Recently, I saw a video of Steve Kaufmann's in which he stated that he likes flash card programs, but only if they let him study at his own pace.
I like that approach. What I want from a vocab drilling program is:
- The ability to drill a big bucket of custom words. These need to be my words, the ones I encounter reading NHK ニューズ, 昔話/童話, Nippon VoiceBlog, etc.
- A Leitner/SRS algorithm that periodically re-quizzes me on words with which I've had problems, and pushes out words that I know with some confidence to a later review date.
- No scheduling system! There will be days when I barely touch my word bucket, and days when I lay in bed for an hour reviewing 語彙.
- Quiz from J-E, not from E-J. (J-J - i.e., the ability to use Japanese definitions - would be an added bonus.)
- A bulk import feature.
In short, I want a vocab app that adjusts to my schedule, not the other way around.
One program that does this for kanji is KanjiBox. It is by far my favorite kanji review program. I credit obsessive use of KanjiBox with my current ability to stumble through Japanese newspaper articles.
Unfortunately, KanjiBox's vocabulary feature leaves much to be desired. Because of the way KanjiBox's interface is constructed, the vocab quizzes you on translating English meanings into the corresponding Japanese word. I want to quiz from J-E or J-J. KanjiBox is great for quizzing yourself on readings, but not on meanings.
Yesterday, I started using Japanese Flash, and it meets some (though not all) of my needs. I'll post a review shortly. If anyone knows of any killer apps that meet this criteria, let me know.