Daily Japanese Thread:
Anime/Audio Cards Guide
Link if you want to access this site after August: https://sites.google.com/view/audio-cards-guide/
I will let this domain expire and not update this site. Expect my comeback in 2021!
This site contains outdated information. Proceed at your own risk. I will not renew the domain meaning this site will become inaccessible around September 2020. Might make a replacement site soon though, it'll appear here.
Originally written October 2019
This is just a short guide on how to use ShareX, Yomichan and Anki to make some cool audio flashcards from a variety of sources.
If you have just started learning Japanese or don't know what Anki is please read the main DJT guide. Or even better read my complete Japanese learning guide in section 4.5!
This guide is mainly written for my brothers and sisters on DJT. English is not my native language so excuse any unnatural expressions.
You won't miss anything by skipping to 2. Setup (except some cringy rambling about sentence cards)
1 Introduction to Audio Cards
What are audio cards?
Audio cards are essentially voiced vocabulary Anki cards with additional context information in the form of audio and a picture on the back of the card. You create them while consuming Japanese using Yomichan and ShareX. As you are supposed to make them at your discretion (!) using the input you chose to consume there are no pre-made decks in this format and I strongly advise against doing any pre-made decks beyond the absolute beginner stage. I also advise against all forms of automatic vocabulary list generation (like morphman). More info on morphman in 4.4.
UPDATE March 2020: The improved 3k core deck follows this format (get it at DJT or Discord).
I think this card format has several advantages over other popular card formats (traditional vocabulary cards and sentence cards) which I will go into detail about in the next section. Of course you can still use ShareX and everything else to make sentence cards if that is what you prefer. The method I propose to grab context audio is also superior to the only other real alternative (subs2srs) that could produce a similar card format.
1.1 Audio Cards vs Word Cards
When I talk about word cards I mean cards that contain no information beyond the definition (usually in English) and the reading of the word being tested.
This card format is problematic for a number of reasons. If you do not have a context which disambiguates the usage of the word being tested you will almost inevitably get the wrong idea. There is only very few 1:1 relationships in vocabulary usage between Japanese and English. Trying to learn a word by remembering the English definition rather than getting a feeling for it through usage examples will lead to you not being able to recognize the word in a practical context (or only with great difficulty). It is ultimately wasted effort and the lack of having a context/experience to 'memory hook' the word to will cause you to have a much harder time remembering it, making Anki nothing but a painful chore. (Needless to say this is less of a problem for advanced learners)
Other reasons might be the removedness from any real Japanese of this card format, the sheer amount of wrong definitions in JMdict, usage cases or nuances not covered by definitions and there being no way of dealing with unclear or vague definitions. I leave it up to you to figure out what something like 面目躍如 might mean from the English definition. It is fine to have word cards for proper nouns and names for which you are only trying to recall the reading.
A lot of these flaws are fixed by having a sentence on the back. That is not a bad way to do Anki cards but I will talk about why I think you should do audio cards specifically in 1.3.
This card type with a sentence on the back I will call context word cards.
1.2 Audio Cards vs Sentence Cards
What is a sentence card?
This term seems to be used rather loosely to refer to a number of slightly different card formats with a sentence on the front and, depending on who is talking, varying information on the back.
This information can contain pitch accent information, furigana annotation, the word being tested and it's definition (which may or may not be highlighted on the front of the card), sentence audio and possibly a translation of the entire sentence. Needless to say there is some variation and I won't talk about every single one of them.
This card format is definitely a step-up from pure word cards but I think this it has some disadvantages which make them inferior to audio cards.
this is a sentence card; the sentence becomes furigana annotated on the back
this is also a sentence card; the sentence appears twice, annotated on the back and translated to English
How do you make sentence cards?
There seem to be a few prevalent ways of going about creating sentence cards. One way seems to be to note down the sentences you encounter in your input, paste them into Anki, let the Japanese support plugin generate the readings (which I don't really think is smart in the first place) and copy a definition you like out of qolibri. See here and here. Biggest disadvantage to these cards is the complete lack of audio (see 1.3)
Another way of making cards, from Anime specifically, is to turn an entire Anime show into subs2srs cards and then either go through the show in Anki (see here and here ), annotate the entries and move them to a deck you want to review while deleting every card you don't need. It's quite hard for me to believe anyone does this just due to how inefficient and boring it is but this seems to be the prevalent way to use subs2srs. I may write more on the problem I have with subs2srs later. (TBA)
Both of these methods seem quite inefficient to me and result in subpar flashcards. In the first place one might wonder why, when one has the option to make use of automatic flashcard creation and dictionary tools such as nazeka and Yomichan, one would go through the trouble with less efficient methods. That said there do seem to be some people creating sentence cards efficiently so I will not talk about the time it takes to create flashcards in the rest of this section.
Do they work?
Definitely. These cards are better than traditional word cards and will help you make real Japanese gains. However I think they are less efficient in doing this than audio cards and I want to explain to you why I feel this way.
