Back

Japanese and E-book readers: A guide

#26
This is what I do for e-readers that can deal with Japanese text, specifically the paperwhite.

1. Acquire a 青空文庫 format book (legal, of course)
2. Stick it into AozoraEpub3 to acquire .epub file
http://www18.atwiki.jp/hmdev/pages/21.html
3. Stick that file into Kindle Previewer to get a .mobi file
http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie...1000765261
4. Enjoy a file with embedded images (if there are any), dictionary look-ups, vertical text, and ruby/furigana in tact.

Details are here
http://ebookyaro.blogspot.jp/2012/10/ki … epub3.html

And if you're using an older kindle that works better with pdf, this is probably better.
[Image: f2W6ddvl.png]
Edited: 2013-05-18, 2:35 am
Reply
#27
That looks awesome!

I have an ancient Sony PRS 505, but my bank was so nice to gift me a kindle, should be coming in the next few days. Looking forward to being able to actually read Japanese one day..
Reply
#28
weirdo Wrote:This is what I do for e-readers that can deal with Japanese text, specifically the paperwhite. [...]
Another option is this one-stop application* from:
http://no722.cocolog-nifty.com/blog/chainlp

* It's one stop for pdfs, for epub you will need to download extra dlls. Mobi seems to be supported as well.
Reply
Thanksgiving Sale: 30% OFF Basic, Premium & Premium PLUS Subscriptions! (Nov 13 - 22)
JapanesePod101
#29
Following up on the comments about a lack of Japanese/English dictionary functionality on the Kindle. I bought a Kindle Paperwhite and was also a bit disappointed that there was no built-in J/E dictionary.

I went and created a Japanese/English dictionary myself and published it on Amazon and wanted to let others know about it. It's 100% based on Jim Breen's fabulous JDICT and has over 150,000 entries.

If you are interested the ASBN (Amazon book code) for the dictionary is B00AKIUDAY

You can find it here:

http://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/B00AKIUDAY/
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AKIUDAY/

If you have any issues with the dictionary or question feel free to send a message, I'll be happy to try and help out.

PS Note that it's only for the Kindle Paperwhite since it's the only Kindle that supports custom dictionaries.
Reply
#30
totsubo Wrote:I went and created a Japanese/English dictionary myself and published it on Amazon and wanted to let others know about it. It's 100% based on Jim Breen's fabulous JDICT and has over 150,000 entries.[...]
Wow, thank you! This is why I love the Japanese language learning community!
Reply
#31
Hey guys,

I'm narrowing down my choice between the Kindle PW and the Kobo Glo right now and I have no experience with e-readers yet but am an advanced computer user (e.g. conversions and such I can handle).. I could use some advice if possible..

I mainly want to up my japanese reading but am still a beginner and need to look up a lot of kanji and vocabulary so this feature has to be well implemented..furigana would be quite useful too..

Does anyone know on which e-ink device a Japanese-English dictionary is implemented the best?
Reply
#32
Mr_Gororo Wrote:Hey guys,

I'm narrowing down my choice between the Kindle PW and the Kobo Glo right now and I have no experience with e-readers yet but am an advanced computer user (e.g. conversions and such I can handle).. I could use some advice if possible..

I mainly want to up my japanese reading but am still a beginner and need to look up a lot of kanji and vocabulary so this feature has to be well implemented..furigana would be quite useful too..

Does anyone know on which e-ink device a Japanese-English dictionary is implemented the best?
I don't know about the Glo but the PW comes with J-J (Dajisen) and E-J dictionaries, though I think you can buy a J-E one based on EDICT.
As a beginner you might want to get a smartphone (either android or iphone) or Japanese use, as with apps they can be much more beginner friendly.
Reply
#33
I just downloaded the first Harry Potter book (just the sample for now as I want to make sure I can get it working before I buy it) from the Pottermore Store.

I converted the book from Epub3 format to AZW3 format using Calibre (convenient and free tool btw). Everything seems to be working but the page flip happens in the opposite direction (left to right). Does anyone know whether it's possible to change the page-flip direction? Obviously, it would be preferable to be able to do this on a per-book basis (maybe a flag in the AZW3 or Mobi format?) but even doing it globally could be acceptable.

