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Japanese phrasebook

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Japanese writing on a temple lantern, , Japanese writing on a temple lantern, ,
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Japanese writing on a temple lantern, Asakusa, Tokyo

Japanese (??? nihongo) is spoken in Japan, and essentially nowhere else. The language is distinct from Chinese and Korean, although the written form uses Chinese (kanji) characters, and is not known to be related to any other language.

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japanese phrasebook Travel Guide :

Japanese phrasebook

Grammar

Japanese generally employs a subject-object-verb order, using particles to mark the grammatical functions of the words: ???????????? watashi-ga hamburger-o taberu, "I-subject hamburger-object eat". It is common to omit subjects and even objects if these are clear from previous context.

Verbs and adjectives conjugate by tense and politeness level, but not by person or number. There is no verb "to be" as such, but the polite copula desu can be used in most cases: John desu ("I am John"), Ringo desu ("This is an apple"), Akai desu ("It is red"), etc. Note that the exact meaning will depend on the implied subject!

The good news is that Japanese has none of the following: gender, declensions or plurals. Nouns never conjugate and almost all verbs are regular.

Japanese phrasebook

Reading and writing

Reading and writing Japanese are advanced skills which take years of work to gain much real proficiency. Japanese themselves use three different writing systems of various complexity, two of which (hiragana' and katakana) are syllabic and relatively easy to learn with 50 characters each, but the clincher is the set of over 2000 Chinese characters known as kanji. The set of hiragana characters is illustrated below.

There are also several competing systems for rendering Japanese in the Latin alphabet, although the Hepburn (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hepburn) system is the most common and is used on Wikitravel as well. Do not be surprised if you see these words romanized differently elsewhere.

Japanese phrasebook

Pronunciation guide

Japanese is not a tonal language like Chinese or Thai, and is comparatively easy to pronounce.

Japanese phrasebook

Vowels

Japanese has both short and long vowels and the distinction is often important. In romanized Japanese, long vowels are marked with a macron, so that ? represents "long O".

Hiragana characters (????)
aiueo
?
a
?
i
?
u
?
e
?
o
k?
ka
?
ki
?
ku
?
ke
?
ko
s?
sa
?
shi
?
su
?
se
?
so
t?
ta
?
chi
?
tsu
?
te
?
to
n?
na
?
ni
?
nu
?
ne
?
no
h?
ha
?
hi
?
fu
?
he
?
ho
m?
ma
?
mi
?
mu
?
me
?
mo
y?
ya
?
yu
?
yo
r?
ra
?
ri
?
ru
?
re
?
ro
w?
wa
?
(w)o
?
n
g?
ga
?
gi
?
gu
?
ge
?
go
z?
za
?
ji
?
zu
?
ze
?
zo
d?
da
?
ji
?
zu
?
de
?
do
b?
ba
?
bi
?
bu
?
be
?
bo
p?
pa
?
pi
?
pu
?
pe
?
po
ky??
kya
???
kyu
???
kyo
sh??
sha
???
shu
???
sho
ch??
cha
???
chu
???
cho
hy??
hya
???
hyu
???
hyo
gy??
gya
???
gyu
???
gyo
j??
ja
???
ju
???
jo
by??
bya
???
byu
???
byo
a ?/? 
like 'a' in "father"
i ?/? 
like 'i' in "machine"
u ?/? 
like 'oo' in "hoop"
e ?/? 
like 'e' in "set"
o ?/? 
like 'o' in "rope"
n ?/? 
short 'n' at the end of a syllable, pronounced as 'm' before 'b', 'p' or 'm'.

Note that "u" is often weak at the end of syllables. In particular, the common endings -desu and -masu are pronounced as "des'" and "mas'" respectively.

