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New language learning tool, Japanese Flash, launches on App Store

39 Comments

Japanese Flash, a new language learning application for Apple iPhone and iPod Touch users, has been released on the Apple App Store. The tool combines the concept of a dictionary with a flash card system, a highly valuable tool for students of Japanese.

The uniquely named "Long Weekend" is run by three foreigners based in Tokyo. They developed the application after finding there were no satisfying solutions in this space. “No one out there was making Japanese language learning fun. We took the best elements of existing apps, then we made it more fun and accessible. We ended up creating something new that helps you improve your Japanese vocabulary quickly,” said Paul Chapman, one of "Long Weekend’s" two Japanese Language Proficiency Test Level 1 certificate holders.

Japanese Flash comes preloaded with over 180 study sets, allowing users to focus their study habits on vocabulary relevant to their current focus. Users can also create their own study sets out of the 145,000+ word built-in Japanese-English dictionary, something no other app under $10 currently offers.

Japanese Flash debuts at USD $6.99, or 800 yen, and can be found at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/japanese-flash/id367216357?mt=8

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39 Comments
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will check it out, cheers for link.

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just bought it... its worth a look for serious learners.

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Finally, Flash on the iPhone.

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Out of curiosity, is there any connection between the developers and G.Communication?

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Motogaijin, did you read it? Flash as in Flash cards. Is this new. Over 1 million applications in iTunes and this makes news? Crap! "My Japanese Coach" has been on iTunes for along time. If you want to learn Japanese, just "My Japanese Coach" DS Version available on the internet for free too. Jailbreak, Install Installous and you can have all iTunes for free.

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Heisegs Remembering the Kanji would be nice to see on the phone.

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There's already an interesting flash card app on iPhone, that is not limited to only Japanese learning -- you can make your own flash cards and/or download heaps of already made ones, in pretty much any language, for any purpose. Making your own can be troublesome -- I made one from a 四字熟語 dictionary and it took FOREVER for me to type out all of them and their readings, meanings on the back, but that too was good practice.

Anyway, this sounds worth checking out, particular as it also has a built in dictionary function (my guess is the dictionary is not that hot if it's cheaper than 1000 yen, but hey). Anyway, kudos for the link.

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Just wondering, are there any good internet programs for JLPT N1 (1kyu) out there?

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Noboribito, I'll make sure to use italics for you in the future so that you'll better note my use of sarcasm.

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Guess the developers forgot about "Kanjiflip" which does what they claim to have come up with. http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=287049212&mt=8 has the release.

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taj- I'm one of the developers; we're not connected to this site - but we're happy that they feel our app is as newsworthy as we feel it is.

smithinjapan- we based the app off of the EDICT dictionary, which is around 150,000 words Japanese->English. Most of the other apps out there sport the same data source. That said, a properly edited, "real" dictionary certainly will cost in excess of 1000 yen - it's a valid point.

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For the price you are getting 24Mb which is alot. I bought it, but did not look at it very well yet.

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To make it more fun -I would add a picture to each card that would help with memory in learning the kanji. Audio would be nice, but would need too much memory to do (helps people memorize something in another dimension)

The sets is a smart way to break up the learning and you can also add to sets which is good.

Could easily make an "English Flash" based on the sets theme also.

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makdad.... I love it mate. The dictionary is killer too. I left my 2 cents review on itunes store too. 5 stars. Thx again!

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PS, I couldnt stop laughing at lunch when I read fisutofakku...... lol

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ummm... this is not flash for the iphone. This is flash cards. two very differnt things. I hate to say this, but I have had a iphone Japanese flash card progrom on my iphone for LONG time. japaneseflip has been out for a while. plus smart.fm has an app too. not trying rain on the creators.

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My2sense-- hey we didn't make the data just the tool :)

kujirani- yes-- definitely not the first app in the category... Interestingly it was the shortcomings of some of those other apps (remain nameless) that encouraged us to actually do this.

We want to keep the software updated and usable-- we want everyone that finds it useful to help us make it better -- let your voice be heard -- http://support.longweekendmobile.com

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Jibbigo is a nice App !!! Check it out !!!!

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whiskeysour, that is a sweet tool too.

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Check out kotoba, a completely free Japanese dictionary app. The dictionary has a few holes, but nothing major, and it includes a lot of cute details, like animation that shows you the stroke order for the kanji (something I suck at). For free it does what the electronic dictionary crowd are charging 2~30 000 yen for. Oh, plus if you install the chinese keyboard on kotoba then you can draw in kanji. Personally it's my favorite.

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Thanks for the response, makdad, and best of luck with sales. I'll check it out!

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As Frungy said, Katoba! is a free dictionary app for the iPhone and you can find out more about it here:

http://kotoba.pierrephi.net/

It's a fantastic dictionary based on JMdict with example sentences for many words, animated stroke order diagrams, the ability to save words on to lists for future reference, and loads more funtionality. Also as Fungy said, you can enable the Chinese keyboard option and you get an excellent kanji recognition facility for inputing words to find, or just for finding kanji themselves. It doesn't have a flashcard facilty yet, but you'd expect it's developer to add one some time in the future as it's the most rational choice for an added function.

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....All i need now is a ipod touch! ^_^

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Tho more expensive, try the app called "Japanese". Also based on the jdict corpus, it downloads the whole thing and can be used offline.

Kanji search is one of its strong points--not only the skip system (Halpern) and traditional radicals, but also by 'elements', i.e., significant/standard parts of kanji that often do not fit into other schemes, and which is also useful for studying groups of kanji with common elements.

