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possible language issue?

QC
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80 posts
4 reviews
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possible language issue?

hi, we are english speakers(tho not our first language) and know no nihonggo. will we be having difficulties with getting around and shopping in Osaka and Kyoto?

Kuromon Market
Flea & Street Markets, Points of Interest & Landmarks
Osaka Station City
Department Stores, Shopping Malls
San Francisco...
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4,461 posts
24 reviews
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1. Re: possible language issue?

You should be ok as long as you carry a map--and a cheap compass is also useful. Streets, trains, buses, and subways have excellent English signage in Osaka and Kyoto. And there will be plenty of English-speaking tourists in both cities. You should also be able to find English-speaking staff (former exchange students) in most large stores.

Kyoto, Japan
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for Kobe, Kyoto
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2. Re: possible language issue?

In most of the tourists spots you should be fine around here. Many restaurants have food display cases outside of the entrance so if the menus are impossible to understand, you can just gesture to the servers to follow you outside and you can point to the food you would like to order. I just saw some people doing this two days ago and they seemed to be doing fine.

Taxis are a challenge if you don't speak Japanese so if you have your destination written down, that will help a great deal.

Many small shop owners and small cafe owners don't speak English well but you can get by with a little patience and perseverance.

Toronto
Destination Expert
for Tokyo
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3. Re: possible language issue?

Taxis are difficult even if you speak Japanese and have the address in Japanese. That's why virtually all hotels and attractions publish "access maps" on their websites. Print those and bring them along.

Nara, Japan
Destination Expert
for Nara, Kamikochi
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4. Re: possible language issue?

You sure can manage with your English most of the time. Yet one thing I imagine poses a challenge is when you speak Japanese names of places/things. Once inside railroad stations, for example, you'll find everything is well-signposted in romaji alphabets (in the Hepburn-style) and Japanese letters. Maybe that's the norm/law now. Problem is, you need to learn to say the alphabet IN the Hepburn/Japanese style. So for starters, visit:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4kl6siX-0A

Half the job is done if you can read and say romaji letters just like the way it is in the above, yet that may take a little getting used to, though. Narration isn't given by a native (that admitted by the narrator himself in the video), but it's very good, I reckon, save the 'R' part. ;)

If you're interested in Japanese R or L sound, then here's an interesting/controversial link, which is romaji-related:

angelfire.com/anime4/minako134/romaji1.htm

Umm, a bit like a deja-vue, sorry, I mean the way she writes...;) no, I'm not its author. ;)

The following is more authentic, IMO, yet not in the Hepburn style; if you scroll down and do some 'practices' in synch with the romaji table and the sounds you hear, then you'll get the knack of it:

…weebly.com/pronunciation-and-romaji.html

Click on the tab at the bottom so you can hear the sounds. Yes, the lady narrator gets 'nazalized' at proper words, just as NHK announcers do.

Edited: 1:14 pm, February 20, 2013
Kyoto, Japan
Destination Expert
for Kobe, Kyoto
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5. Re: possible language issue?

I don't have problems with taxis and use them every week. :)

If you have the address and phone number, they can enter that into the navigation.

asia
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666 posts
21 reviews
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6. Re: possible language issue?

You might want to try what I did........I did some google translation, take photos of them with my phone, then if I encounter difficulty, I'll show them. :) I just did some of those more common ones. Like what time the shop closes, where is the train station ... etc.

Coz I too, can't speak Japanese :)

QC
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80 posts
4 reviews
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7. Re: possible language issue?

thanks folks, all very helpful tips!!

Kuala Lumpur
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36 posts
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8. Re: possible language issue?

HI,

many of the locals are extremely helpful. they will stop by and ask you if you are carrying a map and look lost! so, don't worry about it, you should be fine.

when i reached kyoto, i actually pop by their local tourism counter, got some more detailed map. very useful.

9. Re: possible language issue?

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