This short series of blogs chronicles the bare-bones required to conduct a basic form of social media analysis on corpora of (Japanese) Tweets. It is primarily intended for undergraduate and graduate students whose topics of research include contemporary Japan or its online vox populi, and want to strengthen their existing research (such as an undergraduate thesis or term paper) with a social media-based quantitative angle. This fourth blog follows up on the MeCab + NEologd set-up described in the third part of this series, and introduces the reader to some of possibilities when working with python-based NLP tools such as NLTK. Concretely, we will: Import the python wrapper mecab-python, necessary to use MeCab in our python scripts, Learn about NLP tools like NLTK, Perform a basic... Continue →

This short series of blogs chronicles the bare-bones required to conduct a basic form of social media analysis on corpora of (Japanese) Tweets. It is primarily intended for undergraduate and graduate students whose topics of research include contemporary Japan or its online vox populi, and want to strengthen their existing research (such as an undergraduate thesis or term paper) with a social media-based quantitative angle. The purpose of this third blog and the next, fourth blog is to introduce the reader to the concept of natural language processing (NLP), to the techniques available for processing Japanese texts, and to some basic forms of quantitative content analysis that could be performed with that processed data. Concretely, in this third blog we will: Learn about natural... Continue →

This short series of blogs chronicles the bare-bones required to conduct a basic form of social media analysis on corpora of (Japanese) Tweets. It is primarily intended for undergraduate and graduate students whose topics of research include contemporary Japan or its online vox populi, and want to strengthen their existing research (such as an undergraduate thesis or term paper) with a social media-based quantitative angle. The purpose of this second blog is two-fold: 1) to introduce the reader to some possibilities in regards to basic social media analysis (applicable almost immediately upon having finished the previous guide), and 2) to touch upon a crucial, yet sometimes ignored aspect of social media analysis: the legal and ethical caveats regarding privacy and informed content... Continue →

This short series of blogs chronicles the bare-bones required to conduct a basic form of textual analysis on corpora of Japanese tweets. Examples of similar tutorials on the Internet are legion, but less so are accessible beginner tutorials guiding the reader throughout the processes of: setting up the initial technical environment, compiling corpora of clean, processed data, and, adding a visual, quantitative element to any qualitative reading of that text, by utilization of textual analysis tools tailored for Japanese content. This series is therefore primarily intended for undergraduate and graduate students whose topics of research include contemporary Japan or its online vox populi, and want to strengthen their existing research (such as an undergraduate thesis or term paper) with... Continue →

Friday, 16 August 2019, approximately 2PM and approximately 2 hours of sleep. Calling that day a somewhat surreal and emotionally taxing day, might, in retrospect, be putting it mildly. I had just spent the night proofreading my graduate thesis for the thousandth time, buried in anxiety that a minor typo in a footnote still buried somewhere on the tenth page of my appendix would destroy my chances of graduation. Within the timespan of barely an hour, I retrieved the print copies of said thesis at a local print shop, handed them in at my university, shared a cup of coffee with some of my classmates—by now, my close friends—at our local coffeehouse hangout, checked my watch, and rushed towards the train-station. I had a flight to China to catch. Despite the unwarranted stress, my five... Continue →

My home university’s student circle asked me for some tips for new exchange students coming to Japan and after living in Tokyo, Japan for over 18 months I learned some things that might be useful for future exchange students, often glanced over in similar lists. Although this list is a perpetual work-in-progress, I hope it can at least offer some concrete, directly applicable tips. Shopping Get an Amazon.co.jp Prime account. Students are legible to a year-long trial of Amazon Prime Student. The prime reason to do so is free expedited shipping, but some other benefits include streaming through Prime Video and free selection of Kindle novels. While I lived close to a supermarket, I found amazon.co.jp useful for everything ranging from purchasing large, bulky daily goods to difficult to... Continue →

The E-book industry in Japan is gaining momentum. Both contemporary releases and more popular classics are seeing an increase in digital publication alongside physical distribution. Through their kindle service Amazon.co.jp has a particularly strong hold on this market, and their extensive catalog could offer good news for any intermediate or advanced Japanese language learner. It is easier to look up new vocabulary from digital media than it is to look something up from print media, and both physical Kindles as Kindle for Windows are surprisingly feature-rich, including in-built dictionaries and flashcard options. In prior blogs I’ve described my method of reading digital texts as HTML files through a web-browser; using pop-up dictionaries such as Rikaisama or Yomichan in combination... Continue →

At the end of my third semester in Japan, I took use of an extended school holiday and my last remaining months in Japan to plan a short trip to Taiwan and Hong Kong. During my stay I’ve had the pleasure to acquaint people from both regions and took this as the perfect excuse for some last minute sightseeing. Brief history As one of the most important trade and financial hubs in Asia and one of the most densely populated regions in the world; Hong Kong (香港) has a distinct international feel. While historically undeniably Chinese, Hong Kong was conceded by the Qing Dinasty to British rule after the First Opium War and remained a British colony until 1997, with brief control under the Japanese Empire during the Second World War. The majority of Hong Kong’s population have Cantonese... Continue →

At the end of my third semester in Japan, I took use of an extended school holiday and my last remaining months in Japan to plan a short trip to Taiwan and Hong Kong. During my stay I’ve had the pleasure to acquaint people from both regions and took this as the perfect excuse for some last minute sightseeing. Brief history The Island of Taiwan (governed since 1945 by the Republic of China, 中華民國) is an East Asian state located southwest of the Japanese Okinawan islands. Dutch colonization and consequent annexation by the Qing dynasty in the 17th century, as well as annexation and five decades of rule by by the Empire of Japan after the Sino-Japanese war of 1894-1895, have had a drastic impact on Taiwan’s demography, and presently the Taiwanese indigenous people make up only 2% of the... Continue →

As an undergraduate student relying heavily on Anki for both my major and for studying Japanese, I wrote several blog-posts throughout 2016 on how I’ve personally integrated Anki in my daily life. One of those entries extensively documented how I’ve connected Anki with Firefox to vocab-mine Japanese texts in my browser with JPod101 audio-readings, example-sentences (a method crucial to my language-acquisition) and Japanese dictionary definitions. Although I’ve had little time to update my blog throughout 2018, those specific posts became somewhat high-ranking when googling things concerning Anki. Unfortunately, Firefox-updates led to Anki-integrated Firefox pop-up dictionary Rikaisama (the plug-in I’ve relied on for years) becoming obsolete. Thus it was high time to update my humble... Continue →