Traveling to Japan is an amazing way to gain insights into its culture and people, but knowing hiragana and katakana will ensure a more enjoyable journey.
Hiragana represents native Japanese words while katakana allows for reading loanwords. Some characters also feature dakuten or handakuten markers to alter the sound they make – for instance the character (ha) can look like the forced smile you see when taking group photos.
1. Ask for directions
If you’re traveling to Japan, it’s helpful to have the ability to ask for directions. Cities can often prove hard to navigate; here are some phrases you can use when asking for assistance with finding your way.
Remember that hiragana can also be used to write native Japanese words that do not yet have their respective kanji written, as well as grammatical particles and suffixes such as “san” (Mr, Mrs, Miss or Ms). Furthermore, it can also show verb and adjective inflections – which may prove particularly difficult for foreign learners!
To distinguish the letter o from its close relative a, memorize a simple mnemonic that will help distinguish them: This will serve as a helpful reminder that reading left-to-right with regard to o and right-to-left for a is necessary in identifying them correctly.
When searching for directions in Japan, remember that locals can be reserved around foreigners at first. So find an eager local willing to assist and thank them by saying fen karimashita or arigatou gozaimasu – it will make them feel appreciated and increase your chances of getting the answers you need! This way they feel valued.
2. Ask for help
As travelers looking to navigate Japanese successfully, knowing how to request help is of utmost importance. Luckily, asking for assistance is relatively straightforward with just using some familiar question words!
Similarly, to get directions or seek specific information about a location or activity you can simply ask “doko desu ka?” (“Where is it?”). Inquires regarding more specific matters can also use phrases like “it’su desu ka?” “What is it?”.
If you need someone else to accompany you, say: “chotto kite kudasai?” ()- Can you come along?
With these five combination kana under your belt, you should be able to read most hiragana material! Continue practicing, and soon enough you’ll be ready for the next level – katakana! Don’t forget this useful mnemonic to remembering these combination kana! It will make learning them effortless! If additional practice before your trip is required, consider booking 1-on-1 lessons through Preply!
3. Say goodbye
Saying goodbye in Japan can be tricky. There are multiple ways of saying it and the appropriate approach will depend on factors like time of day and formality level.
Bai bai (,) is the easiest and most casual way to say goodbye in Japanese, similar to saying “bye-bye” in English. It is especially common among friends. Either gender can use it, though women and younger generation people tend to use it more. Bai bai can also be shortened into mata ne or added with phrases such as oh shitoshiyasshai (,) for an added polite touch.
For a formal farewell, use “oh shitoshiyasshai ne” (). This phrase should be reserved for teachers at school or individuals whom you won’t see again anytime soon. To add extra politeness, add “genki de” which means either “have a pleasant journey” or “take care.”
4. Ask for help with directions
Travelers visiting Japan would do well to learn the language well in order to obtain directions when needed. Not everyone speaks English, so being able to seek assistance should you become lost can only come in handy! Luckily, asking for directions in Japanese is pretty straightforward and finding assistance shouldn’t be hard!
To ask for directions in Japanese, say: “koko ni nimetasu yo?”. This phrase can be used whenever searching for something specific – just make sure that when asking, include the name of where it is!
Hiragana (, or “cheese sign”) is another way of asking for directions; this hiragana looks similar to how people draw the “cheese” sign and means to turn left!
5. Ask for help with directions
Few Japanese understand English (in fact, almost none do), so when lost on the road it’s vital that you have some basic Japanese words for directions. Try saying: (Kono denwa wa te ni karada kudasai), or Koko deguchi wo deguchi te ni kodasai).
If you have access to a smartphone, Google Maps makes asking for directions easy by asking locals to type the Japanese name for your destination into it for you – and in return they’ll thank you by saying things like, “Fen karimashita!” or “Thanks so much”.
Once again, here’s an essential list of Japanese hiragana vocabulary that will prove immensely useful during your travels to Japan! Now that you have learned the fundamentals, practice them regularly to prepare for your next journey there and have fun while staying safe!! – Oshizuku San ni Kotoba San! () () () Oshizuku San Te ni Kodasai! () () () Oshizuku San te Ni Kodasai! () () Oshizuku San Te Ni Kodasai! () Good luck and have fun while staying safe! (!) Good Luck with all your travel plans!! – Oshizuku San ni Kotoba San! () () () ()! () [Oshizuku San] Te Te ni Kodasai] (!) () Oshizuku San! Ti Kodasai). oshizuku San San te Ni Kodasai! [Oshizuku San] Te Te Ni Kodasai]! [Oshizuku San] Te Te Ni Kodasai]!!]. oshizuku San Te te Ni Kodasai = Oshizuku San san). (Oshi) [O] To be safe]. o]!]. (O] Toba San]!] Oshi san],