Purikura. Sticker Pictures on the iPhone.

I recently referred to the Sticker Picture craze among young Japanese women and came across a handy iPhone application for customizing your very own Purikura.

The application is called STICKi PICi and it allows one to decorate their iPhone pictures with hearts and star bursts, so ubiquitous on the Purikura scene.

Their website describes Purikura:

These popular asian photobooths are also known as purikura プリクラ (from Japanese pop culture lingo purinto kurabu プリント倶楽部, meaning print club).
As a student studying the Japanese language it is always fascinating to learn about the origins of a word. It is especially interesting to see how English loan words are pulled and blended together creating something uniquely Japanese.

I wish I was part of the print club, alas I have no iPhone. For those of you who are iPhone endowed, you can be part of the illustrious print club (プリント倶楽部 - purinto kurabu).

Check out STICKi PICi's features:
- Over 40 frames to choose from!
- Over 100 stamps to decorate your photos!
- Works with both portrait and landscape photos.
- Moving and scaling every stamp on your screen
- No object placement is permanent. Just select your drawing, stamp, or bubble to move and scale it!
- Choose from several fonts when typing in your chat bubbles.
- Choose your colors for the gel pen and the text in the chat bubbles.
- Airbrush your photos with the soften feature.
- Choose between having your creation in color, sepia, or black & white.
- Auto-saves your photo session so your work isn’t lost when you need to exit the application or you get an unexpected phone call while drawing.


Remember the Kanji - Lesson 1

I completed Lesson 1 of Heisig’s Remember the Kanji. It was super easy and a quick lesson. I used the list on smart.fm to study my way through.

There was only 15 items to learn which included the numbers 1-10 in addition to the words moon, mouth, day, rice field, and eye. The kanji for the numbers is quite beneficial. I also noticed that the nouns in this lesson were built on similar shapes and sounds.

一 – いち – i.chi – 1
二 – に – ni – 2
三 – さん – sa.n – 3
四 – し – shi – 4
五 – ご – go – 5
六 – ろく – ro.ku – 6
七 – しち – shi.chi – 7
八 – はち – ha.chi – 8
九 – きゅう – kyu.u – 9
十 – じゅう – jyu.u – 10
口 – くち – ku.chi – mouth
日 – にち – ni.chi – day
月 – つき – tsu.ki – moon
田 – た – ta – rice field
目 – め – me – eye

I’m really starting to like Kanji. It’s not nearly as scary as I first thought. I’m picking them up real quickly because I’m dominantly a visual learner. That way I can develop visual cues which help me relate words and meanings. This process makes remembering the Kanji a snap.


Rosetta Stone Lesson 1 Complete!

I just started using Rosetta Stone to supplement my self directed Japanese language study. Today I completed Lesson 1 of unit 1 from the course Japanese 1.

Rosetta Stone was much more than I expected. It creates a good balance between each of the necessary language skills: speaking, reading, writing, pronunciation, grammar.

My personal favorite sections are speaking. Rosetta Stone utilizes the built in microphone in my macbook and uses voice detection and audio analysis to gauge the correctness of your pronunciation. The feature is spot on and it really helps because spoken Japanese is my weakest language area.

The vocabulary was a good selection of basic words and phrases. Hello (こんにちは), goodbye (さようなら), girl(女の子), boy(男の子), man(男の人), woman(女の人). Also with phrases like “the boys are reading books” (男の子たちは本を読んでいます).

There were two instances where I continually had difficulties pronouncing words. the “hito” in “otokonohito” (おとこのひと – man) and the word “ryouri” (りょうり – to cook) used to trip me up quite a bit. Through pronunciation practice I have a much better handle.

It is also worth mentioning the ability to learn characters in kanji with furigana (kanji with small hiragana above to show pronunciation). It surprises me but I am starting to understand pairings of kana as words in themselves rather than translating them into romaji in my mind. Eventually I will see the kana for 男の子 and know that it means boy.

On to lesson two!


The Japanese Otaku: Studio 360 in Japan

Roland Kelts describes the essence of Akihabara and goes into detail about Otaku culture, their characteristics, and why they're so dang geeky.

This particular episode reports on the Japanese youth's sticker picture craze, the Japanese school girl and the identity of young Japanese women, in addition to a report on the Japanese Otaku and the geek's paradise that is Akihabara.

