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  • Free Japanese Classes at eduFire.com

    By thomas | December 7, 2008

    Koichi from tofugu sends in this awesome tip:

    How’ve you been doing lately? This is Koichi from Tofugu. Thank you for adding me to the “Hacks from the Past” roundup :) I’ve been enjoying the furigana extension from Open Office as well – I think I’ll do a writeup on that (with source, of course~)

    Anyways, I’ve got a minor novel for you, here :P

    Right now, working at eduFire.com (a website that does live learning via webcam…super slick), and I wanted to tell you about something that I thought could be interesting for your readers. Of course, that’s something you would have to decide on your own :)

    eduFire is ramping up to a subscription program for it’s Japanese classes section. This would mean that for a certain amount of money each month (we’re estimating $30-$40, but this hasn’t been decided yet), users can attend as many group lessons as they want, with up to 99 students per class. I’ve taught a few lessons, and they’re so much fun, but people learn a lot too.

    For the next month or so, though, the Japanese teachers who have signed up for our site are teaching Japanese Classes, and eduFire is paying them, which means all the Japanese classes are 100% free for students. There are currently 39 classes available, many of which repeat (so there’s really a ton more than that).

    I also wrote an article about it, here:
    39 Free Japanese Courses You Should Sign Up For

    Well, that’s my spiel. Of course, it’s totally up to you as to whether you think your readers might find it interesting. I think it’s a ridiculously good deal, and am sooo excited.

    Just to clarify, eduFire classes are live with the teacher via webcam, i.e. these aren’t prerecorded lessons that sit on the web for years collecting dust. You’ll be one-on-one (or group-on-one) with a teacher who will give you individual (or group) attention. It looks like there are 39 different Japanese classes available and you can attend as many as you want for free for the next month or so. Can’t beat that price!

    Thanks koichi!

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    Topics: Japanese Language | 1 Comment »

    Good luck on the JLPT

    By thomas | December 6, 2008

    For those of you taking the JLPT tomorrow, good luck!  Let’s all 合格 this thing!

    Don’t forget to bring:

    1. Your test voucher
    2. Pencils
    3. ID (Gaijin card or passport)
    4. Your lunch
    5. Watch
    6. Study books to cram in between test sections
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    Topics: Site News | 5 Comments »

    Lang-8: A cool language exchange social network service

    By thomas | December 5, 2008

    Jaered sends in a link to a site called Lang-8.  In his words:

    Hi Thomas,

    I’ve been reading your blog for a little while, and it’s really great as someone who is interested in Japan :) Keep it up!

    I work at a website called lang-8, which is a website where users can write journal entries in the language that they are learning, and then get it corrected by someone who is native in that language. Everyone helps each other by correcting each others journal entries, and everyone learns! Maybe you would be interested in trying it out and taking a look? I also think it might be interesting for your readers as well, but of course, that’s up to you :) Please let me know if you have any questions!

    http://www.lang-8.com

    Anyways, keep up the good work! I’m enjoying your blog!

    From the front page of lang-8, this is how it works:

    1. You write journal entries in your target language (Japanese for must of us).
    2. Native (Japanese) speakers correct your journal entries.
    3. You correct journal entries of other users studying your language.

    It really works too. I’ve had a lang-8 account for a while, and every journal entry I’ve ever written has been read and corrected for me quickly. Both for Japanese (popular language) and Swedish (somewhat obscure). If you want to improve your Japanese skills and make native-speaking friends in the process, give it a try!

    Thanks Jaered!

    Do you know of any websites geared towards Japanese learners, or foreign language learners in general? Post them up in the comments!

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    Topics: Japanese Language | 1 Comment »

    Other uses for old rice: fried rice and rice pudding

    By thomas | December 1, 2008

    Here are some other great ideas on how to make old crappy rice good.

    1. Fried Rice. A reader named Chesu explains:

      I fry my leftover rice. Cold, dry rice is perfect for fried rice, as it more readily absorbs the chicken stock, soy sauce, and whatever else you flavor it with. One cup of leftover rice becomes a very filling meal.

