“You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.” Your current English-set phone is your shore. Your Japanese-only phone that awaits is your ocean. You get it. You’ve thought about this before. You know it’s time. You have to change your phone language setting to Japanese.
Yes. Yes. Yes. There should be no question or concern left in your mind. Here’s why:
8. Han Unification
Sometimes kanji don’t look like they should. This is known as the Han Unification problem. This problem is gone when your phone is in Japanese. No need for messing around with the fonts.
Don’t think that this is an issue? You sure?
7. Treated as an equal
Setting your phone to Japanese means your phone assumes you are a native Japanese person and will be treated as such. Everything that goes on in your phone, including advertisements, apps, the app store, and error messages are all now part of study time.
6. Acquisition through muscle memory
Even if you are at a low level, you can navigate your phone by using muscle memory. You’ve probably used your phone more than a few minutes a day, so you may now how to get around it. This “excessive” experience should make any transition a joke.
5. Daily visual reinforcement
Every day on your phone is a new language adventure. One that doesn’t even need a dictionary. Seeing 設定 below the settings icon, 時計 below the clock, 音楽 below music will tell you what the words mean without ever having to look them up. Seeing them every day slams them into your long term memory.
4. Increase Japanese interaction frequency
If you are looking for a way to introduce more Japanese to your life there is no better way. Apparently people use their phones a lot. Every time you use your phone counts as studying now. Guilt removal?
3. Katakana Boost
Katakana is often neglected, getting a back seat to the reigning Hiragana. You don’t usually get enough exposure to it. This ends now. Katakana’s lair is in your smart phone.
2. Text to Speech
Want a new way of having a Japanese conversation with yourself? Who doesn’t. Or you could use whatever voice assistant lives on your phone. Japanese Siri is waiting?
1. Motivation Infusion
There is no better motivation than waking up first thing in the morning and seeing Japanese on your alarm clock. These small changes make a difference and remind you of your ultimate goal at every turn.
Almost a perfect world?
With so much greatness, why wouldn’t you get started immediately? Most people’s concern is that it’ll slow them down, or in case of an urgent situation, things become unnecessarily complicated.
However your speed will increase to your normal speed after a little time. And if it is absolutely an urgent situation, you can always change your settings back to English temporarily.
The great thing about changing your phone to Japanese is the extreme ease which it can be done with (and reverted if you feel you aren’t ready).
- Android: go to Settings–Language & Input–Language–日本語.
- IOS: go to Settings–General–International–Language–日本語.
A few additional tips
- Learn how Japanese days and dates work.
- Wait till you are Intermediate level to avoid frustration.
- Give it time. You may want to change back to English after a few days. Fight the urge.
- Download the Google Japanese IME.
- Check out the list of “Internet Error Messages” in the theme pack.
Getting you started
Since there will be a lot of new words you will come into contact with for the first time, I thought I would give you a small list that will help in the beginning.
- 電話: Phone
- 電話番号: Phone Number
- 電話帳: Address Book
- 連絡先: Contacts
- メッセージを送信: Send the message
- 電池: Battery
- データ利用量: Data Usage
- 自動回転:Free to Rotate
- 同意する: Agree (to terms and conditions)
- 無料: Free
- アプリ内購入: In-app purchases
- 類似のアイテム: Similar apps
- ユーザに人気: Popular with (other) users
Made the switch?
What was your experience like after changing your phone to Japanese? What benefits did you discover? What obstacles did you face?
Anime and Visual Novel enthusiast, who has a goal of achieving fluency in Japanese within 1.5 years. After being told by everyone that this is too unrealistic, he now has “realistic” goals of graduating as an alien fairy and helping the world.