Well I have been putting this off far too long. I finally got around to installing the Windows Japanese input program on my computer, so now I can type in Japanese. My computer has been able to display Japanese characters since coming to Japan, but now I can type them too. The input system is really smooth, all things considered. I enter the sound I want, say “do” and the computer can put it into the proper hiragana: ど or katakana: ヂ Then, to get kanji I spell out the word in hiragana and then pick the proper reading. So to get mountain (yama) I type “ya” which is recognized as: や and then I type “ma” which is recognized as the character: ま. やま is recognized as the kanji: 山 which means mountain! Slick.
If there are “?” on the computer you are using, where I claim there should be Japanese, your computer cannot display Japanese characters. If you desperately want to know what “do,” “ya,” “ma,” and “yama” look like you can download the necessary file from Microsoft here You do NOT need the other file mentioned (the Office XP Tool: Global IME (Japanese) file.) That file is only if you want to also be able to type in Japanese.