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Japan electronic dictionary 2011/7/24 00:25
I am thinking of buying a japanese-english dictionary to help in my study of japanese language.

I'm considering either:
1) Casio XD-B9800 or
2) Casio XD-B10000

My friend is going japan on 1 August 2011 so i am asking her to help me buy one back.. (I live in singapore.) If you guys know anywhere in Tokyo that sell the cheapest but reliable electronic dictionary, please let me know! like the shop name and price etc..

Greatly appreciated!!
by juzsmilez  

kakaku.com 2011/7/25 14:50
start by researching the cheapest price from stores across japan at kakaku.com. It'll list every store from cheapest to most expensive.

You can then import it using conics.net, etc. who will ship it to you for a charge, or get a friend to visit said store.

Naturally, if you can't visit the cheapest store, a printout of the prices can be leverage at a local shop to negotiate lower prices for that dictionary.
by =) (guest) rate this post as useful

app? 2011/7/26 13:03
Just download an app...by far the cheapest and best value, and you will always have it with you. electronic dictionaries are a dead product category. When you think how much you can do with a smart phone or even an ipod touch with a few apps it is a wonder how these products survive.
by gilesdesign (guest) rate this post as useful

apps won't cut it 2011/7/26 13:31
gilesdesign's point should be valid, i.e. that a smartphone app would do the whole job, no problems, less money.
Sadly there aren't any apps which can reproduce the functionality of a good dictionary, especially if you're looking at the Casio X10000 which my tutor has and is pretty awesome!
I got my Canon Wordtank V330 in Tokyo, from a Laox shop in Venus Fort shopping mall, Odaiba. They're a duty free shop so can be pretty cheap if you're a tourist. They also have a store in Akihabara to my knowledge, but I'm not sure they'd be hugely cheaper than Yodobashi Camera. My one cost around 30,000Y.
I don't know if you've checked this, so excuse me if you know already, but the Canon range are the only Japanese electronic dictionaries with an English menu option. Might be worth thinking about, depending on your Japanese level.

by GMatt rate this post as useful

... 2011/7/26 19:13
"Japanese" app is pretty good in my opinion.
Even if it isn't the right one for you...there are loads to choose from...that is the beauty of open source!
And your smartphone always has the ability to
improve its functionality (unlike a electronic dictionary) all it takes is someone to create a better dictionary app.
There is nothing in those electronic dictionaries hardware that cannot be performed by a smartphone.
by gilesdesign (guest) rate this post as useful

Thanks for suggestions 2011/7/26 23:48
Thanks all for the suggestions.

I'm using an iPhone currently and I am actually hesitating whether to buy the Japanese electronic dictionary or not.

I have downloaded kotoba app and I find it quite useful. I actually feel it is not worth to buy the e-dictionary considering the power of iPhone/iPad.. But whenever I think of getting the stylus e-dictionary and the mentality that to study well in jap, an e-dictionary is required. (because I feel the iPhone app is good, but not as good as what an e-dictionary can provide)

I actually wish to know from English pple studying Japanese, is the e-dictionary useful or the iPhone app is more useful..
by juzsmilez rate this post as useful

I was in a similar situation 2011/7/27 08:10
I started learning Japanese about three years ago, and I got my electronic dictionary about 2 years after I started. When I bought it (on holiday in Tokyo) I thought it was probably a slightly silly purchase, and that I didn't really need it, I was just buying it because it was a cool gadget. But I couldn't have been more wrong, seriously I have mine next to me every minute that I'm studying, it is the only resource (and I have many!) that I wouldn't be without.
I also have an iPhone, and have the iKanji app which is pretty cool for going over the Kanji characters. I also have a flashcard app which I use to learn vocab, all very useful and handy.
But really, it's nothing compared to what my dictionary can do. I think that, because these things are marketed to Japanese people there isn't too much information available telling you all the things it can do. So I'll give you a little list of the things my Wordtank can do which I find useful:
1. It'll tell me what a word means in English.
2. It'll let me enter a word using Kanji (i.e. writing the characters using a stylus). There is to my knowledge no way a smartphone can do this, because the touchscreens are not accurate enough to enter these characters. This is a big deal because it's very very hard to look up Kanji if you don't know how it's pronounced already. If you're reading the text on a computer you can use Google translate, but if it's in a book, or a menu, or a sign etc you're totally screwed unless you can draw the character into a dictionary.
3. It'll give you example sentences when you look up a word. This is really really useful because there might very well be several words that mean a similar thing when translated into English. For example I've found several words that mean "important", and without the example sentences you can really get the uses of these words wrong.
4. It'll teach you the Kanji. Let's say I know the word for cold is 'samui'. Awesome, but I can't read it because it'll always be written in Kanji. So I type it in to the dictionary and it shows me the Kanji for the word. Quite cool, but then I can click on each Kanji character and it'll show me how to write it with a full screen animation. It'll also allow me to see what that character means on its own, and what other words it's used in.
5. Some dictionaries will even speak a word to you so you can hear the pronunciation. Mine does this but only in English, it doesn't speak in Japanese, however I think the Casio 10000 does.
6. You can often upload text documents into the dictionary (using an SD card) and then read it on the dictionary. This allows you to click on a word and use the dictionary to tell you the meaning, which is handy.