I'm just a dude with an opinion and I'd appreciate it if you stayed aware of that while reading the next passage. Ultimately you can use everything I show you for sentence cards as well.
another sentence card; annotated on the back with a Japanese definition
Point 1: You can review audio cards/context word cards much faster than sentence cards. The time you save you can invest into consuming more Japanese which is where you actually make gains. Alternatively you can get a much greater amount of cards done. Due to the way these cards are reviewed this will not impact the 'quality' of the information you retain. For how I review my audio cards please see 3.6. While I do not have hard review data from people who did both sentence cards and audio cards, the people I convinced to try audio cards, that did sentence cards before, have reported a much better experience reviewing. I'd still like to show you some people's stats here:
my stats using audio cards (13.8 c/m)
person doing a mixture of audio and context word cards (9.9 c/m)
sentence card victim #1 user from r/ajatt (4 c/m)
sentence card victim #2 another user from r/ajatt (5 c/m)
sentence card victim #3 'yogapants' (3.5 c/m)
Point 2: Sentence cards are too easy and will not as efficiently increase your passive vocabulary as audio cards will. There is a problem with reviewing a card in a context you are already familiar with. Before you finish reading the sentence and getting to your target vocabulary you will already have recalled the situation and the meaning. This is an absolute guarantee if you put an image on the front of the card. It is obvious that this is not a good thing as you have not activated language information in order to access the relevant information, but merely your context memory of that particular situation. Needless to say you will never again encounter the exact same context in your input and therefore your reviewing process fails to simulate future reading scenarios. Audio cards do exactly that. They strip the context information from the front of the card forcing you to be capable of recalling the meaning and reading regardless of context. Instead they make use of the context to teach you the word. For more on this view see later sections.
Point 3: Sentence cards test too much. Rather than testing yourself on one item using one card you will have to think about if you understood the entire context, your target item inside that context and all the readings inside your sentence. This is a lot to think about when you have to repeat this potentially hundreds of times and I understand why people from the MIA/AJATT community of Japanese learners talk about things like 'decision fatigue'. Audio cards are, in what they test you on, essentially word cards and you will not have any problem whatsoever making a decision in 2-3 seconds (3.6). Word recognition takes milliseconds and your brain is equipped with everything it needs to recognize independent of context provided you already have experience with that word.
Point 4: 'What about all the people that successfully learned a lot of Japanese through sentence cards? ' As I have already said I think you can achieve a lot with sentence cards but I think they are flawed and that you can do better. Considering the advice given by the groups advocating that you do sentence cards, which is to dedicate a large part of your life to the language you are learning and to consume media for a good amount of hours every day I think it's fair to say that sentence card success stories are success stories despite sentence cards and not because of them. Not to mention that there is absolutely no information on how many people failed to learn Japanese using this card format which I hypothesize to be the vast majority of people who tried.
Concessions: Despite all this sentence cards may be better for non-kanji languages. Kanji provide semantic hints that make assessing the correct meaning of a word easier, which is part of the reason why audio cards work.
There is some flaws with word/audio cards that are addressed later in this text as well as how to go about dealing with them.
I wrote up a couple arguments here but I suppose what I am influenced by the most is my experience with this card format. As of writing this I have learned about a total of ~20000 recognition cards inside Anki. 11000 of those cards are audio cards as described here. The rest are a mixture of a pre-made core deck, sentence cards, and no context vocab cards. I have made the best experience and the most gains using the audio card format and I really hope anyone reading this at least gives it a fair chance.
Point 5: 'By reviewing sentences you will build internal grammar and remember word usages useful in your output.' I have several problems with this idea. First of all when you are reviewing sentences you are not recalling sentences. The sentence is not the object you are trying to remember as it is on the front of the card so by what logic do you now remember the exact usage case when you try to use the word yourself? You could say this happens solely because you are reading the same sentence a handful of times but I don't think that's very plausible. I already mentioned how sentence card reviews are too easy so your mind has to do absolutely no work to know what the sentence means. Why would it bother trying to save information it does not need? The second problem I have with this statement is that in it is the idea that you are not using Anki to assist your input but that you are planning to learn the language through Anki. I really don't think you can learn a language through Anki. The answer for me is to get more input and see the structures I want to learn in a large number of different situations. Part of that is cutting down on inefficient reviews which eat up valuable time. Are you planning on making a sentence card for every usage case of every word? Because that is an absolutely herculean task that will take you forever (and is not necessary in the first place). And as it is not something anyone has ever done I think I can dismiss this idea. Now, 百歩譲って even if this were true you could do audio cards and simply listen to the back of the cards while reaping all the benefits of both cards, although that is not how I do my reviews see 3.6.
1.3 The Importance of Word and Sentence Audio
This is common knowledge that is covered in a lot of places so I'll try to keep this section short.
A lot of people don't seem to be aware of the fact that they are in-fact not capable of accurately hearing the sounds of the language they are learning if those sounds are not present in their native language. As babies grow up they lose the ability to accurately perceive sounds that are not present in the languages they know. By trying to speak as soon as you start learning you run into danger of building bad habits that you will only with great difficulty be able to get rid of later. The same may happen if you read without audio and subvocalize the text incorrectly.
A certain amount of theoretical knowledge about the language's phonology will initially help you with not mistaking the sounds for similar sounds in your language and getting your ears to pay attention to problematic sounds, but ultimately the only thing that really works is to listen a lot. I don't think you need to hold off learning to read however, because as long as you constantly hear the language (including while reviewing) you will be safe from making up strange pronunciations. That means initially sticking to voiced media: Japanese subtitled shows, anime, audio books etc.
So we established why you should listen a lot and have audio on your cards but where is the need for separate word audio as they appear on audio cards? By hearing the word in the form you are reviewing it (dictionary form) you will be able to place the mental check mark much quicker and get through reviews that much faster. I also think there is value in just hearing the dictionary form of a word as not all conjugation forms are unambiguous and you should be used to recalling the 'default' form of a word.
