echo.html – Rikai-chan assistant

Several years back, I put together a simple html page that I have found very helpful over the years. All it does is let you type or paste text into a box, and it outputs that same text in a larger font size below the text box.

This serves two purposes. Mainly, it gives you a place to paste text so you can use Rikai-chan on it. Helpful for when you are copying and pasting from a PDF or Word document, or some random app with Japanese text. I also use it a lot when I am writing, because I often forget if some of the words I am writing are correct or not. This can be simpler and more convenient than pulling up gmail or pastebin or something, and you can use it without an internet connection.

The other function is to simply make the text big enough that you can easily read it. Japanese text (kanji particularly) is, in my opinion, quite hard to read in comparison to English text. If you don’t immediately recognize a kanji, you might have to strain to discern the strokes or radicals that it is made up of. Sometimes I wonder if the reason so many Japanese people have bad eyesight is due to having to strain to read kanji?

But anyways, here it is. You can just right-click on the link and save it to your desktop.

Natsume

Natsume – Japanese Writing Support System

I want to tell you about an amazing tool that I have been using for a while, that seems to be relatively unknown amongst the majority of Japanese learners. It’s called Natsume, and it basically allows you to search for collocations from amongst a large corpus of native Japanese sentences. For more information on collocations and why they are beneficial for language learners, see this previous post I wrote.

This tool is especially beneficial for when you are trying to write in Japanese (it is called a writing support system, after all). You may often struggle knowing just which nouns go together with which verbs, or which particle makes the most sense to use. With the help of this tool, you can look up the words you are trying to use, and see just how they are typically used by native Japanese people.

Rather than go on all day about exactly what this thing is, I’ll just provide you with a short video that I put together explaining how to use it.

For further information on Natsume, I recommend reading this thesis by Bor Hodošček, as well as this journal article by the same author.

The sentences that Natsume pulls data from are from the Balanced Corpus of Contemporary Written Japanese.

Natsume – Japanese Writing Support System – 日本語作文支援システム