Friday, 25 December 2009

Our visit to the city of Kawagoe..

We were invited by our Japanese friends to visit their city, Kawagoe in Saitama.

The feeling was indescribable. The old city of Kawagoe did a great job in keeping its influence on us. It is my first time visiting an old typical Japanese city, and I could notice a lot of difference compared to Tokyo. It was a refreshing experience away from the metropolitan atmosphere.

I will leave you with some pictures.




Monday, 21 December 2009

Have fun surfing with Furigana Injector..

I like to surf Japanese websites. They are usually full of news, and sometimes they are the first to post the news on the web (for example videogames news).

Eventhough I reached a level where I can understand the Japanese grammar and sentence structure well, I still have difficulties understanding the meaning of the Kanjis. Sometimes I feel if I knew how the kanji is read, I can know its meaning. That is why I try to avoid using Rikaichan, which gives the reading and the meaning of the kanji.

Now my wish can become true with Furigana Injector. This is a tool for Firefox and Chrome browsers that injects the furigana reading of all the kanjis in a webpage!! Absolutely amazing! This will make me enter a whole new dimension in the process of learning kanji. I just love it, and recommend you to use it.


Friday, 11 December 2009

Monbusho students are poor. Yet... Rich!

The reason for writing this topic is the short dialog that took place while I was waiting the train the other day.

A Japanese old man was next to me, and was peeking on the papers I was reading. He noticed that I noticed that he was peeking, so he started some little small talk about Japan and life in Japan. Then he asked me about the reason why I came to Japan, and I answered him that I am here to study. As he knew that I am a Monbusho student, his tone kind of changed to a sad pitying tone. He told me, and I am quoting here, "A Japanese man can not eat with this small amount of money you are getting". Our conversation ended when we took the train, each in a separate carriage.

Here I have to confirm one thing. Yes. Monbusho students are poor, financially. The amount we take compared to usual Japanese salaries is low, but sufficient enough to live in the most expensive city in the world. For example visiting one's home country, Jordan in this case, is not an easy decision to do due to the financials. I, myself, have not visited for two years now as I also was too busy to take such a vacation.

Yet.....

There is one important statement that should be confirmed also here. Monbusho students are very rich. And now, I am not talking about the financial aspect, but from the perspective of power.

Once you say you are a Monbusho students, doors magically open in front of you. If you are in trouble, all you have to do is to say that you are a Monbusho student. If you want to extend your visa, just say you are Monbusho. If you want to work after your graduation, say the magic word: Monbusho. If you want your family to be granted a visa to visit you: Monbusho. If a police officer stops you to check your ID, just say it: Monbusho. If you want to impress someone, spell out the word: Monbusho.

So, the lack of finance is overcome by the presence of power for Monbusho students.
But still, we kind of a li~~~ttle bit wish that the Japanese government takes some of this power in exchange for a li~~~ttle bit of a raise in our monthly income!!

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Takao-san, in pictures..




Click "Read More" for more..




Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Test your Japanese level online..

Now you can test your Japanese language ability online using the website of Tokyo University International Center.

The test is aimed towards students who wish to enroll and take courses at the International Center of Tokyo University. Yet, as the test measures general Japanese knowledge, you can use it to know your level too. The test is professionally prepared and covers the most essential parts for each level, while the last three questions of each level measures your listening ability and how much you can understand conversational Japanese.

Give it a try, and tell us your result, either to congratulate you or cheer you up and help you continue.



Sunday, 22 November 2009

Keep your legs warm for 7 hours, in bed!


All you have to do is put this into your Microwave, then under yours legs while you are in bed.

Neat, eh?



Thursday, 12 November 2009

The black side of living in Japan..

Is Japan an all perfect country?

No it is not. For me, it is the best country in the world, relatively. And I will tell you now about one black side of living in Japan.

Every day, at 13:35 I reach that station. Not 13:34, not 13:36, it is 13:35. Every day I exit the train from that right door of the same train carriage I am in, and with me there the man in the tux exits and heads directly to the same vending machine. With us an older woman exits and heads left. Today she is wearing all black maybe she has some kind of a special occasion.