07:06 oh shit what the fuck are you doing (don't be this guy)
(For more thoughts on pitch accent see TBA)
(For more thoughts on subs2srs see TBA)
(For why I think you shouldn't do RTK without knowing or learning any Japanese see TBA)
In this section I will walk you through setting up the audio card format in Anki , setting up Yomichan for automatic flashcard creation and ShareX shortcuts to create audio cards. You should already be familiar with Anki and its usage. If you are not please read the guide. I am using Anki 2.0 but all this should be more or less the same in Anki 2.1.
This may seem like a lot of setting up, especially if you are not familiar with Anki and Yomichan yet, but I promise you that you will have to perform all the work only once and after that you can create cards anytime very spontaneously and intuitively.
Note: This section will teach you how to create card formats with all the fields and the styling on your own. If you just want a format that works with the method specified here you can download the improved Core3k deck.
2.1 Anki Setup
Step 1: Add a new card type to Anki for audio cards
Add → Click on the selected card type → Manage → Add → OK → Type in the name of your card type → OK
adding a new card type
adding fields to a card type
Step 2: Add the fields that you need to the card type:
Add → Fields... → Add → Type in the field name → OK
Why you need 'Hint' field I will explain later in 3.6.
Step 3: Go into into your styling options and paste the following sections into the front template, styling and back template fields: https://pastebin.com/vnmKgqDk
Add → Cards → Paste
Warning: If you are on Anki 2.1 and don't have your OS set to Japanese Anki will likely not default to a Japanese font if using 'arial' but a Chinese one. In that case you need to define a font that actually contains Japanese characters in the styling field such as 'MS UI Gothic'.
Of course you are free to make other changes to the styling as well. The cards should suit your preferences.
adding a deck
Step 4: Create the deck you want to review your audio cards in
Create Deck OR Add → Click on deck name → Add → Type in name of new deck name → OK
Step 5: Create a new options group for your vocabulary cards
Click on the gear wheel next to your deck → Options → Click on the wheel inside the menu → Add → Type in an options group name → OK
There are a lot of things you can do to make your review experience more comfortable. Even though not all of these may be strictly necessary or differ based on preference I very strongly advise you follow all these steps:
Optional Step 1: Set the 'Maximum reviews/day' limit to 9999.
If you have too many reviews you should not limit the reviews Anki lets you do but decrease your new cards. This default limit of '100' severely interferes with the Anki algorithm so this is more of an obligatory step.
Optional Step 2: Under the 'Lapses' tab change 'Leech action' to 'Tag only'
Anki will remove cards in your Anki deck if you fail them enough times for them to become a 'leech' if you do not do this. This is not necessary. If you are creating good cards the information will stick eventually. The key may very well be to just get more input but nothing is achieved by removing the cards.
Optional Step 3: Under Tools → Preferences, in the 'Basic' tab change the 'Learn ahead limit' to 90 minutes.
This will differ on how big your review steps are. Make sure it exceeds all your steps.
Optional Step 4: Change the steps under the 'New Cards' tab and the 'Lapses' tab. Mine are '1 5 60' for new cards and '2 60' for lapses.
Steps are the amount of minutes that pass between reviews. For example with my settings I would see a new card again in 1 minute if I failed it and in 5 minutes if I passed it. If I passed it again after 5 minutes I would see it in 60 minutes again before it graduates. This does not mean that I will have to wait 60 minutes to see that card, but that it will practically be at the end of my review load. At least with the 'review ahead' limit we set up in the previous step.
Optional Step 5: Change the 'New interval' under the 'Lapses' tab.
Mine is set to 15% but you can change it to whatever you like. If the new interval is set to 0% every failed card will revert to an interval of 1 day. This is not necessary as the card is not equivalent to new information you haven't seen before. With a 15% interval a card that previously had an interval of 100 days would appear again in 15 days upon being failed. Save yourself from over-reviewing your cards.
Optional Step 6: Install load balancer. Tools → Add-ons → Browse & install → Code: 1417170896
This add-on will prevent your reviews spiking on some days even if you have a varied amount of new cards.
I suggest you copy my settings. They will prevent load balancer from interfering with intervals as small as 3 days while still producing very good balancing results. The default settings seem to necessitate it to mess with all intervals making it interfere with the Anki algorithm more than it should.
Tools → Preferences → Load Balancer
load balancer settings
Optional Step 7: Let new cards show up before reviews. Tools → Preferences → 'Show new cards before reviews'
That way the steps come around during your actual review time.
Optional Step 8: Sign up for Ankiweb
By signing up for Ankiweb you can have an online backup for your cards and therefore not having to fear disc corruption or anything like that. You can also sync between devices.
However, for the love of god: Don't do this if you are a subs2srs 'tard with one million cards.
2.2 Yomichan Setup
Yomichan is a web browser extension that acts as a pop-up dictionary and automatically creates Anki flashcards for you. Read more about what it does on the Yomichan website. An alternative to Yomichan is nazeka. In this section I will cover setting up Yomichan for audio cards in Google Chrome.
Step 3: Install dictionaries for Yomichan.
Yomichan dictionaries come in the form .zip files that you import into Yomichan through the browser options menu. You can find a few dictionaries on the Yomichan homepage.
importing a dictionary into Yomichan
What dictionaries do I need?
Download jmdict_english.zip and kanjidic_english.zip from the website. Besides those two dictionaries I recommend (no matter at what stage you are in your learning) you install Kenkyusha's New Japanese-English Dictionary (J-E), 大辞林 daijirin (J-J), and Meikyo (J-J). Ask on DJT or here where you can find them. I did not find any frequency indicators useful at any stage in my learning but your experience may be different.
