You’ve been studying Japanese for a while now and reached a level of Japanese adequate enough to understand (simple) texts. Drilling new vocabulary has become a daily routine so entangled in your lifestyle you barely notice anymore. If you were to describe your current level of proficiency, you’d proudly present yourself as an intermediate level learner. Sounds familiar? Let’s take it a notch... Continue →

With the academic school year rapidly approaching, my girlfriend and I decided on a short last-minute trip out and booked ourselves cheap tickets to Romania. We spent the week traveling through the historic region of Transylvania, commonly associated with vampire folklore, and situated between the imposing Carpathian mountains. A rich history, ranging from a feudal agricultural culture to a... Continue →

One of the common pitfalls of learning Japanese vocabulary through ankicards is memorizing them loose of context. Perhaps you’ve found yourself in a situation having no particular problems recalling vocabulary whilst reviewing your anki cards, but less so when confronted with real-life situations. If that sounds familar, one way to counter this common problem would be to install an additional... Continue →

Zoals velen in mijn richting ontstond mijn interesse in Japan al op jonge leeftijd onder invloed van het zogenaamde Cool Japan: de verspreiding en globalisatie van Japanse popcultuur (muziek, televisie, games, enzovoort) die toen geleidelijk aan al doorsijpelde in onze nationale media. Het zou zelfs een interesse worden die zodanig groeide dat ik er jaren later mijn studiekeuze door liet... Continue →

Rikaichan, and it’s Chrome variant Rikaikun, have already been widely established as incredibly helpful tools for reading Japanese online. Nevertheless, one major function remained missing still: a seamless integration with Anki for efficient vocabulary mining. A recent extension of the original Rikaichan, aptly named Rikaisama (it’s a pun!), adds several new features including communication... Continue →

Due to my studies I (will) often use Japanese in my blog. As I gave some thought to typography and readability, I found the default appearance of Japanese text to be in stark contrast with the rest of my design.1 To target specifically Japanese text, I wrote a small Markdown-Python extension for use in static blog generators as Jekyll and Pelican (or pretty much anything that utilizes... Continue →

Earlier this year I, alongside several other second year Japanology students at my university, participated in a small “tell an interesting story” speech contest organised by Kobe University. This week we were informed the videorecordings of these had been uploaded on the contest’s website and were available for all to watch2. My story is a classic “awkward Japanese language mix-up” anecdote... Continue →

After a long, stressful first semester exam-period, I spent my brief time off traveling to two completely opposite places I’ve been wanting to visit for a very long time: Rome, Italy and Iceland: one of the coldest winter destinations I could imagine, but a place of stunning natural beauty. Over the past years, Iceland has gained somewhat of a reputation for its hipster population and... Continue →

After a long, stressful first semester exam-period, I spent my brief time off traveling to two completely opposite places I’ve been wanting to visit for a very long time: Iceland and the historic city of Rome, Italy, cradle of one of the greatest civilisations ever. As a kind of early valentine, my girlfriend and I decided on this 4-day city trip to recharge our batteries and spent some much... Continue →

Footnotes are a classic staple in any writer’s toolbox and allows them to, in an unobtrusive way, citate sources or display additional information not directly related to the original argument. Yet I feel online footnotes, through the way they’re often implemented imitating printed media footnotes, come over quite counterintuitive by forcing the interested reader to disrupt his reading flow,... Continue →