Japanese Language mini-lessons



There is no need for you to learn Japanese in any depth for our trip. Matt and Susan are fluent and can take care of all your language needs.

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.