For more information on why I think you should install all these and how to use them see TBA.
If you can't figure out how to import EPWING to Yomichan format see 4.1.
Activate 'Show advanced options'.
Tick 'Enable Anki integration'. Don't disable card tagging. This is important.
There is a lot you can change to make Yomichan suit your preferences. I suggest just playing around with it and sticking to options you like.
I also suggest reordering your dictionaries depending on how comfortable you are with J-J dictionaries already. If you are put them on the top. Don't delete JMdict either way. For more opinions on dictionaries see TBA.
Select the deck you want your cards to be in under 'Deck'.
Select the card format we made earlier under 'Model'.
Fill the fields with their corresponding fields:
Leave the other sections empty. You have to manually edit those while creating audio cards. We left the automatic tagging intact to make this as easy as possible.
Yomichan card settings
Step 6: Edit the Handlebars.js at the very bottom to remove all html inside your cards: <removed because yomichan update broke it, you can ask on djt or discord for one that works with the current version, what i do is the default one but without the glossary field just manually copying the definition i want>
By default Yomichan adds some html shit to your cards that forces indentation to the left, makes a big list of definitions and causes the editing of definitions to be a pure nightmare. At the point you are using multiple dictionaries you already don't want to include all definitions on your cards. What I suggest you do is use this handlebars.js which removes all html elements and makes editing your cards very easy. You want the definition field to be manually picked and as simple as possible so there is no need for lists and fancy formatting as it will be one line in the vast majority of cases.
Note: The window only appears if you activated advanced options.
replace that crap
At this point you are capable of creating basic word cards using Yomichan. Simply scan a word while Anki is running and click on the green plus button. Created cards will be automatically tagged with 'yomichan' which we will make use of later in the editing process.
If the words are voiced in the JapanesePod101 pronunciation database Yomichan will automatically add word audio to your cards. There is a number of things you can do if the word is not voiced. I suggest taking a look at 4.2 for one of them.
Doing this will result in...
2.3 ShareX Setup
ShareX is a free and open-source screenshot and screencast utility for Microsoft Windows (Wikipedia). It can really do a lot and I suggest you go and read about it yourself on their page. The things we need for our cards are screenshot capturing, audio recording and OCR. I will walk you through the setup in this section. ShareX is also capable of making videos and GIFs if you prefer that in your Anki cards or need it for other purposes.
Step 1: Get ShareX.
You can choose between the self contained portable version and the installer.
GitHub download page
Step 2: Define a place for ShareX to save all your files.
Application settings → Paths → Browse (below the use custom screenshots folder check mark) → Select your folder
Should be somewhere quickly accessible.
setting the ShareX media folder
Step 3: Set up a hotkey for screenshots.
Hotkey settings → Add → Task: Screen capture → Capture region (transparent)
Click on 'none' → Define key combination for screenshots
I'm activating the screenshot function using a button on my epic gamer mouse which I recommend you do as well. If you don't have assignable buttons just put in whatever key combination you are comfortable with.
new hotkey for taking screenshots
Step 4: Fine tune screenshot hotkey settings:
Tick 'override after capture settings'
Untick 'upload to image host'
Go to image tab → Tick 'override image settings' → JPEG
ShareX has global settings but lets you overwrite those global settings for hotkey specific settings if you tell it to. By default ShareX will attempt to upload to an image host when you take your first screenshot which is what we disable here. We also want JPEG to save space on Ankiweb. Maybe you want to untick 'copy image to clipboard' in your global setting so we override capture settings as well. Pasting the image from your clipboard into Anki is a necessity for fast flashcard creation.
changing your hotkey settings
Success! You can now use your hotkey to take a screenshot which you can directly paste into Anki.
Image pasting from your clipboard also works on a lot of other sites like 4chan and Discord.
I suggest you also set up a second screenshot hotkey with the function 'capture active window'. I find this function more useful for grabbing visual novel screenshots.
pasting an image from your clipboard into Anki
Step 5: Set up a hotkey for audio.
Hotkey settings → Add → Task: Screen record→ Start/Stop screen recording using activate window region
Override after capture settings: Tick copy file to clipboard
Click on 'none' → Define key combination for audio recording
setting up a hotkey for audio recording
Step 6: Set up audio recording
Go to 'capture' and tick 'override capture settings'
Go to 'screen recording options' and click on 'download' to download ffmpeg
After ffmpeg downloaded a message telling you that ffmpeg was successfully installed should appear.
overwriting capture settings and installing ffmpeg
3. Click on 'install record devices' and complete the installation
'screen-capture-recorder' and 'virtual-audio-capturer' should appear as options for video and audio sources.
setting up recording sources
4. Set the video source to 'none' and change the audio codec to MP3
You can type ffmpeg settings into the command line window to make various adjustments (for example changing the volume of recording).
setting up audio recording
Success! You can now use your hotkey to record any audio playing on your computer. Press the hotkey to start recording and press it again to finish. The result will be copied to your clipboard and can be directly pasted into Anki.
You can set up video recording on a separate hotkey if you need that function. If you do that I recommend 'x264 (mp4)' and 'AAC' (not MP3) for maximum compatibility.
you record the audio while watching and paste the result into your card
You don't need two audio fields in your cards as you can just paste the sentence audio next to the word audio and they will play in succession. If you prefer having two audio fields you are free to do that as well however.
