When Japanese text entry is active, two icons will appear in your status bar, as
icon means Japanese text entry is active.
The あ (hiragana "a") icon means you are typing in
hiragana mode. In this mode, you type romaji (alphabetic) characters, and the computer
converts these characters to hiragana automatically.
Click あ, and the icon will change to
Ａ. In this mode (called alphanumeric mode),
the computer does not convert what you type to hiragana.
To access more options, right-click the あ or
- Two katakana modes convert what you type into katakana.
One mode is full-width katakana (全角 zenkaku); the other is half-width katakana (半角 hankaku).
In almost all cases, full-width is the best choice.
- Likewise, you can enter full-width or half-width alphanumeric characters.
Generally, when writing horizontally, half-width alphanumerics are preferred.
When writing Japanese vertically, full-width alphanumerics are common.