Asia, Blog Post
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A first timer’s survival guide to basic japanese for travel

Although getting around Tokyo hasn’t been nearly as difficult as I thought it would be, being in a foreign country with a language so different from any that I speak can get difficult at times. In Japan it’s been even more so because literally everything is in japanese, every single thing, and not a lot of people speak or understand english. I bought a small dictionary for travel in Japan a couple of weeks back, and I started thinking what the best way to use it would be because sorting through the pages every time I need something is just not practical, and decided that the best way to explore Japan easier, and learn something really awesome at the same time, would be to keep a list of the most basic phrases at hand. It turned out 1) Japanese is a really beautiful language, and 2) Japanese people find it really entertaining when you try.

What are the japanese phrases that every traveller should learn / keep at hand when travelling in Japan? Here are the phrases I’ve been learning and using the past few days:

  1. Hello (good afternoon): konnichiwa
  2. Goodbye: sayonara
  3. Excuse me: sumimasen (it has many uses, it can be used to catch someone’s attention before asking for something, or to make your way through crowds)
  4. Yes: ii desu ne / hai 
  5. No: chotto / iie
  6. How are you?: ogenki desu ka
  7. Thank you: arigatoo gozaimasu
  8. I don’t understand: wakarimasen
  9. Where is…?: – place – wa doko desu ka?
  10. What does this mean?: kore wa doo iu imi desu ka
  11. We are lost: Michi ni mayoimashita
  12. Could you show me on a map?: chizu de shimeshite moraemasu ka
  13. Entrance: iriguchi
  14. Exit: deguchi
  15. What does it cost?: ikura desu ka?
  16. Can you help me?: tasukete moraemasu ka?
  17. The bill, please: (o)kanjoo onegai shimasu

That last one, along with arigatoo which I love saying, is my personal favourite because it is the first one where I didn’t have to repeat it twice, I got it right the first time! Hopefully by the time I am in Osaka I’ll know plenty more and may this short survival guide be of help to all and any travellers out there journeying gorgeous Japan.

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Have you ever been to Japan? Was there anything that you wished you knew how to say during your travels? Tell me about your experience in a comment below!

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Yogi On The Go: the best travel apps for yoga – Fernanda Was Here

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