Japanese phrasebook

Consonants

k ????? / ????? 
like 'k' in "king"
g ????? / ????? 
like 'g' in "go"
s ????? / ????? 
like 's' in "sit"
z ????? / ????? 
like 'z' in "haze"
t ????? / ????? 
like 't' in "top"
d ????? / ????? 
like 'd' in "dog"
n ????? / ????? 
like 'n' in "nice"
h ????? / ????? 
like 'h' in "help"
p ????? / ????? 
like 'p' in "pig"
b ????? / ????? 
like 'b' in "bed"
m ????? / ????? 
like 'm' in "mother"
y ????? / ????? 
like 'y' in "yard"
r ????? / ????? 
like 'r' in "row" (actually a sound between 'l' and 'r', but closer to 'r')
w ????? / ????? 
like 'w' in "wall"
sh ? / ?
(s before i) like 'sh' in "sheep"
j ? / ?
(d before i) like 'j' in "jar"
ch ? / ?
(t before i) like 'ch' in "touch"
ts ? / ? 
(t before u) like 'ts' in "hot soup"
f ? / ?
(h before u) like 'wh' in "who"
Japanese phrasebook

Particles

Japanese uses certain hiragana characters as particles which mark the grammatical function of a word or phrase in a sentence. Some hiragana are pronounced differently when used as a particle:

  • ? (topic marker) is pronounced wa, also in ????? (konnnichiwa)
  • ? (direction marker) is pronounced e
Japanese phrasebook

Accent and intonation

Avoid placing too much emphasis on particular words or syllables. Japanese does have stress and intonation, but it is significantly flatter than English. Mastering word stress is a more advanced topic and neglecting it at this point should not interfere with meaning. Just trying to keep your intonation relatively flat will make your attempts to speak Japanese more comprehensible to local listeners. When asking questions, you can raise the tone at the end, as in English.

Japanese phrasebook

Phrase list

Common signs


??? 
Open
??? 
Closed
?? 
Entrance
?? 
Exit
Push
Pull
???? 
Toilet
Men
Women
?? 
Forbidden
Japanese phrasebook

Basics

Hello. 
???????Konnichiwa. (kon-nee-chee-WAH)
How are you? 
????????O-genki desu ka? (oh-GEN-kee dess-KAH?)
Fine, thank you. 
??????Genki desu. (GEN-kee dess)
What is your name? 
????????? O-namae wa nan desu ka??(oh-NAH-mah-eh wah NAHN dess-KAH?)
My name is ____ . 
????? ____ ??? Watashi no namae wa ____ desu. (wah-TAH-shee no nah-mah-eh wa ____ dess)
Nice to meet you. 
???????Hajimemashite. (hah-jee-meh-MOSH-teh)
Please. (request) 
????????Onegai shimasu. (oh-neh-gigh shee-moss)
Please. (offer) 
???? D?zo. (DOH-zo)
Thank you. 
????????? D?mo arigat?. (doh-moh ah-ree-GAH-toh)
You're welcome. 
????????? D? itashi mashite. (doh EE-tah-shee mosh-teh)
Yes. 
??? Hai. (HIGH)
No. 
???? Iie. (EE-eh)
Excuse me. 
?????? Sumimasen. (soo-mee-mah-sen)
I'm sorry. 
?????? Gomen-nasai. (goh-men-nah-sigh)
Goodbye. (long-term) 
?????? Say?nara. (sa-YOH-nah-rah)
Goodbye. (informal
????? Sore dewa. (SOH-reh deh-wah)
I can't speak Japanese well. 
?????????????? Nihongo o yoku hanasemasen. (nee-hohn-goh gah yo-koo hah-nah-seh-mah-sen)
Do you speak English? 
????????? Eigo o hanasemasuka? (AY-goh oh hah-nah-seh-moss-KAH?)
Is there someone here who speaks English? 
???????????? Dareka eigo o hanasemasuka? (dah-reh-kah AY-goh oh hah-nah-seh-moss-KAH?)
Help! 
????! Tasukete! (tah-soo-keh-teh!)
Look out! 
????! Abunai! (ah-boo-NIGH!)
Good morning. 
?????????? Ohay? gozaimasu. (oh-hah-YOH go-zigh-moss)
Good evening. 
?????? Konbanwa. (kohm-bahn-wah)
Good night (to sleep
???????? Oyasuminasai. (oh-yah-soo-mee-nah-sigh)
I don't understand. 
??????? Wakarimasen. (wah-kah-ree-mah-sen)
Where is the toilet? 
?????????? Toire wa doko desu ka? (toy-reh wah DOH-koh dess kah?)
Japanese phrasebook

Problems

What part of "no" don't you understand?