UPDATE: I fixed my own problem. Instead of using Calibre to convert the book I used Amazon's Kindle Previewer. This converted the EPUB3 file much better than Calibre did. The pages now turn in the proper order and it seems that highlighting works better too.
Edited: 2013-08-11, 6:45 pm
Reply
#34
I have a rooted nook simple-touch. It runs Android and I read ebooks using the "cool reader" app. It also enables me to read Vietnamese ebooks. It runs Anki which is very cool, but it's a little slow. It's an ordeal setting it up, but it's well worth the trouble.

For those who want to root their nook:

I used an automated version of nooter to root it, but it looks like there are more streamlined programs out there now, so look around before deciding on a rooting program. Make sure you know what firmware you're running before rooting it. After rooting you need to watch some vidoes or read blogs on how to optimize your nook-droid system. The one I'm running has some not-so-obvious tricks that I learned from a youtube video--namely a tiny, nearly-invisible tab on the right side which can be used to access android from the B&N shell.

I was wondering; are there any other e-ink devices supporting android now?
Edited: 2013-08-12, 10:17 am
Reply
#35
I bought the Paperwhite and after a week of experimenting I'm quite satisfied! There is a a J-E Dictionary for around 6€ which works with with the internal dictionary look-up. Every now and then it doesn't have a defintion. You can send some filetypes to the email of the kindle and they automatically get pushed to the device which is very handy.

The Kanji render perfectly and the display is also excellent. The backlight isn't 100% evenly lit, but this is just a minute discrepency..

The only thing I'm missing now is a DE-JP dictionary (German-->Japanese) for a friend of mine..anyone know how to get a hold of one which works with the internal dicitonary look-up?
Reply
#36
stehr Wrote:I have a rooted nook simple-touch. It runs Android and I read ebooks using the "cool reader" app. It also enables me to read Vietnamese ebooks. It runs Anki which is very cool, but it's a little slow. It's an ordeal setting it up, but it's well worth the trouble.
I also use a simple-touch, but I use Dokusho as my reading app (has dictionary lookups). Will have to take a look at Cool Reader sometime.
Reply
#37
Something potentially as an interesting compromise is the Onyx Boox E43. Cannot find out too much about it on the companies website, however I found a much more informative spec detailing here
A higher screen resolution would be nice. My phone runs native 1920*1080, and being able to zoom in and out makes reading really, really nice. However that doesn't mean you can't read at a greater magnification on this device. Really, I don't know.

In terms of having a phone AND e-ink reader, small enough to easily pocket, this seems really interesting. Running on the android OS (albeit an older version) makes additions such as dictionaries, etc. probably a lot easier than on dedicated readers from Amazon or what have you.
Reply
#38
I'm using a Kobo WiFi and my experiences have been mixed, both in general, and specifically regarding Japanese.

There are two things that really bug me about the device. One is a general complaint, and that is that while PDFs are supported, they will not be listed in your library like all your other books. Instead, they will be thrown in a "Documents" section, and stripped of all metadata. It is disorganised, ugly and inconvenient, it bugs me to no end. This is made even more infuriating by its inability to properly display ePub files which have been converted from most other formats(e.g., and especially, PDFs), particularly if the original contains any images at all.

Second is that there is no way to find titles which do not contain latin characters in their title. If you want to import a book with non-Latin characters in its title, too bad. It'll import just fine, but there is no way to actually find it in your library. That said, non-Latin characters do display just fine, and right-to-left text is fully supported, which is nice.

All in all, I would not recommend this device, its lack of touchscreen is very frustrating when filing through menus, as it is exhaustingly tedious to do so given the slow refresh rate of eInk screens. Couple that with almost no moddability whatsoever (and absolutely no useful mods), and you're better off shelling out for either a Kobo Touch or perhaps just go the whole hog and grab a Kindle.
Reply
#39
RawToast Wrote:I also use a simple-touch, but I use Dokusho as my reading app (has dictionary lookups). Will have to take a look at Cool Reader sometime.
Dokusho would've been excellent if it didn't have the same flaw as Japanese paperbacks: the font size. I am still having trouble reading with the largest font size offered...

The Kindle Android app has a pretty bad dictionary lookup function for Japanese; it won't find verbs unless they're in the present u-form, and looking up kango is also impossible if the first kanji make up a word by itself.
Edited: 2013-11-02, 7:07 pm
Reply
#40
Mr_Gororo Wrote:...The only thing I'm missing now is a DE-JP dictionary (German-->Japanese) for a friend of mine..anyone know how to get a hold of one which works with the internal dicitonary look-up?
Have you had any luck finding one yet? If not...

