11 Answers

  • +2

    imJapanese! it depends on the place,iguess:) if u will go to big city:Kyoto,Osaka,Tokyo, there is many sign translated in En, so u don't have to be worried.but most of Japanese,even if we have studied En for at least 6years,say 'i can't speak English'.Maybe itll very difficult to make u understood in English(except tourist spot )take care:) almost 8 years ago

    Answered by kazukihimura via Site_iconWorldNomads.com
    • I'll only be there for 6 days and just touristy places. What I'm really worried about is even if I know to ask a question in Japanese, I wouldn't understand what their answers are. Karen Ang almost 8 years ago
  • 0

    Depends if you're going to tourist areas or not. Many do but most don't. almost 8 years ago

    Answered by via Site_iconTravellr.com
  • +1

    I'm also there in April, a wonderful time to travel around, particularly Kyoto! (6th - 9th is peak cherry blossom estimate at the moment!). I'd have to agree with the above: very few Japanese speak English, although there are far more street signs in English today than there were even 10 years ago.

    Having said that, a little goes a long way in Japan, so you've got a month to learn some basics!

    I hope you have an iPhone!

    Try the World Nomads Japanese Language Guide as a primer: http://journals.worldnomads.com/language-guides/post/1245.aspx

    I'd also carry this with you: http://googlemobile.blogspot.com/2011/02/introducing-google-translate-app-for.html

    It isn't perfect by any means, however I've tested it and it is certainly good enough that people can understand you (which is pretty amazing really).

    Enjoy

    Simon

    ps - if you are there for a few weeks, make sure you try one of the Japanese Onsen (hot spa's). It's one of the reasons we visit! Hakone near Tokyo has many, but they are all over the country. Wonderful. almost 8 years ago

    • Thanks! I'll be bringing my iphone and ipad with me. I don't know if I can get my iphone on roaming mode though. i already installed some translation apps on both devices. I just hope I don't need to rely on the internet or 3G Karen Ang almost 8 years ago
    • I know the Japanese are crazy about the iPhone so I'm going to find out where you can buy a local pre-paid SIM. Will let you know. simon Original Nomad almost 8 years ago
  • +1

    Of course the big question is, how long will you be here and is anyone meeting you?

    But i wouldn't worry a great deal about the language barrier. I've lived here for 8 years now so of course i can speak the language but Japanese people are probably the most helpful in the world. The sense of "Obligation" is very strong here so they will try very hard to understand you and / or help you.

    But relying solely on english is perhaps not a good idea unless you sticking to Tokyo/Kyoto/Hiroshima. There are plenty of english signs/t-shirts/hats about but not a lot of people who actually understand what it is that is written on those items (trust me on this!). But if you have a smartphone then even basic services such as google translate will be a great help.

    But try to learn a few stock phrases. Don't worry about hello's, goodbyes and so on as most japanese people know that. But try and learn phrases such as "Where is the ____ station?" (____ eki doko desuka?), "How much is this?" (kore wa ikura desuka?) etc. You'd be amazed at how much the service improves (and the service is damned good already) if you try a little of their language almost 8 years ago

    Answered by Lucas Rose via Site_iconTravellr.com
    • Like I answered above, I'll only be there for 6 days and just touristy places. What I'm really worried about is even if I know to ask a question in Japanese, I wouldn't understand what their answers are. Anyway, I'm doing a crash course on Japanese. Just self study. Karen Ang almost 8 years ago
    • Oh i see. Then don't worry, all the touristy spots have english speakers or know of people who do in 95% of the cases. Where exactly are you going? As i live in Japan i may be able to give you some more detailed advice. Lucas Rose almost 8 years ago
  • 0

    Lucas, I too are going to Japan next week. Can you please make some suggestions for Tokyo and Kyoto for sight seeing - there is so much in the guide books it is hard to know what to choose. thanks Patricia Ryan almost 8 years ago

  • 0

    Kyoto is simply stunning: there's the obvious like Kiyomizu (water temple) and Kokedera (moss temple) and Jizo-in Zen Garden (bamboo) to exquisite obscure temples I can remember but not the names of! Just explore. Walk, walk and walk some more. If you haven't been before I'd allocate as much time to Kyoto as you can! almost 8 years ago

  • +1

    Hello Karen,

    As other people have mentioned, there are many "English signs" in major cities (I have been to Tokyo and Kyoto, and loved them both), and if you are bringing your iPhone, there is an app called "Babelshot" I recently learned about. I have not tried it, but heard it is great for translating signs by using photos.

    I would recommend using an audio resource to pick up some stock phrases, verses just reading phrases. Spoken Japanese is much different than how it appears to be phonetically written.

    Also, this quick video from Ted will give you an idea of how Japanese cities are laid out slightly different than westernized cities:

    http://www.ted.com/talks/derek_sivers_weird_or_just_different.html

    Have a great trip! almost 8 years ago

    Answered by via Site_iconWorldNomads.com
    • Oh, and ps, I wouldn't say you can rely on English. A few places have English-speaking staff, but it's not very normal for Japanese people to speak English. Angie almost 8 years ago
    • Hey thanks a lot! Karen Ang almost 8 years ago
  • +1

    Mmm.... as a 4-year Japan resident, I agree with what everyone has said already. You may find it easier to write down what you are trying to say, and be sure to keep it really, really simple and slow. It's just that the education system here does NOT emphasize English as a verbal communication tool-- it's merely a grammatical exercise for high school and university exams. But in the big train stations, particularly at information counters, you can sometimes find someone who can kind of speak English to assist you.

    If you're booking accommodation on HostelWorld, do be aware that there are more lower-end business hotels listing their properties in order to get some more revenue, and that is NOT an indication of English-speaking staff being present. almost 8 years ago

    Answered by via Site_iconWorldNomads.com
    • Thanks! I'll keep a pad and pencil with me the whole time I'm there Karen Ang almost 8 years ago
  • 0

    You wrote this quiet before, but I tell you some I know.
    The cellphone system in Japan is very complicate, so for the traveler (international student or exit passenger) is very difficult. There are some cases that lost cancellation charge. So it is needed to confirm.If now, you can get the Quo Card worth 3, 000 Yen. Just try to go once.
    It is possible to get this for the one who introduce and contractor. We have the iPad for transaltion. So you can come with an easy mind.
    http://www. j-communication. co. jp/feature/au_shop/kanto/shinjuku_higashi/ over 6 years ago

    Answered by via Site_iconWorldNomads.com
  • 0

    You wrote this quiet before, but I tell you some I know.
    The cellphone system in Japan is very complicate, so for the traveler (international student or exit passenger) is very difficult. There are some cases that lost cancellation charge. So it is needed to confirm.If now, you can get the Quo Card worth 3, 000 Yen. Just try to go once.
    It is possible to get this for the one who introduce and contractor. We have the iPad for transaltion. So you can come with an easy mind.

    http://www. j-communication. co. jp/feature/au_shop/kanto/shinjuku_higashi/ over 6 years ago

    Answered by via Site_iconWorldNomads.com
  • 0

    well, what makes you worried about traveling in Japan?
    Such as transportation, Language, culture, place where to go.

    What kind of things will help you if there is something useful or convenient for traveling in Japan? Like a guide, English speaker, sighs and anthing.

    Here I'm living in Japan and concidering about how can I develop this situation for tourist.

    Let's share ideas with me and I will try to change and make it better and confotable in Japan:D Cheers. over 3 years ago

    Answered by Fumi via Site_iconWorldNomads.com

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