Step 7: Set up OCR
Hotkey settings → Add → Task: Text capture (OCR)
Go to 'Capture' → Tick 'Overwrite capture settings'
Go to 'OCR' → Default language: Japanese → Tick 'Process OCR silently'
Click on 'none' and assign a key combination to it
The first time you perform an OCR you will asked for permission to upload images to the OCR service. Select yes.
setting up OCR
Success! You can now use OCR to scan Japanese text. You will get the result copied to your clipboard automatically ready for it to be pasted into Anki.
Do be careful. OCR is far from perfect and will frequently make mistakes. It is up to you to see them and to correct them.
We will need OCR in 3.3 to perform scans on video footage we captured. You can also use it on unhookable VNs.
Of course OCR is merely an alternative to simply capturing the text box as an image and pasting that into Anki. The disadvantage is that you can't search for that sentence in Anki.
using OCR to capture text
Congratulations! We have now setup all the basic tools to start making audio cards.
3. Card Creation and Review
In this section we will finally start creating actual cards. As the process and additional tools used can differ depending on what you are consuming this section is divided into anime/shows, visual novels, video games and voiced texts with transcripts. The basic process however is always the same: Mine a word using Yomichan → edit the definition → add audio → add the sentence (→ add a picture)
At the end of this section you will find an explanation explaining how I go about reviewing my cards and what the purpose of the 'hint' field is.
May 2020 Update: This video player is an improvement on the fluentcards one using a dark font by default and even letting you re-time subtitles inside the player:
If Japanese subtitles are available for the show you want to watch the fluentcards video player (github) is undoubtedly the best environment to consume those shows in. It works entirely in the browser, lets you use Yomichan to scan the subtitles, lets you copy one or several subtitles at once, lets you navigate the video using the subtitles and makes the subtitles searchable using the web browser search. Simply drag your video and the subtitle file into the browser and you are good to go. You can also save a fully functional local version of the site.
There are some restrictions due to it being a web player. It does not support H.265 video or AC3 audio. Optimally you just make sure to download compatible releases but if you do not have that freedom you must convert your videos to H.264 and AAC or another compatible format. Firefox users also seem to encounter some problems that people using Chrome don't so it may be better to access the site using Chrome.
Fluentcards background script: https://greasyfork.org/en/scripts/382876-fluentcards-background
The site has two more problems that are fixed by using this script. You can install it using Tampermonkey or Greasemonkey.
The unsightly bright blue & white design
The site not correctly resizing and failing to play 4:3 video without cropping it
16:9 video without the script
4:3 video without the script
16:9 video using the script
4:3 video using the script
In this video you can see me creating one card using everything we have setup in the second section of this guide. I want to stress that I did not try to create this card at my usual speed but instead wanted make every step as clear as possible. I also edited and put the daijirin example into the sentence field which is not strictly necessary. With some practice making an identical card should not take more than 20-30 seconds.
As you can see Anki is on standby with the 'yomichan' tag selected. That way we can instantly get on working on the cards that we make. Once you have created a good amount of cards simply remove the tag for the list to clear up again.
Breaking it down:
Identify the word you want to add during watching and add it using Yomichan
Copy the definition of your liking and paste it into the definition field. (If you understand the definition in a J-J dictionary use that. Otherwise use an English one.)
Copy the context and paste it into the sentence field.
Use the sidebar to navigate to the subtitle you want to start capturing from and record the audio using ShareX . Paste the audio in Anki.
Take a screenshot using ShareX and paste it into Anki.
Success! Now you can create audio cards from every Japanese subtitled show out there.
For the sidebar to optimally work for the purpose of audio recording you may want to slightly offset the subtitles.
If you want to know how to batch re-time subtitles to a video or to a reference subtitle see 4.3.
You can use Subtitle Edit to batch offset subtitles by a static time (Maybe TBA).
Animelon and Daiweeb are decent alternatives if you don't care to download and re-time subtitles yourselves. Card making is a bit clunkier though and you can't build yourself a searchable subtitle database of things you have watched. (TBA)
3.2 Cards from Visual Novels: Texthooking and Textractor
A lot of visual novels have large parts of them fully voice acted. As it is incredibly easy to replay lines and extract text out of them they make an excellent source for audio cards. In this section I will show you how to use Textractor to text hook a visual novel, display the text in a Yomichan compatible html page and create audio cards using the tools we have previously set up.
Step 1: Setting up Textractor
After you have downloaded Textractor it will ask you to what language Bing should translate to. Machine translation is an unreliable mess and should never be used for anything. By default it comes with some crap that we don't need so we'll start by removing that.
I hope nobody does this
Close all windows except the main window and click on 'Extensions'
Remove 'Bing translate' , 'Extra window' and 'Regex filter' by selecting them and pressing the delete key.
You can now launch your visual novel and attempt text hooking it.
Warning: Not all visual novels are hookable. If Textractor does not detect the correct text by itself you may try to use the 'Search for hooks' function or try find a hook code online. (TBA) If that does not work either you can make use of one of the other methods described (OCR or screen capture).
removing Textractor extensions
Step 2: Hooking your visual novel
Launch your visual novel and start the game so some text is displayed on screen
Launch Textractor → 'Attach to game' → Find and select the process for your game → OK
Go back to your visual novel and advance by one line
Go back to Textractor and scroll through all threads until you find one that matches the text
Now the visual novels text will be copied to our clipboard whenever we advance the text. → You can directly paste it into Anki!
hooking a visual novel
HTML page and text inserter plugin
As we want to make the process of looking things up a painless one and also make Yomichan card creation possible we need to get the Textractor results into the browser. For this we use a html page that gets fed our constantly updating clipboard information by a browser plugin.
