My temporary rental cellphone has an “Interpreter” tool that translates hundreds of useful phrases into English, Chinese or Korean. All the Japanese traveler has to do is search the situation categories, choose a written Japanese phrase, and an animated cat will do all the talking in a chirpy, non-threatening, female voice.
Faced with mystery meat that has suspicious little red things in the gravy? Have your phone tell the waiter, “There is something strange in my food!”
Eager to come clean? Kitty can confess to the police, “I have stolen property.”
Want to get rid of the guy chatting you up at the bar? “I have rashes all over my body!”
And, of course, the essential phrase needed if you mow down the pumps at a service station with your rental car: “I can smell gas!”
Jonelle Patrick is the author of four novels set in Tokyo…
Writing mystery books set in Tokyo is mostly what I do, but I also blog about the odd stuff I see every day in Japan. I'm a graduate of Stanford University and the Sendagaya Japanese Institute in Tokyo, and a member of the International Thriller Writers, the Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters In Crime. When I'm not in Tokyo, I live in San Francisco. I also host a travel site called The Tokyo Guide I Wish I'd Had, so if you're headed to Japan and want to check out the places I take my friends when they're in town, take a look!