I just want to take this moment to say that I love my Mac. Specifically, I love the software that comes WITH my Mac.
First off, it can play all of my Windows games pretty darn well, under Windows, so that’s the first liberating factor.
Second, it has a lot of built-in support for a lot of international “stuff.” This “stuff” includes a whole lot of Japanese. I can use basically all of the default programs in Japanese (were I to so desire, and I don’t right now), I can also natively view any website in Japanese without having to install special fonts, etc… Actually, this may have just been an option that I could have chosen on install… Anyway, the installation of international input is also easier than on Windows. (Note: I haven’t installed Vista on anything, so this may be better now.)
Going along with that, there’s this wicked cool program which comes with every installation of the Mac OS: Dictionary. Yes, that’s right, I called the Dictionary program “wicked-cool.” And it is. I can set which dictionaries I want to look a word up in, and select them for any word or set of characters that I type. Specifically, I have now set up to be have available a standard dictionary, a thesaurus, Apple’s dictionary (which I assume lets you look of definitions of the terminology used with your computer and software), a Japanese dictionary (defines Japanese words IN Japanese), a Japanese-English Dictionary (which actually goes BOTH ways), and a Japanese Synonyms dictionary, for when you just can’t stand to use the same word 7 times in a row. ^_^
Let me now provide an example. The little boy at my house here in Tokyo (where I’m living in a home-stay, remember?) was in here rifling through my drawers because I haven’t the gonads to tell him to stop, nor the conviction that I could do so in a kind and gentle manner. I would probably either scare him or make him think that he continued his intrusions at risk of life-and-limb, which isn’t the case, so I let him enjoy himself. It’s just stuff after all. And I keep my valuable things hidden away. ^_^ Back to the subject, he was sifting through a drawer and happened upon my tuner – this for music, not for radio waves. He picks it up and says, “What’s this?”
Well, it wasn’t my DS, so I really wanted to answer him. (Lately he’s been asking about my DS at least thrice a day. I should have never let him see that I had one, let alone that I had a Pokemon game for it! >.< you live and learn, I suppose. And here I was just trying to be more forthcoming and honest…) However, I found that I simply could not answer his question. I didn’t know the Japanese words for “pitch,” “sharp,” “flat,” “to tune,” or “analyze.” (The latter, I thought I could maybe use to say “It’s a machine that analyzes sound.” But even then I’d have wanted to say ‘sound frequencies,’ and I don’t know how to say “frequency” either.) So I whip out my dictionary program here, look up the word “tuner,” expecting to get a bevy of useless words and arcane instances of those five letters in that configuration throughout the English language, translated into Japanese.
Lo and behold, I get two words. One deals with music and has crazy looking kanji (調律師), the other deals with radios, and is the katakana letters for “chuunaa,” which is nothing more than the Japanesification of the English word. So I click on the crazy kanji and I get the word “chouritsu,” meaning “tuning,” the noun. Unfortunately, that’s only the first two of the three total kanji. So I click the extended word (Dicitonary often gives a list of related, derived words below the definition you’re currently looking at) which highlighted the word I was searching for, but ALSO put that word in my search box.
Finally, I got to execute a wonderful trick I learned recently, that if you are in a text editor and you have a Japanese word highlighted, you can press Ctrl+Shift+R to do a reverse lookup on the kanji, and select “Transliteration” in a popup menu, and it will show you how to pronounce it! The answer, finally, was “chouritsu-shi.” I used this, and got blank stares from both him and my host parents. Then my host mom looked at me and was like, “You mean like for a guitar?”
Success! I successfully communicated something new in Japanese! Thank you, Apple, for making this (and many other, less immediately pertinent things) possible. ^_^