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Below are responses to common questions about Kanji Go. If you can't find an answer to your question here, you can always contact me directly and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.

General Questions
  • What can I do with Kanji Go?
    • You can lookup words in Japanese, Chinese, English, Deutsch, French, or Russian, store them in vocab lists, and view digital flash cards to practice these words. With its current feature set, it's ideally suited as a reading aide for Japanese enthusiasts of all skill levels.

  • What about studying grammar?
    • Though not nearly as terrifyingly hard as English grammar, Japanese grammar nonetheless takes a bit of time and effort which Kanji Go isn't well suited to help with. For an excellent introduction to Japanese, I recommend Genki, An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese, as well as it's later installment Genki II.

  • What dictionaries does it use?

  • Where are these Kanji Stroke order animations from?
    • Kanji Go uses Jim Rose's SOD/SODA Project stroke animations. These are free to use, but please read through the license before distributing, as they are the result of a lot of work and time by a few dedicated individuals.

How-to Questions
  • I'm having trouble finding something in the dictionary, what can I do?
    • Try keeping the word you're searching for short, and selecting a 'Contains' search type. To locate verbs quickly, it's often handy to append 'to' to your search (i.e., to run, to eat, to sleep). If you've got the search Filters displayed, trying hiding them and repeating your search (to ensure that your results aren't being filtered).

  • How do I copy a word's Kanji?
    • Whenever you double click on a row in search results or a vocab list, the Kanji of that row is copied to the clipboard. If the clicked entry has no Kanji, its reading is copied instead. This option can be toggled on/off from Preferences (enabled by default).

  • When viewing Kanji, how do I know its different readings?
    • The readings for a Kanji are listed on two or more lines in the 'Reading' column. The first line contains the on-youmi (how you pronounce the Kanji when it is paired with one or more other Kanji), while the second line contains the kun-youmi (how you pronounce the Kanji when it appears by itself).

    • Double clicking a Kanji entry (highlighted with a purple/blue stripe) will display a window with detailed information, including the readings in Japanese.

  • Do I need to 'save' my vocab lists all the time?
    • Nope- every time you quit Kanji Go, it automatically saves a copy of all your vocab lists to /yourUserName/Library/Application Support/Kanji Go/myVocab.txt. The 'Save' option in the file menu is provided incase you anticipate a sudden power loss or system wide crash that would forcibly terminate Kanji Go.

  • Can I add or change a word in the dictionary?
    • Currently there's no way to modify the dictionary itself- only vocab lists can be added to or edited. For those that are brave and daring, you can directly alter the JMdict file within the application's pkg (UTF-8 text encoding). As long as the formatting is preserved, you may freely modify this file, and Kanji Go will load any changes the next time it starts up.

  • I could really use feature X- what should I do?
    • Contact me! Kanji Go is under active development, and the more feedback everyone gives, the more useful it will be. That said, coding does take a bit of time, so while I'll usually do something ridiculous (like release a new version with your desired feature within 12 hours), I can't always guarantee I'll be able to integrate your feedback right away.

Troubleshooting Questions
  • I just installed Snow Leopard and Kanji Go won't start
    • For better or worse, Kanji Go's user facing portions (UI) will need to be re-written from scratch, which means it will not be usable with Snow Leopard for at least a month or two. As part of its cleanup of OS X's inner workings, Snow Leopard did away with the Java-Cocoa bridge- a programming interface which allowed a java program like Kanji Go to use Apple's UI tools. With that gone, Kanji Go will need to go the pure Java route- which brings with it some benefits, as it means it will be possible to run it on Windows/Linux in addition to OS X. I apologize for the downtime and inconvienence caused by this transition.

  • My language is set to something other than Japanese-English, but I'm still seeing English definitions!
    • Whenever Kanji Go is using any of its Japanese Dictionaries, it will also keep its Japanese-English Kanji dictionary loaded. With the exception of German, most of the non-English->Japanese dictionaries are quite small, so the kanji dictionary is included in search results to (in part) compensate. If you know of any good Kanji dictionaries for non-English languages, please let me know!

  • Why don't the Kanji shown in Kanji Go match those I see in print?
    • By default, Kanji Go will use OS X standard font for Japanese text (the one used when typing using the Kotoeri input method). On OS X 10.4.x, this font is Hiragino Kaku Gothic Pro, while Leopard uses a different font. You can adjust the font used in Kanji Go to better match what you see in print via the Preferences>Interface window. In most instances, Hiragino Kaku Gothic Pro will provide the best match.

  • When I open Kanji Go, it gets stuck on the loading screen!
    • Double check to make sure you downloaded the correct version for your Mac- if you try to run the PPC version of Kanji Go on an Intel Mac, it will get stuck on the loading screen since it's only able to load the interface, but none of the code which lets it function.

  • When I open Kanji Go, it's blank! Am I missing something?

  • When I click the vocab list links on the download page I just see garbles- why?
    • In order to represent Japanese characters, the vocab lists are encoded using EUC-JP. While Kanji Go will know how to read these files (using the File>Import... function), your web browser will likely default to a roman encoding, which doesn't know how to show these characters.

    • To view the list from within your web browser, Safari users can go to View> Text Encoding, and select 'Japanese (EUC)', while FireFox users can go to View> Character Encodings>More Encodings> East Asian, and select Japanese (EUC-JP).

Technical Questions
  • What will it run on?
    • Kanji Go will run on any Mac Computer running OS X 10.4 or later. It runs best on G5s or Intel Macs and is useable on older G4 computers. When dowloading, make sure to choose the appropriate version (Intel or PowerPC) for your Mac. It does not (yet) run on Windows machines, iPods, or iPhones.

  • How much RAM does Kanji Go require?
    • To run well, Kanji Go requires that you have at least 256 MB of RAM, as it will personally consume around 96 MBs with the core dictionaries loaded, and an additional 180 MBs to load enamdict (726,000 entries) into memory.

  • What algorithm does the Spaced-Interval mode use?
    • The Spaced-Interval mode uses a variation of the SM2 algorithm, based on research first conductd by Sebestian Leitner on Spaced Repitition techniques for memorization. Kanji Go incorporates modifications to the SM2 algorithm based on the open source Anki application, as described on the Anki FAQ.

  • How does the Publish feature work?
    • When you click 'Publish' on the Publish List Tool, Kanji Go attempts to save the vocab list file to ftp.redkitsune.org/listsubmit/. Quite literally, the same function that saves vocab lists when closing the app or selecting 'Export' from the file menu also does the processing for publishing- but instead of writing a byte stream to a local file, it writes the stream to a remote file via ftp (via port 21). I periodically check the contents of this folder, and add links to anything that looks clean.

  • What was Kanji Go built with?
    • The backend is Java (version 1.3 compliant in order to mesh well with Apple's Cocoa), and the front end was created using Apple's Cocoa, Interface Builder, and Java-Cocoa bridge. Artwork/Photos/graphics were either hand drawn/photographed, or created using Adobe Photoshop CS3 (often a mixture of all three).

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