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No Japanese, basic phrases vs writing? 2013/11/24 00:48
I work in hospitality here in the US and we have quite a few people on staff who speak different languages, but in the case where there is a customer who does not speak any of the languages we do, the customer usually knows some basic phrases:
"I do not speak English."
"My name is ___ and I am checking in."
"Can you tell me where ___ is?"

If they do not know basic phrases, they will have their information written in English such as their name and dates for checking in, address for a taxi cab, etc.

Now I am in their position. I will be in Japan for 3 months for work and for the most part I will be with colleagues, some of who speak English and Japanese. When I am not with them though, I am wondering what is best for getting around: knowing basic phrases or having the information I need written in Japanese beforehand.

I know some basic phrases in Japanese such as introducing myself, telling people I do not actually speak Japanese, etc. However, one of my colleagues who now speaks Japanese fluently said when we was barely a beginner he would let people know he didn't know any Japanese, but because he could say that in Japanese people continued to talk to him in Japanese. That happens with a lot of the clerks and taxi drivers here in the US. A customer will check in or ask for the cab to go somewhere in English so they assume he/she speaks English when that isn't the case.

Would that be better than having what I need written down? Although I do not think it is rude, I remember our hotel had a clerk who was offended that someone wrote down their information instead of saying it. He thought it was rude... But the person could not hear or speak. Although yes, I can listen and speak, would some still consider it rude to have an address written to hand to a clerk or cab driver?

Sorry if this question sounds dumb. After seeing some of the things that happen or are misconstrued in hospitality, it makes me a bit nervous about things others may not even think twice about.
by camelialbu (guest)  

Re: No Japanese, basic phrases vs writing? 2013/11/24 11:50
... would some still consider it rude to have an address written to hand to a clerk or cab driver?

No :) I would not worry.

In addition, to a cab driver, you might want to hand over a map (if you have one handy). Here in Japan, particularly in Tokyo, the address might not tell the driver exactly where you want to go - information like the main street it might be near by, or other landmarks nearby might be more helpful.
by AK rate this post as useful

Re: No Japanese, basic phrases vs writing? 2013/11/25 05:32
Thank you AK! I will more than likely have a map handy just because I know I will personally need one.
by camelialbu (guest) rate this post as useful

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