Perhaps you could create your own kindle-friendly dictionary? If you go to http://www.polarcloud.com/rikaichan and download the 'Japanese - German' dictionary, you would have something to work with. It gives you an sqlite file named something like 'dict.sqlite' which you will find in Firefox's 'extension' folder.

You could then use the EN-JP dictionary you already have as a guide to figure out how to format the data in the sqlite file. Dump the data to your favorite editor or spreadsheet program, reformat it and save it to whatever format your Kindle is expecting and place it in the appropriate directory.

I recommend that you first create a small version with a few entries that you could test and tweak.

EDIT: I'm curious about the way Amazon's version of the JP-EN dictionary handles Unicode characters. Would you mind sharing a couple entries from the file that illustrate that?
Edited: 2013-11-02, 9:04 pm
Reply
#41
weirdo Wrote:This is what I do for e-readers that can deal with Japanese text, specifically the paperwhite.

1. Acquire a 青空文庫 format book (legal, of course)
2. Stick it into AozoraEpub3 to acquire .epub file
http://www18.atwiki.jp/hmdev/pages/21.html
Is there anyway I can use the tool from point two in order to output an .epub that a Nook can use? I've been fiddling with the resulting CSS files for about five hours now (on top of the couple of hours of searching the web) and have managed little more than causing the file to be unreadable.

I realize that the Nook usually requires embedded fonts (though there are built in Android fonts that just aren't accessible from the GUI, but can still be used by files). I've tried getting an embedded font in it as well as trying to use the supposed Asian fonts described at http://nookdevs.com/Font_Changes but I simply don't have the knowledge to have any effect.

The problem is, the tool creates files that call for 'vertical_text.css' and it's relatives in the 'css' folder to, well, make the text vertical. From what I could figure, I need edit the file 'vertical_font.css' to call for different fonts (it defaults to some MS fonts). However, no matter how I try to do it, it doesn't work.
I checked the other files, but I can't find any mention of the fonts that I attempted to change.

I'm inexperienced when it comes to ePub and XHTML in general, so it's not surprising that I couldn't figure out how to edit the code. If someone could tell me what I should do, it'd be appreciated.

In case anyone's curious, I'm not using PDFs because this tool creates really nice ePubs and actually incorporates the images of 青空文庫形式 books. If it weren't for the font problem, it'd be the best way for me to go about adding Japanese books to my Nook.
Reply
#42
I was able to buy a Japanese Harry Potter book on the Pottermore website, and although it was in an epub3 format, I was able to send it directly to my Kindle account just like any other kindle book.

At least that's better than the crap you find in Japanese on Amazon.co.uk...
Reply
#43
sholum Wrote:I've been fiddling with the resulting CSS files for about five hours now (on top of the couple of hours of searching the web) and have managed little more than causing the file to be unreadable.
The problem is most likely how zip together your changed files. The mimetype file must be first and not compressed in the archive. The easiest way is to create the epub file in two steps (from this guide):
Code:
zip -X0 EpubGuide-hxa7241.epub mimetype
zip -Xur9D EpubGuide-hxa7241.epub * -x mimetype
The options (-Xur9D) makes sure that resulting epub file is as small as possible with no unnecessary metadata. I also explicitly excludes the mimetype file even if it should not be affected.
sholum Wrote:I realize that the Nook usually requires embedded fonts (though there are built in Android fonts that just aren't accessible from the GUI, but can still be used by files). I've tried getting an embedded font in it as well as trying to use the supposed Asian fonts described at http://nookdevs.com/Font_Changes but I simply don't have the knowledge to have any effect.

The problem is, the tool creates files that call for 'vertical_text.css' and it's relatives in the 'css' folder to, well, make the text vertical. From what I could figure, I need edit the file 'vertical_font.css' to call for different fonts (it defaults to some MS fonts). However, no matter how I try to do it, it doesn't work.
I checked the other files, but I can't find any mention of the fonts that I attempted to change.

I'm inexperienced when it comes to ePub and XHTML in general, so it's not surprising that I couldn't figure out how to edit the code. If someone could tell me what I should do, it'd be appreciated.
I think you should use an epub editor like Sigil instead of trying to make the changes manually. There are a tutorial on how to use embedded fonts (you add the font to the epub file) that also works for external fonts (the font is stored on the device) by using res:///absolut/path/to/font-file.

