Making life easier with Japanese browser extensions

Japanese browser extensions: They'll make your life 100 times easierFor people learning Japanese, there’s nothing more annoying than trying to read a website and getting stuck on some unknown kanji or complex word that takes ages to look up. If you’re a student of Japanese and surfing the “J-web”, you’re definitely going to want to equip yourself with some Japanese browser extensions to make your life easier.

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The Best Ad Blocker for Safari

best ad blocker safariI’m kind of a web browser fanatic. I’m always testing out different browsers and utilities. Today I want to talk about the current ad blockers available for Safari and which ones I think are worth using. Which one is the best ad blocker for Safari? I’ll give you my thoughts.
Updated 12/09/2016 (uBlock Origin has been ported to Safari! Anyone using the old uBlock for Safari should abandon it and switch to Origin ASAP)

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The best Japanese weather app and site

japanese weather cloud

You’re going to want the best Japanese weather app available for checking the weather and staying prepared. The default weather app in iOS for iPhone is not the most helpful. This is especially true when you need to know when it’s going to rain, snow, etc.
I’ve tried a lot of different weather apps, but I settled on what I think is the best Japanese weather app around for both iPhone and Android. Let’s dive in and I’ll share the best sources for Japanese weather information.

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Crashplan vs Backblaze: Online Backup Review

crashplan vs backblaze review 2016Update: (8-4-2019) Okay so Crashplan for individuals is dead. My recommendation has changed to Backblaze!
I was in the market for online backup and it came down to CrashPlan VS Backblaze. Let’s talk about something that everyone should do for their 2016 New Year’s resolution: Backup. Have you done it recently? It’s too late after something happens and you lose precious data such as pictures or that music collection you’ve been gathering over a period of years or decades.

This may seem like an advertisement, but it’s not. I’m really paranoid about keeping a backup and saving my data, so I’m always on the look out for the best answers. After doing a lot of research about the many online backup companies out there, I was torn between Crashplan and Backblaze. Both are great online backup services that have some slight differences depending on what kind of user you are.

Let’s take a look at Crashplan vs Backblaze comparing their features and what sets them apart.

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Opera Mini review: A handy alternative to Safari

opera mini review phoneTime for something tech-related with this Opera Mini review. It is my new favorite browser for iOS. It has a really nice design with quite a lot of handy features. I recently switched from my previous Japanese cell phone provider to a cheaper MVNO. This is great for wallet, but I do have data caps when I am not using Wi-fi. One solution to this is using the Opera Mini browser. 

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Turn off Japanese Live Conversion in OS X El Capitan

japanese live conversionI haven’t seen anyone talk about this Japanese live conversion feature, so I thought I’d bring it up. When normally inputting Japanese on a computer, it’s usual to first type in romaji which gets converted into hiragana. From there, the person pushes the space bar and can convert the text into katakana, kanji, or other characters. This has been the case for a long time now.

I enjoy using a Mac, but the recent feature in OS X El Capitan for users of Japanese input drove me crazy. It’s called Japanese live conversion, and it automatically converts your romaji typing into the correct kanji based on context. In theory, this sounds really great and convenient, but I often found myself having to fight the system. There are times when I need to write something only in hiragana or katakana, but the Japanese live conversation feature thinks I want to write like a Japanese novelist and converts everything into kanji. It didn’t take long before I was hunting down a way to turn this thing off.

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The explosion of the messaging app LINE

LINE logoI have no idea what people are using in the U.S. to message each other these days. The last I heard, people were using “WhatsApp” to message each other instead of paying fees for text messaging. For those that don’t live in Japan, you may not be familiar with the most popular messaging app that almost everyone with a smartphone uses: The popular messaging app LINE. It launched in Japan in 2011 and by 2013, it had already gained 200 MILLION users. That’s incredible growth. If you want to message people from Japan and want to know where you can find them, they’re all probably on the LINE app.

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VSee: The Best Alternative to Skype

skype1

I remember using Skype when it was still in beta in 2003. It was simple, uncluttered, and it was only for audio. My friends and I were blown away by how clear someone sounded. It was better than a telephone and it felt like the caller was in the same room with you.

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OpenEmu: Ultimate Retro Gaming Experience

OpenEmu: No Power Glove required!

Finally, I can talk about OpenEmu! A long time ago, it wasn’t easy to find a way to play retro games (Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis) on Mac computers. It was always possible using Windows, but the software was ugly and not smooth to use. For Mac gamers, everything has changed since the release of a retro game emulator called “OpenEmu“, exclusively for the Mac.

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