Studio 360 is a program hosted by the Public Radio International and they often run shows related to Japan and Japanese culture.


Do your best! Ganbatte! がんばって!

Ganbatte - Do your best! Ganbatte - Good luck!

One word that fascinates me to no end is the word ganbatte (sometimes written gambatte). It is a saying used to encourage people to try hard or used before a performance to say good luck. Ian Thomas Ash has an excellent write up on the various conjugations of the word ganbatte. It starts to get pretty complex, but think about all the ways you can encourage people to do their best!

Don't forget to support our friends in Japan!

How to write ganbatte:
頑張って (がんばって)
Do your best

The word ganbatte stems from the verb ganbaru:
頑張る (がんばる)
Ganbaru: To do one's best

Here are some other ways to use this handy verb:
頑張ります (がんばります)
I do my best
頑張れ (がんばれ)
Ganbare: Do your best
頑張ってください (がんばってください)
Ganbatte Kudasai:
Do your best, please. (formal)
頑張った (がんばった)
Ganbatta: I did my best
頑張りました (がんばりました)
Ganbarimashita: I did my best (formal)
頑張れます (がんばれます)
Ganbaremasu: I can do my best
頑張れる (がんばられる)
Ganbareru: I am able to do my best
頑張っています (がんばっています)
Ganbatteimasu: I am doing my best
頑張りたい (がんばりたい)
Ganbaritai: I want to do my best
頑張っていた (がんばっていた)
Ganbatteita: I was doing my best
頑張らなかった (がんばらなかった)
Ganbaranakatta: I did not do my best
頑張りなさい (がんばりなさい)
Ganbarinasai: you had better do your best
頑張ってくれ (がんばってくれ)
Ganbatekure: do your best for me

One instance where I find ganbaru useful is when I'm talking about my understanding of the Japanese language. I'll say, "私は日本語がちょっと分かります、でもがんばります!" (Watashi wa Nihongo ga chotto wakarimasu, demo ganbarimasu!). Which means, "I understand a little Japanese, but I do my best!".

(がんばって! - Ganbatte!)
Do your best!


smart.fm - 3.16.2009

Today I studied these terms:
優しい – やさしい – ya.sa.shi.i. (yah-sa-she) – gentle, kindhearted
易しい – やさしい – ya.sa.shi.i (ya-sa-she) – easy, simple
意地悪な – いじわるな – i.ji.wa.ru.na (ee-gee-wah-lou-na) – mean
嫌い – きらい – ki.ra.i (key-rah-ee) – dislike
正直 – しょうじき – sho.u.ji.ki (show-gee-key) – honest, upright

Two words with the same sound yet different meanings! やさしい(Yasashii) means both kindheartedness as well as being easy or simple.

I envision the kanji, 優, like a large and ornate monster that is scary at first but is actually really kind and benevolent.

The other kanji, 易, is much simpler in composition and, to me, looks like a helping hand, making everything easier by working together.

Friend me on smart.fm, lets learn together.


National Geographic in Japanese: Learning x2.

National Geographic has a youtube page with all of its videos narrated in Japanese. Not only will it help you practice your Japanese listening skills but it could also teach you a thing or two.

It is also nice to know that the dialogue your listening to comes from a reliable source that is academic in nature, yet accessible to the general public. Maybe you’ll end up speaking Japanese like a documentary narrator; sounds like something to aspire to.


smart.fm - 3.11.2009

Today, using smart.fm, I studied these terms:
悪い – わるい – wa.ru.i (wah-louie) – bad
良い – いい – i.i (ee) – good
意地悪な – いじわるな – i.ji.wa.ru.na (ee-gee-wah-lou-na) – mean
嫌い – きらい – ki.ra.i (key-rah-ee) – dislike
賑やか – にぎやか – ne.gi.ya.ka (knee-gee-yah-ka) – lively, exciting

The the kanji for 意地悪な – igiwaruna (mean), is just plain mean looking; three complex looking kanji in a row. Notice how the kanji for bad is also in the word mean, 悪. It looks like a mean person sticking their tongue out at you.

Friend me on smart.fm, lets learn together.


Ryan the Wired on 43Things

I've spent a lot of time on 43Things (a community site for achieving your goals and writing about your journey). My main goal is to Learn japanese so that I can best study in Osaka, Japan next year.

Give 43Things a try, connect with me and lets do our best!