开源节流 an interesting Chinese idiom I came across this morning.
Kāiyuánjiéliú – Open (income) sources and reduce expenditures.

When I used google translate for the Japanese equivalent of 开源节流, I came across コスト削減.

コストさくげん – Kosuto sakugen – which is not an idiom. More like a phrase that means cost reduction. Which, if you read the post I reblogged, is really what his post was about anyway.

Japanese picture that confirms the phrase コスト削減
Japanese picture that confirms the phrase コスト削減
What are some budgeting idioms or phrases you’ve come across while learning languages?

Finance 4 U and Me

Hi all,

Its the first time I’m posting on my personal finance blog. I grew up with a strong insurance background and got myself certified as with Capital Markets and Financial Advisory Services (CMFAS) Module 5 (Rules and Regulations for Financial Advisory Service) and Module 9 (Life Insurance and Investment-linked Policies), as well as a Certificate in Health Insurance. However, I have not worked as an insurance agent before.

I’ve feel that i’m quite late in terms personal finance, especially in  terms of investing. I’ve read a lot of blogs on investments and I think I should try to pen down some of my personal finance thoughts into a blog. Its also a way for me to improve my writing skills as well. 🙂

Topic for my first post for this blog will be about 开源节流 (broaden sources of income and reduce expenditure)

开源节流 (Broadening income sources and reducing expenditure)

The Chinese idiom 开源节流 translated into…

View original post 430 more words


The concept of a daily vocabulary word is not new. There are a plethora of websites that share a Chinese or Japanese character daily. However, Learn Chinese Everyday is one of the few I actually visit fairly regularly.

It has a consistent layout with the character at the top, with 2-3 words that contain the character below the character, and then 2-3 sentences that contain the vocabulary word.

I don’t normally listen to the vocabulary words, but it’s nice that the option to listen to the sentences are there. I like that the sentences have the pinyin on top of the characters, and the other vocabulary is on the side.

AND it’s totally free .

There are also some bloggers on wordpress that have this theme that I also like to look at:
Thinking Thru Languages does one with traditional Chinese characters. He uses bopomofo instead of pinyin, and he also does some words that contain the featured character.

That Japan Addict has a frequent sentence of the day blog. They are good sentences, and useful vocabulary.

I am just way too busy this semester to participate, but I’m planning on participating in the one in *August. I have unread Japanese Harry Potter books just laying around my house that are begging to be read!

Good luck every one that IS participating this round!

*I originally said September, but it turns out that the next one is in August.

Read More or Die

The contest is now fully underway globally (ok, I may be close to a day late). I just want to wish all you the participants good luck achieving your reading goals for this month!

P.S.: I’m working on some small changes so if the sever goes down, thats whats going on. I’ll let you guys know what they were when I finish 🙂

P.P.S: I don’t want to have to erase any zeroes this round so everybody read!

P.P.P.S : everyone is invited to join us in our irc channel #ajatt on irc.rizon.net

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The spring semester is finally over! Which means…. summer semester has started. I mentioned in an earlier post that I was taking the program’s hardest class in the spring, and they weren’t kidding! This semester is looking to be really fun, though!

I was on a tangent earlier this week, I found a delicious looking recipe when I tried to use google translate for the ingredients. When it got to the meat part it said “beef peach,” I was like, “uh huh.” and tried to find a beef chart for Japanese. Halfway through translating the Japanese beef chart, I found an alternative one where almost none of the labels were the same as the one I had been using >.< . This being said, I would like to issue a disclaimer: I am not an expert in beef parts, and there are probably many ways of saying the different cuts of beef in all three languages. I have listed the different cuts in the chart below.

English 汉字 拼音 日本語 kana romaji
neck 颈部肉 Jǐng bù ròu ネック nekku
Chuck 脖肉 Bó ròu 肩ロース かたロース Kata rousu
Highrib 上脑 Shàng nǎo リブロース riburousu
sparerib 常骨腹肉 Cháng gǔ fù ròu
Shoulder 肩肉 Jiān ròu かた kata
Point End Brisket 前胸肉 Qián xiōng ròu 肩パラ かたぱら katapara
Navel End Brisket 后胸肉 Hòu xiōng ròu ともパラ tomopara
Shinleg 腱子肉 Jiànzi ròu すね sune
Ribeye 眼肉 Yǎn ròu
Striploin 外脊
Wài jí
セーロイン seiroin
Fillet 里脊 Lǐjí フィレ fuire
Rump 臀肉 Tún ròu ランプ ranpu
Topside 米龙 Mǐ lóng 外もも そともも Soto momo
Thickflank 和尚头 Héshangtóu 内もも うちもも Uchimomo
Silverside 黄瓜条 Huángguā tiáo しんたま shintama

English Cuts

Chinese Cuts

Japanese Cuts


I was just browsing wordpress’ Japanese section when I came across a post about how the download had been fixed for this game.

(I’m copying and pasting the following paragraph from the site http://outlandishmove.wordpress.com/)

Outlandish Move is a free visual novel written for Japanese students of English. The players character takes an unexpected journey in which they are forced to use English, in many ways their survival depends on it. With twenty possible outcomes, the story will flow based on the decisions of the player.

After clicking on a few links, I was able to actually find the download page: http://outlandishmove.wordpress.com/download/

All I had to do was download it, and unzip it!

It’s focus is an English learning game, but so far the majority of it is in Japanese. Since there are only one our two sentences at a time, it is not frustrating if you have to translate it.The sentences are basic enough that if you’ve studied Japanese for a little bit it will probably be mostly a review.

All you have to do is press the Enter key after you have read text, and the story will go on. When you have a choice a few different red buttons as options to click. If you choose wrong the characters will tell you why you are wrong, but then keep on going. I have to admit it’s been fun clicking on the wrong English phrases.