Step 3: Install a clipboad inserter
You turn it on by clicking on the icon inside the browser task bar.
If you are using Chrome you may need to allow it to access local files. Otherwise it is incapable of accessing the html page we download in the next step.
chrome://extensions/ → Details → Allow access to file URLs
installing a Chrome plugin
Step 4: Download the page as html and run it in your browser
You actually have several options for what html page you want to use. They differ in design and functionality. I recommend you use this (https://pastebin.com/raw/zDY6s3NK) as it includes a line and character counter and lets you delete unwanted lines. For alternatives see the DJT guide on text hooking.
Right click on the page → Save as... → Replace .txt with .html → Open the page in your browser and favorite it for quick access
saving and opening the html page
Step 5: Combining everything
Launch your visual novel → Hook the text → Launch your html page → Activate the clipboard inserter
Now the game text will appear inside your browser. You use Yomichan to look up any unknown words and use it create flashcards if needed. We are now ready to create audio cards.
final texthooking result
Breaking it down:
Identify the word you want to find and create a card using Yomichan
Paste the text inside your clipboard into Anki
Copy and paste the definition of your liking into the definition field
Record the audio and paste it into the audio field
Take a screenshot and paste it into the picture field
For taking visual novel screenshots I prefer the 'capture active window' function that you see me using here. Also, how you replay audio differs by visual novel. For some you do it with a hotkey, sometimes you need to go into the text log and click on the line and sometimes it's not even possible. In that case you can try the method I suggest for video games. For the visual novel in the video you do it with a mouse gesture.
We can now create audio cards from visual novels!
If you are wondering where you can download visual novels ask on DJT!
3.3 Cards from Video Games: Video Game Capture and OCR
This is more suited for advanced learners. Specifically learners who can immediately tell when a new word popped up and can make the decision to make a card out of that before actually looking it up in a dictionary. This is necessary because you need to make the decision to capture the footage the moment the new element appears. For this I use Nvidia's Geforce Experience.
As you only need to capture X amount of seconds of gameplay when hotkey Y is pressed there is an alternative no matter on what system you are on. Just figure it out!
Step 1: Set up your recording software and launch your game.
Step 2: When you see a word that you want to add to Anki activate your hotkey and keep playing your game.
As I don't mine too many things in the games I play I usually just work off my video backlog every few days. There is really no reason to interrupt playing for every card.
Step 3: Locate the video on your hard drive. Make a screenshot and grab the video using ShareX and add them to Anki.
Step 4: For grabbing the sentence you have three choices.
Type out the sentence by hand. Definitely the most time consuming.
OCR it. Faster but you occasionally need to correct the sentence and it doesn't work with every font.
Screenshot the sentence. By far the fastest but you won't be able to search for the sentence in Anki if that matters to you.
GeForce Experience settings
Card creation video:
Success! Now you can create cards from video games and unhookable VNs. For unhookable VNs you will likely not have to do any recording. You can simply OCR or screenshot the text and replay the audio inside the game
Here I used OCR and it went well but it does occasionally make mistakes so that is something to watch out for. If that is too much effort for you you can just screenshot the text with ShareX instead.
I will talk more about that option in 3.4.
Check out these Sekiro cards ☺ : https://streamable.com/fd5j9
3.X Bonus Section: Cards from Nintendo Switch
The Nintendo Switch has a function that lets you capture the last 30 seconds of gameplay by holding the share button. This is perfect for creating audio cards as you can simply capture the last few seconds whenever you see a word you'd like to add to Anki.
Step 1: Play your game and capture footage whenever a word you want to add appears by holding the share button.
Note that not all games support video capturing. Most that I have tried did so this probably isn't a big issue.
capturing Switch footage
(Optional) Step 1.1: Crop the video.
Enter your album → Select the video and enter the editing options → 切り出し → First pointer should be at the start of the relevant context and second pointer at the end of it → 保存する
This makes working with the video afterwards a lot easier as you don't have to scroll around to find the word inside the 30 second clip that you captured.
Don't forget to delete the old video as well.
cropping the video
Step 2: Transfer the videos you collected to your PC
There is two ways you can accomplish this.
FTP: By far the easiest and fastest option and you can do it even without closing your game. You need to able to install homebrew apps to use FTP however. I use FileZilla and Ftpd for this.
Manual: Save the videos on your SD card, take it out of the Switch and pop it into your computer at the end of every session. Really time consuming but you don't need to hack your Switch.
Step 3: Make a card out of the videos using the methods described in the video game section.
You can see me making a card out of a Fire Emblem: Three Houses recording in the video.
Success! We can now make audio cards from Nintendo Switch games. ☻
3.4. Cards from YouTube Transcripts
There is generally two kinds of Youtube videos that work well for the purpose of making cards. Those that have been transcribed by a human and those with hard subtitles made by the video creator. Of course you can make cards out of every video if you don't care about having to transcribe yourself or not having a sentence in written form.
YouTube Transcripts: A function I have not found about until recently is that you can open a transcript of the video you are watching with clickable and searchable (ctrl-f) time stamps. This is incredibly useful both for finding and identifying new words but also recording.
Soft subtitled video: If the subtitle is a human made transcript you can simply mine the word with Yomichan, copy the sentence and record the clip by clicking the time stamp.
opening YouTube transcript
Hard subtitled video: This is something quite a few Japanese Youtubers seem to do. You can try OCR to get the sentences but it often doesn't work or produces very bad results. I like to simply screenshot the sentences and insert them into Anki.
