Top 3 Must-Do Computer Settings for Japanese Learners:#1

Here is the first of 3 (in my humble opinion) totally and super-completely necessary settings for your computer if you’re learning Japanese.

A lot of you will already have these and be using them, but I keep running into fellow Japanese-learners who aren’t.

These settings can and do make a HUGE difference in your ability to take advantage of the many ways to learn via your computer and there really is no reason not to be using them.  Srsly.  None of them are that difficult to do, either, so if you’ve been putting them off, the time to change is now!

#1: Set your OS to display and type in Japanese.

Setting your operating system to be able to display and type in Japanese is super-essential.  How else will you read and write in non-romaji?  (Srsly, you can’t do romaji forever.  Not only will you slow down your ability to read kana, you will irritate the ever-loving-bejeezus out of 95% of the people you type to.)

Most OS’s will have the ability to add Japanese as a display and input language under the “Keyboards” or “Languages” option in the Control Panel.  Check yours out, and if you can’t find it, Google how to do it.

Extra Tips

  • Make Japanese your default input (See above)
    Japanese should be the first (top) language in your input language list.  Makes it easier to get down to business.  (To move it to the top, just click Japanese in the list once and then click the “Move Up” button until it’s at the top.)
  • Learn the keyboard shortcuts
    Makes using IME much easier and more efficient.  Most IME’s will have them, but they can differ from one to the other, and OS to OS.  Save yourself lots of unnecessary hand movement and frustration.  (Expecially handy if you have Windows 7.  ctrl + caps lock switches you between kana and alpha-numeric input.  No clicks required, no having to switch between input languages.)  Once again, Google how to do these for your specific IME and OS.

That’s it!  Not much to it, right?

Got more to add?  A great tip?  Tell us in the comments!

Stay tuned for the #2 post, coming soon!


3 Responses to Top 3 Must-Do Computer Settings for Japanese Learners:#1

  1. Don R says:

    One thing I just tried was deleting English input completely. Since the JP input will still let me input alphabetical characters (abc etc.) it seems to work fine and I don’t have to switch languages.

  2. Karen says:

    Cool tip Liz! I haven’t tried doing this, although I’ve tried switching the language on my cellphone to Spanish and other languages years ago. I’m not sure if there was Japanese on my phone back then. It was just out of curiousity and I wanted to get familiar with some words. I might as well try this one out.

    Perhaps you would like to try out L-Lingo. It’s a language learning online application that gives you 40 free lessons and you can use this for learning Japanese. We do have 9 languages–Burmese, Chinese Mandarin, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Tagalog, Thai, and Vietnamese. It’s a fun and easy-to-use online application, and it immerses you into the language you want to learn plus it has translations. I’m currently studying Mandarin using this app and I simply love it. We would like to invite you to check out our application and give your feedback, because we would like to shape our program to give learners a great learning experience. You can check out We’d be happy to hear your feedback.

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