finding the right serving size: a simple search

Anime is of course excellent immersion material, and part of the reason for that is the convenient 24-minute length of a typical episode. Sometimes it would be nice though to have something even shorter so that you could fit it in between the cracks of an ordinary busy day. Maybe you have a 15 minute coffee break, or a 10 minute bus ride, or similar, and it’s nice to fit in a complete episode instead of leaving something unfinished. To this end I’m planning a series of posts on anime with short episodes, ranging from 12 minutes down to 3 minutes, or maybe even less.

If you want to find your own, it’s surprisingly simple. ANN always lists the running time and always in the same format. So just search for “running time: 10 minutes”, substituting whatever time you want, like this.


haiku friday



The wind carries it through the night, from north to south – the Gion music.


RTK2 Anki deck update


Have finished making the deck, and decided to work through it to check for errors and decide on settings before releasing it. Have found quite a few typos and other errors, and have dispensed with most of my more experimental settings, so this is a good thing. I did get permission from Dr. Heisig to make it available. Unfortunately he did not want the primitives as part of the deck. So users will have to add that back in themselves.

I’m about halfway through, and Kiriyama who has kindly agreed to help proofread is a little further. So the deck will probably be ready in a bit over a month from now. I want to get this done because the portion of my day spent in Anki has gone completely out of control …

background looping, floating phrases, and gomes the hitman

There are different points of view on “passive listening”, whether very useful or not at all; and to go with that, different ideas of what it actually is. Olle Linge over at Hacking Chinese has been having a very useful series on listening, and what I’m talking about here is background listening – the sort of thing you turn on and tune out, not paying any serious attention to at all. This is probably what most of us have the most time for, but does it actually do anything for your language learning? Continue reading

Remembering the Kanji volume 2 Anki deck – progress notes

I’ve been skipping out on a lot of things I’d like to do lately, such as, memrise, and so on, and it’s all because of this RTK2 project. I’m convinced it’ll be worth it though, not only for myself but for everyone else who has ever looked at Heisig’s second volume and said something like “well that’s nice but what does one DO with this?” Honestly this project would be a great deal quicker if I actually enjoyed making the deck, but if anyone cares to explain how to enjoy copying a book into flashcards I’d be much obliged.

Here’s a sample of the cards:

RTK2 card

So as you can see, the target kanji is highlighted in red. For sets of cards with more than one reading (the “semi-pure” and “mixed” groups), the highlighting is green for secondary readings, and occasionally purple for tertiary readings. Then below that, there is the word again with the non-target characters replaced by their hiragana readings. Remember, only one piece of information per card! Below that, there is the signal primitive, for cards that use them. The answer has just the reading, word again, and a brief English definition. At first I was using Japanese definitions, but looking them up was adding a tremendous amount of time to an already slow process, and wasn’t likely to be terribly helpful anyway.

There is a another field as well, called “ReadingOnly”, which is used to match to what you are to type in to answer the card.

Right now I have 1182 cards made, which is a little less than halfway it looks like. I’m at the beginning of the “mixed” groups and that will be slow(er) going because a lot of frames have more than one word, requiring two cards per frame. Also, finding signal primitives can occasionally be time-consuming, though I don’t waste a great deal of time on that anymore. Often a signal primitive will be a Japanese character on its own, though sometimes a very rare one. Sometimes it will not be a Japanese character, but will be a Chinese one. If those two options fail I just indicate it as “right side of such a character” or something like that.

I don’t think I’m alone in considering learning the writing and meaning of the characters the easy part. The readings each have such a long and convoluted history that they seem random at first glance, and impossibly confusing. This should help. Onwards then we plod.

haiku friday



The call of wild geese returning: the impression of the sense of space.



Adapted from the notes:

感ぜられ is from 感ず, the classical equivalent of 感じる. The passive form of the verb implies that the feeling arose spontaneously, and the speaker neither intended nor expected it.

best ipad twitter app for language learners: twitbird

Very briefly:

I’ve acquired an iPad now that the current models have a screen that you can read on for extended periods. I hunted about a bit for a good Twitter app, which seems to be something I do pretty regularly no matter what platform, since they all seem to have their share of shortcomings. For reading Japanese though, it seems TwitBird is the best solution. This app is in general more “adequate” than “excellent”, but it does have one feature that should be standard in any app but seems actually to be exceedingly rare; and that is that when you view a tweet by itself, it displays it in plain text, and supports the built-in dictionary. No other app I tried lets you select or look up individual words.

It’s also localized into Japanese (Niburutech is actually a Japanese company), and of course the built-in dictionary will give you Japanese definitions if you have your device set to Japanese interface.

You can also select any portion of the tweet (or the whole thing) and copy it, so then you can switch to your favourite text editor (I like PlainText, saves notes as .txt files and syncs with DropBox) and paste it in for use in MCDs later.

If you know of any better apps that also support the dictionary, please post them in the comments!