The other day I got an email from Megzari Raphael, the author of the app “Sokuji: Japanese Dictionary Browser” who asked me to check out this app which targets Japanese learners.
“Sokuji: Japanese Dictionary Browser” is an iPhone app which tries to serve a single, important purpose: easy, fast lookup of Japanese words while browsing the web. The name Sokuji comes from “即字” which is a combination of the characters for “fast” and “character”, a pretty appropriate name for what it does.
I tried it out, and it really does what it claims to–you can to browse websites within the app itself and have access to a little pointer, which when moved onto a word shows its reading and meaning(s). If there are multiple meanings, you’ll see a list you can scroll. All of the additional information is displayed at the top of the screen.
While this app’s core idea is pretty great, there were a few little things that annoyed me in a brief session of usage. For example, I couldn’t pinch-zoom part of the time, the calibration of the pointer seemed a few pixels off which required some trial and error to select the word, and some compound words didn’t show up. (To to be fair, I think this last item would be very difficult to implement)
I mentioned these issues, along with a few other suggestions, to Megzari and gave him an opportunity to fix them before I wrote a review, but he said he was more interested in seeing how much demand there was for the app so I should go ahead and publish an honest review.
Even in it’s present state, I think that some people will find this app can save them a good bit of time, especially in passages that are filled with unfamiliar words. So I recommend checking it out if you have an iPhone.
Hopefully Megzari will make further refinements and make it even easier to use. If he doesn’t, maybe I’ll eventually take it on myself to make a similar app (: