Japan Extras: Dr Moku Apps

The Japan posts have been a bit sparse of late, I know. I shall try and find some more things to blog about. Ideally, I’d be planning another trip to Japan but I don’t think I’ll be able to afford that for another year or two.

One thing I have been doing is restarting my Japanese alphabet learning using the Dr Moku apps. I got a free copy of the Hiragana version to review on Super Cute Kawaii last year but I picked it up again recently and after a couple of days I was back up to speed. The apps use mnemonics to help you memorise the characters, using puns and illustrations, so RA looks like a rabbit and YA looks like a yak. Others are a bit more tenuous but it isn’t hard to make the connections. I then bought the Katakana app (Japanese has 3 alphabets) which is a little more complicted, but it only took a few days to commit all those to memory too. I can now figure out quite a few simple Japanese words and it’s pretty awesome.

I really recommend these if you’re interested in learning Japanese. There are quizzes to test your memory (I find it best to cover up the multiple choice answers to make it harder), a reference guide and some tips on how words are put together. Obviously, this only helps you translate the characters into words – knowing a set of characters says ‘neko’ won’t help much if you don’t know that neko is a cat. However, you can use it alongside a Japanese English dictionary.

Without learning Kanji (which has over 50,000 characters!), these 2 apps aren’t going to help you read a magazine in Japanese but might at least help you decipher things like foods and brands, which is pretty helpful when you’re on holiday.

If you fancy a go, you can find out more at the Dr Moku website. There are also free Lite versions to let you try out how it work., which you can find in the app store. Android users can buy a joint Hiragana/Katakana version.

Are you learning Japanese? Any suggestions for learning Kanji? I feel like I should give it a go, but there are so many ways to learn it.

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