Saturday, 31 October 2009

McDonald's in Japan..

As I wake up in the early morning getting ready for a very long day of continuous heavy work, I made a new discovery. McDonald's sells the very best coffee I have ever tasted. Not only that, it contains an amount of caffeine enough to keep me awake throughout the whole day.

In addition to that discovery, there is another one. McDonald's in Japan is not a fast food restaurant, but a restaurant where you sit and spend a long time eating and doing your own activities, including sleeping!

For example, inside McDonald's there is a free WiFi connection for those who wish to play Nintendo DS. So you can find lots of people who finish their meals then sit there playing DS for a long time. Also, if you visit McDonald's in the very early morning you will notice people sleeping inside. Those people are the ones who most probably had a long night partying then missed the last train, so they go to McDonald's instead of staying in the street and sleep there! They spend the whole night sleeping and then take the first train early in the morning back home (or back to work!).


The picture is from boingboing.net

Note: As far as my knowledge goes, McDonalds in Japan is not considered halal so basically I do not eat any meat there. I buy only coffee or ice cream.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

الصين: الهبوط من الجنة الى الارض


اعذروني فما سأتحدث فيه اليوم لا يصلح الا ان اتحدث به بالعربية. ففعلا ما شاهدت و رأيت و أحسست جعلني ادرك انني عشت تجربة لا أقدر على وصفها الا كالهبوط من الجنة الى الارض.

فقد هبطت من جنة تعيش فيها كل حقوق الانسان الى مكان تشك ان ساكنه انسان. هبطت من من جنة تزخر بالامان الى ارض القانون فيها شريعة الحيوان. اصبت بصدمة ثقافية ايجابية حينما رايت و شاهدت اليابان بابداعاتها و نظامها و شعبها ، و ها أنا اليوم أصاب بصدمة ثقافية سلبية حينما غادرت اليابان و انتقلت لاسبوع واحد الى الصين.

الصين. تلك الامبراطورية العملاقة التي طالما هابها و ما يزال العالم. الصين ، التي علمونا انها قاب قوسين او ادنى من ان تحكم الارض. أقول فأطمئنكم، ما زال امامها شوط طويل كي تلحق او حتى كي تقارن باليابان او بدول اقل مرتبة من اليابان و غيرها. لم يحتج الامر سوى نصف ساعة على ارض الصين كي ادرك انني هبطت من الجنة الى الارض. فكما احتاج الامر الى نصف ساعة كي ادرك ان اليابان هي جنة الكرة الأرضية ، أيضاً احتاج الامر نصف ساعة او اقل لأدرك ما أدركته عن الصين تعرضت خلالها الى محاولة اختطاف و محاولة نصب و احتيال. نعم في نصف ساعة حدث كل هذا على الرغم من انه لو لم يحدث لما تغير رأيي قيد أنملة لما رأيته من الصين كدولة.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

A kotatsu is your weapon to face winter in Japan!

In Japan houses are made of wood. Even buildings in Tokyo, they are still made of wood. Wooden houses mean lots of holes, and incapability to preserve heat inside the house, and a very cold house in winter.

As winter is approaching fast, we have to think of a way to preserve heat inside the house, you know to save the environment, and more importantly -honestly!!- to save our pockets!

A Kotatsu is an ideal solution for this problem. Let me now introduce you to a kotatsu.


Sunday, 4 October 2009

Acknowledgement...




In the name of Allah, the all mighty god, the one and only one, I hereby start my thesis.

Praises to Allah, for his mercy upon me. For his generous gifts of health and brain which allowed me to proceed higher studies at one of the best universities in the world, University of Tokyo.

Praises to Allah, for gifting me with a perfect wife, my supporter through this journey. Thank you Randa for all your support and your cheers through the difficult times of research. Thank you, for your acceptance to accompany me in Japan, while you knew I will always be busy, away from you, working in my laboratory. You went through a hard time, spending most of your time alone while I progressed in my research connecting days with nights, but you only greet me with a smile and a welcoming heart, when I knock your door. Thank you, for making your house, my home.

