Although Doot connects you with Japanese people who have an interest in English and improving their speaking ability, your hosts abilities tend to vary.
You can see each host’s language ability on their profile, so you can choose someone more or less proficient, depending on your preferences. Regardless, sometimes Japanese will just slip out – it is their first language after all! If you understand that, it’ll clear up a lot of the question marks that may appear above your head.
We’ve put together a guide of Japanese phrases for travelers that you might hear your Japanese host say, or phrases you might want to use yourself while traveling in Japan, to make things a whole lot more comfortable for you.
Useful Japanese Phrases – the ones that suddenly slip out
You will hear Japanese people say some of these words and phrases during a casual conversation. Read ’em and weep, sucker. I mean, read these and familiarise yourself – hopefully you can recognise them when you hear them used, and perhaps you can use them yourself!
- Daijoubu? —> Are you okay
- Dochira? / Docchi? —> Which one?
- Hontou? —> Really? (People may say this if you say something surprising)
- ii ne? —> It’s good, right?
- Maji? —> Seriously? (Again, people may say this if you say something surprising)
- Chigau —> Wrong / different. (You might hear someone say this after they misuse an English word, realise their mistake, and want to correct themselves. Alternatively, you might ask them a clarifying question and they’ll answer with this before giving the correct answer.
Useful Japanese Phrases for Conversation or Travel in Japan
The below phrases should be enough to get you around. We said Doot got you covered, homie. Don’t worry, we gotchu. Doot gotchu. Anyways…We recommend you ask your meal partner for more specific phrases that you find yourself wanting to say while you’re in Japan. They’d be happy to help.
- Konnichiwa! —> Hello
- Hajimemashite! —-> Nice to meet you!
- Sumimasen —> Excuse me.
- Arigatou gozaimasu —> Thank you (polite form. Please be polite!).
- Itadakimasu —> Thank you for the meal (You’re going to put your hands together and say this when you start eating)
- Gochisousama deshita —> Thank you for the meal. (You’re going to say this when you’re finished eating. It’s a pleasantry, but it’s also polite and a nice way to let your meal partner know that you enjoyed the food.)
- Wakarimasen —> I do not understand.
- Mou ichido onegai shimasu —> Please repeat what you said.
- [Shinjuku] eki wa doko desu ka? —-> Where is [Shinkuku] train station?
- _______ wa doko desu ka? —> Where is the ____? This is useful when looking for something like the toilet (‘toire’)
- ______ wo yonde kudasai —> Please call a ______. Sub words into the blank space like “takushii” (taxi) or, just incase (!!!), “keisatsu” (police)
It may seem scary, but you’ll be fine. Just go out there and try. Remember, you’re joining a community where everyone is learning a language. You’ll fit right in! 😉
If you’re already learning Japanese and find this easy, good stuff – you’re ahead of the curve. Treat this as a refresher! Good luck, and don’t forget to eat and meet with locals using Doot!