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Do I need to know the language? 2012/8/29 22:22
I would like to visit Japan in the future, but I'm not very good at learning new languages. I did Japanaese in school for 4 years, and still only remember small phrases, some lettering and numbers.. not enough to communicate well in my opionion.
I understand that it would be preferable to know some of the language, but again.. I have a hard time learning/remembering anything new. (As much as I'd love to know more languages.. it just doesnt work for me) =(

I'm worried about how to ask for things like food, accomodation and getting travel tickets ect. Do most shops/tickets offices and accomodation places know a bit of english? or should I have a language book? I didnt want to have to get a translator, just do my own thing.. and hopefully with out too much hassle! =P
I really have no idea what to expect! So just wanted some opionion/advise is all. Thanks in advance!
by V. (guest)  

Re: Do I need to know the language? 2012/8/30 08:24
Do you need to know the language? No.
Would you be better off if you learned a little? Yes.

A little refresher would be nice, though not totally necessary. Many people have gone to Japan without any knowledge of the language and have had a great time. If you just learn the very basics, you'll do fine. Take a small phrasebook or a few apps if you have a smartphone.

If you need to ask for directions and don't know much Japanese, the best thing you can do is approach someone and begin with "Chotto Sumimasen" followed by the placename of where you want to go. Most people will respond to you and I firmly believe they want to help.

Paper and pencil will help too if you can just write in very basic English what you want to say. It might be hard for Japanese to understand all the English accents from the many English-speaking countries, so when it's written, it probably would be easier.

I've been there a few times and the first time I had no knowledge of the language. I did just fine. The last time I went, I had learned hiragana and some kanji, so I can at least read a little. I took my smartphone and I did just fine. Don't worry and you'll be fine. You may find the lack of language skills to be an adventure....
by John B digs Japan rate this post as useful

Re: Do I need to know the language? 2012/8/30 09:13
iPhone/iPad useful and easy translate(with sound files) by Google.

Japanese travelers using in your country,too :D
by vicc (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Do I need to know the language? 2012/8/30 09:45
I took a Japanese class for a month at a community college and got around fine. Just know how to ask them where something is at "(place/attractions ) wa doko desu ka " if your not doing a tour then it'll be helpful yo plan the things u want to doand know which subway/traijn station to take. Definitely get a map so you can get your bearing if you get lost. All streets signs in Tokyo and major cities have it written in Romanji (Roman letters) so its hard to get lost.


This subway map will be your best friend in Tokyo. Easy to ujnderstand if you take a look at it and then take the subway a few times. Make extra copies.
by Mibu Kyoshiro rate this post as useful

Re: Do I need to know the language? 2012/8/30 13:27
Any map is easy to use for those of us that have doing it since we were 10 years old or so.
But many adults have no clue. It isn't that they are stupid.

My own dad was a police detective for years then became the administrator of a business but he just couldn't read maps...
As he has no sense of direction either, he managed to get lost many times in his home town.
When we were small he would drop mom and us kids at a movie house, drive a few blocks to park the car then come 30 or 40 minutes late to the movie house..THEN he couldn't find the car...
by Monkey see (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Do I need to know the language? 2012/8/30 17:08
Thankyou to all for your quick responses and excellent answers, this has helped me alot and also put my mind at a bit more ease! ^__^

Hopefully I'll go to Japan in March 2013.. but if not, 2014 for sure!
Thanks again!
by V. (guest) rate this post as useful

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