High-tech gadgets are more fun when we can use them.
When we first arrived in our new apartment in Fukui, we were surprised to see that our place was spacious, modern, and it came with some neat gadgets. About a week later we had some friends over and they helped up translate our gadgets so that we could use them. When they left, I had detailed maps of all the buttons on our washing machine, rice cooker, air conditioner, intercom, stove and toilet. These translations gave me a basic understanding of how to use the things in our house.
Today I decided that I wanted more than my basic understanding when Mary asked me how to set the washer to rinse cycle only. I knew how to make it wash clothes, but selecting individual cycles? For that I would need the power of the internet!
I spent part of my morning on a journey of discovery, tinkering, and an extended kanji scavenger hunt. I learned a few things:
1. Sometimes Japanese companies market their devices to English speaking countries under a different name/model number. Our new camera is a great example of this. When I looked for a pdf manual for model number printed on the camera, I got a ton of Japanese everywhere. There’s an identical camera with a completely different model number for American consumers. By searching for that one, I found the jackpot.
2. I’m not the only one who has struggled with translations of this nature. There are so many resources available, like A Door to the World of Kanji, the Shiga JET survival guide, and this page for Tokuzato housing.
3. Some characters appear on multiple devices and are extremely handy. Someday I will learn how to type them, but I found that reading about toilets was very helpful for understanding my heating for some reason.
What I haven’t found is a good English guide for some of my devices that have Japanese operating systems. I think I’ll save that one for another day.