I deeply thank and raise the hat for my supervising professor, Prof. Ikeda for his continuous teaching and support. Each time I sit with him, I gain a huge amount of knowledge not only in my research field but also in life. His welcoming helped me to settle in Japan and feel it like home, while His teaching provided me with solid knowledge and helped me to become a better Electrical Engineer. This work could have never been achieved except for the guidance I received from him.

I also thank Prof. Asada for his guidance and support throughout the research, and his fatherly advices to help me become a better researcher. All the thanks for Prof. Nakura for his help during my experimental research and measurement. He was always open for any questions, and his words were fulfilling answers.

My appreciation and respect for Dr. Abbas, for his support. He tended to calm me down during rough times, and his experience in our field could help me through complicated situations by providing me his suggestions. He is like an older brother, always there when you need him. I also thank Dr. James Tandon for his support during the start my Masters, and for his precious advices.

I send my thanks to Jordan, for Dr. Khamis, for his fatherly support and help in any matter I need, and for Dr. Yaser for helping me when I got married and supporting me like his son.

I thank all my lab members and research-mates for the friendly environment and healthy atmosphere that makes research and creativity easier.

In addition, I can never forget the trust of Yamashita-san, or the faith of Kobayashi-sensei in me. I can never forget how Taymour-sensei helped choose my desired field, or how Saqf-san helped me through the difficult transition of starting a new life in Japan.

Finally, no words can describe my appreciation for my father, god bless his soul, who wished before he died to see me holding a higher education degree. And my mother, who provided me with everything I needed since I was a child until I left the house coming to Japan. Without her, getting a professional degree would have been impossible. I thank her for all the prayers she has made to help me through my research.


I feel so proud of that picture above..
But now is not the time to stand still...
Let me go back to research my way into PhD..


Saturday, 12 September 2009

Iftar, Japanese style!


So I would like to share with you my iftar for today. I decided to make it all Japanese, nothing non-Japanese is allowed.

I will leave the pics to speak for themselves..






Saturday, 5 September 2009

6000$ as a monthly mobile bill....??!!!!!


My legs shake, my hands sweat. My heart beats while my throat dries. My jaws drop, my eyes open wide and I get this very strong urge to run to the nearest bathroom..!!!

That was me, when I saw I have to my mobile operator, 6000$ for the month of august!
Yes, dear reader. You did not misread that figure. It is three zeros beside the six, to the RIGHT of the six. In yens, it is 600,000. I spent 5 minutes trying to count how many zeros there are in this number!! I forgot the 3rd grade elementary maths, I even forgot how to speak, in ANY language!!

Is this 60,000? no no, there are five zeros!! five means what?? five zeros means.. wait wait.. Ten has one zero, hundred has two zeros, thousand has... what? thousand is hundred multiplied by 10 or 100? Thousand is ten hundreds. No a thousand is hundred tens!! wait wait. repeat again! Ten has one zero, hundred has two zeros. Ok so far. Thousand has 3 zeros. Fine. Ten thousands has 4 zeros and hundred thousand has 5 zeros. So this is SIX HUNDRED THOUSAND. Ok this means what? roku man (counting in Japanese)? no no this is roppyaku! no, this is roku sen man? NOO! this is ROKU JYUU MAN!!

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Khawater from Japan..


MBC's TV show, called Khawater خواطر (Thoughts) is a program presented by a Muslim youngster called "Ahmad Shuqairi". It's the fifth year for the program to be broadcasted on MBC, and this year it talks about Japan.

Through the previous four years I liked that show a lot, as it talks about how to be better Muslims by applying the Islamic rules in our daily lives. My wife and I were watching it episode by episode every year. This year we were surprised that Ahmad-san will be coming to Japan to present his program, and talk about Japan as an advanced country which could successfully mark its name among the best in the world. The program asks one main question "if they could do it, why cant we?".

