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Nazotte Oboeru Otona no Kanji Renshuu Kanzenhan

This will likely be my last Japanese-related post for a while. Tomorrow we leave for Denmark! So for those of you only interested in Japan stuff on this blog check back in mid-August. From then until the end of time the vast majority of my blog entries will be about Japan, learning Japanese, etc.

Yesterday I passed the fifth level on Nazotte Oboeru Otona no Kanji Renshuu Kanzenhan (なぞっておぼえる大人の漢字練習完全版) for the Nintendo DS. Hurrah! What does this mean you ask? It means I could probably pass any kanji test thrown at a 5th grade Japanese kid (11 year old). That may not seem too impressive, but it was fun getting there, and I learned a lot along the way. I haven’t had the DS game that long and hope to pass all of the levels before this time next year. Stay tuned.

The fifth level brings one up to almost 900 kanji. Tests aside, I can probably read about 1,300 kanji well at this point and write about 800 well. Before buying this game those figures were probably about 900 and 100, respectively, and not as well as now. I’ve forgotten much over the past 20 years, but it is coming back quickly with study.

 Let me show you a few screen shots.

kanji ds

On the above picture you can see that I passed Level 5 by the skin of my teeth. Passing is 80%. Reading I received 100% on, but I have more difficulty writing. Lucky for me, reading is far more important from a practical standpoint. In fact, I really only practice writing because it helps with reading. On the rare occassions when I have to write Japanese I’m usually on a computer. The computer pulls up the possible characters for you so you really only need to be able to read to write Japanese (on a computer) these days.

The tests on this “game” are not so easy, as they aren’t multiple choice or true/false questions. You either know how to read or write it or you don’t. I’m guessing that real Japanese 5th graders have it a bit easier with multiple choice tests.

learn japanese nintendo ds

One of the nice things about this “game” is you can learn from your mistakes and review what you did very easily. After clicking on my “Graduation Certificate for 5th Level” (表彰状LV5卒業) the above screen shows which kanji were correctly answered (with a circle mark) or incorrectly answered (with no mark). You can click on any of these (including the ones marked correct) to review the kanji, including on/kun readings, stroke order, etc. Watch what happens when I click on the kanji I missed.

learn kanji on the nintendo ds

First, I should note that the screen isn’t all grainy like you see on the last two screen shots above. The photos clear up if you click on the images.

You have your on (音) and kun (訓) readings on the top screen along with the number of strokes. On the bottom screen you get walked through the proper stroke order. For more practice you can click on お手本 and practice writing the character as many times as you’d like. Nazotte… will show you how correctly you are writing the kanji.

There are many other features (like daily practice drills, a dictionary that allows you to look up unknown characters, and mini games). I’ll go over some more details and show you some more screen shots once I’ve made it through another level or two.

If you already have intermediate or advanced Japanese skills you can check out the features in Japanese here. You really don’t need to know anything more than hiragana to get much out of this game though. Someone, for instance, studying for JLPT Level 4 could use Level 1 of Nazotte… to study. For JLPT Level 3 one could use Levels 1, 2, and 3 of this game. JLPT Level 2 is through about Level 5 of Nazotte… And if you master through Level 9 of Nazotte… you’ll easily pass JLPT Level 1.

6 Responses to “Nazotte Oboeru Otona no Kanji Renshuu Kanzenhan”

  1. 1

    Is there a DS game aimed at English learners? I sometimes don’t understand explanations, answers, etc in Japanese ones, and it’s tiresome.

  2. 2

    If you mean English speaking learners of Japanese then no, not yet. I hope the market is big enough for someone to create such a DS game though.

  3. 3

    Yeah, I really hope so too. What’s the best one you’ve tried from the ones released?

  4. 4

    I like “Nazotte…” a lot. I’ve only tried it and “Tadashii Kanji Kakitorikun Kanken Taisaku.” The latter is nice for learning hiragana and katakana, but the kanji piece focuses too much on writing for what I’m trying to accomplish. It’s good for the beginner or advanced student though. I have to consult my dictionary too much to make the readings in “Tadashii…” very fun for me. If you already have hiragana and katakana down well then “Nazotte…” is the way to go in my opinion.

    Here are some other ones that I haven’t tried:

  5. 5

    My Japanese Coach” will be released on the DS some time in October this year. Check Amazon

    I have used “My Chinese coach” which is outstanding and I’m pretty sure the Japanese one will have the same layout. It teaches vocabulary, kana and kanji and should also contain a small dictionary.

  6. 6

    Note that while Nazotte… is no longer available, Kanken 3 is better and is available for free international shipping here.