Canon Wordtank 4100 Electric DictionaryOne of my friends has a rather nice Canon Wordtank electric dictionary or denshi-jisho (電子辞書). As I wrote previously, I was in the market to upgrade to one of these powerful electric dictionaries. So, I asked my friend about denshi-jisho and what advice she had about them.

Then I did a quick bit of research on the Internet to see if any useful information would be available. The single most helpful page I found was Japanese-English-Japanese Electronic Dictionaries, written by a gaijin for gaijin (no offence). This page has great information about dictionaries, some of which I may end up repeating below (note: not copying). I didn’t have much knowledge about denshi-jisho until I read the page and had planned on getting a Casio until I learnt more about the features that I needed to study Japanese effectively with a denshi-jisho.

The good dictionaries have a ‘jump function’ which enables the user to select any given word from a dictionary and then jump to the same word in different dictionaries (all contained on the one unit). So for example, if you look up a Japanese word using the English-Japanese dictionary but you can’t read one of the kanji, what do you do? Select it and jump to the Japanese-English dictionary or Kanji dictionary and you’ll gracefully ‘jump’ around between various dictionaries.

Then there are word notepads to store words you want to remember. Using these you can test yourself using mini test modes (more of a ‘the entry content or head word is missing, please think about it and then press Enter’ than a real test).

To read in more detail I suggest you click the link I mentioned earlier.

Back to my friend. She owns the Canon Wordtank IDF – 4100, as pictured above, which I believe is recommended to many foreigners studying Japanese in Japan. There are newer models, for example, the Wordtank G50, but the added features are not worth the extra money to some people. She is now pretty speedy at using all the different functions and was only to happy to show me how to use it. She loves her dictionary and recommended it to me.

So after reading all of the forementioned Internet advice and listening to my friend my choice became, ‘Sharp or Canon Word Tank?’