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Guest writer: Urusai_Uni#0007

One of the things I always here when people talk about wanting to go to Japan is how they don’t know the language! Well fear not, here’s a couple more phrases (and vocabulary) to help you on your trip to the land where the sun rises! Check out part one, Top 10 Japanese Phrases, for even more info.

Before you start, here’s some things to know! These are my personal picks on phrases/vocab that should be useful. Also, Japan is very English friendly in, especially in the larger cities. Hopefully these articles can ease some anxieties if the language barrier is all that’s stopping you!

All images, unless otherwise stated, are courtesy of Urusai_Uni#0007


1. (O)genkidesuka?/Genkidesu.= How are you?/I’m well.

A very popular greeting, you’ll probably hear “Genkidesuka?” at some point. A lot like when someone asks in English, “How are you?”, the answer is “good”. The word genki doesn’t really have a direct translation, but means something along the lines of lively or energetic.

2. Douitashimashite = You’re Welcome

Last article we covered how to say thank you but how about when someone says it to you? It may be a bit of a long word, but knowing it will certainly make it easier to respond if someone thanks you!

3. Onegaishimasu = Please

Meaning please, onegaishimasu is best used when making requests. Someone offers to show you the way? Onegaishimasu will work just like saying please lead the way!

4. Nihongo hanasemasenn = I don’t speak Japanese

This one kind of explains itself but will be useful to get yourself out of a variety of situations. Just like “I don’t understand” from part one, saying you don’t speak Japanese will quickly get the point across if you don’t understand what’s being said to you.

5. Tasukete (Kudasai) = (Please) Help Me

Tasukete is specifically the word for help for emergencies. If you’re in an emergency situation, tasukete is very to the point. Although it’s generally meant for emergencies, saying tasukete kudasai to ask for help from someone will also work, even if it’s just for directions.

6. Doko/Koko/Soko = Where/Here/There

An assortment of words for a variety of situations, knowing placement words are always helpful, especially doko. “Dokodesuka” is how to ask “Where?” and “Koko wa doko?” is “Where is here?” Try pairing “Dokodesuka” with some of the words I have listed below!

Important Vocabulary

Many of these words appear on signs or written down, so I’ve added the Kanji/Kana as well in case you need to recognize them!

交番・警察 [Koubann ・ Keisatsu] = Police Box/Police
駅 [Eki] = (Train) Station
ホテル [Hoteru] = Hotel
コンビニ [Konbini] = Convenience Store
手洗い・トイレ [Te-arai ・ Toire] = Washroom/Toilet
バス停 [Basutei] = Bus Stop
空港 [Kuukou] = Airport
タクシー [Takushii] = Taxi
地図 [Chizu] = Map



Hopefully this will help get you going on planning that trip you’ve been dreaming of! Just a little bit will go a long way! Looking to take the leap into learning the whole language? This article on hiragana and katakana is a good start!


Further Reading/Sources

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