The way Ahmad-san talks about Japan is really great! It is very similar to how I talk to my friends about Japan, and in some cases he used the exact same words! To be honest, even though I like the guy so much, I was disappointed and mad to know he was in Tokyo and yet he did not even try to contact Muslims there. I would really have done anything to talk to him and help him go around Tokyo, in addition to giving some thoughts about the program.

Its an amazing show presented by an amazing guy. Its on the top of my recommendation list.

Here is a video for the first episode. (Sorry no translation).

video

Friday, 14 August 2009

A new era for Jordanians in Japan..



It has been a great day, to say the least.
We, my wife and I, were invited to have dinner in a very friendly environment, at the house of the Jordanian ambassador in Japan.

The moment we stepped through the door, we felt that we traveled all the way back to Amman. The family gathering, the warm welcoming, generosity and ... ofcourse... the delicious food!

It was a private invitation to meet the ambassador, Mr. Demiye Haddad, and his wife, Mrs. Shifa Zgoul. We spent the time talking about Japan, and talking about our beloved Jordan. I went into a hot discussion with Mr. Haddad, who proved to have a clever mind and his talk was all based on logic. I enjoyed the talk as it has been a while since I was evolved in such a discussion. We also met the new Jordanian staff at the embassy who only recently came to Japan, so they were interested to hear our talk about the country.

I have been given a huge amount of support from their side when they heard about my research and my studies. I was so proud to be Jordanian at that moment, when I saw Jordanians very proud of me. I felt like I want to double, no triple, my efforts just to reflect the perfect image about Jordanian scientists.

Truth to be said, Mr. Haddad is bringing a new era to Jordanians in Japan. They have plans to gather all Jordanians together and to build strong connections between them, based on the fact that we come from one country and we shall stay one unit all the time. I totally like their new plans towards the relations between Jordanians and the embassy in Tokyo. I, without a doubt, am sure this new era will be the best.

From here, I thank Mr. Haddad and Mrs. Shifa for their generous invitation and great support. That night was a masterpiece drawn by the hands of brilliant artists.

Thank you.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Microsoft support, with Japanese flavor..




I am not a fan of Microsoft. Or at least, I think Micorsoft should only concentrate on designing Windows, and office. They should leave the internet for google, the gaming hardware for Sony, and the desktop sets for Logitech. Anyhow, they usually have competitive pricing so I get tempted and buy.

A couple of months ago, 9 to be accurate, I bought MS wireless ergonomic desktop 7000. Shown in the picture. The price was right and since at home I usually use the keyboard while on the couch, I needed something to well fit my position. I can say I am satisfied.


Saturday, 16 May 2009

What I missed in Tokyo..

During my time away from Tokyo, here are some of the stuff I missed:

1. The japanese female voice thanking me for choosing Tokyo metro to ride, eventhough i have no other choice!

2. The feeling of an emperor when entering a shop. Yeah, in europe they dont bow to u when u enter a shop. They dont thank you for not buying anything or just visiting their store. And when u buy, I missed the fact that the cashier uses his both hands to open the plastic bag for u not by using one hand and BLOWING inside the bag to open it coz the other hand is busy with the mobile! Yup! This is how the cashier treated me!

3. I missed paying for a 100 yen item using 100 coins of 1 yen each. I tried to pay an amount using 6 coins in Prague and I received a look I will never forget!

4. I missed strange people shaking their head to me only by walking past them.

5. I missed using the suica card, and not needing to count coins for every train ride. Using the suica card, you just put your wallet against a reader and it will read and charge your train card wirelessly.

Feels great to be back!

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Europe in the eyes of a tourist..


Living in an expensive city as amman, which has a very low income/price ratio, gave me no chance of feeling like a tourist when I visited other countries. But, living in a city with a high income/price ratio with very expensive prices but yet higher incomes as Tokyo, made me see Praha (Prague) as one of the cheapest cities in the world.

Yeah! Believe it or not I even felt that the chocolate in the mini bar of the hotel room is not actually expensive! I bought a whole L size pizza, with salads and a cold drink for 1000yen (10$)! A 500ml cola is for 80yen, and a one hour bus from one city to another is 350yen!

