Ever since Japan has ended production of the flip-phones, a lot of people are beginning to use smartphones due to the abundant use of applications that have improve their lifestyle. I assume that most of you ICS students will be bringing a smartphone to Japan so I thought it would be good to give you guys some suggestive picks on what applications to use.
Since you guys are studying Japanese, you should already have a English->Japanese Dictionary installed on your phone (And if you didn’t, why?). The most popular dictionary is imiwa? on the iOS or jisho for the Android. I personally use both Japanese and imiwa? on the iOS. The application, Japanese, works similarly to Android’s jisho, where you get instant search result when you finish a word. TLDR: Download a dictionary please, it will help out a ton.
Another dictionary you may want to consider downloading is WordWeb. When you are trying to explain an English word to a Japanese student, chances are you may not be explaining it properly. This app will alleviate the problem by providing definitions and example sentences. It can also be used offline so it’s worthwhile picking this up.
In times where you want to travel, you gotta know how to get to your destination and the route to it. For iOS users, get Google Maps. The default Apple map isn’t really that great… Simple. For transportation, you can either look up online, or get Yahoo Japan’s 乗換案内. Pretty sure you only get this app from the Japanese store, so make a Japanese account(which you can find out how online). Alternatively get Yahoo Japan!, that will work as well. Reason why you want to get the 乗換案内 is because it will give you times of the transport from Point A to Point B, the duration and the price. Also when I was heading to Kofu from Haneda Airport, even though my phone was not connected to internet, it provided real time update to where you are relative to the stops. Get this before leaving for Japan in order to plan out how you are going to get to your assigned city from the airport.
LINE is one of the most common apps Japanese youth use nowadays. It works the same as other apps such as WhatsApp and Viber. What makes LINE so unique is the bunch of stickers that you can use. You can also do voice and video call through LINE, which is why most ICS students opt to get data-only plans or Wifi to communicate. Since you are coming to Japan, make a LINE account. Most people will likely ask you if you use LINE and it would be kinda awkward if you don’t have one..
Install a Japanese keyboard in order to improve your writing/typing skills! You may be wondering what layout to use as there are two common layouts. One is the QWERTY format, where you type the romaji of a character to get it. The other, which is very common for Japanese users, is the Kana format, where there is 12 keys and you either press or slide up, down, left or right to get the specific character. At first, I was using the QWERTY format until I realise that for a smartphone, typing in Japanese under that layout was not comfortable. Thankfully, my senpai, Tim, showed me the Kana format and while I struggled at first, it quickly became natural. Also, Japanese people are surprised that you can type Japanese under the Kana format. WORTH!
If there are any other useful applications, I will update this post!