The Japanese are famously reluctant to say the word "no", and in fact the language's closest equivalent, ??? iie, is largely limited to denying compliments you have received. ("Your Japanese is excellent! "Iie, it is very bad!"). But there are numerous other ways of expressing "no", so here are a few to watch out for.

????? ?????
Ii desu. Kekk? desu. 
"It's good/excellent." Used when you don't want more beer, don't want your bent? lunch microwaved, and generally are happy to keep things as they are. Accompany with teeth-sucking and handwaving to be sure to get your point across.
????????????
Chotto muzukashii desu... 
Literally "it's a little difficult", but in practice "it's completely impossible." Often just abbreviated to sucking in air through teeth, saying "chotto" and looking pained. Take the hint.
????????????
M?shiwakenai desukedo... 
"This is inexcusable but..." But no. Used by sales clerks and such to tell you that you cannot do or have something.
?????
Dame desu. 
"It's no good." Used by equals and superiors to tell you that you cannot do or have something.
?????
Chigaimasu. 
"It is different." What they really mean is "you're wrong". The casual form chigau and the Kansai contraction chau are also much used.
Leave me alone. 
?????? (hottoite.)
Don't touch me! 
??????! (sawaranaide!)
I'll call the police. 
???????? (keisatsu o yobimasu)
Police! 
??! (keisatsu)
Stop! Thief! 
??! ????! (mate! dorob?!)
I need your help. 
????????? (tasukete kudasai)
It's an emergency. 
????? (kinky? desu)
I'm lost. 
????? (maigo desu)
I lost my bag. 
??????????? (kaban o nakushimashita)
I dropped my wallet. 
?????????? (saifu o otoshimashita)
I'm sick. 
????? (by?ki desu)
I've been injured. 
??????? (kega shimashita)
Please call a doctor. 
??????????? (isha o yonde kudasai)
Can I use your phone? 
???????????? (denwa o tsukatte iidesuka)
Japanese phrasebook

Numbers

While Arabic (Western) numerals are employed for most uses in Japan, you will occasionally still spot Japanese numerals at eg. markets and the menus of fancy restaurants. The characters used are nearly identical to Chinese numerals, and like Chinese, Japanese uses groups of 4 digits, not 3. "One million" is thus ?? (hyaku-man), literally "hundred tenthousands".

There are both Japanese and Chinese readings for most numbers, but presented below are the more commonly used Chinese readings. Note that, due to superstition (shi also means "death"), 4 and 7 typically use the Japanese readings yon and nana instead.

?, ? (zero or rei)
? (ichi)
? (ni)
? (san)
? (yon or shi)
? (go)
? (roku)
? (nana or shichi)
? (hachi)
? (ky?)
10 
? (j?)
11 
?? (j?-ichi)
12 
?? (j?-ni)
13 
?? (j?-san)
14 
?? (j?-yon)
15 
?? (j?-go)
16 
?? (j?-roku)
17 
?? (j?-nana)
18 
?? (j?-hachi)
19 
?? (j?-kyuu)
20 
?? (ni-j?)
21 
??? (ni-j?-ichi)
22 
??? (ni-j?-ni)
23 
??? (ni-j?-san)
30 
?? (san-j?)
40 
??(yon-j?)
50 
?? (go-j?)
60 
?? (ro-ku-j?)
70 
??(nana-j?)
80 
?? (hachi-j?)
90 
?? (ky?-j?)
100 
? (hyaku)
200 
?? (ni-hyaku)
300 
?? (san-byaku)
1000 
? (sen)
2000 
?? (ni-sen)
10,000 
?? (ichi-man)
1,000,000 
?? (hyaku-man)
100,000,000 
?? (ichi-oku)
1,000,000,000,000 
?? (itch?)
number _____ (train, bus, etc.
_____? (____ ban)
half 
?? (hanbun)
less (few) 
??? (sukunai)
more (many) 
?? (ooi)
Japanese phrasebook

