice the language as well. All you have to do is grab the location of the google gadget, and then input in your english page using the URL option. Pretty slick ^_^

I grabbed the Game Watch news feed and searched for a 天� gadget for nagasaki. I was surprised as hell that i remembered that kanji.

On a side note: Something rather interesting Don told me a while ago was that i'd be amazed with the amount of the language i would have forgotten since i hadn't done anything Japanese in between now and then. Honestly, i'm far more surprised when i DO remember stuff like that.

Anyways, I found this wonderful gadget:

http://weather.livedoor.com/forcast/rss/42/118.xml

It's pretty poorly programmed, but it has all the information i need. Once again, i surprised myself by remembering some Kanji. Though, to be fair, é?¨ (Rain) is a pretty rememberable kanji. I mean, the kanji looks like some rain coming down from clouds. Others are é?² (Clouds) and æ?´ (Fair). And then there are some conjunctions used in determining the actual forecast.

If you look at the feed you'll see a line of text that looks something like this:

[ 22æ?¥ï¼?é??ï¼?㝮天æ°? ] é?·å´? - æ??ã?? - æ??é«?æ°?温27â?? - 9æ??22æ?¥(é??)

The first part is the day of the week (Friday's weather, in this case), then é?·å´? is Nagasaki. The next part is the forecast, then the High temperature for the day. Then the date, again, for some reason.

The High is pretty easy to read since it's just numbers. 20 Celcius is 68 Farhenheit, and 0 Celcius is 32 Farhenheit. I pretty much just use the scale to figure out the farhenehit temperature from that. Looks like it's going to be pretty damn hot at the end of the week.

The forecast will also add some kanji to make Cloudy w/ a chance of a Rain, etc. 㝮㝡 is some chance of, and æ??ã?? is good chance of.. i think. So é?²æ??ã??æ?´ means Clouds with a good chance of Fair weather... or... Partly Cloudly. é?²ã®ã¡é?¨ means, Clouds w/ a chance of Rain. Sometimes the reverse shows up too. é?¨ã®ã¡é?².. Rain w/ a chance of Clouds?.. That must mean, chance of Thunderstorms.. I mean, that's today's weather and it has been thunderstorming a little bit, so that's probably right.

Anyways, have fun with it ^_^.

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By the way... if you're seeing a box of little boxes in the middle of my sentences, then you don't have the japanese font installed in your computer. It's pretty easy to install, you just need your Windows CD. In firefox, to have it read japanese characters goto View -> Character Encoding -> Japanese. Something like that anyways.




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