Learn Kanji with Japanese Signs and Rikaichan

Learn kanji with my Kanji Kanban(漢字看板) Japanese street and shop sign series, an ever expanding database of kanji, hiragana and katakana characters in natural contexts. The word ‘kanban’ refers to shop signs in Japanese. This series focuses on the joyo kanji (常用漢字), the most frequently used characters. It includes various reference tools that make this … Read more

Rikaichan

Rikaichan is a popup dictionary.  If I had to give up all but one of my printed and online Japanese learning resources, rikaichan would be the keeper. And it happens to be free!  You can download it and get more info here. One of the joys of living in Kyoto is that I get to … Read more

How to Use Rikaichan Japanese Dictionary for Kanji Study

Rikaichan is a pop-up Japanese dictionary add-on that can really turbo charge your online Japanese reading practice.  If I had to give up all but one of my printed and online Japanese language learning resources, rikaichan would be the keeper. And it happens to be free!  You can download it and get more info here. … Read more

Kana Kanban

おまつり How do you say ‘festival’ in Japanese? If you’re learning hiragana, try reading this poster advertising an upcoming event.  I noticed it on a community message board in my neighborhood in Kyoto.  The お at the beginning is an honorific and is often omitted. Use the rikaichan popup dictionary or your favorite reference tool … Read more

Summertime temptations at Kyoto’s Nishiki Market

生ビール冷えてます。 Use the rikaichan popup dictionary or your favorite reference tool on the text I’ve transcribed just below the photo if you need help reading this sign. It includes an often seen kanji/katakana pairing, so even if you’re still getting katakana down, this is a good chance to get some exposure in a natural context … Read more

甘食 国産 小麦粉 使用した 懐かしい 味わい  ヤマザキ Click on the photo to see

甘食 国産 小麦粉 使用した 懐かしい 味わい  ヤマザキ Click on the photo to see the characters on this packaging  more clearly.  How many of the seven words that I’ve transcribed below the photo can you read or understand? Hover your mouse over them with the rikaichan popup dictionary or use  your favorite reference tool if you need help. This package appealed … Read more

自転車 バイク 修理 販売 Use the rikaichan popup dictionary or your favorite reference tool on the text I’ve transcribed just below the photo if you need help reading this sign. Even if you’re learning katakana and aren’t very familiar with kanji yet,  you might be able to sight read these words based on the context of this photo, … Read more

Katakana Japanese Reading Practice #30: Dance Studio’s Sign

ダンス スタジオ If you’re learning katakana, try reading this sign.It caught my eye because of the colors and graphics, which might help you to decipher the meaning.  Then again, the more I look at the two figures above the words, it looks like a barroom brawl or a shootout!  So it might be best to focus … Read more

Katakana Japanese Reading Practice #31: Craft Store’s Sign

アート&クラフト If you’re learning katakana, try reading this shop sign that I saw in Kyoto and you’ll discover what kind of store it is. Kyoto is written in Kanji at the bottom along with the name of this branch, taken from the name of the street that it’s on. Use the rikaichan popup dictionary or … Read more

A fast chance for some kanji review!

夜間工事 23時30分〜翌5時30分 車線変更 Use the rikaichan popup dictionary on the text I’ve transcribed just below the photo if you need help reading this sign. I took this at night in Kyoto in an area where there’s been a lot of road work at night, which involves diverting traffic. I’d only just learned the reading of  夜間yesterday when … Read more