Posts Tagged ‘Japanese’

Sad Kanji Kentei news – failed level 4

Monday, July 11th, 2022

Some rare sad news…. I failed the Kanji Kentei level 4 exam (漢字検定試験4級) by enough points to actually say “ok, this was not just bad luck”)

Level 4 is 315 kanji, significantly more than level 5 which has 220 or so kanji. Subsequently I spent much more time studying for level 4 than I spent on level 5. What’s a bit vexing is that although I spent all that time, I think I mainly failed the exam because of kanji from earlier levels (such as 5, 6 etc.) for the following reasons:

  • I just can’t remember all of them since I’m not actively using them
  • There is a lot more vocabulary derived from kanji combinations than in previous levels

What’s not so vexing is that the exam is “only” 3500 yen per taking. Could have been much more expensive.

So, this happened after I dumped memrise…

Sunday, May 15th, 2022

I’m not blaming anyone if they don’t follow my blog…. it’s not exactly moving quickly with lots of updates.

One of the things I posted about often was memrise and how many points I got etc. It was nice while it lasted but the horrible ads in between exercises made me delete that app faster than Hazel can say booze (see “Girls with Slingshots”)

So I ended up with a lot free time after dumping memrise. Or not really. I rather ended up with time that was not blocked by memrise anymore. Not the same thing.

Anyway, what’s a man got to do with a brain the size of the earth, an ego the size of Jupiter and a language-curiosity as big as the sun?

One word: Kanken.

Although that’s actually 5 words:
Japan Kanji Aptitude Test (日本漢字能力検定, Nihon Kanji Nōryoku Kentei)

It’s just that nobody calls it the full name. Mostly it’s Kanji Kentei or Kanken.

Anyway, it’s about Kanji (surprise, suprise) and here you can find all of them, by level:

As usual in Japan, it’s start at the highest number with the simplest level (still not sure why they do this… it’s limiting) and I quickly rushed through 10 and 9, then decided to officially take level 8 (paper version), then proceeded to use the computer-based test to take (and pass) 7, 6 and 5.

Which means I’m currently studying for level 4. I just need to keep working at it, I guess. It’s doable. and it gives me brain something to do apart from all the other stuff I do.

Keep your fingers crossed for me.


Thursday, October 11th, 2018

What a mess that was… everything completely in Japanese and out of more than 300 testees, I was the only non-Asian person. Well, I passed and that’s what counts.

Above: I was testee #0047

Looking at the list, most people passed but there were some who failed. Anyway, most people used more or less the same textbooks, I will post mine here later. There does not seem to be so much variety of textbooks on this subject.

Next step: Find employment as part-time scuba diving instructor?

Anyway, time for a celebratory beer…


My first self-created course on

Friday, September 28th, 2018

I’ve been posting about memrise on a couple of occasions. This time rather than bragging how many words I’ve learned and how many points I made, I created my own course:

It’s a Japanese -> English course supposed to help you with vocabulary required to help passing the Japanese dive theory test called 潜水士試験

(I have no idea why the URL uses the Mandarin pinyin pronounciation for the test… I’ve inputted Japanese kanji – I also opened a help call with memrise but no reaction so far)

Creating the course was not difficult but you need to prepare the list(s) ahead and put the colums in the right order if you want to mass-import the lists.

Good luck, give it a try yourself (the course as well as creating your own course ^^)

大成功! Japanese in LaTeX

Friday, July 29th, 2011

Urgh… today is a proud day for finally I got Japanese working in LaTeX files! Can’t believe I got to live to see this day!

If you need to get this working, too, follow these simple steps in Ubuntu:

1) Install the following packages:

2) Download this tex example file:

3) Compile the using the following command:
pdflatex <file>.tex

4) Rejoice!

Some explanations:
texlive is of course the basic TeX distribution. The additional packages provide stylesheet files required by the example file (e.g. ucs.sty). Trying to compile without the package latex-cjk-japanese-wadalab results in the following messages in the log file:

LaTeX Font Warning: Font shape `C70/min/m/n’ undefined
(Font)              using `C70/song/m/n’ instead on input line 20.

! Undefined control sequence.
try@size@range …extract@rangefontinfo font@info
<-*>@nil <@nnil

Reason is, tex cannot find an appropriate font. Thus, the last package latex-cjk-japanese-wadalab must be installed which provides additional fonts for Japanese in tex.

One neat trick I learned during the process is the following:
If you get some warnings or error message about missing files in a tex log file, you can search for these file names on the Ubuntu packages page. Make sure you search in the content of packages! Sometimes this helps you to find which additional packages have to be installed!

But is it really worth it? Check out the following screenshot:

Comparison between TeX and PDF from LibreOffice

The pdf in the back is the compiled tex file, the one in front is a pdf file exported from LibreOffice. To be honest, the Japanese part look absolutely the same to me. Ergo: If you don’t have to deal with large documents and mixed texts, LO should do the trick as well.

Many thanks to Lucas for his help and the link to the example file! His article on TeX can be read in the 50th issue of the Ubuntu magazine “Full Circle
Thanks also to Simon whose help on TeX is always invaluable.

Cross-language oddities

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

One of the more interesting points about different languages is that sometimes words in one language mean something completely different in a different language.
In languages from the same family the meanings are naturally often just variations since the languages have the same origin but cross-family comparisons can be very entertaining although (you guessed it) they are just plain random.
Long time ago I came across the Japanese verb 塗る(nuru) which means to apply paint, to apply a ointment etc. All Japanese verbs have a -te form, in this case the pronounciation is “nutte” which in German means “whore, prostitute”.
Another example that unfortunately doesn’t work both ways is 脚気 (kakke) which translates to Beriberi, a sickness caused by vitamin deficiency. In German however, this means “shit”. Both things less than wonderful…

One more oddity is Schinken (in German “ham”). Those who know Japanese already know where this is heading… 真剣 (pronounced “shinken”). Meaning “serious, earnest”. Without doubt, ham is one of the most serious pieces of meat there is…

Do you know any other examples? Let me know!


Lost (in) Translation

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

Two things:
I started this blog a week ago, full of enthusiasm. I’m still enthusiastic but realistically speaking with all my activities outside work I’ll probably only have time to write entries on the weekends. I guess I could work on drafts in the train but that would make me look like a hyper-nerd (even nowadays) and I think occasionally I need to spend some time not in front of a screen

Sadly over the last two years I forgot quite a number of hats, caps, gloves in trains, trams, buses… *argh* But this one hurts: I lost/forgot my trusty, beloved Canon Wordtank G50 somewhere on the public transportation. There’s hope somebody delivered it to Lost+Found as it is a rather special gimmick – I guess not a lot of people have much use for Japanese to English electronic dictionary (it’s actually made for Japanese people).
Although there are newer models, I’m not much impressed with those. What I like about the G50 is that it boots quickly (later models are much slower), there’s a several dictionaries included (nothing special there I guess), you can bookmark works and even use it as a learning tool. Later models tend to have speaker where you can have words pronounced but with English/Japanese I don’t really need that.

Hopefully I’ll be able to get it back…
*keeping fingers crossed*

UPDATE: Got it back from the Lost&Found office. As previously assumed, not many people have a use for an English-Japanese Canon Wordtank G50 with pictures of myself at the back in a run-down case and re-chargeable batteries! *cheer*

Multilingual Posts

Saturday, January 9th, 2010

One of the requirements for my blog is the ability to post multilingual posts. Encoding is already UTF-8 so maybe this works without adding anything further…



Und natürli no e anderi Schprach womer susch au nöd so hüüfig gsehd im web….

*keeping fingers crossed*