I’m in Japan! + Where to get Electronic Dictionaries with English, not Japanese, menus?

Q: Hey Richard, let me first start out by saying that I am so thankful for everything your site has done for me, would probably not be where I am today without it; in Japan!

That leads me to my following question, I’m in Japan and have been staying here for about a month now and my Japanese is progressing nicely but I feel it could be so much better with an electronic dictionary, but the thing is that when I asked around almost all the shopkeepers told me that almost all the electronic dictionaries in Japan are for Japanese people wanting to learn English, and that all menus etc are in Kanji which makes them not so easy to handle for foreigners, so tell me please, where to get a good dictionary for gaijins? :)

Thank you before hand, I owe you one, Richard! – Rasmus

Q: Wow, your email has certainly made my day.  Well done.  And thank you!

With regards the electronic dictionaries, yes you certainly need one and one with at least the menus in English.  This is one reason why I always used to recommend ( and bought myself of course) the Canon Wordtanks, compared with the others from Casio, Seiko etc.  because Canon had options to have all the menus in English AND they also used to have the manuals in English.

Now I think (but I might be wrong so be sure to ask) that the newer G70 has only a part of the manual in English, but I do believe (and again please double check before you buy!) that all the menus can also be put into English.  Seeing as you’re in Japan then popping along to Yodobashi or Bic Camera should let you try it out and see for yourself.  (Amazon is probably the best bet for those of you outside Japan)

Some of the cheaper Canon models might also have the option.  And as I’ve said before I do credit a huge part of my Japanese learning to the  Wordtank

Now having said all that …..  at the moment I’m actually using my iPhone as a Japanese dictionary with the free Kotoba app.  To be honest it’s almost as good as the Wordtanks, is incredibly convenient, and to get back to the original question, the menus are all in English.  And it’s free, so I’d certainly say check it out, or pop along to an electronics store to see the Wordtanks

Thanks again for cheering me up with your story and well done on getting to Japan!

Be genki,


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