Labs- Windows XP machines
Open Microsoft Word (or whichever program you wish to type in Japanese in). In the lower right corner of the screen, you will a blue square with "EN" (English) inscribed in it. Click this square and select "JP" (Japanese). Now click the "JP" icon (which you just changed from "EN" and select "Show the language bar." The language bar will appear at either the bottom or top of the screen, depending on the computer. Select "Input Mode" and pick "Hiragana" or whatever it is that you need. Alternately, you can do this with the keyboard by holding down ALT and pressing SHIFT, which will switch from EN to JP and back. Once you are in JP input mode, you can switch between available input modes by holding down ALT and pressing "~". If you are typing in hiragana and need katakana, press the F7 key, which will switch whatever you have last typed (since confirming with enter) into katakana.
Personal Computers- Windows XP machines
You may need your original Windows XP install CD to do this. Open the Control Panel. Choose "Regional and Language Options". If you do not see "Regional and Language Options", click "Switch to Classic View" in the left sidebar. Select the language tab and check "Install Fonts for East Asian Languages". Insert the CD if prompted. Next, click the "Details" button. Click "Add" and select Japanese. Click "OK". Japanese should now be working properly on your system.
Labs and Personal Computers- Mac OS X machines
Click the blue Apple in the upper left corner of the screen. Open System Preferences. Select International. Click the Input Menu tab. Check "Kotoeri," "Hiragana," "Katakana," and "Romaji." Also, make sure "Show input method in menu bar" is checked. This will place an icon near the clock at the top right corner of the screen that will allow you to switch between languages. To speed up this process, below the list of languages you may have the option to choose a keyboard shortcut to switch between English and Japanese, depending on which version of Mac OS X you are using. If you are using Mac OS 10.4 "Tiger," to use the default option of APPLE+SPACE you must disable the Spotlight functionality, which is mapped to this key. To do this, open System Preferences and select Spotlight, then uncheck both keyboard shortcuts at the bottom. If you are setting up your personal machine, you will not need to do this again. If you are setting up a lab computer for use, you will need to repeat this process every time you log in.
Typing: The Basics
To input は, type "ha".
To input を, type "wo".
To input ん, type "nn".
To input きゃ、しゅ、ちょ, type "kya", "shu", "cho", respectively.
To input small っ, type the following consonant twice (for きって type "kitte").
To input ・（てん） , type "tenn", hit SPACE, select ・ and confirm.
For 「 or 」（かっこ）, type "kakko" in Hiragana mode, hit SPACE, select 「 or 」 and confirm.
This page adapted from the work of Chisato Murakami.