You need Rikaichan

Rikaichan. If you want to read text on Japanese websites but can't figure out the kanji or meaning of some of the words then you need this. It is a simple Firefox add-on that displays the kanji, hiragana/katakana and meaning in English or other select languages.

Watch the flash video on how it works:

Get that Rikaichan add-on from

iKnow! Japanese Learning Site

I enjoy learning Japanese. After giving up on trying to be ready for the JLPT this year, I found this website. Let me tell you, it is awesome. It is a simple program to use yet you cover many levels of the Japanese language in an easy to understand format. Also, through this site, you can become friends with Japanese who are on the Japanese version of this site. They use iKnow to learn English and through messages, photos, and journals you can communicate and share language tips.

The website is totally free and is continuing to morph into something wonderful. Users can create their own vocabulary lists and share them with others. Maybe you want to learn some of the Osaka dialect. There is a list just for that. Perhaps you need help with listening skills. This site has you covered. There are other features at iKnow available for Japanese language learners...and the pictures used are of excellent quality. Also, if you have feedback the admins are there to listen and will reply back promptly.

Don't worry about Japanese input or Japanese font to use the learning part of the site. If you want to type in Japanese in the journals or forum you will need your own input program however.

Give it a shot and report back here to your findings. I haven't found anything better (that is free) just yet.

Note: This site uses flash. Other than that no downloading required to use this excellent website.


Nihongo de Care-navi

I recently came across a very useful Japanese<>English dictionary website that contains medical & care terms. "Nihongo de Care-navi" has a fresh, clean interface and easy to understand navigation that is great for learners of Japanese. There aren't too many frills but you will find cultural instances listed. Searches can be done via English, Japanese kanji or romaji. There are charts available in roma-ji, too, for beginners. Also, check out the Verbal Contact section and the Basic Expressions. Look for their conversation markers, too, as it indicates how phrases can be used between people.


Only In Japan

Only In Japan would this fly...only in Japan.
*Correction: Only in Asia!! But Japan is quirky enough to do it, too!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic


Oddball Story

I figured I'd post this peculiar story I found on the wires...

Dog owners 'fleeced' in poodle scam |

Dog owners 'fleeced' in poodle scam
Is it a lamb? Is it a poodle? Can you spot the difference?Thousands of people have been 'fleeced' into buying neatly coiffured lambs they thought were poodles. Entire flocks of lambs were shipped over from the UK and Australia to Japan by an internet company and marketed as the latest 'must have' accessory. {More}


Everybody (just about) Loves Pocky!

I find it strange that there is like this snack cult about Pocky. To put it in the most plain terms: it is icing on a stick. I like Pocky. It is good. I do not covet it though or claim allegiance to Glico for making it. HOWEVER, in saying all that, I won't hesitate to cater to the whims of All pocky lovers everywhere. I love you guys.

Pocky on Wikipedia Pocky Shrine Pocky for your siggy!

You Are Banana Pocky

Your attitude: fun and lighthearted
Unique and unforgettable
You are cutie everyone falls for


Toyama Koichi

Japanese election campaign speeches: subtitled for your enjoyment (Video) » Japan Probe

I found this site after watching the Toyama Koichi video. If you do know who he is then don't bother watching the video. If you DON'T know who he is then you should know that he is a mad man and probably wouldn't last a night in western countries. Anyway, anyone preaching anarchy isn't in their right mind in my opinion but everyone is entitled to their opinions. Also included in the linked site are other odd politician/candidate type peoples.


Cherry Blossom Season!

It is cherry blossom season in Japan. The entire country explodes with these gentle flowering trees. The blue sky seems to rain down sweet cherry blossom petals and for once spring is gorgeous and alluring. When looking down a row of Sakura trees it is as if God has released pink snow to only be caught by these trees.

The word for cherry blossoms in Japanese is Sakura. This is also a popular girls name. I do not think there could be a sweeter word to describe these delicate and precious trees and wonderful girls.

According to Wikipedia, there are over 305 species in Japan alone! Other sites have it listed as being slightly over 100 species. Also, the most famous and cherished specie is the Somei Yoshino. It is the snow white- yet tinged pink variety that basically the world knows.

Cherry Blossoms are so loved that there are viewing parties called Hanami. At these viewing parties groups of people spread blankets or so and sit under the trees enjoying the view that surrounds them. This is done mostly during the day but in many places lights are strung through the trees for night viewings and social gatherings in parks and such. There tends to be a lot of good food and flowing alcohol shared among friends. To me, it is one way that the country gets together and celebrates the birth of spring.

Sakura Facts

~ It is said that in the Gifu Prefecture there is a famous tree that is over 1500 years old

~A National Cherry Blossom Festival takes place each year in Washington D.C.

~ has over 76,605 pictures labeled as 'Sakura' for your viewing pleasure! Okay it isn't a fact but it is a way to see these gorgeous trees.


Official Website of the National Cherry Blossom Festival - Washington D.C.

Spring Flowers of Japan

Cherry Blossom Princess Headquarters

A Beginner's Guide to Cherry Blossom Viewing: Cherry Tree Varieties
*has great pictures!

She Who Eats blog
*great pictures of Japanese tea snacks and yes, cherry trees!