As I mentioned in my last post, today I am going to take a look at Skritter for Japanese. I’ll admit that I don’t use it nearly as much as I do (or should) for Chinese, but I wanted to give anyone who might want to know about the Japanese version a decent introduction. So, let’s get started!
Not much changes from the Chinese interface, and you’ll find it to be familiar territory right away:
Proponents of Heisig or those that wish to focus on Kanji will feel instantly pleased that Skritter does this quite well. It does Kanji even for words that rarely use it, for example:
This also gives me a chance to showcase other aspects of Skritter that I couldn’t cover in my previous post. First, however, a look at the differences of the Japanese page. Here, we find that they also provide the various readings for each Kanji, as well as for the components that make up the Kanji. I wouldn’t suggest that one study those, but it provides a very nice reference. And, as you go through, they will start to stick without direct study.
Also, in this case, we can see a ‘failed card’. This can happen by completely forgetting how to write it. You would click the “show” button below, thus giving you a grayed out outline of the character:
Then you just trace it. One nice feature is that the outline doesn’t stay as you write. So it forces you to remember how to write it, and not just get into the habit of tracing the characters–and thereby not really learning it.
All the while it also provides pronunciation for all of the vocabulary that you come across. It also has a large selection of pre-made decks, including books such as Genki, JLPT study materials, my much hated Nakama, Yookoso, and many others. Rare words have red readings (see 「居る」above) so you can distinguish them. It switches between reading, writing, and meaning just as the Chinese version does.
So, what doesn’t Skritter for Japanese do? Well, it doesn’t seem to offer en engine to recognize the kana systems yet. Not a huge discredit, as the focus is on Kanji, but some users may wish you have the ability to write them to know particular verb endings. Second, there is no “pronunciation input”, like the pinyin input for Chinese, for Japanese. More than likely it is because of the difficulty getting the input to read kana, but it is also nice because they don’t just default to using roomaji just to have a pronunciation system in place. Finally, again, many people would wish for more context, but as I said for the Chinese, it can be found elsewhere.
Skritter makes a very useful supplement to your regular studies. I know the Japanese portion was recently implemented, so I look forward to seeing how it develops. Again, it’s always worth a shot!