Site Redesign

I first launched this site in late 2002. I did all the programming myself and, while over the years I have made a few tweaks here and there, mostly I haven’t done much in terms of keeping up with the times. The site wasn’t mobile ready or responsive and the design was pretty sad. Well, maybe the design is still a bit sad, but at least I have finally redesigned the site, porting it to WordPress in the process. I have tried to keep as much continuity as possible, with more or less the same basic sitemap, content and functionality, though a few changes have been implemented, including:

New Email Software

I have changed the software I use for sending the emails. There are three main reasons for this:

  1. I have been having server performance problems for a while now and I hope this will improve things.
  2. Since I am switching to WordPress to run the new site, I wanted to use software that integrates well with it.
  3. I had to hack the old software (phpList) for a couple of reasons but this meant that I had to re-hack the code every time I updated versions; as a result I only rarely updated the versions, which is obviously not ideal.

New JLPT Levels (Finally!)

The official JLPT levels changed way back in 2010 (I believe) but I have never bothered to update my database accordingly. As part of the new site design I have done that and so now I am offering lists for N1 to N5 versus the old JLPT1 to JLTP4 options. Unfortunately, the grammar lists are generated using the jGram.org database and that still relies on the old 4-level system.

NOTE: If you are subscribed to a JLPTx list, I migrated you to the same number Nx list. In other words, JLPT1 will receive N1 emails. JLPT4 subscribers will receive N4 emails. When you receive your new emails, there will be a link you can use to manage your subscriptions.

Deleting Some Email Lists

I used to offer 16 different email lists. Together these generated more than 600k emails each month (I believe the main reason my server is having problems). Of those, 6 were for kanji by grade level but these were by far the least subscribed lists, which makes sense since I think most people prefer to focus on JLPT level. These lists are no longer available. I have also decided to remove the all levels lists (both for Joyo Kanji and Grammar). So, there are now 9 lists (5 kanji, 4 grammar).

NOTE: If you are only subscribed to lists that have been removed, you will need to sign up for one of the new lists instead.

Improved Email Format

I have made some changes to the format of the emails, most notably for the kanji emails. The biggest changes are the replacement of the current animated stroke order diagrams with static ones and the separation of useful vocabulary by JLPT level where known.

PDF Versions of Kanji Sheets

I have long offered a PDF option for the daily kanji emails but it wasn’t very good and I didn’t realize that at some point it stopped working. I have found a much improved solution for this and now you can access PDF versions of the kanji emails that are well-formatted.

Updated Course Notes

I have cleaned up some HTML and font issues with some of the course notes.

Anki study decks

Anki is a popular free (except iOS) flashcard system that uses spaced repetition for more effective learning. Recently, it occurred to me that the kanji information sheets I use for the daily email service would make useful Anki flashcard decks so I have done just that. In putting together my deck, I tried to take advantage of some of the program’s useful features. In particular, I realized that many, including myself, will want to be able to study by JLPT or grade level, or possibly even by radical (bushu). In creating the decks, I included those as fields, but to study a subset of a deck you need to filter based on tags, so I also tagged each entry accordingly. Since there are more than the 1945 (old) standard Joyo, I have also tagged Joyo as well. The nice thing is that you only have to download one complete deck and then just use the “Custom Study” button. Once you click that, you can choose the “Limit to particular tags” option and then choose accordingly. You can also do more complicated filtered study with the search routine. Check out the user manual for more specifics.

Download Anki (.apkg) File (39MB)

I also offer the grammar content for Anki here in partnership with jGram.org

Download Anki (.apkg) File (NO Audio) (1MB)

Download Anki (.apkg) File (Male Voice Audio) (8.6MB)

Download Anki (.apkg) File (Femal Voice Audio) (8.7MB)

Adding New Content

I have been keeping a file of new sites to add for a long time but have never bothered to add them to the site. I hope to start doing so going forward.

That’s All for Now

I hope you find this site and the email lists helpful and I hope the changes won’t cause too much inconvenience. I also hope the transition will be a smooth one with no technical problems, but considering how massive the changes are I very much doubt that. Please be patient with any problems, but also please alert me to any you notice (don’t just assume somebody else will or that I will notice myself).

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