Sony has released a new software called "Talkman" for it's PSP that is going to make your next trip to Japan easier: Talkman makes debut as latest language assistant software "The software put on sale by Sony Computer Entertainment Inc in November for Sony's PlayStation Portable gaming system is designed to enable better communication between Japanese people and visitors who speak English, Chinese or Korean. About 3,000 conversation patterns that could take place during the course of shopping or visiting holiday destinations are recorded on Talkman. A user may speak the words "Koko-wa-dokodesuka?" (Where is this?) in Japanese, for example, into the device's microphone, upon which a cartoon bird acting as an interpreter will pop up and start talking in the user's language. The bird is also able to translate the reply into Japanese. Yoshiteru Yamamoto of Sony Computer Entertainment said Talkman cannot translate everything but it can create a chance for communication."
I plan on taking Japanese next year, and maybe this would be something fun to play around with to help me learn. That, and the thousands of Japanese video games out there.