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Kana Invaders: Extra Hiragana and Katakana Practice

This one is an oldie but a goodie from LearnJapanesePod.

Kana Invaders: https://learnjapanesepod.com/kana-invaders/

It's a Missile Command style game here you type in Japanese to destroy incoming ships. It can be a fun alternative way to increase your fluency in the different scripts after you've learned them here on Duolingo.

May 31, 2017



I'm really rubbish at that game! I've used kana input too long that my mind can't handle thinking in romaji, so I keep dying. Even though I can read kana effortlessly. xD


Yeah, I'm rubbish at study games of this style, I'm simply not fast enough with the input. If you're a beginner and struggling with it don't beat yourself up about it, it's hard even those of us who use Kana regularly. I've been reading and writing Kana comfortably for over a year and text my fiancee in Japanese everyday and I still struggle with it. If it's a fun way to study for you enjoy but don't worry if you're terrible at it.


Ah. I didn't mean it quite like that.

What I meant was, that because I stopped typing Japanese characters with romaji input a few years ago and switched to kana input instead, I now have a strange mental block when attempting to type romaji text.

I know that probably sounds crazy or like I'm making it up, but my brain gets stressed playing that game even just trying to hit the "A" key instead of the "あ" key on my keyboard...

It's even worse with kana that are normally typed with multiple letters. Like す I'll think "Okay, two letters... First letter, *presses the す key*... Now the next letter, ...wait which key is next? What's going on?" *Brain dies.* XD

It doesn't make much sense to me, because I type English (my native language) all the time with the same keys I need for typing romaji. But because I'm picturing the kana or its sound in my head, my brain struggles to turn off autopilot.

If it accepted kana input I'd have no problem at all. Five years ago I'd have been able to play that game just fine. ^^;


> switched to kana input instead

What in the world did you do that for?


Sheer curiousity at first. Then I wondered how easy it would be to learn with an English keyboard where I can't see which key is which (I used the kanji learning game Slime Forest Adventure to learn the JIS Kana keyboard layout).

For a while, whenever I got tired of struggling with kana input, I kept switching back and forth between them. But after a while I came to prefer the feel of typing on kana input rather than romaji input. I completely stopped using romaji input back in 2012. It didn't take long before I was touchtyping Japanese on kana input equally as fast as romaji input.

Then, towards the end of last year I switched again! (...but not back to romaji input...). I switched to NICOLA Thumb Shift kana input, where you have to press modifier keys with your thumbs in sync with your fingers to output different kana on the same keys. And, at the same time, I switched my English layout from QWERTY to Dvorak, just to completely overload my brain lol... :P


Oh right, I use an IME to markup romaji for kana input so not so much of an issue. I still found these games too fast when I tried them, even when I could write most Kana so memory wasn't an issue.

Sounds like a normal phenomena to get mixed up with. I see it commonly among programmers who use the Dvorak keyboard and forget the Qwerty layout.


I still use an IME for typing Japanese too. It's just that I have the IME input mode set to "kana" rather than the usual "romaji" setting.

I switched to Dvorak at the end of last year, and now struggle a little whenever I'm somewhere that I have to use Qwerty. ^^;


Wow good effort I guess. That's some next level masochism right there. Been trying to bite the bullet and try Dvorak for a while but it makes me feel like an idiot every time. Maybe I'll give it another go when I've got more time to spare after thesis.

My fiancée is a Japanese native speaker who uses Romanji input (although Kana are also marked on her keyboard). I don't know how common it is over there but it seemed fine to jump straight into IME without learning another keyboard layout. I've seen people in Japan using both (on touch devices) so I think it's purely a matter of preference.


@kelsi602 Yeah, it wouldn't be a good idea to try switching before you finish your thesis.

After I switched to Dvorak at the beginning of November, I decided to go cold turkey and not even temporarily switch back to Qwerty. I guess it took about three months before I felt at ease with Dvorak.

But even now, seven months later, I'm not sure my typing speed is any quicker at all than when I was on Qwerty. It might even be slightly slower still. I do prefer the general feel of Dvorak to Qwerty, so I assume I'll be faster with it in the end. But right now I don't know whether it was really worth the hassle it has caused switching.

As for kana input on physical keyboards... From what I understand, romaji input is by far the most commonly used of the two by Japanese people. I think kana input is/was more common among the older generation who weren't so familiar with romaji in general. I believe preference of kana input is meant to be rare among the younger generation. So it's perfectly fine not to contemplate learning a new keyboard layout for Japanese. ^^

JIS Kana input is quite unwieldly due to how it uses 4 rows of keys rather than the usual 3 rows of letters on a keyboard. And the rows are longer as well, as it requires use of a couple of extra keys on the right hand end of each row. So your fingers have to travel all over the place. It's difficult to touchtype properly without very big hands...

As for on touchscreens though, I think kana input is actually very commonly used by Japanese people. "Flick" kana input works pretty well. And people are used to repetative tap kana input from old non-touchscreen phones. I know there's also a special romaji layout for touchscreen phones too, so I'm not completely sure, but I believe kana is more common than romaji on touchscreen.


From the name I would think it's a Space Invaders style game.


Thematically it is more like Space Invaders, as far as game play is concerned it is like the love child of Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing and Missile Command.

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