Time

now 
? (ima)
later 
?? (atode)
before 
?? (mae ni)
before ___ 
___ ??? ( ___ no mae ni)
morning 
? (asa)
afternoon 
?? (gogo)
evening 
?? (y?gata)
night 
? (yoru)
Japanese phrasebook

Clock time

For clock times, you will be understood if you simply substitute gozen ?? for "AM" and gogo ?? for PM, although other time qualifiers like ? asa for morning and ? yoru for night may be more natural. The 24-hour clock is also commonly used in official contexts such as train schedules.

six o'clock AM 
?6? (asa rokuji)
nine o'clock AM 
??9? (gozen kuji)
noon 
?? (sh?go)
one o'clock PM 
??1? (gogo ichiji.)
two o'clock PM 
??2? (gogo niji)
midnight 
?12? (yoru j?niji)
Japanese phrasebook

Duration

_____ minute(s) 
_____ ? (fun or pun)
_____ hour(s) 
_____ ?? (jikan)
_____ day(s) 
_____ ? (nichi)
_____ week(s) 
_____ ?? (sh?kan)
_____ month(s) 
_____ ?? (kagetsu)
_____ year(s) 
_____ ? (nen)
Japanese phrasebook

Days

today 
??(ky?)
yesterday 
??(kin?)
tomorrow 
??(ashita)
this week 
??(konsh?)
last week 
??(sensh?)
next week 
??(raish?)
Sunday 
??? (nichiy?bi)
Monday 
??? (getsuy?bi)
Tuesday 
??? (kay?bi)
Wednesday 
??? (suiy?bi)
Thursday 
??? (mokuy?bi)
Friday 
??? (kin'y?bi)
Saturday 
??? (doy?bi)
Japanese phrasebook

Days of the Month

The 1st through the 10th of the month have special names:

First day of the month 
1? (tsuitachi)
Second day of the month 
2? (futsuka)
Third day of the month 
3? (mikka)
Fourth day of the month 
4? (yokka)
Fifth day of the month 
5? (itsuka)
Sixth day of the month 
6? (muika)
Seventh day of the month 
7? (nanoka)
Eighth day of the month 
8? (y?ka)
Ninth day of the month 
9? (kokonoka)
Tenth day of the month 
10? (t?ka)

The other days of the month are more orderly, just add the suffix -nichi to the ordinal number. Note that 14, 20, and 24 deviate from this pattern.

Eleventh day of the month 
11? (j?ichinichi)
Fourteenth day of the month 
14? (j?yokka)
Twentieth day of the month 
20? (hatsuka)
Twenty-fourth day of the month 
24? (nij?yokka)
Japanese phrasebook

Months

Months are very orderly in Japanese, just add the suffix -gatsu to the ordinal number.

January 
?? (ichigatsu)
February 
?? (nigatsu)
March 
?? (sangatsu)
April 
?? (shigatsu)
May 
?? (gogatsu)
June 
?? (rokugatsu)
July 
?? (shichigatsu)
August 
?? (hachigatsu)
September 
?? (kugatsu)
October 
??? (j?gatsu)
November 
??? (j?ichigatsu)
December 
??? (j?nigatsu)
Japanese phrasebook

Writing time and date

Dates are written in year/month/day (day of week) format, with markers:

2006?3?21?(?)

Note that Imperial era years, based on the name and duration of the current Emperor's reign, are also frequently used. 2006 in the Gregorian calendar corresponds to Heisei 18 (??18?), which may be abbreviated as "H18". Dates like "18/03/24" (March 24, Heisei 18) are also occasionally seen.

Japanese phrasebook

Colors

Many of the English words for colors are widely used and understood by almost all Japanese. These are indicated after the slash.

