As most of you know, there is an app out for almost everything for the iPhone, including Japanese study apps. Japanese 101: Numbers is an app that is meant to help you study numbers on your iPhone. Let’s see how it fairs!
First off, let me just mention that I don’t even own an iPhone. I know, I know. I can hear that laughter of yours, even if it is through the internet, you know! Anyways, I was able to bribe a friend of mine into letting me borrow his iPod Touch for a week or so to see how well this app is able to perform.
Japanese 101: Numbers is brought to us by Japan Newbie. You can head on over to here, if you’d like to read Japan Newbie’s page about how the Japanese number system works in case you’re not actually familiar with it already. We’re going to be covering the two modes that JP101: Numbers has, which is the Study mode and the Quiz mode.
After having clicked Study, you’ll be brought to the screen on the right which will allow you to decide how you’d actually like to study. As you can see from the above image, the first items brought to your attention are Sequential and Shuffle. These options are exactly what they sound like. If you have Sequential selected, which is the default choice, then when you go to study numbers, you’re going to study the numbers exactly in order. Ie: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Yet, if you select the Shuffle option, you’ll study cards in a random order. Ie: 4, 2, 5, 1, 3. Below that, you’re able to select what range of numbers you’d like to learn. You can even learn millions!
Once you’ve selected what number range you would like to study, you’re automagically put into the Study mode and it brings up a number for you(what’s on the left side of the image above). Make sure to have your audio on and turned up as well, because you’ll actually hear the number spoken in Japanese! At any time, you can click on the little speaker item and the number will be repeated verbally again. To actually learn what the number is in Japanese, simply click on it and it will flip around to show you pretty much all you need to know about that number(what’s on the right side of the image above).
When you select the Quiz mode, you’ll be presented with a screen very similar to the Study mode. However, there are two main differences. The first is that you must select whether you wish to see 2 possible answers or 4 possible answers, instead of a Sequential/Shuffle option. The second is that unlike the Study mode where you simply selected the range you wanted to study, the Quiz mode allows you mark a few ranges and then study them all.
When you get an answer right, it’ll put a flower on the answer you chose and congratulate you verbally. When you get an answer wrong, it’ll put an X symbol on the answer you chose and a flower on the correct answer. Very simple and neat. No rocket science going on here.
The biggest improvement would be if the app provided the ability for Japanese written numbers to be used instead(maybe as a setting or option?). I understand the concept of wanting to make this app in such a way that user doesn’t need to know the Japanese written numbers in order to be able to use it, but honestly, this app would be able to kill two birds with one stone if it had Japanese written numbers as an option.
The Japanese may use Arabic numerals(like us) most of the time, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t need to know their number system for one reason or another. This app would definitely improve one’s ability to read Japanese numbers over time. I generally can read numbers up to 億(おく/oku), but that doesn’t mean I can read them *fast*. That’s the key.
If I had an iPhone, this app would be on it and it’d be getting used. The fact is that there are too many circumstances where I’m just waiting around, whether it be in a line, a meeting, a traffic jam, etc and there is time to kill. The Japanese 101: Numbers app becomes very handy in these times. My personal biggest wish is that they’d hurry up and make an Android version as I’m about to get an Android pretty soon.