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  1. #1

    Default Japanese to know upon arrival

    Anything you wish you knew how to communicate when you first got to Japan? I feel like there are those super common phrases/situations in all countries you would never learn in a textbook... Now that I know I'm going, I figure I should take my Genki I level Japanese a lil further lol.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Japanese to know upon arrival

    The first phrase that my study abroad program's staff taught us on day 1 of orientation was "mottainai", which translates to "What a waste". I thought that was a really good phrase to know because there are so many opportunities where you might be tempted to play it safe (whether it's trying a new food or going out with people you don't really now). Also, I really wish I had been given a primer on Kansai-ben before I left for study abroad because my host family used it constantly and I felt so lost for like a month or so. Therefore, when I learn my placement, I want to see what kind of dialect they use and try to prep on that beforehand.
    Last edited by naginataonthebrain; April 2nd, 2015 at 03:33.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Japanese to know upon arrival

    Quote Originally Posted by naginataonthebrain View Post
    The first phrase that my study abroad program's staff taught us on day 1 of orientation was "mottainai", which translates to "What a waste". I thought that was a really good phrase to know because there are so many opportunities where you might be tempted to play it safe (whether it's trying a new food or going out with people you don't really now). Also, I really wish I had been given a primer on Kansai-ben before I left for study abroad because my host family used it constantly and I felt so lost for like a month or so. Therefore, when I learn my placement, I want to see what kind of dialect they use and try to prep on that beforehand.
    yeah dialects are a big concern for me since my Japanese is so remedial haha. I requested Osaka for one of my placements.... if I get it... that'd be cool, but... Imma be so lost haha....

  4. #4

    Default Re: Japanese to know upon arrival

    You'll probably get a cheat sheet with few basic things like a basic self introduction using a bit more formal language and advising to use plenty of yoroshiku onegaishimasu and gambarimasu. Just use what you know.

    Maybe one you won't hear but the sentiment will follow you around is 'shoganai' - sort of a too bad mixed with a 'nothing can be done to change the situation' sort of resignation.

    Unless you want to dive down the hole of local dialects when you get your placement info.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Japanese to know upon arrival

    I wouldn't worry about dialects too much when you first get here. They're sticky business, but I feel like they're best learned when you're exposed to them. Useful Japanese, obviously, is greetings, basic grammar forms and learning hiragana and katakana. If you have time to learn some kanji, start that as well. There's more than enough time to get a basic grasp of the language before you head out. But, you should also focus on business style Japanese. There's going to be lots of talk about contracts and paperwork and various buildings that you'll be going to in your first weeks.

  6. #6
    Senior Member mothy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Japanese to know upon arrival

    Food kanji is useful to know right away. Especially if you have any dietary restrictions.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Japanese to know upon arrival

    I'd recommend learning job titles of people within a school (kouchou, kyouto, etc.), and some words used in the daily schedule (#-jikanme, kyuushoku, souji/seisou, nicchoku, uchiawase). Also, it couldn't hurt to things like city hall, board of education, supervisor, etc.

    If you find yourself somewhere with a cool dialect, just add it to your studies. Keep studying the language normally, and try to figure out when people use weird stuff. Once you have the real (hyoujungo) way to say it, try to work the dialect into your speaking. After a couple years, you'll be translating your dialect into regular Japanese for people from out of the area.
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  8. #8

    Default Re: Japanese to know upon arrival

    I think something really useful would be "Sumimasen, nihongo ga (yoku) wakarimasen." (Sorry, I don't understand Japanese (well).)

    Good Osakaben to know:
    - shindoi = tired
    - ya = da/desu (ex: seyakedo = sou dakedo)
    - na = ne
    - verb-hen - verb nai (ex: wakarahen = wakaranai)

    Poeple don't actually say Ookini, but they do say Nandeyanen!
    Last edited by AyaReiko; April 2nd, 2015 at 12:55.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Japanese to know upon arrival

    Quote Originally Posted by AyaReiko View Post
    Poeple don't actually say Ookini, but they do say Nandeyanen!
    In my experience, the only time I've heard ookini is when somebody was trying to use Osaka-ben and the other person thought it was funny/cute.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Japanese to know upon arrival

    I've only ever heard it said as an example of Osaka-ben.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Japanese to know upon arrival

    osakini shitsurei shimasu when you get off work

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    Default Re: Japanese to know upon arrival

    Quote Originally Posted by soh View Post
    osakini shitsurei shimasu when you get off work
    I have never said this and don't intend to.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Japanese to know upon arrival

    Quote Originally Posted by CUPS View Post
    I have never said this and don't intend to.
    Wait, why? It's a perfectly acceptable phrase, and it's very polite. What do you say instead?

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    Default Re: Japanese to know upon arrival

    Quote Originally Posted by CUPS View Post
    I have never said this and don't intend to.
    Watashi mo, yo. My teachers get a few otsukares on my way out the door. None of this "sorry for leaving early" nonsense.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Japanese to know upon arrival

    Quote Originally Posted by greyjoy View Post
    Watashi mo, yo. My teachers get a few otsukares on my way out the door. None of this "sorry for leaving early" nonsense.
    But why?

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    Default Re: Japanese to know upon arrival

    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
    But why?
    My own private war with Japanese philosophy? It just doesn't come naturally to me, and I fit in almost seamlessly with Japanese level politeness otherwise. It's abnormal to me to call attention to my leaving in the first place. And I disagree wholeheartedly with the working hours mentality here, wherein the person staying longer is perceived to be working harder(dubious) and especially its corollary(excepting me, flat false).

    To me, saying otsukaresama is a nice courtesy. Saying osakini is a product of shaming, not politeness.

    But mostly maybe because I didn't say it when I first came, and can't start now.

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    Default Re: Japanese to know upon arrival

    Quote Originally Posted by AyaReiko View Post
    I think something really useful would be "Sumimasen, nihongo ga (yoku) wakarimasen." (Sorry, I don't understand Japanese (well).)

    Good Osakaben to know:
    - shindoi = tired
    - ya = da/desu (ex: seyakedo = sou dakedo)
    - na = ne
    - verb-hen - verb nai (ex: wakarahen = wakaranai)

    Poeple don't actually say Ookini, but they do say Nandeyanen!
    I definitely heard shopkeepers in Kyoto say ookini but never in Osaka so maybe it's just a Kyoto thing?

  18. #18

    Default Re: Japanese to know upon arrival

    YES thank you guys. Super helpful. I know maybe a little over 100 kanji, but... we all know how that is. I'm definitely gonna start trying to improve that number before I go. And yeah, looking at business Japanese is definitely not a bad idea either....

  19. #19
    Looking for some chaw acpc2203's Avatar
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    Default Re: Japanese to know upon arrival

    Kore onegaishimasu (this please) is useful when you order food from a menu, since you can just point at something on the menu instead of having to say it what it is.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Lorenzo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Japanese to know upon arrival

    As I'm beginning to learn what a helpful, kind and empathetic guy you are, Ini, especially to new, fresh-faced, rabbit-in-the-headlights JETs, I thought I better Google that one before memorizing it. Probably a good thing I did.

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