Note that some Japanese colors are normally suffixed with -iro (?) to distinguish between the color and the object. For example, ? cha means "tea", but ?? chairo means "tea-color" → "brown".

black 
? / ???? (kuro / burakku)
white 
? / ???? (shiro / howaito)
gray 
?(?) / ??? (hai(iro) / gur?)
red 
? / ??? (aka / reddo)
blue 
? / ??? (ao / bur?)
yellow 
?(?) / ???? (ki(iro) / ier?)
green 
? / ???? (midori / guriin)
orange 
? / ???? (daidai / orenji)
purple 
? / ???? (murasaki / p?puru)
brown 
?(?) / ???? (cha(iro) / buraun)
Japanese phrasebook

Transportation

Japanese phrasebook

Bus and train

How much is a ticket to _____? 
_____ ???????? (_____ made ikura desuka?)
One ticket to _____, please. 
_____ ??????????(_____ made ichimai onegaishimasu)
Where does this train/bus go? 
????/?????????? (kono densha/basu wa doko yuki desuka?)
Where is the train/bus to _____? 
_____ ?????/????????? (_____ yuki no densha/basu wa doko desuka?)
Does this train/bus stop in _____? 
????/??? _____ ??????? (kono densha/basu wa _____ ni tomarimasuka?)
When does the train/bus for _____ leave? 
_____ ?????/????????????(_____ yuki no densha/basu wa nanji ni shuppatsu shimasuka?)
When will this train/bus arrive in _____? 
????/?????? _____ ?????? (kono densha/basu wa nanji ni _____ ni tsukimasuka?)
Japanese phrasebook

Directions

How do I get to _____ ? 
_____ ???????? (_____ wa dochira desu ka?)
...the train station? 
?... (eki...)
...the bus station? 
???... (basu tei..)
...the airport? 
??... (k?k?...)
...downtown? 
????... (machi no ch?shin...)
...the youth hostel? 
????????... (y?su hosuteru...)
...the _____ hotel? 
_____ ???... (hoteru...)
...the _____ embassy/consulate? 
_____???/???... (_____ taishikan/ry?jikan...)
Where are there a lot of... 
...??????????? (...ga ooi tokoro wa doko desuka?)
...lodgings? 
?... (yado...)
...restaurants? 
?????... (resutoran...)
...bars? 
??... (baa)
...sites to see? 
??... (mimono...)
Please show me on the map. 
?????????? (chizu de sashite kudasai)
street 
? (michi)
Turn left. 
??????????? (Hidari e magatte kudasai.)
Turn right. 
???????????(Migi e magatte kudasai.)
left 
? (hidari)
right 
? (migi)
straight ahead 
???? (massugu)
towards the _____ 
_____ ????? (e mukatte)
past the _____ 
_____ ?? (no saki)
before the _____ 
_____ ?? (no mae)
Watch for the _____. 
_____?????? (ga mejirishi desu)
intersection 
??? (k?saten)
north 
? (kita)
south 
? (minami)
east 
? (higashi)
west 
? (nishi)
uphill 
?? (nobori), also used for trains heading towards Tokyo
downhill 
?? (kudari), also used for trains coming from Tokyo
Japanese phrasebook

Taxi

Taxi! 
????! (Taxi!)
Take me to _____, please. 
_____????????? (_____ made onegai shimasu.)
How much does it cost to get to _____? 
_____ ????????? (_____ made ikura desuka)
Take me there, please. 
??????????? (soko made onegai shimasu.)
Japanese phrasebook

