Suggestions for Efficient Reading Practice

After you’ve watched the video below, you may be interested in learning more about some of the equipment and techniques that it describes, which can make it possible for you to practice reading in Japanese very efficiently.

Suggested Equipment

  • HP Pavilion x360 laptop computer with 11.6″ touchscreen display, or any similar touchscreen laptop.
  • Stylus Active Pen for HP Pavilion x360, or any similar stylus pen. Please note that, contrary to the statement in the video, the single long button on the pen used in the video can be used to produce either a right-click or a left-click effect, depending on where you press it. The video fails to make it clear that, when you highlight a kanji, you will need to press on the proximal half of this button, i.e., the half that is closer to your hand.
  • Alternatively, you may use the techniques described in the video with any computer that is equipped with a mouse or a trackpad.

Techniques for Reading Volume I

  • Download the free version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  • Purchase the PDF files for Learn to Read in Japanese, Volume I. You will need both the Japanese Reader and the Kanji Catalogue/Index. If you’re sure that you will eventually want to purchase the Kanji Catalogue for both books, it’s more convenient to buy the Kanji Catalogue/Index for Volume II initially, since those files contain the material needed for Volume I as well. However, if you aren’t sure, it’s OK to purchase the Catalogue for Volume I at first and then, when you want the Catalogue for Volume II, you can write to us to request a 50% discount code for your second purchase.
  • Make a copy of the Japanese Reader PDF file by renaming the file that you purchased and saving it under this new name. This will allow you to open two versions of the file in Adobe Acrobat, one for reading the Japanese text on the left sides of the pages and the other for reading the romaji and English text on the right sides of the pages.
  • Using Adobe Acrobat Reader, open three PDF files: a first copy of the Japanese Reader, a second copy of the Reader and the Kanji Catalogue.
  • Separate these three files into separate windows by clicking on their headings in Adobe Acrobat and dragging them onto the desktop outside of the Adobe Acrobat window.
  • In each window, set the text size to 135%, using the tool in the toolbar at the top of the window.
  • Turn off automatic resizing of windows. In Windows 10, click on the Windows button in the lower left corner of the screen. Then click Settings, System, Multi-tasking. Then turn “Snap Windows” off. This will prevent windows from automatically expanding to full screen if you move them partially off the border of the screen.
  • Adjust the size of your windows. Be sure to close the right panels in the Adobe Acrobat windows by clicking on the arrows in the bars to the left of them, so that they don’t use up valuable space. Then click on the frames around the windows to resize them as needed. Window 1, containing the first version of the Reader, should allow only Japanese text to be visible. Window 2, containing the second version of the Reader, should allow romaji and English text to be visible, but it need not conceal the Japanese text completely. Window 3, containing the Kanji Catalogue, should be just wide enough to show its single column of text.
  • Now start reading the Japanese text in Window 1. As you read, refer to the romaji and English text in Window 2 whenever necessary to ensure that you are reading the Japanese text correctly.
  • When you need to look up a kanji character in Window 1, use the following copy and paste technique: highlight the kanji by placing the tip of the pen stylus in the middle of the space just to the right of the character, click on the proximal half of the stylus button, and drag the tip gently to the left. Now copy the kanji by using Control-c (holding down the Ctrl and “c” keys simultaneously). Now click inside the Kanji Catalogue window. If the Find box isn’t already open, use Control-f to open it. Click in the Find box. Then use the format “dot kanji,” i.e., type a period and use Control-v to paste the kanji you just copied into the box. Then press Enter, and you will see the entry for the kanji that you are seeking.
  • If you need to look up a kanji character by using the kanji’s identifying number, type the 4-digit number in the Find box and follow it with a period. For example, if you want to look up kanji # 37, touch the Find box in the Kanji Catalogue window, and type “0037.” Then press Enter. This will ensure that you are taken to the beginning of that kanji’s entry.

Additional Techniques for Reading Volume II.

  • To facilitate looking up unfamiliar vocabulary terms while you are reading, open the Mnemonic Dictionary (available from the Lesson Download page) in a new window, which we can call Window 4. When you are searching for a term in this dictionary, capitalize your search term, so that you will (almost) always be taken directly to the main entry describing it. To ensure that this capitalization technique works properly, click on the small icon on the right side of the search box in Adobe Acrobat Reader and select “Case Sensitive.”
  • When you are ready to read the recommended reading practice material from Satori Reader or from News in Slow Japanese, open a PDF of a document that you have saved in another window, Window 5. Ideally you should have saved this material in this format for Satori Reader, or in this format for News in Slow Japanese.
  • Set the text size in these two windows to 125% and adjust the size of the windows for maximum reading convenience.

Good Luck with your Japanese reading practice!