Useful Japanese Words and Phrases that You Can Use When You Travel to Japan

It is widely known that the English language can be considered the universal language because more likely than not, it is the language known by bi and multilingual people from all other the world. If you plan to go to Japan though, this might not be the case because you will rarely find natives in Japan that speak languages aside from their own. With this being the case, if you plan to go there, you should be prepared with some useful words and phrases to convey the message you want with a better chance of being understood by the natives there.

Essential Basics Japanese Words like "Yamete" and Their Meaning

When talking about the basic words to learn for any language, it would be ideal to start with appropriate conversation starters. In this case, you should first learn about the different greetings you can open up with. It would be a given to start with the usual hello which may be through saying “Ohayou gozaimasu” or “Konnichiwa”. The first phrase means “good morning” while the second one means “Hello”.

Once you have gotten the attention of whoever you are talking to, you can now proceed to introduce yourself if the situation calls for it. To do this, all you need to say before your name is “desu”. This translates to “I’m” which is why you say it before your name. Introducing yourself before asking things or talking to strangers gives the strangers a bit more familiarity with you so it will probably lead to a more interactive conversation between you and the person or people you are talking to.

Since you are venturing in a new place as you go through Japan, there will probably be instances where you will want to know how to apologize or give forgiveness like when you accidentally bump into people or they bump into you. When this happens, it would be beneficial to know ways of saying “sorry”, “excuse me”, and “no problem” in Japanese.

There are also several ways to apologize in the Japanese language but the most common version used in everyday conversations is the phrase “Gomen nasai” which simply translates to “I’m sorry”. It is also useful to know how to say excuse me because it can be used to ask for passage in a crowded alley or street or to politely get someone’s attention. To say this in Japanese, you need only say the word “Sumi-Masen”.

When touring around Japan, you are bound to end up trying new things like food and other unique experiences to be made in Japan. When this happens, it would be handy to know some phrases that can convey your opinion in their native tongue. To simplify your options, you can learn 3 basic replies to questions that inquire about your opinion about certain things.

The first reply you should you probably know of is the “Suki desu” which means “I like it”. Imagine if you are taken out to a restaurant in Japan and your Japanese friends ask you how the food tastes. You can easily entertain them by surprising them with this particular reply given that you honestly liked the food they made you try. The phrase “ii desu yo” ought to have the same effect because it translates to “It’s good” as well.

The second reply you ought to know is the phrase “Yoku arimasen”. This literally translates to the most polite version of saying “It’s not good”. You can obviously use this reply when you do not like or enjoy whatever it is that a person or people ask you about. This is the safest phrase to use because other versions of this may be offensive to use in certain situations.

The third reply or answer that can be useful in certain situations is the word “Yamete”. This means to stop and there are several versions of this word that is proper to use in different scenarios but if you are in a polite conversation, especially with a person you are talking to for the first time, it would be best to use “Yamete kudasai” which translates to “please stop”. The usefulness of this phrase would probably when you are calling the attention of a bus or a taxi to stop for you as you try to get on or off it. If you search this variation of saying stop on the internet, you will find examples of it wherein it is used in the sentence “Yamete kudasai Watashi Kokoro ga Ittai”, which means “Please stop hurting my heart”. It is quite a dramatic example but it does explain the meaning of the phrase is a way that you will most likely never forget.

The Different Ways to Say Certain Phrases like “Yamete Kure” against “Yamete Yo” or “Yamete Kudasai” and How Their Meanings Translate to Getting a Better Impression

The Japanese language is a bit more complex compared to other languages. It can cover so many things with a use just one word or a short phrase. This is so because certain phrases can mean completely different things despite their similarities. Hence, if you do not master the language, you can easily use the wrong word or phrases during a conversation and that is never wanted in such a situation. To understand this better, you should know the different variations of “yamete” and what each version means exactly.

“Yamete” is a word that means “stop” according to the dictionary. Adding suffixes to this word, however, can change that way people understand it drastically. Earlier, it was already discussed that “yamete kudasai” meant “please stop”. There also exist variations of this that are more suitable for different environments and situations.

There are exists variations like “yamete kure” and “yamete yo”. Adding “kure” to the end of “yamete” does not change the meaning of what you are saying but it does change the tone of what you are saying. Using “yamete” alone conveys the tone of scolding because it is usually how parents tell their kids to stop whatever it is that they aren’t supposed to be doing. Using “yamete kure” gives off the tone of an order because it adds more feelings to the statement, request, or order. On the other hand, “yamete yo” conveys a tone with fewer feelings which is why it is used when you aren’t filled with anger or disappointed with a person’s behavior.

Although “yamete kure” is used to convey more emotions in telling whoever to stop whatever it is that you want them to stop, the variation of “yamero” is also used for this purpose. “Yamero” means “stop” and it beats “yamete kure” in terms of intensity because the tone of how you say stop when using this version would be as if you witnessed an abuse and ordered the culprit to stop whatever crime or indecency he was doing with urgency or else he or she will be reported to the corresponding authorities.

Because of this intensity, there are also times when a person uses “yamero” to tell another to quit whatever it is he or she is doing. This might not make immediate sense but if you think about it, telling someone to quit compared to telling someone to stop is very different because to quit means to never start or do that action again.

Why Learning All These Things Can Make Your Trip Better Overall

Considering the vastness of languages, there are certainly many other words in Japanese that have different variations to express different emotions and tones. It is important to know the variations of even the basic words because it can make or break your attempt to make a new friend on your journey.

Knowing when to use a certain phrase or word in the proper situation is vital, especially because of the language barrier between you and the person you are speaking with. This language barrier usually makes people a little more conscious about what a person says and if you are the one trying to cross the barrier by learning how to communicate in their native tongue, you cannot afford to make a mistake in relaying the message you want that person to understand.

To make this example more concrete, imagine a Japanese person who does not master the English language. If that Japanese person tried to talk to you in English and someone said something offensive when he or she actually just meant to compliment you. You probably would think that he meant what he literally said because you’d think that he wouldn’t say it if he didn’t know what it meant exactly. When you take these situations into consideration, it becomes clear how learning the specific details and differences of these phrases can make a huge difference in how you are accepted by people and how people respond to you.

Mastering a new language is bound to take you years but knowing these words and phrases may be enough to aid you through your trip. If all this is too much to remember, you can list it down and even research other phrases and words that you think you might need on your trip, depending on where you will go and what you plan to do. There are multiple references you can find on the net but be sure to double check these sources to avoid learning the wrong things. Being prepared is never seen as something bad or evil and it also never hurt anyone. As you can see with the examples discussed here, it can actually help you loads and make your trip a more memorable one if everyone you try to talk to interacts with you in the best way possible.