Lodging

Do you have any rooms available? 
???????????? (Aiteru heya arimasuka?)
How much is a room for one person/two people? 
??/?????????????? (Hitori/futari-y? no heya wa ikura desuka?)
Is the room Japanese/Western style? 
??/?????? (Washitsu/y?shitsu desuka?)
Does the room come with... 
??? ... ?????? (Heya wa ___ tsuki desuka?)
...bedsheets? 
???????... (beddo no shiitsu...)
...a bathroom? 
??? (furoba...)
...a telephone? 
?? (denwa...)
...a TV? 
???? (terebi...)
May I see the room first? 
???????????? (heya o mitemo ii desuka?)
Do you have anything quieter? 
?????????????? (motto shizukana heya arimasuka?)
...bigger? 
?? (hiroi)
...cleaner? 
???? (kirei na)
...cheaper? 
?? (yasui)
OK, I'll take it. 
???????????(hai, kore de ii desu.)
I will stay for _____ night(s). 
_____ ???????(____ ban tomarimasu.)
Do you know another place to stay? 
??????????? (hoka no yado wa gozonji desuka?)
Do you have a safe? 
???????? (kinko arimasuka?)
...lockers? 
...????? (rokkaa (locker))
Is breakfast/supper included? 
??/????????? (ch?shoku/y?shoku wa tsukimasuka?)
What time is breakfast/supper? 
??/????????? (ch?shoku/y?shoku wa nanji desuka?)
Please clean my room. 
???????????? (heya o s?ji shite kudasai)
Please wake me at _____. 
_____ ?????????? (____ ni okoshite kudasai.)
I want to check out. 
??????????(chekku auto (check out) desu.)
Japanese phrasebook

Money

Do you accept American/Australian/Canadian dollars? 
????/???????/??????????? (Amerika/?sutoraria/kanada doru wa tsukae masuka?)
Do you accept British pounds? 
?????????????? (igirisu pondo wa tsukaemasuka?)
Do you accept cr cards? 
??????????????? (kurejitto kaado (cr card) wa tsukaemasuka?)
Can you change money for me? 
?????????? (okane ry?gae dekimasuka?)
Where can I get money changed? 
?????????????? (okane wa doko de ry?gae dekimasuka?)
Can you change a traveler's check for me? 
?????????????????? ((traveler's check) ry?gae dekimasuka?)
Where can I get a traveler's check changed? 
?????????????????????? ((traveler's check) wa doko de ry?gae dekimasuka?)
What is the exchange rate? 
?????????????(kawase reeto wa ikura desu ka?)
Where is an automatic teller machine (ATM)? 
ATM ?????????? (ATM wa doko ni arimasuka?)
Japanese phrasebook

Eating

A table for one person/two people, please. 
??/????? (hitori/futari desu)
Please bring a menu. 
????????? (menu o kudasai.)
Can I look in the kitchen? 
????????????? (ch?riba o mite mo ii desu ka?)
Is there a house specialty? 
?????????? (O-susume ga arimasuka?)
Is there a local specialty? 
????????????? (Kono hen no meibutsu ga arimasuka?)
Please choose for me. 
??????? (O-makase shimasu.)
I'm a vegetarian. 
????????? (Bejitarian desu.)
I don't eat pork. 
???????? (Butaniku wa dame desu.)
I don't eat beef. 
????????(Gy?niku wa dame desu.)
I don't eat raw fish. 
?????????(Nama no sakana wa dame desu.)
Please do not use too much oil. 
?????????(Abura o hikaete kudasai.)
fixed-price meal 
?? (teishoku)
la carte 
???? (ippinry?ri)
breakfast 
?? (ch?shoku)
lunch 
?? (ch?shoku)
light meal/snack 
?? (keishoku)
supper 
?? (y?shoku)
Please bring _____. 
_____ ?????(_____ o kudasai.)
I want a dish containing _____. 
_____???????????? (____ ga haitteru mono o kudasai.)
chicken 
?? (toriniku)
beef 
?? (gy?niku)
fish 
? (sakana)
ham 
?? (hamu)
sausage 
????? (s?seeji)
cheese 
??? (chiizu)
eggs 
? (tamago)
salad 
??? (sarada)
(fresh) vegetables 
(?)?? ( (nama) yasai)
(fresh) fruit 
(?)?? ( (nama) kudamono)
bread 
?? (pan)
toast 
???? (t?suto)
noodles 
?? (menrui)
pasta 
??? (pasta)
rice 
?? (gohan)
beans 
? (mame)
May I have a glass/cup of _____? 
_____ ??????? (____ o ippai kudasai.)
May I have a bottle of _____? 
_____ ??????? (_____ o ippon kudasai.)
coffee 
???? (k?hii)
green tea 
?? (o-cha)
black tea 
?? (k?cha)
juice 
?? (kaj?)
water 
? (mizu)
beer 
??? (biiru)
red/white wine 
?/???? (aka/shiro wain)
Do you have _____? 
_____ ??????? (_____ ga arimasuka?)
chopsticks 
?? (o-hashi)
fork 
???? (f?ku)
spoon 
???? (sup?n)
salt 
? (shio)
black pepper 
?? (kosh?)
soy sauce 
?? (sh?yu)
ashtray 
?? (haizara)
Excuse me, waiter? (getting attention of server
????? (sumimasen)
(when starting a meal) 
???????(itadakimasu)
It was delicious. (when finishing a meal) 
????????? (Go-chis?-sama deshita.)
Please clear the plates. 
??????????? (Osara o sagete kudasai.)
The check, please. 
??????? (O-kanjo kudasai.)
Japanese phrasebook

