Archive for March, 2007

Japanese kanji handwriting recognition in Windows XP’s IME

2007 March 31

This post has been moved to “Japanese kanji handwriting recognition in Windows XP’s IME”. Please visit the new server.

Am I learning Japanese or Biology?

2007 March 25

One essential aspect of learning a language is learning its vocabulary. In my Japanese study, this tranlates into learning kanji which are the building block of many words.

Most kanji are for things I am familiar with. Some examples are 人 (hito, person), 玉 (tama, ball), and 火 (hi, fire). Many are for common animals like 虫 (mushi, insect), 亀 (kame, turtle), and 猫 (neko, cat). Unexpectedly, I quite oftenly encounter kanji for an animal or plant that I have no knowledge about.

An example is 藤 (fuji, tou) which is the kanji for the plant genus Wisteria. It is found on many people’s name, such as 藤本美貴 (Fujimoto Miki), 後藤真希 (Gotou Maki), and 工藤新一 (Kudou Shin’ichi).

Using KANJIDIC or EDICT, I only get a brief description like “wisteria”. That is useless for someone with a shallow knowledge such as me, but enough as a pointer to get more information elsewhere. If I’m not online, my next stop is Stardict, which gives more detail such as “a climbing plant with purple or white flowers”. At least I could know that “Wisteria” is a plant, not something else like “hysteria”. My final stop is of course Wikipedia, which gives detailed descriptions and more importantly, images!

I’ll share some of the new living things I’ve discovered… Do you know them?



In Japanese, it is フジ (藤, fuji). And no, Mount Fuji is written differently. It is native to Japan and other countries including eastern US. It can climb by twisting itself along any available support. As I have written above, it is used on many people’s name. Anyone knows its Indonesian name?



In Japanese, it is セミ (蝉, semi). I found it on Berryz Koubou‘s song titled “Semi”. It is a family of insect that makes a lot of noise (but it’s different from Cricket). According to Wikipedia Indonesia, the Indonesian name is Tonggeret (never heard it before).



In Japanese, it is キク (菊, kiku). I found it on an author’s name (菊池, Kikuchi) at the digital library Aozora Bunko. In Japan, this plant is a symbol of death and are only used for funerals (which means, don’t give it to your Japanese girlfriend). 菊花紋章 (kikukamonshou) is the name given to the position of Japanese emperor. By the way, I recently went to Moro department store and found a Chrysanthemum product. It is a Chinese product and how happy I was to see the character 菊 written on the box :). The Indonesian name is Seruni (never heard it before too).

Manchurian Violet

Manchurian Violet, Viola mandshurica

In Japanese, it is スミレ (菫, sumire). I also found it on a writer’s name (薄田泣菫, Sasakida Kyuukin, and please don’t ask me what “sasaki” means). Is it also “Violet” in Indonesia?

Japanese Royal Fern

Japanese Royal Fern, Osmunda japonica

In Japanese, it is ゼンマイ (薇, zenmai). I knew what a fern is, but I was curious whether this fern has a striking difference (nothing striking to a layman like me). Strangely, it is the kanji used in Rose (薔薇, bara), which is where I found it. In Indonesia, ferns are called paku or pakis.

If you want to be able to read people’s name, you’ll be sure to encounter lots of these exotic kanji. It’s almost like they’re forcing us to be a botanist or zoologist. You’ll also find these kanji in songs and literatures (e.g., novels), because writers want to look cool by using obscure characters.

As a closing, note that I use katakana to write the name of the plants and animal above. This is a modern practice, which originates from the scientific community. Even in the Japanese Wikipedia, the article for dog is titled イヌ (inu) despite its kanji 犬 being taught in grade 1 elementary school. It is probably a sensible decision, considering that there are countless living things on Earth.

Dump summary

2007 March 21

My previous dump was on 2007-03-03, 18 days ago. During the period, I learned 202 kanji and 733 words. So, now my kanji count is 1516 and my word count is 7687.

But well, even that amount still sucks. Look at these marked Wikipedia articles: Aristotle, microbiology, Linux. The red kanji are the ones I haven’t learned (still damn lots of them!).

Gotta catch ’em all?

Anyway, the posts for this dump batch are this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, and this. If you’re from the main page, they’re the n consecutive blogs below this one :).

Wikipedia dump: Galileo

2007 March 21

Galileo Galilei

Another major accomplishment! I managed to learn the kanji and words from the Japanese Wikipedia article on Galileo (timestamped 2007-02-19 12:36).