      Another reader, Stells, concurs:

      I always leftover rice to make bacon fried rice.

      Fry up some bacon and leftover veggies (cabbage, carrots, onion, etc), add the rice, and fry it all together. Mix in a dash of soy sauce, mirin, some spices (I like curry powder, pepper, and dried negi), and an egg (optional), and you have some bomb fried rice!

    2. Rice Pudding. Reader Kirsten sends in this delicious idea:

      You could also make rice pudding with milk, egg, sugar, cinnamon, etc. A little taste of home.

      Prasanna from India also sends in a tip about rice pudding:

      Hi
      Ohiogozaimasu.
      I am from chennai , India. I am preparing for JLPT 3 exams. happened to see ur site.

      we eat rice 365 days in a year!!!. so always there is left over rice.

      one recipe for left over rice.

      to the soft unspoiled cooked rice add water and make it to soup consistency.Boil well. Add milk , sugar, raisins, roasted cashews and some essence.
      you have a nutritious dish . It is called “keer” in India. All the best

      I’m a sweet lover, so I’m going to try this rice pudding stuff out.

    Thanks for the tips!

    What do you guys do with your old rice? If you have any cool ideas, send them my way!

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    Topics: Japanese Food | 2 Comments »

    November Hacks from the Past roundup

    By thomas | November 19, 2008

    Hacks from the Past is a series of posts that I will do monthly that will go over past hacks so that new readers don’t have to bother digging through the archives.

    Here are November’s Hacks from the Past:

    1. Learn Kanji with your Nintendo DS – Here is a review of a Kanji learning Nintendo DS game I did. It’s addictive and it’s still on the shelves. Check it out!
    2. Find Cheese in Japan #2 – several more options for finding cheese in Japan. Must read for cheese lovers.
    3. Learn Japanese with Google – How to use google search to help you with Japanese. Google images can give you 100s of pictures of your unknown words, and you can use plain old search to find millions of example sentences.
    4. Faster Miso Soup Trick – a little trick to dissolve that miso faster. With pictures!
    5. How to win at UFO Catcher – Learn how to win stuffed animals at UFO Catcher. Actually, this is just a link to a great tofugu article. Check it out from the original source.

    That’s it! If you have any tips, send them in and you could appear in next year’s November Hacks from the Past.

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    Topics: Hacks From The Past | 1 Comment »

    Amazon.co.jp ships to konbinis

    By thomas | November 18, 2008

    Adora sends in this tip:

    You can also arrange to pick up your package from Amazon.co.jp at conbini too! (You know… for purchases you don’t want your family to know about…)

    I didn’t know that! This is good to know with Christmas right around the corner.

    Thanks adora!

    Does anybody know if its ok to ship any online orders to the konbini?

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    Topics: Japanese Services | 1 Comment »

    Pee at the konbini

    By thomas | November 14, 2008

    Heidi sends this useful toilet tip:

    Hello!

    Here is a Nihon Hack that some people may not know (if it hasn’t been posted yet). Living in Japan, one difficulty I have found is finding easy access to western style toliets. Sometimes you can end up in line waiting for a long time, or be unfortunate enough to not find a bathroom at all. the best soultion to this problem is the ever amazing convienience store (conbini)! Usually there is a clean, western style bathroom in most of your major name brand conbini’s like Lawson’s or 7/11. This has been a real life savor in busy places like Osaka!

    This is pretty true. They are usually much cleaner than station toilets, and not a far walk from most stations.

    And in case you didn’t know:

    Also, some other good points about conbini’s is that if you have any bills to pay at all, like gas, electric, phone, or anything else, you can usually pay it at the conbini. This even includes purchases from amazon.co.jp!

    Hope that helps!

    It does! I often pay bills, especially shipping/handling bills, at the conbini. You should too!

    Thanks Heidi!

    Do you have any more convenience store tips?  Send them in!

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    Topics: Japan Hacks | 9 Comments »

    Furigana extension for Open Office

    By thomas | November 13, 2008

    A reader named Ben sent in this tip about adding Furigana to documents in Open Office:

    I’ve been looking at your site and thought I’d send you this tip.