Bars

Sake talk

Sake, known in Japanese as ??? nihonshu, has a vocabulary all its own. Here is a brief introduction.

atsukan 
?? Heated sake. Recommended only in winter with cheap sake.
hiyashi, reishu 
???, ?? Chilled sake. The way to drink better sake.
issh?bin 
??? The standard sake bottle, containing 10 g?, ie. 1.8 liters.
ichig? 
?? The standard measure for servings of sake, around 180 milliliters.
tokkuri 
?? A small ceramic jug used to pour sake, contains around one g?
masu 
? A square wooden box traditionally used to drink chilled sake, also contains one g?. Drink from the corner.
choko 
??? A tiny gulp-sized ceramic cup for sake.
Do you serve alcohol? 
???????? (O-sake arimasuka?)
Is there table service? 
?????????????? (T?buru s?bisu arimasuka?)
A beer/two beers, please. 
?????/??????(Biiru ippai/nihai kudasai.)
A glass of red/white wine, please. 
?/??????????(Aka/shiro wain ippai kudasai.)
A mug (of beer), please. 
????????????(Biiru no jokki kudasai.)
A bottle, please. 
?????. (Bin kudasai.)
_____ (hard liquor) and _____ (mixer), please. 
_____ ? _____ ????(_____ to _____ kudasai.)
sake 
??? (nihonshu)
Japanese liquor 
?? (sh?ch?)
whiskey 
????? (uisukii)
vodka 
???? (wokka)
rum 
?? (ramu)
water 
? (mizu)
club soda 
??? (s?da)
tonic water 
????????? (tonikku u?t?)
orange juice 
???????? (orenji j?su)
cola (soda
??? (k?ra)
with ice 
?????? (onzarokku)
Do you have any bar snacks? 
?????????? (o-tsumami arimasuka?)
One more, please. 
????????? (M? hitotsu kudasai.)
Another round, please. 
?????????????????? (Minna ni onaji mono o ippai zutu kudasai.)
When is closing time? 
????????? (Heiten wa nanji desuka?)
Japanese phrasebook