Let us just clear some stereotypes about the Europeans:

1. Europeans are very organized and exact in time.

Nope. Far from the truth. When the bus leaves 16:04, that means its 4 minutes late. In Japan, this would never occur unless in rare occasions it was accompanied with a huge apologies. 16:00 means 16:00.

2. Europeans are so open minded and free.

Yeah right! Thats why they kept staring at me and my Japanese professor. You have never seen a Japanese person before? Yeah, I do not drink Alcohol. Yes never. Live with it and please do not keep giving me that weird look and stop whispering about it to your friends!

3. Nobody drinks Alcohol more than the Japanese.

Oh yeah, except for the Europeans. Europeans drink a beer between each two beers. And even during their working hours they drink.

4. Europe is soo clean that we wish Arab countries to be the same.

You are far from the truth here. For two years living in Japan, i did not notice 1 paper thrown carelessly in the middle of the road. That was probably the default case in Praha. Writing on the walls is so spread that you wonder how a clean wall looks like. Ofcourse, do not let me start to talk about their subways and metros! Shinjuku subway station in Tokyo (3 million visitors per day) is much cleaner than whole Praha (population of 1million). Amman also is much cleaner.

All in all, it was a very nice trip where business mixed with pleasure! Ofcourse, since my beloved university paid for all this, who am I to complain? Haha!


Friday, 24 April 2009

Speaking english is.... Weird!!

First let me state that I am no fluent in Japanese. Far from it, if u consider reading and writing. But what happened during my trip to Praha was just amazingly weird.

Since I left Tokyo and arrived Munich, I have this huge urge to speak nothing but Japanese. In Japan i would be extremely happy if I met a Japanese person who can make a conversation longer than 30sec in English, beside ofcoruse university professors. And now because I have the chance to babble in English, the words refuse to exit my mouth except in Japanese!!

In addition, English words sounded heavy on my ear and annoying too! I felt the language is slow and contains many unneeded particles. For example, I say to someone: “would you please do me the favor of buying this for me?” In English, or “kattekuremasenka” in Japanese! Yup! Short, fast, and delivers the same exact meaning you want.

After taking a break for one week from Japanese, I returned to feel that the language feels much easier, smoother and more understandable. Right now, I have no problems at all in detailed shopping, making long phone calls (like customer support calls) or understanding what my lab mates are talking about. I can also express myself and deliver the message I want to a person infront of me. In the class room, now I only ask my questions in Japanese. Ofcourse, that is in addition to daily life conversations that cause me no problems.

A strong language is defined as a language where you can express more in shorter time, or using fewer components. We say this man is a great speaker if he delivers his ideas using clear definite short words. And that is the case of Japanese compared to English.

Still, I have to apologize to the Japanese before I state, without any doubt, that Arabic is even stronger than Japanese. Since in Arabic you can express and deliver much better using much less components and in shorter time than Japanese.

I am sure now readers would be wondering why i am typing this English then.

I did not use Japanese because as I stated above I am not a fluent. And I also did not write in Arabic because simply typing in English is much faster. In addition, I have a lot of foreign readers of this blog and English would be the only suitable language for this.

Still, maybe in a couple of years I open a Japanese-language version of this blog! Who knows?!

Monday, 20 April 2009

Coming up on this blog..


Yup. Back alhamdulellah safely to Tokyo from a long tireful full-of-events-and-joy trip to Praha (Prague) in Czech Republic.

This blog is only aimed at posting helpful information about Japan. So, I will be posting about my experience in Europe, from the eye of someone living in Japan.

Thanks to Lufthansa's old planes (but really, REALY amazing customer service) there was no video on demand in my seat so I spent the time reading books, papers, playing DS and preparing posts for this blog. I have prepared the following posts I will be publishing soon, enshallah:

- Speaking English is.... Weird!
- Europe in the eyes of a tourist
- What I missed in Japan

Soon.. Just keep following!

Thursday, 9 April 2009

First paper published..




