I don’t know if many of you reading this type Japanese, but if you don’t, allow me to take you on a journey to know the wonderful world of typing Japanese on a computer keyboard, something I’ve always thought was so amazing, useful, and convenient since I first started typing Japanese.
So, typing Japanese is a lot like typing Mandarin pin-yin and then letting the predictive system, or more properly known as the input method editor, predict what you are intending to type. For example, for the word “媽媽” (mama, mother in Chinese), when you type M-A on your keyboard a little drop down box will appear, showing you the list of chinese characters with the same “ma” sound, e.g. 嗎, 嘛, 馬, 罵, 碼, 嬤, … … and the list goes on and on… I counted, the list in the drop down box had 60 characters but I have an inkling that there are even more.
Unlike Mandarin, ‘Chinese characters’ or ‘kanji’ in Japanese script does not correspond to one single pronunciation. For example, 隣 (beside) is pronounced and typed as T-O-N-A-R-I. Or, 丸 (round or circle) , typed ‘M-A-R-U’. But, here comes the interesting part. When you input M-A-R-U, the drop down menu comes up:
And I can type things like ○ or 🔴 or ● or ◎ by just typing in ’round’ in Japanese!
Next, let me try typing ‘triangle’
And I can get the Japanese post office symbol ‘〒’ by typing ‘Post’, ♨︎ when I type ‘onsen’, and ※ when I type ‘rice’ because this asterisk symbol looks like the character for rice ‘米’. ★ when I type ‘star’, ♥︎ when I type ‘heart’.
Isn’t it cool!? I mean, I for one think it’s such a pain to go to the ‘symbols’ option just to input the α, β, ε, or Ω symbols when I can just type アルファ (arufa), べーた (be-ta) and オメガ (omega), etc.
And if you like very Japanese kawaii emoticons, try installing the Japanese keyboard on your phone. You get access to many interesting old school emoticons that one may even say expresses the culture of young Japanese people. And you can do this just by clicking on the “^_^”button on the bottom right of your keyboard!!
Here are some of my favourites:
ヾ(＠⌒ー⌒＠)ノ drunken dancing guy
(・ω・)ノ a waving bear (?)
ヽ(￣д￣;)ノ=3=3=3 running away frantically
((((；ﾟДﾟ))))))) shocked face
Try it out!