You can make/save your own flash card decks, and share them with others (via email).

Huge numbers of compounds and example sentences.

Wa and Kotoba and www.JDic are very hollow in comparison. The above-mentioned japanese flip and also Zen Nihongo are also good alternatives.

Of course I'll check out this new app, but it's hard to see how it's getting this PR splash when the article could (SHOULD!!) be a comparative evaluation of available apps.

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Oh, and "Japanese" has been around for a year and a half or more, upgrades all free in all that time, while this 'Japanese Flash' is in its initial version 1.0 iteration. I guess you could buy the newest ('flash') creation on the block, based on a JapanToday PR article, or you could buy what has been proven and time-tested, and improved over time thru the work of the developer and via user feedback.

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On further browsing, I guess if you want a flash card app, then this 'Japanese Flash' might be worth investigating.

However, if you're looking for a reference work, a dictionary, then "Japanese" is the way to go. (Psst, it also does flash cards.)

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Japanese sensei is a great product. It's 1200yen, a bit expensive but an awesome deal because of the different games and ways you can study the words. You get to review them over and over in different ways. You study a lesson, and learn 10 words at a time, then there are some tests. After you complete a lesson you can play the particles quiz, order the sentences, memory test, words quiz, matching game. You can review the vocabulary in a variety of different ways. There's also audio for each word and sentence. It shows you how often you got the word correct or not also.

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I forgot the link for Japanese sensei http://www.colezhu.com/product/japanese_sensei.html

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I was hoping to download this, for use on my laptop. Please tell me that I can?

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I have long used the apps "Japanese", Japanese Flip and Kotoba.

Japanese is a really good dictionary with great cross referencing abilities. Code from Tokyo has obviously put a lot of love into it. However it is slow loading large sets of words and the interface is designed for being a dictionary, not a flash card program.

Kotoba is also a good dictionary, free (thanks Pierre!) and offers multiple languages, but does not do flash cards and can be slow to search at times.

Japanese Flip is a flash card app that only offers JLPT sets 1-4, and has not been upgraded in a very long time. I remember getting this just after the iPhone launched in Japan. It hasn't changed much since then. I also find the UI ugly.

Japanese Flash aims to do one thing well, and do it in style, to help you study Japanese using flash cards! The balance between words, speed, ease of use, secondary features and good looks is hard to beat.

In the interests of FULL DISCLOSURE, I work for LWE LLC the maker of Japanese Flash. For some of the commenters above, I leave you with this to think about when posting advertorials:

SAKURA - a cherry tree / cherry blossom / decoy, fake buyer, shill, hired applauder (Source: Japanese Flash built-in dictionary)

Peace :D

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well, I downloaded it and it is not what I thought it would be.

Now, while you guys compete on your best app, I'd like to know how this little thing got so much publicity. SSF Tokyo... we need to sit down.

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Just saw our friend Mark M., previously (last week) of Wall Street Associates, is the new Managing Director of the company that launched this product. I wish him well. At least I know now how these press releases are published here. On the company website it says 750 yen but in iTunes it costs 800 yen. Why the increase?

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I just bought it because I want to make them rich so they can come to my surfing theme restaurants and pay me back with a smile.

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Just a follow up on my new JFlash app... I was at dinner with my wife last night and I typed in "loser" in the dictionary. I was hit with 15 definitions/usage. I said the first 5 to my wife (Mrs Smartypants) and she said they were wrong and a few others were outdated by 20 years. The second one regarded ("make inu") " as "an unmarried woman over the age of 30 / (with no children)" and another regarded a "lonely heart/male virgin/loser/geek" as a "doku o". Anyway I will hit up the LWE blog with this feedback but other than that its great for Flashcards and JPLT and very worth the purchase. Gee I think the loser list covers most of the country, lol.... Cheers

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got some feedback ; )

Basically, the issue is that the source of all of this information is a Japanese-to-English dictionary. Therefore, when you search a word in English, we are matching against any definition of a Japanese word that contains the English word you searched for. A true English-to-Japanese dictionary wouldn't have this problem, indeed.

You'll likely find that searching for words in Japanese (either in kanji, hiragana, or romaji) will yield much more specific results.

We have some ideas for future versions to solve this; unfortunately, though, at present the user has to look at each word and try to see which English definition has the best "sense" of what you are trying to translate... And even then, you can't be certain that the word doesn't have an "old" or otherwise strange connotation.

I don't have an immediate solution other than to say, "to be continued".

Cheers

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PS the top line is me only.....

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use a program called Anki, and download free Japanese language decks (and other topics).

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sf2k update : the program Anki Mini is currently available for jailbroken iPhones & iPods only. That's one of the many reasons why we felt there was a need to create Japanese Flash. Cheers ;)

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Hi folks - I'm just wondering if anyone knows of a dictionary App that integrates with e-reader software - or an E-reader that contains J-E/E-J dictionaries? ? That is, something I can use to read Japanese e-novels, and when I want to find a word or kanji, I just press it. This seems to me to more or less be the holy grail of foreign language/literature study... Books that enable you to literally press their words and get definitions. Of course those definitions won't be exhuastive or anything like learning a word through different contexts, but it would be incredible for learning during commuting/etc. Imagine being able to read a Japanese novel with confidence about every word because you were able to simply click through to basic information?

Does anyone know of such an e-reader, or a dictionary app that is integrated with e-book software on a tablet / phone? This is what I am waiting on before purchasing a tablet.

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