Japanese Language mini-lessons



There is no need for you to learn Japanese in any depth for our trip. Heather and I can get by, and we have friends to help out.

That being said, you will find the Japanese, like all peoples that we have observed, appreciate it if you learn a few phrases to ease communication. This is the underlying assumption of the Japanese language pages on our website: just to make the basics available to those who are interested.

Furthermore, there are a few situations you might find yourself in where some basic phrases and vocabulary can help out, for example:

  • You are by yourself in a restaurant or store and want to buy something
  • You get separated from the group and need to get to our hotel or the train station
Japanese Language topics on our site



Nouns - something to talk about

Is, Is Not, Was, Was Not (attributes:desu)

Is, Is Not, Was, Was Not (existence:arimasu, imasu)

Everyday expressions

In a restaurant

This and that (kore, sore, are)

You and Me

Expressions for shopping

Expressions for traveling

Words for numbers, day-of-month, months, weekdays

Relative Time



Helpful sites on the Web
  • Jim Breem's Japanese -> English Dictionary, is sort of an ugly site. But if you type a romanized Japanese word into Keyword, select Jpn-Eng General (EDICT) in the Dictionary box (this is the default), click on the box labeled: Search using romanized Japanese then click on the Search button, you are directed to a page with that word defined. Next to most words is a small icon (a white triangle inside a blue circle) and if you click on that icon, you will hear the word pronounced!

  • A nice list of Japanese language learning tools on Web has lots of useful links to explore.

  • A set of small dialogs, including kana and audio; the sound is good practice for your ear: this is what Japanese sounds like in real life!

  • A more advanced Kanji study source, - a beautiful site, you can enjoy the aesthetic even without the study.