23 Japan Travel Tips




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Communicating In Japan

Japanese is the official language when communicating in Japan, but there are many dialects.

Tokyo, being a major metropolitan area, is the most universal dialect which is understood by natives in other regions, but Japanese citizens from Tokyo cannot necessary understand the dialect of other regions.

Communicating In Japan - Japanese Language

Miyoshinji Temple Complex - Communicating In Japan - Japanese Language

The Japanese language evolved from Chinese and used Chinese characters, Kanji, for its written language, although pronounced entirely differently, as well as Hiragana which is a newer from of characters which sounds out the words phonetically. Some places may write with the Kanji, while others may write with Hiragana, while still others may use a mixture of both.

Many places, such as the subway and street signs, will also have some English, but it is limited. Think like an information survivalist and strive to locate the most basic information required. There are many people in Japan who can speak some English, or at least a few words, so it’s ok to politely ask if a person speaks English (Eego desu ka?)

Communicating In Japan - Learning Travel Japanese

Instant Japanese - How to Express 1,000 Different Ideas with Just 100 Key Words and Phrases

I would recommend buying a travel or survival Japanese book to learn some common words, phrases, idioms and grammar that would let you function fairly well upon memorizing even a portion of the book. Thank you (arigato gozaimasu), excuse me (sumimasen) and yes (hai) will actually get you pretty far.

I bought a few different books, but my favorite thus far is β€œInstant Japanese: How to Express 1,000 Different Ideas with Just 100 Key Words and Phrases,” by Boye Lafayette De Mente, revised by Henk de Groot and Yasuko Tsuji.

Communicating In Japan - Learning Travel Japanese - Rosetta Stone Free Demo

I’ve also used Rosetta Stone, which is focused entirely on speaking only, but it was very useful in being able to hear a native speaker speak the words and have the computer grade your pronunciation. As you move up in levels, it can become quite challenging.

Communicating In Japan - Learning Japanese As A Second Language

In addition, learn to think like a second language thinker and like a small child. Once you get hungry, you would be amazed at how much you are able to communicate with just one word or entirely without speaking just through pointing, gesturing and facial expressions. I’ve even taking pictures of what I needed and then pointed to it once I approach the counter.

Learn to anticipate and deduce what people should be saying. When you’re in a store, on the subway or taking a bus, the same phrases are repeated over and over again (kurikaeshi kurikaeshi).

Communicating In Japan - Learning Common Japanese Phrases

Narita Airport Limousine - Communicating In Japan - Learning Common Japanese Phrases

You can easily learn those phrase in any travel Japanese list or function without actually know exactly what each word means because you understand what the person is communicating in general at that moment whether it’s an airport shuttle asking for your ticket or a cashier asking if you want a receipt or sticker for your purchase.

I keep a business schedule and did not get to learn enough Japanese, but a little of the right words goes incredibly far. Just start off learning 10 words and then 100. Challenge yourself to learn 100 words and 100 days. You’ll get pretty far with 100 of the right words and learning a little bit about the grammar behind them.

 

 

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