Learn Japanese Like a Boss,
Build Your Foundation with The Basics
Anybody who plans to go to Japan ought to possess a nodding acquaintance using the vocabulary to be able to communicate the locals a bit more bearably. It was discovered out that 75% vacationers who frequent Japan have no understanding of Japanese at all. And if you believe it or not, even the easy words that are utilized daily by the locals. These guests frequently discover it difficult to interact with the native Japanese people, particularly when they are lost or if they want some thing done for them.
These are in my opinion the top 10 Japanese words (categories more so) that can help you while you’re in Japan.
These are no brainers when you get down to, you should at least know these words right?
The word for ‘Yes’ is ‘hai‘ (sounds similar to the word ‘high’ but a more pronounced and strong ended)
The word for ‘No’ is ‘iie‘ (which pronounced is ‘E..A’ basically)
It’s better to always answer in a specifics then hand gestures or nodding in Japan.
Japan is a very polite place and it’s known for it’s greetings. Knowing these simple greetings through out the day is a great start to speaking simple Japanese.
• “Ohayou Gozaimasu” is used before about 10:30 am in the morning
• “Kon-nichiwa” — is used after 10:30 am for good afternoon
• “Konbanwa” — is used for Good Evening
• “Oyasuminasai” — this is used for when you or someone is leaving late at night, or going to sleep. For family you can simply say ‘Oyasumi‘
“Arigatou” is brief for thank you. The total type is “Arigatou Gozaimasu“. A few of the locals make use of the slang “domo” once they are inside a hurry.
Arigatou (Ah-ri-ga-tou) (R’s are pronounced like an R and L put together) is thank you. But there is a way to make it more polite and by doing so you just have to add ‘Gozaimasu‘ (Go-Zai-Mas). You can also use ‘domo‘ but it’s mostly for in a hurry or for family.
If you happen to bump into someone slightly on a train or while walking about you would the word ‘Sumimasen‘ (Sue-Me-Mas-Sen). You can also use this word to get someones attention, which you could then use to ask a question. You would ‘gomenasai‘ if you ran into someone really hard or hurt someone, or did something a bit more abrasive then what you would ‘sumimasen‘ for.
Here is a list of commonly asked question statements you can use while traveling in Japan.
• ‘Korewa nan desuka?‘ — asking what a particular object is
• ‘Wa doko desuka?‘ — asking for path or direction
• ‘Nanji desuka?‘ — asking for the present time
• ‘Ikura desuka‘ — just how much will be the item/service? (monetary)
This is the most ‘Goodbye’ word in Japanese, there are many other words that indicate a fair-well, but ‘Sayonara‘ (saw-yo-na-ra) (remember the r+l pronounciation) is for if you are leaving for a long while (mostly).
You can use ‘jane‘ (Jah-Nay) for friends and for short goodbyes if you will. If you are saying goodbye to a teacher or boss you would use ‘Dewa Mata‘ (Day-Wah Ma-Ta).
This word is another way to ask for assistance or to make it simple it’s the word for ‘Help’, similar to ‘Sumimasen’, but it’s mostly used to request for assistance with something in particular you in the present time need assistance with. ‘Tasukete‘ (Tah-Su-Kay-Tay)
There are a few ways you can say please in Japan. One way is by saying ‘Dozo‘ (Doe-Zoh), which is mostly used to request an action from someone, like. Come inside, please drink, please eat.
You can also use ‘Zehi‘ (Zeh-He) to express hope and request. (this is a little advanced, just ‘know it’ for now)
But when in doubt use ‘Onegai shimasu‘ (Oh-nay-guy shi-mas) for please when asking for something.
When beginning to speak Japanese you will be slow to hear words and to speak them, you can say “Wakarimasen” when being talked to and you don’t understand what they are saying. It means basically ‘I don’t know/I don’t understand). (Wa-Ka-ri-Mas-Sen).
To avoid leaving a mess in your pants, the best way to ask for a bathroom in Japan is to say “Toire wa doko desuka?”
To-e-ray wa do-ko des-ka
‘Toire‘ is toilet
‘Wa‘ is a particle for is in this case
‘Doko‘ is where
and ‘desu‘ indicates that the ‘wa‘ is used as an ‘is’
and ‘ka‘ is a statement of a question.
‘Toilet where is?‘
If you are ready to learn more basic Japanese I highly suggest checking out my favorite free learning source ‘Nihongo Master’ or you can check out my article on all my favorite learning sites for Japanese online.
Prepare yourself for the most epic, of epic, the hero of all words in Japanese.
Sake: It’s very important to know the word Sake (SA-KAY)…. (-_-)….. Yeah I know what you’re thinking. But just wait a minute and let me explain why I want you to know this word… and correctly.
Why is this the most important Japanese word ever? It not only gets you the goods (alcohol), but the real reason I’m writing this is actually to bring you out of your complete Gai-Jin’ness (just created a new word), and make sure you don’t look like a dummy when you say this word in public.
You can read a bit about sake here, but don’t believe everything wikipedia has to say. It’s not saki, that’s a no! Now, if for some reason some Japanese say saki, cool, cite me some references, but ever since learning Japanese (15 years ago), I’ve never heard it pronounced saki.
It’s SA – KAY. Saki (SA – KEY) is not Sake (SA – KAY), it’s not even close, in fact it’s the difference between fermented liquids and a hot blooded Japanese female name Saki. Just because you might be a Western of some kind, doesn’t mean you got to act like one you know? I mean, c’mon. Let’s step up that Japanese and really show your friends, families and your best friends girlfriend’s mother what you really know about the Japanese language.
If you can’t order a drink in Japan because you’re asking for a girl name Saki when you say it wrong, you’re not only going to look the fool, but everyone will be confused. Are you looking to hook up with a girl name Saki or you asking for some booze?
Also here’s a super pro Japanese FYI: Sake (Sa-Kay) refers to simply alcohol, it doesn’t always refer to Japanese rice wine. If you want sake in Japan, you can ask for Nihonshu (Ni-Hone-Shoe). Then you’ll get some goodies that way.
Perhaps if you’ve ever seen “Welcome to the NHK” you’ll know this by the sweet ‘innocent’ girl in that anime. Her name was Me-Saki (but I’ve heard chicks answer to Saki-san in Japan xD). But for now you’ve learned a very valuable lesson, and you’ll make it far… Very far in life in Japan by knowing the difference.
You can check out a in-depth informative history of sake piece here, you may also like snake sake (yeah… I’m serious) and just to make sure you continue down the right road with your Japanese abilities, you might want to check out my favorite free Japanese learning program online called: Nihongo Master. You can also check out an in-depth list of my favorite free Japanese learning resources here.
I know, this post is crazy, but you’d be amazed how many people don’t know this simple word and its used pretty frequently and it’s not even said correctly. I’ll be sure to keep nitpicking away at other words, just to be a troll. But for now, you are now more Japanese then you were. Congratulations 🙂
Today I was playing around with these two words with Sasha (my wife). At times I at least have a total brain fart when it comes to these two words. Muzukashii and Murasaki. The first being ‘Difficult’ (Muzukashii むずかしい) and the second being purple (Murasaki むらさき).
So I thought I’d make a quick post about these two words in Japanese.
Here’s a great break down for additional ways to use Muzukashii to remember it even better!
Muzukashii = is difficult
Muzukashiku nai = is not difficult
Muzukashikatta = was difficult
Muzukashiku nakatta = was not difficult
So there you have it murasaki ha muzukashiku nai!
If you are looking for a great free way to learn Japanese, I high suggest checking out NihongoMaster.com – spaced repetition for the win! Or you can check out several different free methods I suggest here.