I’m working out every day. But not in a gym. I’m working out every day how to do things. How to operate the washing machine, the air conditioner, the microwave… And out of the home, how to pay for the bicycle parking. How to order a dish…
Sometimes I can work it out with using the Google Translate App, sometimes I find helpful information on another blog of someone who went through the same challenges, sometimes it needs trial and error and sometimes, well sometimes, I just can’t work it out at all and don’t touch the buttons anymore.
Buttons with kanji are especially difficult because the scanning app often does not catch them. Labels written in katakana on the other hand sometimes only need a bit of deciphering, talking out aloud and guessing what it could mean. For example, the toast button on the microwave トースタ reads to-o-su-ta. As the “u” in “su” is not really pronounced, you can guess that it means toaster. Or on the large button on the AC remote to the right side it says スイング, translating to su-i-n-gu and meaning….? Meaning swing. Maybe you can work out yourself some more words!
Katakana is often used for words loaned from other languages like pan for bread, koohii for coffee, s(u)teeki for steak, sandoitchi for sandwich, ais(u) for ice. Many loan words are for foods and dishes, but not only. Apaato means apartment, terebi television, doitsu Deutsch respectively Germany. On Wikipedia you can find a list of many more such terms.
We also have such words in English or German. Futon, tofu or tsunami , just to name a few. We just don’t have our own letter system to write them :-)