If you take the time, you can master the basics of polite conversation in most languages. When you are learning Japanese it can be a little trickier because the alphabet is different from the English dictionary and many of the characters are unrecognizable. Therefore, it's in your best interest to learn a few useful travel-related words and phrases in Japanese before you take off. It will help you navigate the streets, reduce your confusion and save you time getting from Point A to Point B.
Each header below has the English phrase and then after the dash the phrase or word spelled in the most common Romanization of the Japanese characters. Below these, you'll see the phrase's pronunciation. Visually seeing the alphabet you are used to will make the connection easier than listing Japanese characters of which you are unfamiliar.
Hello - Konnichiwa
How are you? – O-genki desu ka?
Pronounced: Oh-GEN-kee dess-kah
I'm fine, thank you – Genki Desu
Pronounced: GEN-kee dess
Good morning - Ohayo gozaimasu
Pronounced: oh-hah-YOH goh-zye-moss
Good evening - Konbanwah
Goodbye - Sayonara
Thank you - Domo arigato
Pronounced: doh-moh ah-ree-GAH-toh
Please - Dozo
I understand - Wakarimasu
Excuse me - Sumimasen
I do not understand - Wakarimmasen
Yes - Hai
No - Ie
Pronounced: EE-yeh (short last syllable)
Numbers and Quantity
How much is it - Ikura
Pronounced: ee-khur-ah ka
One/ two/ three – Ichi/ ni / san
Pronounced: ee-chee/ nee / sehn
It can be intimidating to travel in a country where not only the language but the alphabet is drastically different. Reading signs is at best confusing and at worst dangerous. By learning small bits of the language, you'll stay focused, have a better experience, and show respect to everyone with whom you interact. Protect the rest of your holiday with a travel insurance policy from Cover-More Travel Insurance and soldier forth with your new found skills and newly learned Japanese phrases.
Image courtesy of Flickr user PK.