You can still use automatically generated subtitles for clickable time stamps .
images in the sentence field
3.5 Cards from Voiced Texts: audio books and aozora
You can also use audio books for your audio cards provided you have a transcript. You simply need a player that lets you scroll back a few seconds and record from there.
Truncating Silence: A lot of audio-only resources, at least those without music, contain a lot of silence which makes listening to them a bit of a chore. This is especially the case for the aozora bunko texts found here which are an excellent source for audio mining vocabulary that is more literary than what you commonly find in anime. I prefer playing them in audacity as it has a function to shorten all silences.
Select the entire clip → Effect → Truncate silence → Pick settings that work for the clip → OK
3.6 Review Process & Card Exceptions
In this section I'd like to talk about how I review the cards and some special characteristics that some of my cards have (the 'hint' field.)
Review Process for new cards:
On the font of the card is (usually) nothing but the word to be reviewed. On the back we have the reading, the definition and a context with audio. The first time I see a card I will listen and read the entire context and fail the card so I see it again in 1 minute. After that the I will review it like all other cards.
for new cards all information is important
Review process for seen cards:
The review process differs based on whether I fail or pass a card. What I try to recall when seeing the front of the card is the meaning and the reading. If I succeed in that I will pass the card without listening to the audio or reading the sentence in most cases.
If I fail the card however (due to not recalling the reading or the meaning) I will listen and read the entire context once again as well as read any example sentences that I have added beyond that. The idea here is to save time on what you know already and reinforcing with the already known context only things you have forgotten.
If you decide to add pitch accent information to your cards I recommend only trying to be aware of it and hearing it in your word and captured audio but not failing a card based on it. More on this maybe later (TBA).
only try to recall reading and meaning and pass if successful
when failing a card use all the information to refresh your memory of it
Some words have several valid readings. These can be on-yomi and kun-yomi variants or different readings based on the meaning of the word or something else. Having only the word on the front of the card for those kind of words would make the answer that should be recalled ambiguous which is something one should avoid with flashcards. That is the purpose of the 'hint' field in the card template above which is displayed in small letters below the word being tested.
semantic difference between two words...
adding the context makes sense here
Lastly, I also like to use the 'hint' field for words without any kanji. As kanji provide a lot of semantic insight you can generally accurately recall the meaning without seeing the context. This is much more challenging for words without kanji. It's not necessary but I do often add the context to the hint field in such cases especially for onomatopoeia and the like.
also good for kana words
4.1 Converting EPWING dictionaries to Yomichan format
you click on the link
Step 3: Launch yomichan-import.exe.
First field: Find the CATALOGS file of the dictionary you downloaded and select it
Second field: Select any folder and type in how the resulting file should be named. Don't use Japanese characters.
Click on Import Dictionary... wait ... and:
GUI of Yomichan import
Step 4: Import the resulting .zip file into Yomichan.
Success! Now you have imported an EPWING dictionary to Yomichan. Congratulations!
4.2 Forvo Guide
Forvo is a big collection of user submitted word pronunciations. In this section I want to show you how to find pronunciations on Forvo, clean them using audacity and request pronunciations yourself.
Getting word pronunciations into Anki:
Step 1: Sign up for Forvo to enable downloading and submitting new words.
Step 2: Search for the word in question in the search bar
If your word does not show up try searching for variants. Search for it written in kana. Can the same word be written using other kanji? Try searching for those. If you are absolutely sure the word is not on Forvo then add it yourself and wait for a pronunciation.
Step 3: Open the pronunciation and download it by pressing on the download arrow.
searching in Forvo
I strongly advise against using this Chrome extension to perform a Forvo search. If you search for '篦鮒' using this extension you will get no results. '篦鮒' is voiced on Forvo however as '篦鮒 (へらぶな)'. This is picked up normally by the native Forvo search.
Step 4: Clean the audio using audacity.
The audio files you can get on Forvo are often problematic. There may be several seconds of silence or strong noise. That is to be expected due to the nature of the site, but the last thing you want is to turn around a card expecting the word to be voiced and get thrown off by two seconds of silence. We will use audacity to fix those issues on our word audio.
Simply open audacity and throw the word pronunciation in there.
To get rid of noise select a section of the clip where you can hear nothing but the noise you want to get rid of. Now go to Effect → Noise Reduction → Get Noise Profile. Now select the entire clip and go to Effect → Noise Reduction → OK. You should set-up a shortcut so you can do this quickly in the future.
uncleaned word pronunciation
word pronunciation with reduced noise (uncropped)
The next step is trimming the pronunciation so there is no silence. Simply select part where the word is being voiced and click on the trim button (or press CTRL + T). Finally export the audio (CTRL + B) and overwrite the original file.
trimming the pronunciation
add to anki
Step 5: Add the word to your card.
This may seem like a lot of work for one word pronunciation but all of this can be done in a few seconds if you quickly launch audacity, make use of all shortcuts and your standard export folder is identical to your download folder. You can also grab and drop files into audacity and Anki from the Chrome download preview window at the bottom of the screen.
Requesting a word on Forvo:
Type in word or phrase
Are you adding a phrase?
You should generally tick 'no' here unless you are adding an entire sentence. If it's an expression that can be voiced in less than 3 seconds tick 'no'.
If you are adding a person's name tick the name field
adding a new word to forvo
You should enable e-mail notifications for words you have requested to be added. That way you don't miss any new pronunciations and can update your Anki deck when they come up
4.3 Subtitle Re-sync using alass
In this section I will show you how to re-time subtitles using alass. You can acquire subtitles on kitsunekko.
