Simply speaking, means "students surpass their teachers". It is taken from the idiom , in which "藍より" is "Aiyori".
This idiom literally means that blue dye is extracted from a plant called Ai, but the blue color of the dye is more beautiful than Ai. Of course, it is just a metaphor. The real meaning is that students learn from and then surpass their teachers.
When written in Japanese, both the "extracted from Ai" and "more beautiful than Ai" parts are "藍より(Aiyori)". So Aiyori can mean "learn from your teachers" and "better than your teachers" at the same time. Well, we think that it is a very meaningful term for an educational site like this one. That's why we named this site "Aiyori.org".
What do we teach?
At this moment, the Japanese language is the only subject we teach. We are planning to teach Mandarin Chinese and Cantonese in the near future.
About the Japanese course, we are planning to teach every aspect of the language, from Kana to Kanji, and from beginner's to advanced level. But since the webmaster has so little time every day to work on this website, we can only do it bit by bit. Please don't complain that we're too slow. We know it.
Who is the webmaster?
This is NOT an ad!
My name is Wing. Well, it's my real given name. I am Chinese, was born and live in Hong Kong throughout my life. I consider myself a hobbyist of foreign languages, and a very serious one, to the extent that people around me sometimes think I'm strange. I damaged at least 3 English dictionaries by flipping them too frequently during my serious study of the English language in the 90's. And I bought over 200 DVD's just for the English subtitles. Each of those movies cost around US25 at that time. And I'm not from a wealthy family. So you know how crazy I am when it comes to foreign language study. By the way, I damaged at least 10 DVD players by pressing the pause button too often. I needed to pause and look up the dictionary whenever I met a new word. I felt really uncomfortable when I saw a new word and didn't know what it meant. It's kind of like an obsessive compulsive disorder. A mental illness!! (laugh)
I somehow grew out of this disorder when my English was considered to be acceptable/ understandable by most people. But it came back when I decided to learn Japanese seriously a few years ago. Honestly, my study of Japanese began in 1997 when I was still a teenager, so I'm not one of those geniuses who can master a foreign language within a year or two. I'm just an ordinary guy living next door. My study of Japanese at that time was not a successful experience, not a happy one either even for a crazy hobbyist like me. It was because I couldn't find an electronic dictionary that allowed me to input Kanji by writing on a touch-screen. Instead, when I stumbled upon a Kanji I didn't know (the meaning, the pronunciation or both), I needed to input the Hiragana, which was very inefficient because Hiragana is the pronunciation hint of the Japanese language. If I didn't know the pronunciation, how was I supposed to input the Hiragana?
It was like a turning point of my life as a language hobbyist when I saw an NDS Japanese dictionary software that allowed me to input Kanji directly four years ago. I tried it, was happy with it and then bought it. And here came my disorder cycle again. I felt really uncomfortable if I didn't look up the meaning of Japanese new words with the dictionary software. And watching Japanese TV drama DVD with Japanese subtitles on became an important part of my life. Well, I think 3 hours a day is important. I looked up every new Japanese words in dramas, comics, games and websites, to the extent that the touch-screen of my NDS became a little bit funny.
My JLPT Level 1 Certificate
My hardwork/ disorder paid off when I passed the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) at the end of 2008. I scored 387 out of 400 marks in Level One. (FYI, Level One is the most advanced level) And I got full marks in two out of three papers. Sometimes it's not bad to be a little bit crazy.
After knowing the result of the test, I felt lost. It was like losing the direction of my life. I was thinking about learning a new language. But I knew that it was not possible for me to learn it the "hard way" again, as I was already the father of two kids. 3 hours a day to watch TV dramas in foreign languages would be a luxury. So I decided to do it the other way around. Instead of being a learner, I wanted to know what it would feel like on the teaching side. I wanted to teach people my knowledge so that the world would have more and more crazy people like me. And here comes this website.
My score in JLPT Level 1 (2008)
Who is the illustrator?
Except for the images taken from Wikipedia, all illustrations in this website are done by Shou Yukiya (翔侑也). Shou is also the voice actor and proofreader of the Japanese text.
If you are interested, you may visit Shou's website at
http://sky.geocities.jp/diabolos_of_soar/ (in Japanese, of course)
What is good about this website?
Since it is made by a successful learner of the Japanese language, it is made from a learner's perspective instead of a textbook's perspective. In other words, I keep asking myself what learners can get from my website. I want learners to learn something before leaving. I don't want them to just come, look and say "this site is cool". Also, since I am a learner, not a native speaker, I have personally experienced the difficulties of learning this language. I know all the obstacles and bottlenecks. And I have methods and solutions to share.
So what are learner's perspective and textbook's perspective?
Most language textbooks work in this way: They show you a new word, tell you the meaning and refer you to a sound track on a CD so that you can listen to the pronunciation yourself. For me, this kind of material is done from a textbook's perspective. The textbook has already provided every ingredient. It is the learner's job to combine those ingredients into something useful in order to show a final result. If a learner fails, it's not the textbook's responsibility because it has already provided all the ingredients needed. What a BS!
This website, however, is designed from a learner's perspective. While our materials are more or less the same as those of competitors, we don't just provide the ingredients, but also present them in a usable form so that learners can absorb immediately. We take full advantage of multi-media of the Internet to let learners listen to pronunciations immediately. We invent useful and practical mnemonics to help learners remember Kana and Kanji. I'm sure people can get something everytime they visit our site.
Another good point about this site is that while it's made by a successful learner, the voice recording and proofreading are done by native Japanese speakers. And I have spent a lot of time on making all audio materials click-and-listen. You don't have to open another program or download the files. Just click and you will hear the pronunciations immediately.
How do we finance our website?
I, the webmaster, pay every cent out of my pocket right now because God has blessed me with a stable day job and some extra cash. Making this website is a good way for me to vent my energy as a language maniac as well. I would be very happy if I can help people at the same time. Even though I need to do it at night after my day job, in other words, I 'sacrifice' my free time to make this website, I don't really consider it as a sacrifice because it's really something I enjoy doing. It's more like a leisure to me. So it is okay for me even if I don't get any money in return. (But of course if I can make some money out of it, it'll be more okay. ^^)
If you really want to know how we're planning to finance this website, the answer is simple and standard. We'll sell ad spaces and products if we can build readership. But we WILL keep all our main contents available free of charge to everyone forever. In other words, the free stuffs you can read now will remain free forever. And when we have products to sell, please consider supporting us financially by making a purchase.