Here are the 96 new kanji:


And 205 words:


Song dump: Love & Peace! HERO ga Yattekita.

2007 March 21

Morning Musume's Manpower single cover

This is the coupling track of Morning Musume‘s 25th single, “THE Manpower!!!”. Heh, I actually like this a lot more than the single itself :). The lyrics itself is quite silly, first being serious and asking questions like “Does peace exist because there is love, or does love exist because there is peace?” but eventually ends with “There’s no answer, so let’s just eat deliciously” :).

4 new kanji:



  • Previous “average new words/song”: 18.96
  • New words in this song: 6
  • New “average new words/song”: 18.52

And the words:

Kanji Kana English
初心者 しょしんしゃ beginner
お蔭で おかげで thanks to you
半信半疑 はんしんはんぎ dubious
継承 けいしょう inheritance
もりもり energetically
懇親 こんしん friendship

Song dump: SUGAO-flavor

2007 March 21

Tsukishima Kirari (Kusumi Koharu) in Mitsuboshi's album cover

Also a song from Koharu‘s 1st album (lyrics). It is also the coupling track of her first single (Koi ka na). A very nice and enjoyable ballad.

6 new kanji:



  • Previous “average new words/song”: 19.33
  • New words in this song: 9
  • New “average new words/song”: 18.96

And lastly, the words:

Kanji Kana English
羽根 はね wing
姿 すがた appearance
落っこちる おっこちる to fall down
ふらり aimlessly
膨らむ ふくらむ to expand
つぼみ bud
悩む なやむ to be worried
頬っぺた ほっぺた cheek
撫でる なでる to brush gently

Song dump: Spaghetti

2007 March 21

Tsukishima Kirari (Kusumi Koharu) in Mitsuboshi's album cover

Another song from Koharu‘s 1st album (lyrics). This song is quite crazy but also fun.

3 new kanji:


The stats:

  • Previous “average new words/song”: 19.81
  • New words in this song: 7
  • New “average new words/song”: 19.33

And the words:

Kanji Kana English
お祝い おいわい congratulation
誘う さそう to invite
計算 けいさん calculation
うで arm
絡まる からまる to be entangled
駆け引き かけひき strategy
甘え あまえ depending on other’s kindness


2007 March 21

Tsukishima Kirari (Kusumi Koharu) in Mitsuboshi's album cover

A song from Kusumi Koharu‘s 1st album, Mitsuboshi (lyrics). Here she stars as the anime character Tsukishima Kirari. The anime name is Kirarin Revolution, and it is about a girl who can’t sing but strives hard to be a singer (she has a romantic motive to be a singer, but I won’t tell much further).

Well, I don’t watch the anime and not a fan of Koharu. However I got the album cover (with kanji lyrics!) and so thought it would be a cool romanization excercise.

The song itself is quite nice.

So, 5 new kanji:


The stats:

  • Previous “average new words/song”: 20.04
  • New words in this song: 14
  • New “average new words/song”: 19.81

And 14 words:


Song dump: Aozora ga Itsumade mo Tsuzuku You na Mirai de Are!

2007 March 21

Morning Musumue's Rainbow 7 album cover

This is from track 3 of Morning Musume‘s 7th album, “Rainbow 7” (lyrics). A really fun and energizing song, with trumpets and harmonica!

There are 4 new kanji:


The stats:

  • Previous “average new words/song”: 20.54
  • New words in this song: 8
  • New “average new words/song”: 20.04

And the words:

Kanji Kana English
繋ぐ つなぐ to connect
教わる おそわる to be taught
準備 じゅんび preparation
吹く ふく to blow (e.g., wind)
羽ばたく はばたく to flap (wings)
何時だって いつだって always
眩しい まぶしい dazzling
輝く かがやく to shine

Song dump: Zutto Suki de Ii desu ka

2007 March 21

Matsuura Aya in Zutto Suki de Ii desu ka

This is from Matsuura Aya‘s single (lyrics). I think I first heard it on a Hello! Project concert. Nice song.

There are only 2 new kanji:


The new word stats:

  • Previous “average new words/song”: 21.13
  • New words in this song: 7
  • New “average new words/song”: 20.54

And the words themselves:

Kanji Kana English
永遠 えいえん eternity
縺れる もつれる to be tangled
解く ほどく to untie
途切れる とぎれる to be interrupted
景色 けしき scenery
眺める ながめる to gaze
卒業 そつぎょう graduation