A while back – a year ago – I did a review of Satori Reader. I was a beta tester then (and knew a year’s worth less of Japanese). The site is up and running now, and I joined and have been using it as a paid subscriber now, so I wanted to post an updated review.
First, let’s state the verdict: This is an outstanding site for learning to read Japanese. In fact, it’s the best site I’ve ever seen for learning to read Japanese.
The site basically consists of a series of short articles and stories. They include: a Japanese exchange student’s diary, the autobiography of a cat (yes, really), new stories, dialogs, Human Japanese extra credit and other things. Also, the folks at Satori Reader are good about updating the content on a regular basis.
Some of the articles exist in two forms, an easier version and a harder version, and there are some options that the reader can use to make the articles even easier. You get to decide if there are furigana on pretty much everything, only based on your knowledge level or not at all. You can decide to use Kanji or not. You can decide to put spaces between the words or not.
Each article is preceded by a brief introduction and a description of the sort of grammar you might find. Like this:
This way you know what to expect before you start.
The real beauty of the articles, however, is that you can click on any word (and some phrases) and get a translation (along with the option to add the word to your study list.
But the site is even more user friendly than that. When appropriate, you also get grammar notes.
In addition to that, there some entire phrases that are broken down word-by-word and the grammar explained.
Satori Reader was created by the people behind Human Japanese, which has the clearest explanations of grammar that I have ever seen. Satori Reader’s grammar explanations are equally clear.
It gets better, though.
You can listen to any sentence or any complete article narrated by a native speaker. You also have the option of downloading the audio to listen to later. (At one point I downloaded the audio from several articles in a series and then put them together using Audacity so that I could listen to the whole set while driving.)
The nice folks at Satori Reader have given me permission to post a few audio samples, and and nahcirn gave me a little technical help on how to do it (without having to upgrade my wordpress account) so here they are. Hopefully, I did it right! These are all part of longer audio files.
They came to the shelter to get a cat. Ken has just discovered that Natsumi wants two cats and is not exactly pleased.
All in all, it’s a great site, fun and packed with reading practice. Check it out when you get a chance.