How to Enable Japanese on an iPhone

This is actually pretty easy to figure out by stumbling about in the iPhone Settings, but from time to time I hear people asking.  So, here is how to turn on the Japanese keyboard and voice commands on the iPhone or iPod Touch.

1) First tap the Settings icon probably on your first screen:


2) Next tap “General.”

iPhone Japanese Settings

3) Next tap “International”–You could do the same thing by tapping “Keyboard” and then “International Keyboards,” but International gives you other options.

Enabling Japanese on iPhone

4) The “Language” setting sets the language for all menu titles; Try changing the Voice Control to Japanese and then hold down the home button for a few seconds.  But for today’s post, we want the third choice–Keyboards. 


5) Set QWERTY to ON and leave Kana off.  Using QWERTY (or romaji input) is so much easier than searching for kana.


That’s it.  Most people will find this on their own (I did).  But for those who Google before trying, here you go!

Two New Karate Related Posts at

I’m working on an update for our Karate app on the iPhone.  It contains karate related Japanese terms and phrases.

As a request from a user, I’m adding two groups of phrases and decided to add them to TJP with the audio here:

Dojo Kun and Niju Kun

The Dojo Kun are five succinct guidelines for becoming the ideal Karateka.  The Niju Kun are twenty general rules and observations about Karate devised by Gichin Funakoshi who is credited for introducing Okinawan karate to mainland Japan.

Thai Elvis versus a Taiko Group

You have to see it to believe it, folks.

Last week at the Asian Festival in Gainesville, Florida, a Taiko group was supposed to follow Thai Elvis—yep, he was a Thai impersonator of Elvis.  The only problem was, as the Taiko group started, Elvis played an encore.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Elvis.  It’s just when you’re expecting cola and you take a swig of milk, something just ain’t right.

$5 Download for Beginners Now .99

For a limited time (meaning, Clay hasn’t decided yet!), we are discounting our popular Beginners Vocabulary Download to less than a buck! (well, ok, one penny less than a buck)

This instant gratification download has over 500 sound files and it is actually the base for our first iPhone app called Japanese Phrases and Lessons.  If you have an iPhone, you will want to get that instead of this download since we have added more than 2,200 audio files and hundreds of pages of lessons to it.  But then again, even if you have the iPhone app, you may want to pick this up to have on your computer  for a mere .99!

 This download includes a Flash program for point, click, and hear interactivity, PDFs to print out the vocabulary, and over 500 sound files in MP3 format.  It works on PCs and Macs and right after the purchase, you will be able to download the files instantly.

Japanese Vocabulary: Family Words

I just added a new section to’s online audio phrasebook: Family Words

A few days ago, I got an email from a user of our Japanese Phrases & Lessons iPhone app.  He was very complimentary;  I had to press him for suggestions for improvements. 

His wife’s family lives in Brazil and speaks Portuguese and Japanese–no English.  So he suggested family words like mother, father, your mother’s first cousin once removed, etc.  I thought it would be nice to add it to TJP also which is why it is there!

The next mini project will be on “Expressing Feelings.”  This was his other suggestion.

Needless to say, I love getting suggestions.  Please let me know if you have any.

Apple is Smarter than This: iTunes App Store Release Date Madness

An iPhone user with digital cash in hand hunting for the next killer app to impress his iPhone-less friends, views a category in the iTunes App Store.  He is instantly greeted by twenty apps filling up the better part of the iTunes real estate.  These are the “new releases.”

iTunes App Store Release Date

Or actually, they aren’t.

“Sort by Release Date” is the default view and because it is the first and biggest part of what a consumer sees, developers of iPhone apps often see an amazing doubling of sales while their app is on that front page.

There are two factors for getting one’s application in the empyrean “Sort by Release Date” area. 

  1. Apple’s approval date (for new apps and updates)
  2. Release Date set by the developer

The earlier of the two determines placement.  This means a developer HAS to be quick. 

When an app is approved (whether new or an update), Apple sends the developer an email saying so.  But the app isn’t automatically added to the newest releases list.  The developer must log in to iTunes Connect (the backend for iPhone developers to upload their wares to Apple) and manually set the date to that day’s date.  THEN (maybe) within a few hours, the app may appear in the new releases list.

You might ask, “Why not simply set the developer date to 2099?” 

Easy.  Setting the Release Date to some time in the future, removes the app from the App Store. You don’t want to do this.

A developer could set the Availability Date to today’s date every morning while an app is waiting for approval.  This way, the app won’t be pulled (as long as it is past midnight in California) and as soon as it is approved, it will appear in the Release Date list.

But this may not be good either.  Some people have reported that doing this delays approval–moves the app to the bottom of the queue.  I haven’t tested this systematically.  I have tried this technique, but due to innate laziness… Well, I haven’t been systematic.  I’ll try to do this with a particular app everyday just to see if it does take longer than other apps.  Will update.

Here is all Apple has to say on the subject (that I know of):

Does the “Released” date displayed for my application in the App Store have an effect on my application?
 The “Released” date is listed as part of basic app information displayed on the App Store.  The “Released” date is currently determined by the date of the app’s approval by Apple and the availability date that the developer has listed within iTunes Connect, whichever is earlier.

Other things to consider:

  1. The release date is in alphabetical order
  2. Names starting with numbers are positioned by the first letter (numbers don’t help ranking) — Although, interestingly, numbers do appear at top if sorted by “Name.”
  3. Changing the release date past the date approved by Apple doesn’t help.  But having it before the approval date means your app will appear in the list for that date (many pages deep).
  4. At least for me, notifications of approved apps tend to come in the late afternoon (I guess still morning or early afternoon California time).  This makes me feel like I lost a half day of exposure.  Maybe not, but it feels that way. 

Why did Apple do it this way?  It seems to me there ought to be a “Live / not Live” option for developers and the Release Date should be set automatically according to when it was actually released. 

Also listing by alphabetical order creates an incentive for strange naming patterns.  If I rename “Japanese Phrases & Lessons” to  “A1 Japanese Phrases & Lessons” I will be at the top of that day’s list.  Why can’t it be displayed in order of approval?  Or perhaps randomly?  That way everyone gets an even chance.

Anyone have anything else to add?

Hats off to Machine Translation

Hmmm…  I need to rethink the pedagogical value of our videos.  Here is a comment from Youtube:

thanks. i can now say thank you in japanese

Usually a machine translation of Japanese is funny.  It is funny because you can see how the error erred.  But I have no idea how any of this “translation” became what it became.  I mean, 帽子 boushi?