First of all, let me tell you that I am not an expert in Japanese language. I don’t even have any JLPT certifications, at least not yet. I am still learning Japanese language, back to the basic once again. I make this post just as reminder for myself and hopefully could be useful for anyone reading this.
If you travelled to Japan, you might want to know at least a bit of their language. Not for everyday communication but at least enough to keep you survive without too many trouble there. Especially for travellers who has plan a trip to Japan without any tour guide, please understand these words or sentences.
- Sumimasen / すみません = Excuse me
This is very useful to get people’s attention if you need some helps, like asking for location or direction. Based on my own experience, this word is the first that you need to remember when travelling to Japan.
- Arigatou / ありがとう = Thank you
After getting someone’s help, you have to thank them, right? The more polite way to say thank you is Arigatou Gozaimasu which more or less means Thank you very much.
- Douitashimashite / どういたしまして = You’re welcome
This is people will say after you thank them. You can use it as well when people thanking you.
- Hai / はい = Yes and Iie / いいえ = No
How to response to basic questions.
- Gomennasai / ごめんなさい = Sorry
Human is never without mistakes. You might do that too when travelling to Japan and you need to right word to properly apologize.
- Douzo / どうぞ = Please / Here you go
Used when offering something. You will likely hear this word when the waiter in the restaurant serves your meal.
- Onegai shimasu / お願いします or Kudasai / ください = Please
This word is useful when you are asking for something in shop or restaurant. For example when you want water, you can ask “Mizu (wo) onegai shimasu” or “Mizu (wo) kudasai”. Both literally means “Water, please”. Adding Sumimasen in front of the sentence will make it more polite. On a shop, when you purchase an item, you can give it to the cashier while saying “Kore (wo) Kudasai” which means “This one, please”. When riding taxi, you can also tell the direction to the driver using Onegai shimasu. For example, “Tokyo Tower, onegai shimasu”.
- Ikura desu ka? / いくらですか。 = How much?
After finish shopping or eating in a restaurant, you have to pay, right? This is the right way to ask the price.
- Eigo no menyuu wa arimasu ka ? / えいごのメニューは ありますか。 = Do you have English Menu?
Although not every restaurant provided English menu, at least you can try to ask them.
- Itadakimasu / いただきます = Let’s Eat
Used when you are going to eat.
- Gochisousama deshita / ごちそうさまでした = Thanks for the food
Used after you finished your meal.
- Doko desu ka? / どこですか。= Where?
This one is useful when asking direction or location. For example, “Shinjuku-eki wa doko desu ka?” which means “Where is Shinjuku station?”. Other urgent matter is when you need to use the toilet. So you can simply asked “Toire wa doko desu ka?” which literally means “Where is the toilet?”. Of course, you also need to understand Japanese language for the response.
- Ohayou / おはよう or Ohayou Gozaimasu おはようございます= Good Morning
- Konnichiwa / こんにちは= Good Afternoon
- Konbanwa / こんばんは = Good Evening
- Tadaima / ただいま = I am Home
Used when you arrived at home. Just for knowledge.
- Okaeri / おかえり = Welcome Home
Used for greeting someone who has just arrived at home.
That’s probably covers most basic things you need when visiting Japan if you don’t know the language. This is not a real lesson, just a bit of knowledge for those who have zero knowledge of Japanese language.