Japanese Stories November 20, 2015

Japanese interactive dictionary app goes free for the first time in years (Reg. $7)

The popular interactive Japanese/English dictionary app Japanese has gone free on the App Store. This is a premium app that regularly goes for $7 and hasn’t been free since October of 2013. Rated 4/5 stars from nearly 1,600 reviewers.


This Japanese/English dictionary is massive, yet easily fits inside your iPhone or iPad. Contains more than 174,650 entries and 52,000 examples, as well as stroke order animations for kanji and kana. Japanese works completely offline, an internet connection is not required. Updates are free.

  • Extremely fast startup and search
  • Search either English-Japanese or Japanese-English
  • Results are sorted by relevance. The best match appears at the top, so you can reach the right word quickly
  • Begins-with (“free” to find “freely”), exact match (“free”) or ends-in search (“free” to find “carefree”)
  • Enter Japanese words in the Latin alphabet
  • Entering conjugated forms (ex. 食べます tabemasu) will find the proper dictionary entry (食べる taberu)
  • Enter a number to see its Japanese pronunciation

iOS Universal: Japanese: FREE (Reg. $7)

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Japanese Stories August 19, 2015

The Alcho-Lock smart bike lock features a built-in breathalyzer and Bluetooth connectivity

While here in North America we may not take our inebriated bicycling as serious as they do overseas, we probably shouldn’t be driving anything drunk regardless. Japanese company Koowho is looking to help out with its new connected, breathalyzer-equipped bike lock: Alcho-Lock.

The small Alcho-Lock has a breathalyzer built-in, along with Bluetooth connectivity to your smartphone. You blow into the lock, and if you have had too much to drink the app will beam off a warning notification to a pre-designated friend or family member. At which point they can either ignore the message entirely or try to convince you not to ride drunk.

Ok, so no one should ride drunk, but as far we can tell the lock will still open no mater how hammered you are, relying entirely on the buddy system. In some places it is illegal to ride drunk, so this may seem significantly more practical in places like Japan or in the Netherlands where bicycles are very popular.

At $320 a pop, and not even strong enough to really lock your bike to anything confidently, it’s hard to see Alcho-Lock gaining traction in North America in its current state, Nonetheless, if it can help just one plastered guy from hurting himself in the middle of the night somewhere, then I guess it’s done its job.

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