I’m in The Japan Times today with an article about the wonderful Green Goddess dictionary: “When translation gets tough, bow to the ‘Green Goddess’”
If you have the cash, I think it would probably be best to buy a digital version or the 2003 5th Edition, but if you’re a poboy like I was back in 2005 when I picked up my copy, then the 1974 4th Edition is available used on Amazon Japan for extremely reasonable prices.
When I wrote the article, the GG was going for 243 yen plus shipping. As I write this post, there are copies available for 1 yen (with 257 yen for shipping). At that price, it’s worth picking up one just to be a completionist. (Sadly the cheapest one that will ship to the U.S. is quite pricey at over 9,000 yen, so don’t ask me how to get it abroad. Shipping is generally very fast in Japan, so perhaps you could have it shipped to a hotel the next time you visit Japan.)
I mention a couple of times the GG helped me out with a recent translation contest in the article, but just for fun I’ll pick an appropriate entry and compare it with the WWWJDIC and Eijirō offerings.
After a couple of missed starts, I found an entry that I think shows the strengths of the GG: 情け.
It starts by listing the meanings of the word and provides Japanese definitions of those meanings to reinforce the different possibilities.
It then goes on to list common usages divided up by grammatical usage. It feels very organized (obvs.) compared to the Eijirō version. And the jisho.org definition is so sparse.
Yes, it’s hefty, but it’s very helpful. Highly recommended.