I got myself an ipod touch (1G sadly. All I could afford) and right away I went looking for apps.
Since I’m trying to immerse myself, I’m not getting any Japanese-English (or vice versa) dictionaries nor any flash card programs that rely on translation.
In other words, all of the Japanese learning apps made for Japanese learners are off the counter :/ None of those “learn japanese” apps are even offering the possibility of immersion for more advanced learners.
So of course I went to look for Japanese apps. It was difficult, mostly because a lot of them won’t run on my poor little 1G iTouch. However, I found more than enough for now. Best of all, except for one, they were all FREE.
Some of them have complicated names, so I’ll write a short version. Use the search to find them.
I love the Atama games for the DS but not everyone can afford to import games. Well the company took their game, separated it into various mini apps, and put them up to buy. Make sure to buy the one that say kanji, not 数 (math) not 会社 (social studies) not 理科 (science) or any of the others. get the one that say 漢字 and is $2.99. It has a yellow border.
Don’t get it if you already have the DS version though. They just reused the same questions, but it does have many of the same goodies. 1) Simple questions 2)Simple dictionary definitions you can view after you answer a question
free app that quizzes on various kanji compound readings. No sentences and I haven’t found any kind of dictionary or help. It’s really for review after you think you’ve mastered stuff.
Free app to teach basic japanese words. No english translation is given, but there are pictures to help you figure out what’s being said so you can write down the right answer. Mostly it’s in kana, which is normal since a lot of the vocab would be written in kana (animal names, for example). Some simple kanji is also quizzed.
FREE PICTURE AUDIO BOOKS
- Little Snail
- Monkeys who tried to catch the moon
- Chain (by Rye books)
All of these are audio books by Rye Books. They’re multilingual (English, Chinese, and Japanese are the most common languages). All 4 of the above support Japanese audio AND text. Since they’re picture books, you can use the pictures to help figure out what’s going on. The audio is great and the stories are pretty short. I especially love Little Snail and Monkey.
I’d recommend using the text button to get the English script, reading it once, waiting at least 30 minutes and then NEVER reading it again. That way you’ll have an idea what’s going on and it’ll make it easier to read the japanese and figure out the kanji/kana.
A picture book (no audio). It’s a little laggy but it’s pretty easy to understand and the pictures are pretty.
- ゲデ Lite - Book (ゲームでサイン）
- いう 名 の ゲーム (Jare’d Love Child from Harlequin Comics by Takako Hashimoto)-Manga
- ガンガンonline - you can find free comics there. The one I got was kind of hard to read because of the extremely small font though…But it’s worth checking out. (remember, FREE)
- Genji - pretty self explanatory. Free app that lets you read some of the chapters from the Tale of Genji. By default it’s in current Japanese, though you can switch it to the original japanese. helping text (like furigana, but in parentheses and not above the text) can also be turned on. Only about 5 or so chapters are available for free right away, which is plenty of text believe me. You can buy the other chapters.
There are a LOT more free apps you can find by searching:
えほん or 絵本
ぶんがく or 文学
こくご or 国語
マンガ or まんが or 漫画
and other such keywords. However I didn’t list them simply because I couldn’t play them on my ipod touch 1G. I might try them on my mother-in-law’s iPad or her 2G ipod touch though.