In short,
I will be leaving to Prague, Czech Republic, very soon enshallah.
Through my research, I have reached to an equation that relates *cough, cough, Technical details alert* the noise in a wireless signal with the digital processor used in the receiver. I submitted this equation as a scientific paper to the 12th IEEE (Insitution of Electrical and Electronic Engineering) Symposium on Design and Diagnostics of Electronic Systems (DDECS) and it G O T A C C E P T E D!

I am so happy for such news. But, I could have never reached such results without the absolute full support of Tokyo University. They have provided everything starting from laboratory equipments ending with supervision by the professors. In addition, Tokyo University will be paying for the whole trip expenses I have to make to Prague to present my research infront of the world's scientists. I thank my god for giving me a chance to study in such a University.

Ofcourse, this full support in the University could have never had an effect except if I had another full support at home. My wife, may god bless her, has helped me all the time and always gave me the confidence I need to reach such results.

I will be detailing more about the trip soon.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

AEON Laketown, a HYYUGE shopping experience..

I have been so busy the last previous months that I did not even notice such a big event in my neighbourhood. The grand opening of AEON Laketown, one of the biggest (HUGEST?) shopping malls I have ever seen in my life. From their website:

Total commercial area of approximately 220,000sq m, diverse range of 565 specialists shops and service providers all in one place! AEON Laketown is being opened as the commercial hub of a new town called Koshigaya Laketown being created by the Urban Renaissance Agency in Koshigaya City.
Koshigaya Laketown is located on the shores of a 400,000 square meter lake (Chosetsuchi) and will be home to around 22,400 people (approx. 7,000 homes) and will include detached houses, condominiums, pedestrian paths and parks. Through its innovative combination of lakeside living and an urban lifestyle the Koshigaya Laketown will be unique in Japan. The AEON Laketown shopping center is located alongside an arterial road, the East Saitama Road...

On my first visit, it took us, me and my wife, around 2 hours to "fastly" scan the place. This mall is huge and has its own JR station, only two stations away from where I live (5 minutes by train). The mall is divided into two main sections called KAZE and MORI. To only go around KAZE section, while checking out "some" of the shops, it took us more than three hours. We did not even dare to check the shops of MORI by then!

Ofcourse, needless to say that its always packed with hundreds of shoppers. But since the place is actually not-Japanese-style-shopping-mall, you do not notice or feel the crowd. This American style (or Jordanian style?) mall reminded me alot with Mecca mall in Amman, but ofcourse at least four times the size. Restaurants are all scattered on the third floor with the cenima, while other shops and brands like Zara, adidas, Gap lie on lower floors. The shops are big and, to my surprise, are not packed with items everywhere, and they do not make full use of the space as I got used to in Japan. They have items I could not find throughout Tokyo so far! For example, I could not believe it when I saw a shoe that could fit my feet, or a tux that doesnt make me feel like a giant!

As for the prices, yeah everything is a little bit more expensive inside. But its worth the while since the mall is standing on a river (lake) and just sitting there enjoying the view from the glassy walls of the mall while drinking your favourite coffee is more than enough.

Here is a video for some parts of the mall (watch in youtube for high quality):


Friday, 13 February 2009

Question: How safe is Japan?

I was reading this artice at Japan Times and found it to be very interesting. It answers the question of "How safe is Japan?" in some details.

I will post some of that article here and the rest is here.

In Japan, paper advertisements hang from the ceilings of train cars. In how many other countries would that be a viable advertising option? Certainly not in my hometown of Melbourne. Back in Australia, the majority of those ads would not survive any given Saturday night.

The buttons that train guards push to play those pre-departure jingles: They are fully exposed! Anyone can walk up and push them. And yet nobody does. They would back home in Melbourne.

The fire extinguishers frequently found sitting out by the sidewalk: No one rolls them down the hill at 3 a.m. Amazing!

Fish tanks that are less than fully secured: Oh my! Back home, the occupants of those tanks would greet the Sunday sunrise floating on their backs in a murky goo.

Valuables: When you lose your wallet in Japan, chances are you'll get it back — cash intact and cards untouched.

