Welcome again to JJNN for Monday June 2nd, 2008. Today I will only be doing one quick news because I have to get to cleaning up from yesterday's BBQ.
Today's news is about an internet site called HappyRice. The original story is given on the Japanese slashdot here.
This is a simple, yet cool, website. You can find it at http://happyrice.jp/. The site is sponsored by a group called the Nihon Kanji Nouroku Kentei Kyoukai. Try saying that 5 times fast! These are the same people that give tests in Japan to people so they can prove how much kanji (those are the formally Chinese characters that that Japanese use to write with) they can actually read and write. (Oddly enough it is called the Nihon Kanji Nouroku Kentei or just Kanken for short.)
HappyRice is a website in which you are given kanji problems to solve. You have 4 or 5 choices so even if you don't know the answer (or can't even read the site) you still have a decent chance of getting the problem correct. You may want to ask me why I am bothering telling people about a kanji practice site when most of the readers of JJNN can not read kanji, right? Well the reason I am telling you is that because this site does not just stop at being kanji practice. Because you will notice that every time you get a question right a rice ball appears at the bottom of the screen (that triangular white thingy). Go ahead and try picking randomly until you get a rice ball.
Fells good doesn't it? Well it should because with that rice ball 50 grains of rice (or enough money to get 50 grains of rice) is donated to a charity with that goal of feeding all the hungry people on earth. So, you are not only learning kanji (or choosing it randomly), but you are also helping out hungry people. I think that is a cool idea and is worth some praise.
While I was doing research about this I think I stumbled across the reason why the Kanken people can afford to host the HappyRice site. In 2006 alone 2,640,812 people took the test. The prices of the tests different depending on how high up you get in the system. The highest level test is 5000 yen while the lowest level test is around 1500 yen. Assuming that most of the people that took the test in 2006 are in the lower levels (I don't have that actual data but that is a safe assumption) we can use an average price of 2500 yen. That means that in 2006 alone the company will rake in 6602030000 yen. Yes, over 6 billion (with a b) yen! Of course some of their money goes into advertising, but I also did not add in their book sales and everything else. They do have the money I am glad they are using their money for good, like they are doing with HappyRice.
So give it a try and see how much rice you make the Kanken people pay for!
Any way it is now time for the word of the day. Today's word is 寄付(きふ). It is pronounced kifu and means contribution or donation. I just poked at the game a few times and I am already making the Kanken people donate over 1000 grains of rice. Yay for kanji!
That's it for today. See you next time at JJNN.