Following the first of my presentations at the JET Tokyo Recontracting Conference I was approached by a bunch of people evangelising the Nintendo DS Lite as an alternative or supplement to an electronic dictionary like the Canon Wordtank . Now I'm not much of a gamer. My last contact with Mario was via a Gameboy back in the early 80s, I Doom'ed in the office during the 90s and these days I occasionally sate my desire to shoot people with the odd session of Time Crisis. Why would I suddenly be interested in the DS Lite?
Well, for one, it looks like the the love child of an iPod and an iBook and I am a sucker for well designed devices.
Secondly, writing a kanji on the screen and having the readings, sample compounds etc pop up gave me a giddy thrill.
I had to have one. Off to Akihabara. Sold out everywhere. Shinjuku - same story. I went to about 6 big electronics stores and was about to give up when I spotted Sakuraya. I walked in, saw one DS Lite on the shelf and grabbed it. 16,000yen. So it wouldn't be lonely I also grabbed a copy of the もっと脳を鍛える brain training software. 2500yen.
I had dinner at a Mexican restaurant and while I waited for my order I started playing with my new toy. Before I had even registered my name etc the DS Lite's magical powers began working. A waitress noticed the pristine whiteness of my new acquisition, came over to my table and started to chat about the brain training software. Nice work, DS Lite!
I gave the DS the once over, found my mental age (an embarassing 46. According to the software, the younger the better) and got the feel of the beast. The stylus works like a dream - and encourages neat writing. The interface was easy to understand. I fell in love. I'll review the software tomorrow but for now I just want to say that:
-having all the intructions in Japanese forces you to read, which is GOOD FOR YOU
-using the DS Lite is fun so I am likely to use it a lot, unlike some of my books....
-it is small enough to take anywhere, just don't put it in your back pocket and sit on it
-my kanji writing skills are going to take off
-it can also be used for other purposes, like playing games