I'll grant you that all of this functionality can be done on a decent computer with a web connection. But the only other mobile device which can do it would probably be a Nintendo DS, which there is a dictionary program for and is supposed to be quite good.
There is a reason why all Japanese students use these devices, and they're really not afraid of the smartphone so I think they'd be using those instead if they offered the same functionality.
Do take care about the instructions though, like I said it can be hard with some dictionaries to find instructions in English. And if the menus can't be put into English on the device itself you might find it hard to get the most out of it...
by GMatt rate this post as useful

Thanks! 2011/7/28 01:49
Hi Gmatt, thank you so much for your response and the long email!

I think many people face the same dilemma of whether to buy the electronic dictionary or just simply use iPhone/nintendo DS/ iPad to study and look for words.
But I think probably more people now are more inclined towards not buying a Japanese e-dictionary.

I can clearly understand why. Like what most people have already noted and commented, the cons of having it outweighs the pros, considering how advanced technology is right now and the gadget being expensive.. And the fact that such gadgets are more catered for native Japanese studying English instead of the other way round.

I tried to convince myself that buying an e-dictionary is not worth the cost of it. I succeeded, but the next day, somehow , I will rethink again and my mind swayed. It feels like a battle of the mind..

If I'm buying, I will go for the casio xD-b9800 Japanese electronic dictionary. And I read that it doesn't have an English menu... Argh. Headache...

Should I buy... Or should I not buy...
I wish someone can give me a super strong reason to buy or dont buy a Japanese e-dictionary!!

by juzsmilez rate this post as useful

no probs 2011/7/28 10:55
Hi again,
I might at least be able to narrow down your arguments a bit. To my knowledge only Canon's dictionaries have the option for English menus and come with an English manual.
The Casio ExWords are better technically, and include more dictionaries, but for me they're pretty hard to use because I can't read the screen options.
Just for an example my tutor has the Casio 10000 which is their top of the line model. She has it because she's an interpreter and needs to be able to look up obscure technical words and so needs the large number of dictionaries it includes.
But to be honest this wouldn't really help me very often. The Canon Wordtank V330 I have should be about $200 less than the Casio 9800 you mentioned and has an English menu and manual in the box. Or you can wait a month for the new Wordtank Z400 which has basically the same functionality but looks a whole load more up to date. Either way one of these would almost certainly be a really useful resource for your learning and well worth a purchase in my opinion :-).
by GMatt rate this post as useful

=) 2011/7/28 11:29
1. Useful iPhone apps

Japanese (yes, white kanji on red icon)
G4 Genius dictionaries

This set will pretty much do exactly what most EJD's do.

(They also have others:

In addition, through a web browser:

these will provide machine translations and access to eijiro.


What will an EJD provide you?
Only the JUMP feature and multi-word example search.
The JUMP feature in most good EJD's will look up that word or kanji across all dictionaries.
The multi-word search will let you look up things like "catch & cold" and it'll bring up sentences that have "Don't catch a cold." and the equivalent Japanese.

However, with WWWJDic Example Search, you can get the same thing.


EIJIRO covers the latest slang and so forth not covered in most EJD's. You can get it for a PC - most Japanese bookstores sell a book + CD-ROM of EIJIRO if you don't want to download it.


EPWING on any PC/Laptop + EPWING dictionaries all over the net will give you everything an EJD has as well.


MIDORI on the iPhone is the ONLY dictionary I've found that has it's own Japanese Kanji lookup pen input pad. Yes, iPHone has Chinese character written input pad built-in, but IT WON'T look up any of the Japanese characters that aren't in CHINESE!!! (iPhone is so sad - 4th gen and still no decent handwritten Kanji input)

JAPANESE is nice because it lets you build flash cards easily.

Both of the above are based on EJDICT (wwwjdict site above), so they're not the same with definitions as either WISDOM or GENIUS dictionaries (not necessarily better - just different sources).


Realistically, once you have an iPhone, no real need to spend $$$$ for an EJD at all. Just spend $ on a few Japanese English dictionary apps and you'll be learning in no time.

ALSO, many Learning Japanese apps as well that'll get you to past basic grammar, etc.