There are several ways to use alass. You can sync your downloaded Japanese subtitle to the audio of the show or to a reference subtitle. Syncing to text is more accurate but a bit more effort. I recommend you download alass (with the bat files that I use) here. The .exe is outdated if you want to you can get the newest one on the alass github, the .bat files will still work.
NEW 2020: Alternatively you can also use this script to re-time subtitles with .mkv files automatically made by an anonymous poster on DJT: https://mega.nz/#F!Xkk1QSyQ!4TRUyRTMPKFoCJuRBruPGg
More info especially if you are on Windows:
Sync to audio
Definitely a lot faster but less reliable than syncing to text.
Step 1: Make sure the the files inside the zip, the episodes and your Japanese subtitle are all in the same folder.
Step 2: Make sure the subtitle and video file have the same name. You can use the 'enumeration' function of Ant renamer for this.
enumeration of ant renamer
this is how your folder should look
Step 3: Run 'alass srt to mkv'
Alass will extract the audio from your mkv and attempt to sync the subtitle to it.
Note: If alass fails to produce a subtitle (either during audio or text synchronization) you may have a faulty subtitle file. In that case simply open it in Subtitle Edit, save it without changing anything and try again.
Sync to text
Requires a bit more setting up but ultimately provides the best result from the experiences that I made.
Step 1: Extract the English reference subtitle out of your video file.
For this I recommend using Inviska MKV Extract.
(There is a lot of programs that can extract from MKV files, just search for MKV extract.)
extracting subtitle a track
(Skip this unless you have problems) Step 1.1: Clean the the subtitle if it as an .ass file
Doing this is probably only necessary if the .ass subtitle contains karaoke but signs may interfere with syncing as well.
I recommend you use Inviska ASS Stripper for this.
cleaning .ass subtitle based on tags
Step 2: Make sure your .ass and .srt file are in the same folder with the other files like in the step above. Also have them named the same with Ant renamer.
Note that I am saying .ass because most English subtitles are in the .ass format especially if you grab a BD release. If your reference subtitle isn't in the .ass format just batch convert using Subtitle Edit. You can also rewrite the .bat files but that's more effort.
this is how your folder should look
Step 3: Run 'alass srt to ass'
Alass will sync your Japanese .srt file to the .ass file.
Note here again: If alass fails producing any subtitles try opening the problematic subtitles in Subtitle Edit, saving and attempting another sync.
4.4 Thoughts on subs2srs and morphman
Subs2srs is a terrible program for Japanese learning for a myriad of reasons.
1. It only works on anime. The method outlined here using ShareX works on VNs, Youtube, absolutely anything giving off sound.
2. ShareX is constantly available running all the time in the background. You simply start watching and can make cards where you need them right away. Subs2srs forces you to take every show you watch and run them through a program, all very removed from the actual process of learning and consuming.
3. You can't use Yomichan with subs2srs to make cards containing your chosen dictionary entries and styling. You only get information that makes the cards on their own useless, forcing you to go into the mass generated card pool, handpick and edit what you want to learn. Much more effort.
4. Subs2srs has no clue how long the context is. A sentence can go over several lines which subs2srs can't account for making subs2srs cards more or less collectively have cut off sentences containing an incomplete context. With ShareX and the method outlined here you can for yourself decide how long the context is. Example:
5. You can't control what the screenshot is. Admittedly a rather minor complaint but handpicking the ideal frame (for example when the object you are mining is shown on screen) can contribute a good amount.
6. If the subtitles are shittily synced it will literally just not work. Yes, you can adjust the margins but what you end up with, is with cards that either contain redundant silence or audio from irrelevant lines. Either way you are getting sub-optimal results. Due to ShareX cards being hand make, they suffer from nothing like this.
7. Your Anki gets cluttered up with thousands of cards and media information that you will never ever need. This will either prevent you from using Ankiweb to sync your collection, or you will be uploading several GB of useless stuff to the servers for no good reason. In reality at the intermediate and advanced stages of learning there is maybe an average of 3-5 words you want to grab an episode. Turning the entire thing into subs2srs cards is crazy.
Most importantly is probably the different mindset between the two methods. It doesn't matter how much you still have to learn with the ShareX/videocards method of watching anime. You simply make as many cards as there is unknown information in what you are watching, and as the amount of unknown information decreases your work load decreases as well. At some point you end up capable of watching most things without a single look-up and that transition happens smoothly, because the process of doing ShareX cards simply requires you to watch anime (if in a slightly adjusted environment). This is not the case with subs2srs. With everything you are watching or plan on watching you are forced to go through the process of turning everything into anki cards, blowing up your card and media collection when there is zero reason to do so.
Morphman sucks for one simple reason. It automatically sorts your collection and tells you what you should learn. This may sound like an advantage to you but it's the opposite of that, let me explain.
If you are consciously making cards for things you notice yourself not knowing you will end up with knowledge far beyond what is in your Anki deck. If you mine a 1000 words, there is a good possibility there is a few hundred new words you learned while consuming that you never noticed you didn't know before then. Essentially there is advancement and knowledge you are building that goes beyond your Anki deck and the key to that is making Anki work for you where you consciously notice yourself lacking and not letting an algorithm pick the most 'optimal' way for you to cover every single information in existence in the Japanese language inside your Anki deck. It does nothing but significantly slow you down in your learning. Nobody should be using morphman or similar algorithm based learning approaches. Algorithms can't teach you a language.
4.5 The Ultimate Nihongo Guide
Watch anime or you are gay