Suggestions for Efficient Reading Practice

If you’ve watched the video below, you may be interested in learning more about some of the equipment and techniques that help to enable the reading method that it describes.

Suggested Equipment

  • HP Pavilion x360 laptop computer with 11.6″ touchscreen display
  • Stylus Active Pen for HP Pavilion x360

Note: the reading method described in the video will work on any computer equipped with a mouse or a trackpad, but we think that the touchscreen/stylus pen option is somewhat more convenient.

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 need the Kanji Catalogue for both books, it’s more convenient to purchase the Kanji Catalogue and Index for Volume II immediately, 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, if or 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 the Adobe Acrobat Reader, open three PDF files: the first copy of the Japanese Reader, the 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 125%, 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. 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 wide enough to show one column of text.
  • Now you can start reading the Japanese text in Window 1. Refer to Window 2 to ensure that you are reading it correctly.
  • When you need to look up a kanji character in Window 1, using a copy and paste technique, highlight it by placing the tip of the pen stylus in the middle of the space just to the right of the character, and drag the tip gently to the left. Now copy it by using Control-C (holding down the Ctrl and “c” keys simultaneously). Now click in Window 3, containing the Kanji Catalogue. 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.” In other words, type a period and use Control-V to paste the kanji you just copied into the box. Then press Enter.
  • When you need to look up a kanji character 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, type “0037.” in the Find box in Window 3. This will ensure that you are taken to the beginning of that kanji’s entry in the Kanji Catalogue.

Additional Techniques for Reading Volume II.

  • Open the Mnemonic Dictionary in Window 4.
  • Open a PDF of the recommended reading practice material from Satori Reader, or from News in Slow Japanese, in Window 5. Ideally you should save this material in the format described on this page.
  • 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!