5 Phrases You Should Know Before Going to Japan
So you want to go to Japan, but are worried about going somewhere where most people donÃÂÃÂt speak English. Here are some basic words and phrases that will help you out.
1. ÃÂÃÂ Word : Sumimasen
Pronunciation : soo-mii-mah-sen
What it means : Sorry/Excuse me
When you hear it :ÃÂÃÂ All the time, Japanese people are very polite.
When you should use it : To get past someone; to get someoneÃÂÃÂs attention; to apologize for pretty much anything; to get someone to repeat something they just said; if itÃÂÃÂs all you say, Japanese people will usually take the hint that you donÃÂÃÂt speak Japanese.
2. ÃÂÃÂ Phrase : Kore o kudasai
Pronunciation : Core-eh oh koo-dah-sah-ee
What it means : This, please
When you hear it : You will be saying this a lot more than you will hear it.
When you use it : Buying something; while pointing at an item on a menu to order in a restaurant. This phrase is vital for functioning in Japan with little or no Japanese.
3. ÃÂÃÂ Word : Hai
Pronunciation : its similar to the greeting ÃÂÃÂhiÃÂÃÂ
What it means : Yes
When you hear it : In response to a yes/no question; when you get someoneÃÂÃÂs attention; all the time from shopkeepers; peppered throughout a conversation while the other person is talking. There is a very special ÃÂÃÂhaiÃÂÃÂ that sounds like a question. It is used when someone didnÃÂÃÂt hear or understand what was just said.
When you use it : In response to a yes/no question; if you understand enough of what someone said that you want to agree to them.
4. ÃÂÃÂ Word : iie
Pronunciation : spell ÃÂÃÂeatÃÂÃÂ, but stop before the ÃÂÃÂtÃÂÃÂ. Like the letter ÃÂÃÂEÃÂÃÂ followed by the letter ÃÂÃÂAÃÂÃÂ.
What it means : No
When you hear it : Not that often, the Japanese are seldom direct enough to say this a lot.
When you use it : If someone seems to be offering you something you donÃÂÃÂt want, like a pack of tissues (and you will be offered packs of tissues on the street in Japan, itÃÂÃÂs a common promotional technique). Any situation in which you want to say ÃÂÃÂnoÃÂÃÂ. It would usually be a good idea to follow this with ÃÂÃÂsumimasenÃÂÃÂ.
5. ÃÂÃÂ Phrase : Nihongo wakarimasen.
Pronunciation : Knee-hon-go wah-kah-ree-mah-sen
What it means : I donÃÂÃÂt understand Japanese
When you hear it : When another non-Japanese person is talking to a Japanese person.
When you use it : If someone is talking to you in Japanese; to get out of a bad situation; as an all purpose excuse if you did something you shouldnÃÂÃÂt have.