An extremely annoying Japanese input bug just since iOS 13

This is a demonstration of an extremely annoying Japanese input bug that just surfaced since iOS 13.

It doesn’t matter what app you’re using, if you are dictating in Japanese, and you have the Japanese keyboard set, it starts receiving your Japanese characters and then switches to nonsense English words.

It doesn’t happen all the time. But it happens multiple times a day.

You just have to keep on trying over and over again until it realizes that you’re inputting Japanese.

It doesn’t matter if your primary iOS language is English or Japanese. 

I reported this to Apple feedback when version 13.1, 13.2, and 13.3 came out. No response.

It never happened even once in previous versions prior to iOS 13.

And it doesn’t happen just to me. In my Sunday volunteer teaching class, I have seen the problem and other people have seen the problem on multiple iPhones and iPads.

In this screen recording I am speaking ほうこくですまる (houkoku desu maru) which should convert to 報告です。

You can see the Japanese initially getting input, and then the nonsense English words it turns into with each attempt. 

If I try over and over and over again it will eventually work.

It’s extremely annoying, and I wish Apple would take the problem seriously and fix it.

If you are experiencing the problem, I urge you report it to Apple feedback. The more people who report it, maybe the better chances there are that somebody will actually fix it.

Here’s the screen recording:

Forgot an English word… should I worry?

Ever have one of those times when you know a foreign language word for a common thing, you can see the thing, you know what the thing is, but for the life of you you can’t remember the English word?

In the supermarket today I saw a fruit and knew it was あんず (anzu). I knew what it was. I knew what it was called in Japanese. I knew it was a common fruit. I’ve eaten them before in the U.S. and in Japan. I know I knew the English word. It was not an unusual word. But I just could not recall it all day.

I thought if I didn’t try hard to remember it would eventually come to me. Finally it was bothering me and I looked it up in Google Translate – apricot. Of course.

But how could I forget the English word and remember just the Japanese word? It feels really … weird.

Is something happening to my brain?

How the new Nexus 7 in Japan does Japanese input – and you can do it too

One of my nitpicks about my new Nexus 7 that I bought from the U.S. is that the Google Japanese Input method I downloaded from Google Play doesn’t let you switch back easily to the English keyboard. While the English keyboard has a dedicated soft button for switching languages, near the space bar, surprisingly the Japanese keyboard doesn’t. So it’s a bit more time-consuming to get back. Also on the Japanese keyboard there isn’t a voice input button.

Since the new Nexus 7 went on sale here in Japan a few days ago, I dropped by Yodobashi Camera in Akihabara and looked at the settings they are distributing here. Instead of the Google Japanese Input method they are instead using something called iWnn IME.

Right there on the spot I did a Google Play search for it and found it: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=jp.co.omronsoft.wnnlab

It’s free and described this way:

“Wnn Keyboard Lab is pre-release free version of iWnn IME (Japanese keyboard) which is standard installed a lot of Android devices in Japan. Wnn Keyoboard Lab will provide stable basic IME functions and plug-in modules for customization.”

It works great, and you can even toggle an Emoji keyboard (which I turned off) and has a voice input button also.

I don’t see any advantage to the Google Japanese Input method. This is much better. And it’s the way the standard Japanese Nexus 7s are set up.

Objects and Things

I was having difficulty explaining to a Japanese person the difference between a “thing” and an “object.”

Native speakers will tend to naturally use one or the other, depending on the situation. For example:

An unidentified flying object. We wouldn’t say,  “an unidentified flying thing.”

I need to pick up some things at the store. We normally wouldn’t say, “I need to pick up some objects at the store.”

An object of art. We generally would not say, “A thing of art.”

Get your things and lets go. We wouldn’t say, “Get your objects and lets go.”

How would you explain it?

As an aside, for people not familiar with Japanese, while in English we have one word for both material things (e.g. “A thing of beauty is a joy forever”) and abstract things (e.g. “Love is a many splendored thing”), in Japanese there are two separate words – “mono” for a material thing and “koto” for an abstract thing.

doug