The Quest

The Quest to study, understand and eventually learn Nihongo began today. クエスト

I have always been obsessed with Japanese engineering, culture, vehicles, art, martial arts, etc. It makes sense for me to add to this obsession by learning the lingo!

I quickly discovered that Japanese is far more complicated than expected. Over the centuries the culture found the need to modify and grow the language to work in an ever changing world. The result is quite complex. I will go into Kana and characters on the site in detail, but lets just say that Japanese is undoubtedly the most complicated language on the planet.

Before you embark on this quest with me, ask yourself one question:

Do I enjoy impossible challenges?

If you answered yes, then you are ready to continue this quest.

First Tools

I began my learning by doing some googling and looking for tools and apps to help me to learn. Here are the two apps/websites that got my foot in the door. I recommend both of them:

Kuesuto Rating: 8.8

This site is outstanding, as is the mobile app. The premium membership is $9 a month, but honestly it does not add enough features to the app to make it worth while.

The Japanese 101 lesson is great and exposes you to Hiragana right off the bat, then it gradually mixes in Katakana and Kanji as you progress.

Dr Moku
Kuesuto Rating: 7.3

Thank you Dr Moku!

This app is pretty fun and definitely helped me to memorize the first 46 Hiragana characters. It associates them with pictures or ideas which help you to remember them.

You pretty much need to buy the app in order to open up all the characters, but it is only $3, worth it.

If you are too cheap to buy this, no need to worry. Just use the Kuesuto Hiragana Flashcards, QED!

Prototype Done

I finished up both flashcard prototypes last night and am taking a break and moving on to other features.


This morning I noticed that the character set I am using breaks the stroke of KI and SA, etc. After a bit of googling it seems to be related to handwritten vs print hiragana.

Text to Speech

Today I tracked down some tools to help build in some text to speech features. First off, check out this website:

You can paste in some Japanese characters and select a variety of speaking voices. Pretty much rules. This site is what prompted me to add some speech on

I ended up using ResponsiveVoice to generate the speech for, it is not perfect, but it is a start.