This article covers how to use the basic functions on Japanese home appliances, including air conditioning units, washing machines, and microwaves.
Air Conditioning, Washing Machine, and Microwave: How To Use Your Japanese Home Appliances
Sometimes something as simple as doing my laundry seems like a monumentous challenge. What I wouldn’t think twice about back home, in Japan is suddenly baffling. For example, on my washing machine most of the buttons are in kanji. Second of all, the button that is, thankfully, in katakana that says “dry…” Will it really dry my clothes? (The answer is no.)
If you are facing the challenge of using your home appliances, never fear. This guide will give you the essentials for your daily life, namely working your air conditioning, washing machine, and microwave.
How To Work Your Air Conditioner
Let’s start with what is absolutely necessary for summertime in Tokyo: air conditioning! First of all, you will need a remote control. Every remote リモコン is a little different, but here are the basics.
To turn on, off, and change settings:
ON: 運転 or 入
OFF: 停止 or 切
CHANGE SETTINGS: 運転切換
There are 5 standard setting options:
To change the temperature:
TEMPERATURE/TEMPERATURE SETTING: 温度温・度設定
(You might also see an up or down triangle on newer remotes)
To adjust the wind power and direction:
WIND POWER: 風量
QUIET MODE: しずか
WIND DIRECTION: 風量
Another handy feature of Japanese A/C is that I love is the timer feature. You can set it to turn ON, OFF, or PAUSE, やすみ
My old FUNAI remote has three timer buttons, all under the category TIMER.
Press SELECT MODE モード選択 to choose ON, OFF, or PAUSE. While the mode is flashing, press TIME 時間 to select from 1-12 hours. Finish by pressing SET セット.
To cancel, first press モード選択 again, and then press CANCEL 取消.
The Panasonic remote is simpler, with only two timer buttons:
OFF TIMER: 切タイマー
ON TIMER: 入タイマー
These on/off buttons double as the time button. Press until you see the number of hours you want. There is no finalize button. (On your display screen, the little 切 or 入 kanji next to the digit tells you whether you have selected off or on.)
Press 取消 to cancel.
Japan has four seasons (or can we say five, counting the rainy season 梅雨?) Knowing you’re A/C controls like a pro will help you be comfortable all throughout the year.
How To Work Your Washing Machine
No matter how long or short you are staying in Japan, one thing you will definitely need to learn to do is laundry! Here is what you will need to know to keep your clothes fresh and clean.
POWER ON/OFF: 電源切・入
LIQUID DETERGENT/BLEACH COMPARTMENT: 液体洗剤・漂白剤注入口
SOFTENER COMPARTMENT: 剤注入口
LID LOCK Light: ふたロック中
コース or Wash Cycles:
LARGE LOAD: 毛布 (for items like blankets)
FAST: 時短 or SPEEDY スピーディ
DELICATE: ドライ (Don’t be misled by the word “dry.” As I mentioned in the introduction, it won’t dry your clothes. Rather, it’s a gentle cycle.)
RESERVATION: 予約 (This allows you to schedule your washing.)
You can also customize your wash settings by selecting your preferred WATER LEVEL 水位 or a STEP 行程 in the wash cycle.
Wash Cycle Steps
DELICATE FILL: 念入り注水
How to Work Your Microwave
Whether you are heating up “kombini bento” (convenient store box lunch), steaming a creamy yellow sweet potato, or baking homemade brownies to fulfill your cravings, you will certainly need to use your microwave while in Japan.
The functions on a microwave depend on the type you own. Here are the four main types:
REGULAR MICROWAVE: 単機能レンジ
MICROWAVE OVEN: オーブンレンジ
MICROWAVE OVEN WITH STEAMER: スチームオーブンレンジ
MICROWAVE OVEN WITH VAPOR STEAMER: 過熱水蒸気搭載オーブンレンジ
Basic Microwave Functions
Every microwave is a little different, but here are the basic kanji to get you started!
MENU OPTIONS: メニュー選択肢
Most microwavable rice packs and ready-to-eat dinners specify wattage. If you need raise or lower the WATTAGE, press the 出力 (literally, “output”) button until you get the correct power.
Over To You
I have personally have not tried steam or grill features on my HITACHI microwave, but I have had a lot of success roasting vegetables and meat and baking sweets with the oven feature.