Embedded font: src: url('../Fonts/Garamond.ttf');
External font:
system font:
src: url('res:///system/fonts/DroidSansFallback.ttf');
or third-party font:
src: url('res:///system/media/sdcard/LiberationSerif-Italic.ttf');

You can preview the result of your changes by opening one of the xhtml-files (only works for embedded fonts, since the absolute paths is wrong on your computer). Don't worry if the text is shown sideways; it will work on a device that supports vertical text.
Reply
#44
Thanks for recommending Sigil, it's nice to have things organized.

However, I'm still unable to get it to work. I've tried both of the methods suggested and it still only shows boxes (the boxes are displaying in the correct layout though, so it's still just that the fonts aren't being used).

EDIT1: removed excess; added update

So I gave up on using ePubs and decided to use PDFs created by 青P, since they actually show up. Now I just need to figure out how to make it incorporate the images. If anyone knows what it's looking for when it goes to grab images (since it says it does in the manual), please tell me.

EDIT2: I guess I really should RTFM before I ask questions.
For anyone who doesn't bother too do so either, you have to denote images with
<img src= "image/source/path.img">
It only took me a few hours to check the 'tag' section of the manual to see if it said anything important...

Now that I've figured that out, 青P will be almost as convenient as AozoraEpub3, with the only extra step being some 'find and replace'.
Unless some other problem comes up.

EDIT3:
I give up for now, I think. While the PDF created was fine on my computer, when displayed on my Nook, it doesn't display the images and the text, while vertical, is displayed as if the Y-axis was the X-axis (so, as if this model were 1200x785 instead of the other way around), while the program's water marks are aligned correctly, but in the wrong places. Also, the furigana doesn't display properly.
I don't think I want vertical text this badly at the moment. Maybe I'll come back to it in the future.
Edited: 2013-12-27, 11:00 pm
Reply
#45
For anybody using a Kobo and syncing Japanese eBooks through Calibre:

INSTALL THE 'Kobo Touch Extended' PLUGIN. For the love of GOD, this is almost completely vital to view Japanese ePubs on your Kobo at all. Do NOT go without this plugin if you're throwing Japanese texts on your Kobo through Calibre. If people aren't sure how to get this set up, just let me know and I'll make a video.

I've spent the last YEAR trying to get Japanese texts working correctly on my Kobo, and with this one single step, everything works flawlessly, even the dictionary! I can't even emphasise how much hair pulling this is going to save you.
Reply
#46
I have a Kobo Glo, do you know of any database with books in japanese in epub format? Aozora bunko does not have files feasible to convert.
Reply
#47
What has been your experience with Japanese learning apps and e-ink readers?

Would apps like Rikaichan for Android, Jade Reader and Android Epwing readers work on an e-reader?

What would be the best e-reader for those tasks?

I've been thinking of getting a Nook Glowlight 2014, which would be awesome if I can get to root it, and then install all the apps mentioned above for reading websites, light novels, etc., adding vocabulary to Ankidroid and then reviewing it (though I guess I'd need to import vocabulary to Anki via computer, but that would be a minor detail).
Edited: 2014-07-28, 1:16 am
Reply
#48
I can only relate my own experiences, but my favorite e-ink reader is, oddly enough, the Kindle Paperwhite, because I can tear through books with its stupid-fast dictionary lookup. (And changing dictionaries is also amazingly easy. Don't get the Android Kindle app though, it sucks.)

I used to use Verical Text Viewer and OCR Manga Viewer on Android. I still like them a lot, but I'm hooked on the speed of the Paperwhite (even if I'm not a fan of Amazon's distribution policies.)

The major downside of the Paperwhite for something like Anki is that there doesn't seem to be a way to export your 単語帳 that I can seem to find, which kinda sucks, because mine is getting to be rather unwieldy, and copying it by hand is just all kinds of time-consuming non-fun time.
Reply
#49
rich_f Wrote:The major downside of the Paperwhite for something like Anki is that there doesn't seem to be a way to export your 単語帳 that I can seem to find, which kinda sucks, because mine is getting to be rather unwieldy, and copying it by hand is just all kinds of time-consuming non-fun time.
Ref: http://www.reddit.com/r/kindle/comments/...lder_data/

If this applies to the Paperwhite then it isn't too hard to export the data from one of the sqlite managers. With a bit of effort you could even make a plugin to do it.
Reply
#50
Yeah, or just log in to the Kindle app on your Android device, sync up your files, and download that db file. Sweet. That'll save DAYS of work. I'd upvote you if I could. Big Grin

The Kindle Android app is terrible for reading, but that's a use case I'd approve of.
Reply