Salarymen asleep on the train: They are woken at the terminus with a sympathetic prod by railway staff. Inevitably, the bag containing both laptop and wallet is still resting on the overhead rack.

The last train: Hundreds of drunken people sardined into carriages and not a hint of aggression. Back home, guys would be squaring off on every second platform.

Violent crime: The average victim of violent crime in Japan is attacked by someone they know. Random violence is rare. Perhaps this explains why it is so common to see solitary girls and women wandering home on narrow, dimly lit streets — even in the wee hours in the entertainment areas of big cities.

Police apprehension: It has become apparent in the last couple of years that the average member of the Japanese constabulary is not exactly fleet of foot. Could the extraordinary number of wanted criminals who simply walk into police boxes and give themselves up be one of the reasons why?

The incarceration rate: The prison population of Japan tends to hover around the 60 out of 100,000 mark. For most Western nations it is at least twice that number. For America, more than 700.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

iKnow.. Do you know?


After hitting my head against the wall for several days for not knowing about this before, here I am carrying to you one of the best news ever for Japanese language students.


iKnow is a free Japanese language teaching website that provides great tools and techniques to help you improve your Japanese. iKnow will help you increase your vocabulary not only for conversation purposes but also gives you a good helping hand in memorizing Kanji and building complete sentences. iKnow is suitable for beginners, intermediates and advanced students as well.

iKnow is divided into three main sections:

1. iKnow study:

iKnow study helps you in studying new vocabulary and memorizing them. iKnow gives you a chance to select your current level in Japanese and starts with you from the point where you think suits you best. This section will help you memorize around 6000 words and phrases along with their kanjis.

As shown in the pictures below, this section first starts by introducing the new word along with its Kanji, voice pronounciation, type and meaning. Then, the program puts this word in a useful sentence, along with the sentence's pronounciation and meaning while being pronounced in voice with fluent Japanese. After you memorize a couple of words, the program will start testing you and checking if you really memorized the previous words, or not. I can no more explain this, you have to see for yourself.





2. iKnow dictation:

This section improves your listening skills along with your writing skills. A sentence, which you already have learned in the previous section, is introduced and you are asked to fill in some blanks. To do so, you have to listen to the sentence a couple of times. The picture below shows iKnow dictation.



3. iKnow BrainSpeed:

This section is like a test or a quiz for all information you have learned in the previous two sections. Its fun and can help you realize how much this learning was useful to you.



After knowing about this program, I have been using it and it totally helped me improve my Japanese and Kanji collection. You have to try it too. Try it, and post your comments about it here.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Ueno: the downtown of Tokyo


People get surprised when I tell them that I have been living in Japan for almost two years, and yet I still did not visit Ueno! But that is the truth, at least until last week.

This weekend, I finally visited Ueno, and I was surprised.

Ueno felt like Amman's downtown. Shops are scattered on both sides of the streets, where shop owners yell calling people to visit their shops, just like what happens in Amman's downtown. Shops are small and barely fit a person or two, while most of the items are stacked outside the shop itself to give a chance for passing people to buy.

There was a huge fish store in Ueno, which is actually closer to Okatchimachi. In that store all types of fish, some that I have never seen in my life, are being sold. The experience was new for me and fun to see this many types of fish. 

The great part was the suprise that many shops in Ueno sell arabic spices and goods like Hummos and Fuul. The prices were fair, eventhough they were a little bit more expensive than the prices in Saitama.

Ueno was a fun experience. If you still did not visit it, I advice you to do so ASAP.

I will leave you with the pictures.






Saturday, 17 January 2009

Sorry for no-blogging

Dear readers,

I apologize for not updating my blog so often.
I am going through a critical period, study wise, and I barely have time to eat or sleep.

I thank my wife for all her support during this very tough period.

I promise you all that I will be updating often very soon, once I pass the couple of deadlines I have.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

A scream from Tokyo: Stop killing people in Gaza!


A mixed group of Japanese and non-Japanese raised their voices asking for the very basic human right, the right to live, to be given to people of Gaza..

Let the whole world know who the terrorists are...