I’ve had my laptop for about 4 years now, close to 5 years in fact. And just last night, I finally discovered how to set up a Japanese keyboard layout on an English XP OS, on a Japanese laptop. Yeah, I know a bit confusing. My laptop was/is from Japan, so there are a few extra keys on it compared to the normal 101 keyboard. These few extra buttons help out with the ease of changing from the three Japanese alphabets; Hiragana(ひらがな), Katakana (カタカナ), and Kanji (漢字). Before, I was able to do the same, but since I was limited with typing Japanese on a typical N.American/European style 101 buttoned keyboard, I was only able to change the Japanese alphabet by pressing, Alt+`. Possible, but I was unable use some of the other magical buttons that are only on the Japanese keyboards.
As many of you are aware, there are more than one alphabet in Japanese, and when typing Japanese on a non-Japanese keyboard, you would utilize the space key as one of the magical buttons that will pop-up a wee screen within itself to allow you to decide whick Kanji, Katakana or Hiragana to use. But the one drawback with this is that, you weren’t able to highlight a word to change the way it’s written. Also by highlighting a word, along with the wee pop-up to change the kanji what-not, if you highlight the words that have a speech bubble beside them, another window pops-up explaining the difference of meaning. Simply a homophone. When a word is spelt different, has the same pronunciation and also has a different meaning.
So from now on, I can simply go back to change errors. Also, another great thing about this is that I can use it as an online dictionary. If there’s a word online that I don’t recognize, I can simply cut and paste it into some editing software, highlight it and boom! A simple dictionary!
So, if you have a Japanese laptop with a Japanese keyboard layout, but running an English OS, check out the following sites to be able to use those other Japanese keyboard only buttons;