Equipment Suggestions

Some Equipment Suggestions to help you Learn Japanese Language

If you want to learn Japanese language, you will want to download these Japanese audio lessons. Then you will need to find some equipment that will allow you to reliably pause the lessons whenever you need time to think and restart them when you are ready.  Apple makes earphone units with built-in wired controls, but they are not convenient to use while walking, since the buttons that control the portable device are located high on the cord.  One would have to walk around with one hand held up at neck level in order to use one of these units.

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Maxell P-1A Wireless Remote Control

If you are using an iPod 3G, 4G, photo, nano, or mini for the Japanese audio lessons, I recommend the Maxell Wireless Remote, shown on the right.  When I listen to these Japanese audio lessons while walking, I’ve found that my right front pants pocket is a good place to carry my iPod and the attached sensor, with the iPod upside-down, the white sensor attachment on top and the black circular sensor cover pointing away from my body.  In this configuration, when I use the remote control with my right hand, my hand is very close to the sensor.

I have also had luck carrying the iPod in a carrying case on my belt when I listen to the Japanese audio lessons and learn Japanese language.  In this configuration, the iPod is upright, and I’ve had to enlarge the existing opening in the bottom of the carrying case to accommodate the sensor unit.

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Maxell Remote Unit with Cardboard Strips

I modified the Maxell remote control unit to make it more useable.  First, I added some pieces of cardboard, as shown here.




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Maxell Wireless After Adding Duct Tape

Next, I used duct tape to attach the pieces of cardboard to the remote control, covering up unneeded buttons that I had often found myself pressing accidentally.  I also used duct tape to connect the sensor unit to the bottom of the iPod, as it was very loose and often became disconnected while I was walking.  Note that it isn’t necessary to remove the duct tape in order to charge the iPod, or to attach it to a car stereo.  The Maxell sensor attachment includes ports for an iPod charger and for a stereo jack.

The Maxell system often fails to respond to clicking when the sensor is exposed to bright sun, apparently because sun can interfere with the infrared signal emitted by the remote control unit.  I discovered that I could improve this problem by covering the sensor with denim cloth from an old pair of blue jeans.  Of course, this step is not necessary if you plan to carry the sensor in your pocket.  Another option is to carry the sensor in such a way that it isn’t exposed to direct sun;  for example, if you are carrying your iPod on your belt, you can switch it to the opposite side of your body to keep it away from the sun.  Even while using the denim cover, I find that it helps to position the hand carrying the remote control in such a way as to cast a shadow over the sensor while clicking, if the sensor is in bright sun.

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Holding the Maxell remote control backwards

Finally, I had to learn to carry the Maxell remote control unit backwards, as shown here, when listening to Japanese audio lessons.  In this configuration, it points directly at the iPod and sensor unit, and it works quite well most of the time.

Unfortunately, the Maxell remote doesn’t work with iPhones.  If you want to use an iPhone to listen to Japanese audio lessons as you learn Japanese language, I recommend a wired remote control, the Griffin Navigate.  Although this controller is supposed to work with iPods as well, it didn’t work with my iPod Classic (6th generation).  However, it works very well with my iPhone 4S.  No duct tape is necessary!

Another clicker for controlling the iPhoneLearn Japanese Language remotely via Bluetooth while listening to Japanese audio lessons is the Satechi BT MediaRemote.  This device does a wonderful job controlling my iPhone 4S and iPhone 6.  The Bluetooth connection has the tremendous advantage of not requiring a line-of-sight to the iPhone, so that the phone can stay concealed in one’s pocket.  Unfortunately, like the Maxell clicker described above, this clicker requires modification with duct tape, to prevent the user from accidentally jumping to the previous lesson or the following lesson.

Please note the hose clamp that I used to Learn Japanese Languagecover the offending buttons.  It was fairly simple to cut small strips of metal from the hose clamp with a hacksaw, place them over the skip forward and skip backwards buttons, and cover them with duct tape.  When applying the duct tape, I had to be careful not to cover the small light at the top of the front panel and also not to cover the on-off switch at the top left of the clicker.  After the duct tape was applied, the volume up and volume down buttons on the clicker were covered, but they still worked perfectly.

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