According to the blog, there are 20 different outcomes. I think the characters actually speak, and there is background music. However, I have only played it on mute so far.

I have to admit that one of the reasons that I want to start a language learning website is because I keep hearing about really cool Japanese learning English games! I think it is only fair that other languages get fun games too!


I JUST discovered this amazing magazine! Apparently It’s been around since the 90s.

Here are the first 30 volumes for free:


They show a page of manga (japanese cartoons for those who aren’t familiar with the term.)  Then they spend a page translating the manga page that was shown. There are also cultural tips interspersed throughout the magazine.  I think, in the near future, I’m going to have to track down the entire collection and buy it!

I discovered this magazine series through a tangent that took me to: http://japanese.about.com/ .

Which, today was the first time I have ever been on that website, but it also looks like a great resource for learning Japanese.

Then I tried to go to chinese.about.com, but apparently it doesn’t exist! I was redirected to the http://www.chineseculture.about.com. I didn’t notice that I was redirected, so I was a bit angry that the Japanese.about page gets cool language learning resources, and the Chinese page just gets some lame culture links. (OK, they MIGHT not be totally lame, I didn’t exactly click on anything) I think it’s not right that about has a Japanese language page and not a Chinese language page!  It just occurred to me to check, and there is a french.about.com and a german.about.com.

I’ve always thought that manga is a great way to learn Japanese. When I went to Japan I found a store called ‘Book Off.’ It sells used books for fifty cents to a dollar. I broke three out of four of my suitcases trying to get all of the books I bought back from Japan.

When I was in China, I would sometimes buy Chinese comic books and work my way through them. I think I will have to try to find some online Chinese comics to share on this blog.

So, what do you think of using comics to learn a language? Have you been able to find any online resources?




Slime forest is a free game, although you can pay for additional functionality, which can be found at  www.lrnj.com .

I first discovered this game about ten years ago, when I was first trying to learn Japanese. I was still at the phase of learning Hiragana and Katakana. I was using flashcards and getting frustrated because I couldn’t seem to remember all of them, and the ones I did remember would be forgotten within a few days.

Then someone at the Japanese club (yes, my friends and I founded a Japanese club at my high school) said, “Oh yeah, try lrnj it’s fun!”

I mainly played just to learn the Japanese characters, but you could play this just like a regular rpg game. It was very addicting! I learned the characters very quickly, it was easy to motivate myself to type faster and not get killed by a stupid slime! Ten years ago, I was convinced that this was the future of language learning. There would soon be other rpgs that were basically this, but a different theme. Perhaps in other languages as well.

I only stopped playing this, after I learned hiragana and katakana because the slime forest game only tested on the English meaning of kanji characters. I thought it would be better to learn Kanji with pronunciation AND meaning than just one or the other.

In case you are wondering what the premise of the game is: You are a potato farmer that has to kill slimes with a hoe. You then are given a quest by the king to save his daughter. You have to raise money to buy a boat to go where she was taken, and you do that by killing slimes. Each slime has a character on its body, and you have to type its pronunciation. If you get it wrong, it jumps up and down and gives you the correct answer, but then it takes more tries to ‘kill’ it and get the reward.

Every once in a while, I’ll download this game again on different computers. It’s still fun even though I don’t really need it any more.

It has been my goal since getting home from China almost two years ago to develop language learning games. It has now gotten to the point that I have learned enough computer languages that I feel more comfortable in creating games for consumption by the public.

I have actually made two games, within the span of two weeks, in late January. After starting this blog, I was feeling guilty saying that I want to develop language learning games, but have not actually produced anything. The first game is a ‘one of these things is not like the other’ game – you have to find the one 汉字 that is not like the others in the grid. The other game is a matching game, which takes advantage of html5 drag and drop elements.

I am also taking an Iphone App development course right now!

My goal is to form an LLC, publish a website with some games, and publish some apps by the end of this summer. I am hoping that by starting with simple games, the business can build a good reputation.

Right now, it’s frustrating because the strategy and implementation is mostly still in my head. I will also not be able to make much progress until I finish this semester. I am taking the supposedly hardest class of my program, Distributed Information Systems, at the moment.



I’m behind the times on this one. I just tried to go onto Translationzilla for the purpose of writing this blog entry, they had a pretty fun game for learning Chinese and Japanese. However, when I went to go to their website just now, I saw the message that they’ve decided to close.


I’ve known about it for a year, and I was just on it last month.

This blog describes in detail Translationzilla in its glory days.


One one hand, I was always a bit skeptical of people paying for their service since the game was fully functional for free. On the other hand, I was hoping this would inspire others to  make other games that were also fun. I believe there needs to be MORE games for language learners. It shouldn’t just be flashcards and pod casts.

I think that one of the most important aspects of language learning is simply organizing yourself, and keeping track of the words that have been learned.

I like physical flashcards, but I’m always afraid that I’m going to lose a word! It is also impractical after learning a few hundred words of a foreign language.

I have tried some free online flashcards, but the ones that I like the best are from BKYI.com. BYKI stands for Before You Know It. The flashcard system that they use tests users on several different levels (review, recognize, know, produce, own) it give you the ones that you got wrong more often then the ones you get right. I also find it very motivational that when you clear a level it plays victory music!

The company offers BYKI lite, which is fully functional with 90+ lists, the only feature disabled is the ability to add your own stack of flashcards until you’ve purchased it. I like the premade stacks, because they are organized by topic! It’s a great free product for beginners, and definitely worth it to buy it once you are at an intermediate to advanced level.

I would like to ask how other language learners are keeping track of their words. Do you use an electronic flashcard system? excel spreadsheet? a diary?