Shopping

Do you have this in my size? 
???????????? (Watashi no saizu de arimasuka?)
How much is this? 
??????? (Ikura desuka?)
That's too expensive. 
?????? (Takasugimasu.)
Would you take _____? 
_____???????? (_____ wa d? desuka?)
expensive 
?? (takai)
cheap 
?? (yasui)
I can't afford it. 
?????????????? (Sono kurai o-kane wa mottenai desu.)
I don't want it. 
??????? (Iranai desu.)
You're cheating me. 
??????? (Damashiteru n da.) Use with caution!
I'm not interested. 
??????? (Ky?mi nai desu.)
OK, I'll take it. 
?????????? (Hai, sore ni shimasu.)
Can I have a bag? 
???????????? (Fukuro moratte mo ii desuka?)
Do you ship (overseas)? 
???????????? (Kaigai made hass? dekimasuka?)
I need... 
___??????? (____ ga hoshii desu.)
...toothpaste. 
??? (hamigaki)
...a toothbrush. 
???? (ha-burashi)
...tampons. 
???? (tanpon)
...soap. 
?? (sekken)
...shampoo. 
????? (shanp?)
...pain reliever. (e.g., aspirin or ibuprofen
??? (chints?zai)
...cold medicine. 
??? (kazegusuri)
...stomach medicine. 
??? (ich?yaku)
...a razor. 
?? (kamisori)
...an umbrella. 
? (kasa)
...sunblock lotion. 
????? (hiyakedome)
...a postcard. 
?? (hagaki)
...postage stamps. 
?? (kitte)
...batteries. 
?? (denchi)
...writing paper. 
? (kami)
...a pen. 
?? (pen)
...English-language books. 
???? (eigo no hon)
...English-language magazines. 
????? (eigo no zasshi)
...an English-language newspaper. 
????? (eigo no shinbun)
...a Japanese-English dictionary. 
???? (waei jiten)
...an English-Japanese dictionary. 
???? (eiwa jiten)
Japanese phrasebook

Driving

I want to rent a car. 
???????????? (rent-a-car onegaishimasu.)
Can I get insurance? 
???????? (hoken hairemasuka?)
stop (on a street sign
??? (tomare)
one way 
???? (ipp? tsuk?)
caution 
?? (jok?)
no parking 
???? (ch?sha kinshi)
speed limit 
???? (seigen sokudo)
gas (petrol) station 
???????? (gasorin sutando)
petrol 
???? (gasorin)
diesel 
??/????? (keiyu / diizeru)
Japanese phrasebook

Authority

In Japan, you can legally be incarcerated for twenty-three (23) days before you are charged, but you do have the right to see a lawyer after the first 48 hours of detention. Note that if you sign a confession, you will be convicted.

I haven't done anything (wrong). 
??(????)??????(Nani mo (warui koto) shitemasen.)
It was a misunderstanding. 
?????? (Gokai deshita.)
Where are you taking me? 
????????????? (Doko e tsurete yukun desuka?)
Am I under arrest? 
????????????? (Watashi wa taiho sareterun desuka?)
I am a citizen of ____. 
____??????? (____ no kokumin desu.)
I want to meet with the ____ embassy. 
____ ???????????? (____ taishikan to awasete kudasai.)
I want to meet with a lawyer. 
????????????(Bengoshi to awasete kudasai.)
Can it be settled with a fine? 
????????? (Bakkin de sumimasuka?)
Note: You can say this to a traffic cop, but bribery is highly unlikely to work in Japan.
Japanese phrasebook

Offensive Language

It might happen that there is a need to express negative emotions towards others. Or it might happen that others do this to you. In those cases it is useful to understand some Japanese offensive words. Please use these with care.

Fool or idiot 
?? (baka)
Fool or idiot, used in Kansai 
?? (aho) - writing unsure
Doing something untimely 
??? (manuke) - writing unsure
A slow person 
??? (noroma)
Being bad at something 
?? (heta) - writing unsure
Being very bad at something 
???? (hetakuso) - writing unsure
A stingy person 
?? (kechi)
An old man 
??? (jiji)
An old woman 
??? (baba)
Not being cool 
??? (dasai)*
Fussy or depressing 
??? (uzai)*
Creepy 
??? (kimoi)*
Drop dead! 
???? (kutabare)
Eat shit! 
????? (kusokurae)
Get out of the way! 
?? (doke)
  • These words are mostly used by young people
Japanese phrasebook

Learning more

  • WWWJDIC (http://www.csse.monash.edu.au/~jwb/wwwjdic.html) — an excellent free English-Japanese-English dictionary including sentence translation, kanji lookup and place/personal name dictionary
  • Charles Kelly's Online Japanese Language Study Materials (http://www.manythings.org/japanese/) — online study aids and quizzes

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