    For those whose kanji reading ability is still low, or for those who are willing to admit that they can’t read them all, there is an Open Office extension that is very useful – all for free. To use this hack, the free Open Office software needs to be downloaded and installed. The extension is called Itadaki (a quick search will bring you to the extension project page). After installing Itadaki as well as the accompanying dictionary file, you can load a document in Japanese and have Itadaki add readings to every character in the document. Some of them will need to be corrected, but Japanese people will be impressed with your kanji ability, even if you give the wrong reading. Hope it is useful!

    I did the search for you. Here’s a direct link to the extension project page: Itadaki Furigana

    Thanks Ben!

    Do you know of any good software extensions/plug-ins to help with Japanese on the computer? If so, send them in!

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    Topics: Japanese Computer | 7 Comments »

    October Hacks From The Past Roundup

    By thomas | October 31, 2008

    Hey, it’s still October for a couple more hours.  Better late than never I say.  Hacks from the Past is a series of posts that I will do monthly that will go over past hacks so that new readers don’t have to bother digging through the archives.  Here are 2007’s October hacks:

    1. Shinmai – rice fresh from the harvest. It looks, smells and tastes better. Read how to find it in the store.
    2. House brand cleaning products – Find out how to spot which house brands are good, and which ones to avoid.
    3. 300 yen steaks – Learn how to get steaks and other perishable food on the cheap.
    4. Akebi part 2 – I weigh in again on the crazy purple Japanese fruit.
    5. Reverse zousui – zousui isn’t just for saving old rice
    6. Plan your train trip online #1- for those of you who ride JR West
    7. Plan your train trip online #2 – for the rest of you

    If you have any tips, send them in. I have a few reader-submitted tips on the way, so stay tuned.

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    Topics: Hacks From The Past | No Comments »

    Dispose of leftover oil. Or use it to make candles.

    By thomas | October 26, 2008

    NinaSama sends in this tip about what to do with extra oil:

    I decided to tempura batter and deep fry some ice cream with some of my Japanese friends. We had mixed results ;) But since it was one of my first times deep frying anything, I didn’t know what to do about the left over oil! My friends suggestion that I strain it and use the oil again but I didn’t want to have used oil lying around since I never plan to deep fry anything ever again! bleh.

    My friend then suggested this stuff:
    固めるテンプル (katameru tenpuru)
    It’s very easy, you just add it to hot oil and let it sit for a while. It’ll solidify and then you can throw the whole thing out! (I’m sure you’ve heard of it before)

    But, since I can’t read Japanese all too well, I went online looking for an easy explanation of what this stuff was and what I could expect from it. I ended up finding a number of websites showing how to make candles out of regular oil and this powder!

    http://web.kyoto-inet.or.jp/people/sugicom/kazuo/neta/bake14.html

    I haven’t tried it yet but it seems interesting. Have you ever seen something like that before?

    The package might look something like this:

    katameru tempuru

    Thanks Nina!

    NinaSama also sent in a tip request. Can anyone help?

    Recently I went to Hiroshima for the Sake festival. I know that Sake can leave me with a horrible hang over the next day so I decided to check out some 飲み薬 at the conbini. I found this stuff called “gold” something-or-other ginger drink. I was told that if you drink it before drinking alcohol that you should be fine the next day. I had my doubts since the source was a bit unreliable. But I drank it and I was in fact fine. But I can’t tell if that’s just because I’m a morning person or I just drank less sake than I thought.

    So, basically, I was wondering if you knew of any good Japanese drinks that help cure/prevent a hang over. Things other than just Pocari sweat and other sports drinks that my friends usually drink to try and cure themselves. They don’t really work for me :P

    Thank you for reading all my long winded explanations! Thanks for writing such a great blog!!!

    Anybody know any anti-hangover tips? I hardly drink at all anymore, so I have no idea! If you have any solutions, please leave a comment!

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    Topics: Japanese Food | 7 Comments »


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