Firefox Multi-Account Containers as a Japanese Immersion Tool (even for non-geeks)

Containers in action. Note the green underlined tabs for English activity (click to expand image)

If you are serious about Japanese immersion, you will have noticed something. Japanese content starts popping up unasked on your computer.

It’s a fact of life that your online life is tracked by various agents in various ways. If you use Japanese a lot, if your YouTube account is with YouTube JP rather than your local one (it should be, and it’s easy to do), if you use Japanese-Japanese online dictionaries and read NHK News Easy (to take a few examples), you start getting Japanese ads and other content served to you whether you wanted them or not.

This is obviously a good thing for immersion. You want things to be this way. You want to keep your Japanese bubble as complete as possible. However, if you sometimes browse in English you will get more English language content served to you. The more you use Japanese the more Japanese content you get and vice versa. If you exclusively browse in Japanese and use Japanese services your Japanese unsought content will become dominant.

But you may have to use quite a lot of English. Or at least a certain amount. This is where Multi-Account Containers for the new Firefox comes in.

To be honest, I have been using this technique for a long time and I did it by using different browsers. I use Chrome for English webbing (for example, writing this article) and Firefox for my everyday Japanese immersion life.

This works and you can use this method if you like. However, Firefox Multi-Account Containers let you run as many accounts as you like without switching browsers. The cookies generated by one account are boxed off from the others so there is no spillover from one set of activities to another.

A geeky (and well-organized) friend of mine has her different activities all neatly packaged up with multi-account containers. I will never be that well organized. However, one can also do it in a very simple way.

What I do is this:

At the simplest, just make an English container. Any English browsing/consuming/creating you do, you do in an English container tab (the tab itself will be color-coded so you can keep track easily).

That’s all. For my general Japanese online life I don’t even need to use a container. Just make sure the English stuff is packed away in a box where it doesn’t affect everything else.

Make the English container your default container and then when you visit an English site check “always open in default container” in the Containers toolbar. From then on that site will always open in your English box and won’t contaminate your Japanese immersion life.

You may also want to make a separate box for financials (PayPal etc) to make them a bit less vulnerable to hacking from all the strange sites you visit. But that’s another question.

Happy immersion!

4 thoughts on “Firefox Multi-Account Containers as a Japanese Immersion Tool (even for non-geeks)

  1. You can also do this natively in Chrome using personas (Menu > Settings > Manage other people > Add person) You don’t have to sign in to each one, but you could create multiple google accounts.. one for each language if you wanted.

    1. Thank you for this information. Wouldn’t this, however, require signing in and out of accounts? This is why I used to use different browsers, so I could keep windows open with different accounts at the same time.

      The nice thing about containers is that you can have different container tabs in the same window at the same time without any signing in or out of anything.

  2. I’m all in favour of firefox if it can handle multiple simultaneous accounts in separate tabs! That would be perfect for isolating cookies for multiple accounts so I can have my personal & business twitter/facebook/whatever visible at once without having to log on/off for each one, or have completely separate browsers going…

    Having said that –
    Just today I noticed the upgraded Firefox has killed off my Rikaichan plugin/extension, since they are purging all old extension formats for their new ‘web extension’ API… I found Yomichan as the recommended replacement,
    https://foosoft.net/projects/yomichan/

    which apparently has Anki integration features and its own downloadable dictionaries… fingers crossed it will work happily…

    1. That’s right. It’s rather annoying. I am currently using Yomichan as well as Rikaichamp. Rikaichamp is essentially Rikaichan made compatible with Firefox Quantum. It works just as it should, but it is Rikaichan, not Rikaisama, so definitions are English only and there is no Anki functionality (I use it with definitions off mainly as an on-the-fly furiganizer).

      So Yomichan seems to be the way to go and I am kind-of intending to do a feature on it (I say “kind-of” because I am rather busy with other projects right now).

      I think Yomichan will be perfect for a lot of people. My main problem with it is that it doesn’t have the Sanseido mode that Rikaisama had (though that was broken for some time before Quantum).

      This means English definitions only unless you plumb in an EPwing dictionary, which Yomichan does allow. However a) getting one is pretty tricky and b) I don’t find it nearly as good as Rikaisama’s Sanseido mode for piping concise definitions to Anki.

      I have talked with the maker of Yomichan about including a Sanseido mode but he is firmly set against it for technical reasons and also is of the opinion that J-J definitions are only for the very hardcore who will probably work out the EPwing problem anyway.

      I disagree with this point (though of course I respect his decision). I think anyone serious about Japanese will graduate to J-J definitions at some point. Whether this makes us “hardcore” or not I don’t know, but even if it does, being “hardcore” in Japanese doesn’t equate to having a lot of ability with tricky technical matters.

      However I am very grateful to FooSoft for Yomichan. It really is extremely fortunate that we are still able to automate our Anki (even if we do sometimes need to paste in Sanseido definitions).

      I won’t say I don’t miss Rikaisama though (in my case only really because of the Sanseido issue). I wonder how other people feel.

Leave a Reply