An astounding number of websites on the Japanese web fail to declare
charset, resulting in garbled text (文字化け), requiring the user to manually switch encoding. Safari on the Mac or PC allows you to switch via the View menu. Unfortunately there is no such menu for Mobile Safari.
The iPad is billed as an amazing web browsing experience. Ignorant Japanese web designers may take some of the shine off of that experience. The blame lies squarely on them for not coding properly, and not on Apple for not providing manual switching for encoding (which no mobile browser does to my knowledge).
I can’t believe I didn’t realize this earlier. I must not look at the J-web enough on my iPhone. It hit me this morning as I tried to check the J-League TV schedule.
Postscript: The same goes for Mobile Mail. Mail.app allows switching to solve encoding problems for email sent from older platforms with erroneous (or non-existent)
charset declarations. I wonder how Japanese iPhone users have dealt with this so far? I haven’t had any problems reading Japanese emails, but admittedly my circle of contacts are not representative of the general computing populace.