Oct 142012

This weekend, Hitomi became an official Zuumba instructor, so we weren’t able to record a new episode.  However, I thought I’d take a moment to give everyone a heads-up on what we’re working on and where we’re headed.

In order to try to grow Japancast from a hobby to something bigger, we’ve been working on many new things.  As you may have noticed, here at the main site we’ve added several new authors who are sharing their experiences from Japan.

At Japancast University, we’ve been working hard to add lots of unique lessons and other things to help you learn Japanese.  For example, our sentence pattern lessons, where you listen to the conversation and then it’s broken down and you learn to replace words and re-use the sentence patterns:

We also have come out with a “basics” lesson that is useful if you’re traveling to Japan soon and need to quickly pick up phrases:

And if you’re looking for more traditional Japanese, we’ve started recording Japanese children’s stories. (make sure to scroll down – there’s more than one!)

Very soon we’ll be adding additional children’s stories as well as several more conversation lessons, such as:  martial arts conversations, web design conversations and car club conversations.

And then finally, if you are a fan of J-Pop and anime, Hitomi created multi-part lessons for Naruto and Evangelion.  These lessons arrive each day over the course of 7 days.

Our goal is to put out lessons you can’t find at your local book store.  So if there’s something you’ve always wished for, please send us an email and we just might turn it into a lesson!


May 112012

Attention Chrome users!  I recently found a very cool extension that can help in learning a language.  It has lots of different languages, but of course the one we’re all interested in is Japanese.

How it works is this – you configure it to randomly replace words on websites you visit with the Japanese version of that word.  So you see the word in context, but it’s written in Japanese.  Unfortunately, it cannot give you the pronunciation of the word, so it’s usefulness is somewhat limited.  However, part of learning Japanese is associating meaning with kanji.  Japanese people don’t necessarily need to know how to pronounce a specific kanji to understand the meaning behind it.  So as you see the kanji (and get the meaning by rolling your mouse over the kanji) you will slowly start associating a concept with that kanji.

The extension is called Polyglot and it’s 100% free.  You can add it to Chrome by visiting this link:



EDIT:  Eric Topor on Facebook just sent this:  If you use the rikaikun add on, it will help with translations pronunciation… がんばって下さい!!

Here’s a link to Rikaikun:




Happy studying!


Aug 302010

Finally after weeks of back and forth with Apple, the free version of the Japancast iPhone/iPod Touch app is available!

The app is identical to the paid version, except for the number of kanji available.


You can learn to read and write all hiragana & all katakana with this app.

Here’s the video preview of how it  functions:

Aug 092010

It’s taken a year for version 1.0 to finally be released, but the Japancast iPhone app is finally in the iTunes store.

There are 2 version, free and paid. The free version will teach you hiragana, katakana and a few kanji. The paid version also includes all Joyo level 1 kanji.

CLICK HERE to open iTunes and view the paid version.

PLEASE read the instructions before using the app. It has a pseudo handwriting recognition system that requires you to write the characters in the proper stroke order. The app also includes the pronunciation for every character, a flashcard mode and a self test mode.

If you have positive things to say about the app, please post a review to iTunes. However, if you have any problems at all, please contact us directly. Hitomi and I aren’t a huge corporation, so negative reviews can have major consequences for us.

Jul 292009

Japancast-iPhoneSplashScreenFor quite a while now I’ve been working with a developer on the Japancast iPhone app.  We just finished the alpha testing phase and are preparing to move into beta testing.

Here’s a little info to get you excited.

It will teach you to write hiragana, katakana and kanji using the proper stroke order.

    You will learn to write by writing directly on the screen.

The free version will teach you ALL* hiragana and katakana – and will include some kanji.

The paid version will be VERY inexpensive.  I was tired of seeing great apps that cost a fortune.  We know most of our listeners are students living on a budget.  It will include a “pay as you go” model, so you only will buy what you want to learn and if you only want to learn hiragana and katakana, then you’ll pay nothing!

*note: the app is still in beta – we may decide not to include characters like ひゃ, ちゃ, みゅ, etc., since you’ll already be learning や, ゆ, etc., as full characters.

Jul 112009

via FatWallet.com:

They just came out with Anime Studio 6, so Smith Micro is giving away Anime Studio 5 for FREE. Mac and Win versions, serial number key provided at download and you don’t have to give anything but your address and email.


The serial number is given to you just below the “download HTTP now” blue button after checkout. It’s also in the confirmation email they send you and is unique, so you need the one they provide with your transaction. It’s what you’ll use if you want to upgrade to AS6 for $20.

If you’re using a fake email be SURE to copy the serial number from the download screen or you won’t be able to install the full version!

Apr 172009

iphoneOne of the things I’m frustrated with is amount of pretty poorly done iPhone apps to help you learn Japanese.  So, I’m considering creating the “Japancast iPhone App”.

Before we go too far down this road, I’d love to get our listener’s input.  What would you like to see in an app?

Some things I’m considering are:

Handwriting / stroke-order recognition – the ability for the app to know if you’ve written a kanji with the proper stroke order.

On / kun pronunciation for all kanji

Sample sentences using the kanji you’re learning, along with a voice recording of the sentence.

    The plan would be to cover all of the joyo kanji plus hiragana and katakana..
    What do you think?  Send us an email or submit a comment!
    Sep 102008


    iKnow is a new language learning site with a social twist.  At the moment it only offers English for Japanese speakers and Japanese for English speakers.  The plan is to offer multiple languages in the future.

    You can build your own list of courses, add friends and track your progress as you study.  At the moment they have 10 core Japanese study guides, but more will be added as the site moves out of beta.  

    Overall the concept is great.  Certainly it’s a worthwhile addition to your list of Japanese study resources.


    Jul 232008


    From Computer World:

    A Japanese software company is stepping up international promotion of its Web browser in the hope of carving out a 5% share over the next few years of a market dominated by Internet Explorer and Firefox.

    The Sleipnir browser is well-known among Japanese technophiles, many of whom value the high level of customization that the browser allows. At the center of this customization is the ability to select either the Trident or Gecko layout engines for each Web site visited.

    Trident was developed by Microsoft Corp. and is used in Internet Explorer while Gecko is used in Mozilla’s Firefox.

    And, of course, Sleipnir also excels at Engrish by saying, ” Web Browser specializes in customization (For Advanced User) Improved further stability and speed of performance tuning.”

    It is, according to their website, the number 1 browser in Japan.  Anyone using Sleipnir?