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Archive for February, 2009

Looking back, it kind of amazes me that I’ve just this month truly discovered James W. Heisig’s landmark work, Remembering the Kanji. Back in 2001 and 2002, I heard Heisig’s name pop up a couple of times while I was studying Japanese at UC Boulder. I think my very first Japanese teacher may have even used some RTK-inspired methods when she taught us hiragana.
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I spent most of the winter break at home with a cold. It was almost as if my body suddenly realized it had time to get sick! It wasn’t a waste in any sense, though.

My interest in Japanese somehow became renewed. I think somehow, getting into Anki was the reason. Knowing I worked so hard learning Japanese for two years in college and then forgetting pretty much all of it in the 7 years since is pains me almost viscerally. Learning that the cost of remembering things wasn’t as high as I had thought was gratifying to say the least. Buying the Wii and realizing that all my games would be in Japanese buoyed my spirits higher, still.

I’m sad to say my Japanese is pretty much terrible, but I just keep putting stuff I don’t understand into Anki and playing on. Something about going from galaxy to galaxy, having the チコ stars talk to me in keigo, dealing with the tough-guy penguin surfing coach and so on makes it feel like much less work than it is. I may not have a chance to play it much now that the break is over, but it was fun.

Getting the Firefox Pinyin Converter done was nice, too.

I went to several local video game shops right before Chinese New Year. It had been long time since I’d bought or really played any console games, but the Wii was different enough and interesting enough that I decided to get one to play over my two week vacation. For new systems, here were the prices:

  • Standard Wii + 1 left controller + 1 right controller + localized version of Wii Sports: 7400NT
  • Wii with mod chip installed + 1 left controller + 1 right controller + localized version of Wii Sports: 8500NT
  • Extra left controller: 850NT
  • Extra right controller: 580NT
  • Wii Fit and balance board: 3600NT

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I’ve made a Firefox extension that converts pinyin with tone numbers into pinyin with tone marks. The specifics of the conversion process are identical to those of the online pinyin converter I wrote earlier.

After installing the extension, a blue square will appear on the right side of the status bar at the bottom of your Firefox web browser. To use the tool, type some pinyin with tone numbers into any plain text field on any web page. Then highlight the text and click on the blue 拼 on your status bar. It will convert the tone numbers into the appropriate marks over the appropriate vowels.pin

For example, if you type in “zhong1wen2”, highlight it and hit the button, then it will be converted into “zhōngwén”.

Thanks to John for feedback on the design, and to Wayne and Andrew for testing on Mac and Linux machines.

Go to the download page to get it.