FINALLY, VoiceTRA!!!!! From the Japanese government.

Speak or type English or Japanese, get back Japanese or English (or the many other languages supported).

Good for basic sentences and words, but very nice for travel and such for a quick translation of a simple sentence.
by =) (guest) rate this post as useful

=) 2011/7/28 11:36
Casio wordtank/etc. EJD's vs. iPhone.

Pretty much every feature's available nowadays.

I have both a Casio EJD and iPhone and DS and EPWING on PC.

Pretty much can toss the $$$$$ Casio EJD away. With Midori, I can write complex kanji in easily for lookups w/o trouble and it works well enough that I'm not missing using the EJD.

Sentence examples for each words are numerous in the Midori/Japanese apps, and many, many more at WWWJDIC and EIJIRO online. More so than EJD's and I don't miss that either.

Kanji and how to write each? All available on said iPhone apps, in more than sufficient detail for almost all.

Pronouciation? Huh??
Honestly, once you've learned the Japanese hiragana, you're good to go for the basics.

BUT, you'll want Barron's Pronounce it Perfectly in Japanese tapes (out of print, search Amazon, etc), for this great set so you can practice saying each hiragana like a native if you're worried about that.

Plus, tons of anime and tv dramas online you can listen to, watch subtitles, and repeat all day long.


DS is handy if you get the Japanese/English dictionary cartridge (see Mr. Bass - only two out there, you'll want the adult version). But, once you' have the iPHone, no need for DS either.


microsofttranslator.com and wwwjdic pretty much handle most translations quick & easy.

And for web pages and such:

Voila! Rikai browser lets you mouse over and look up words on the fly!
by =) (guest) rate this post as useful

exactly 2011/7/29 11:05
I agree with =)
EJD is a waste of money for you in my opinion and it is a static product.
iPhone / Android Smart phones offer a huge range of possible software through apps.
And the app stores are always changing and people are making better apps all the time.
I think EJD is almost like a safety blanket for people learning English in Japan, so that may explain the remaining popularity. It is more of an emotional connection with that product that allows them to still exist. (Of course that and also not everyone owns or wants to own a smart phone.)
by gilesdesign (guest) rate this post as useful

Midori is new to me 2011/7/31 15:44
I stand corrected, I'd not seen Midori before and it does have good kanji entry. I've only tried it on the ipad but presumably it translates well on the iphone.
Based on that it may well make a separate dictionary obsolete, especially as it costs about a 40th of the price. Hard to argue that really...
by GMatt rate this post as useful

Midori 2011/7/31 16:38

I actually had downloaded midori app after reading the comments. It is a wonderful app, in my opinion. I get to look up words using my finger as a stylus. How effective it is and how vast the vast the dictionary vocabulary are in midori and how it can compare to a j-e-d, at the moment now I think, an j-e-d is not on the top of my list..

I shall stick to using apps on my iPhone first which many have recommended, and if the need arises to buy a j-e-d, then I will buy at that time...
by juzsmilez rate this post as useful

more apps ejd can't do 2011/8/4 16:05
Beside VoiceTra speech to text to translate app noted above, two more for the lazy learner that no EJD can do.

Japan Goggles and CamDictionary!

Why write when you can simply point the iPhone at kanji, and voila! Instant definition popups!
by =) (guest) rate this post as useful

One word not in the iphone dicts... 2011/8/9 08:11
AUTOMATIC (EG. Automatic doors)

I had to see if there were gaps. There are. Midori, Japanese and Wsdom don't have an entry for this.

Casio EJD thru Kenkyusha dictionary and wwwjdic online both have this entry.


On a seperate note, grammar points are rarely covered on electronic devices. You will want to have reference books such as 'An Introduction to Japanese Grammar and Communication Strategies', Maynard, S. in addition to verb, adjective and particle books on hand.

There are English-language Japanese grammar websites, but rarely comprehensive, written by Japanese scholars, or checked by 3rd parties for accuracy.
by =) (guest) rate this post as useful

clearer definitions in ejd at times 2011/8/12 04:51
Another example where the kenkyusha dictionary set in most ejd's (can be loaded into iphone thru epwing idic etc) is 'better'.

Jyoui - to rank higher, using a fourth grade Kanji, has a brief three line definition in Midori and Japanese, but no clear example of it's use (eg. Jyoui suru/aru). Thus, for a beginner, one may make the mistake of using 'Jyoui desu' based on equivalent English words.

Kenkyusha does show the 'obvious' and 'frequent' parings right away, making it easier for a learner to know which verbs commonly go with this word.

Wisdom shows 'aru' form, but not the 'suru' form as a prototype.
by =) (guest) rate this post as useful

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