Whether you’re bored at work or are an enterprising Japanese learner, “Read the Kanji” may be just the website you’ve been looking for.
Read the Kanji (www.readthekanji.com) is a a bright, graphic quiz aimed at Japanese learners of all levels. With decks available for hiragana, katakana and kanji (decks are aimed at the old JLPT levels), you can set your difficulty—no worries, you can change it any time!—and go. The program has built-in hiragana assistance (i.e., even if you type in romaji, your text will appear in hiragana. No need for Japanese input capability!). Make sure to turn off Rikaichan or any other dictionary apps; the target kanji are presented in plain text.
The preferences allow you to show or hide a variety of hints, such as English definitions, Japanese sentences and English sentences (all are shown in the screencap above). See your progress in colorful visuals and statistics.
Feel the ego boost as more of your grid turns green over time. Each answer contributes to the algorithm’s calculation of your proficiency. (Tip: Don’t type too fast! Stupid mistakes are still counted in the calculation.) If the grid doesn’t enhance your experience, check out more detailed statistics about your progress (screencap below).
Unless you signed up for an account years ago and forgot about it like I did, you can “get your feet wet” with free access to the hiragana, katakana and JLPT 4 decks before buying. Once you’re convinced that this is one of the best time-wasters/study aids ever created, a yearly subscription is available for $20 (USD).
Joanna Clark is a 2nd year ALT in Kahoku City and a fan of technology, time-wasting and sometimes studying.