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Restaurants with English help? 2015/6/20 01:01
I am planning a trip to Japan next year for me and my 3 best friends. One of the main things we went to do is sample the local cuisine in Tokyo and even try places we've seen in anime such as family restaurants, maid cafes, street carts, etc! But none of us know Japanese to a baseline level. We are trying to learn but I don't think we will learn as quickly due to other things such as college. So I was wondering if there were places that could help us at least try to understand the menus or at least a guide that we could make do with. Any tips are also appreciated.
by holybell  

Re: Restaurants with English help? 2015/6/20 09:21
use the site https://gurunavi.com/ to find restaurants.

under Quick Search click on more features, then check the English Speaking Staff and/or English Menu checkboxes
by .. (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Restaurants with English help? 2015/6/20 09:27
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has a listing of places with foreign language menus at http://www.menu-tokyo.jp/search/?kind_id=2. I never really pay much attention to which places have English menus, but it seems very comprehensive to me. If you're visiting a busy area that's popular with tourists, like Shinjuku, Shibuya or Asakusa, then you're also fairly likely to randomly find 1 or 2 places advertising English menus.

by Umechan (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Restaurants with English help? 2015/6/20 13:21
The main parts of Tokyo is mostly guided in English include restaurant menu. No need to worry much about language if you are in Tokyo.
If you go outside of Tokyo which international visitors may not visit, you do need to learn Japanese language.

Remember three word;
Hello - Kon-nichiwa(or Konbanwa, evening or night)
Thank you - Arigato(u)
Taste good - Oishi(i)

Cute and sweet -Kawaii(option)

Every time you meet(or ask) someone, say, "Konnichiwa" or "Konbanwa".
Every time you leave there, say, "Arigatou".
I think it's a common sense in your country too.
by tokyo friend 48 rate this post as useful

Re: Restaurants with English help? 2015/6/20 20:33
Some restaurants have plastic replicas of the dishes they serve in the windows at the front of the restaurant. So, at the very least, if you cannot read the menu nor communicate with the waitstaff you could always take them to the window and point at the dish you want.
by daai maou (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Restaurants with English help? 2015/6/20 20:47
Honestly, I don't think you need English menu or English-speaking attendants. Further, even if you get the English menu, that does not automatically mean the attendants can understand your fluent native English.

In general, ordering foods in restaurants in Japan is much easier than in the US, since many restaurants do not have options for order: you don't need to choose dressings for salad, etc. Many if not all affordable restaurants have menu with photos and you just need to point one of them and then say "This one please." Most attendants can understand English of this level. Of course they can understand one, two, three etc. though they might not be able to understand 21,684,758 when spoken in English (but I think you don't need to say this number in the restaurants).

At first you might better choose a restaurant which shows the picture of the food with it's name and price. Then you look inside the shop and see if there are some guests eating. In my experience, neat and clean restaurants/diners showing the photo/price tend to serve good foods for reasonable prices. If you get used to Japanese food culture you can try more challenging places where you can't see inside.

As tokyo friend 48 wrote, some basic Japanese phrase will be good for friendly communication.

Enjoy Japanese foods!

by frog1954 rate this post as useful

Re: Restaurants with English help? 2015/6/20 22:10
As with so many things in Japan (and, to a certain extent, the rest of the world), transactions in a restaurant tend to follow a set pattern.

This is described really well on the main japan-guide forum http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2040.html

I don't have to understand what's being said to me as I enter a restaurant...I know that 99% of the time it will be a greeting of some sort, followed by a question about how many people are in our group. So, for instance, in that situation, I can just smile (very important for bridging communication gaps, imho) and hold up the right number of fingers (or even go wild and try out Japanese numbers).

Picture menus work really well, and you can always resort to pen and paper (drawings are universal), or simple charades (animal noises for when you can't work out whether the picture is pork katsu or chicken katsu) if all else fails.

When I can see other diners, I've sometimes used simple signs to indicate that I want "what he's having". You can also get the waiter to follow you outside and point at the plastic food in the window if things get tough.

I'm sure you'll be fine. I certainly wouldn't let lack of language put me off trying out as much of the local food as possible. And, really, you *have* to at least once do the thing of walking into a restaurant where you have no idea what's being served. It always makes a great travel story...
by Winter Visitor rate this post as useful

Re: Restaurants with English help? 2015/6/22 08:02
Thanks everyone! This really helped me out. And Winter Visitor is right. I shouldn't waste my time being super comfortable on a trip I made purposefully for adventure, but I'll be careful. Of course. :)
by holybell rate this post as useful

Re: Restaurants with English help? 2015/6/24 22:09
I guess it could be a nightmare if you're fussy about food, but everywhere I ate in Japan had photos of the dishes on the menus, so you at least get a vague idea of what the dishes are (so there's no risk of ending up with something like ice cream and a side of fries because all you can do is point randomly at text!)
by Tim (guest) rate this post as useful

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