How to survive in english during your trip


Language which is used in country where you’re diving makes sometime you worried just because hard to get used to in short period. I think not a few people come up this topic or close one before trip to overseas.

Said that everyone knows learning language takes a lot of time and no wonder if what you will have to know in advance to have minimum communicate. Then this time I’m going to put 10 Japanese word I called “ Just OK if you know this 10 words”. I’ll touch the English skill for Japanese at the end of this article. As first section, let’s take a look character in Japan.

Japanese characters

There are three different characters used in Japan which are Kanji, Hiragana and Katakana. Kanji is basically the most difficult one because the number of Kanji is by far beyond others even though it’s basic used one(around 2000 characters). However if you look at Hiragana and Katakana you would be amazed how less they are compared to Kanji.

I made figure below to spread out all Hiragana and Katakana. If you’re curious them you can start whenever but I would say it’s enough to do just seeing and get roughly like there are different characters. Because I’ll put some important words to survive as you’re travelling in next section.



Words that you need to survive in Japan

To be honest with you, it doesn’t matter whether you speak Japanese or use English when you asking for question whatever you would have. In other word most Japanese are capable of understanding what you said or what you’re looking for. Let’s say you ask “Do you accept credit card?”. In this case Japanese(or most human.. ) tend to assume your question using “credit card” as keyword even though wasn’t able to get whole meaning of sentences you did. The same goes for this question, example “Do you have an English menu?”. They would answer for you “YES” or “NO”. They’re not good at speaking in general but can understand and reply to you with simple English word.

However I’ll put simple but powerful 10 Japanese word below with English because if you speak simple Japanese word when you ask to local people, we(Japanese) would be happy and might get down the barrier between you and Japanese. Moreover than that I think you would be happy if you can communicate with local language even it is short words.

10 brief words nice to have

English Japanese
tasty Oishī
hello kon nichi wa
good morning ohayō
good bye sayōnara (bye bye)
greeting before eat something itadakimasu
greeting after eat something gochiō sama deshita
can I get bill okaikei
I want to buy this kore kudasai
Last or First name Last or First name + san

By the way, a lot of straight English word are quite easy to understand for Japanese.(Because English is common language)
For example, beautiful, great, sorry, nice, ok, good, please, excuse me and so on. I did put several basic ones but maybe enough to get what I want to say. The figures is also the same. Speaking figures(one two three….) when you ask for the number of something won’t be big deal on communication. Japanese get used to basic English actually.

Communication trick

You might already come up that you can use and ask in English after all. In fact basically we(Japanese) is able to get what you said IF you say slowly and clearly. When you have question for destination like how to get. After you tell them your goal name of place or whatever it can be hint, you would be able to get answer how to get there even from shy Japanese (this is well known character).

Said that only you have to care is again speak slowly and clearly because grammar wise, we Japanese maybe can’t get perfect but Japanse will try to seek keywords related to your question from your voice. Conversation is difficult but using a couple of simple words is actually enough to communicate generally.

Are Japanese friendly?

When I asked for trip related question to someone who lives in abroad, some people are concerned Japanese people’s character. Don’t take it too seriously because generally I think Japanese is polite, moderate, kind and shy . If you ask on platform, which train or sort of question they are willing to help you even they’re not good at English. They try to explain as far as they know.

However there are a lot of too shy people but it is by no means ignoring you. I’m glad as one of Japanese if you take and get Japanese such character, it can be one of nationality.

Wrapping up

I put down this article focusing on communication. Diving into another culture or place equals touching another language I think. Seemingly there is slightly wall in terms of language but any person is the same human being as others. We can help each other and can jump them easily than you’re thinking.

If you face any questions while you’re traveling, try to ask what you’re having. Japanese who is around you are willing to help you for sure.