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Japanese Speakers, Input Please.

Posted: Wed Jun 01, 2016 7:17 pm
by Aeroflot001
Hey everyone,

I'm heading on my first trip to Japan and Asia, for that matter, this weekend. I'll be visiting Tokyo and Kyoto.

I've always had a mild interest in the Japanese Language but never formally studied it, and I have been reviewing a lot of basic phrases as well since I believe that it is important and a great signal of respect to at least greet someone in their native language rather than start of with "Do you speak english?" in English.

A lot of the phrases I've seen online seem very formal so I was hoping that someone could help me formulate a statement along these lines, in a way that sounds natural/modern, If you can provide the Japanese characters I would appreciate it.

Hi!, how are you? I'm sorry, I don't speak Japanese, I speak English, Spanish and Portuguese, can you help me please?
along with a separate statement.
I am from Argentina, the US and Puerto Rico.

I don't like seafood, though i'm willing to give it a try, my favorite cut of meat is "chicken breast". Google translate shows chicken as "チキン" which mimics the english pronunciation of the word Chicken. While Chicken breast comes out as "鶏の胸肉".

If someone could clear this up for me I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you!

RE: Japanese Speakers, Input Please.

Posted: Thu Jun 02, 2016 5:09 am
by Aaron747
Quoting Aeroflot001 (Thread starter):
A lot of the phrases I've seen online seem very formal

Japanese is taught formally to non-speakers because 'standard' Japanese is what people automatically use with strangers, customers, and anyone outside their 'group'. Informal Japanese is only used with friends, relatives, close co-workers, and other people inside one's 'group'. The Japanese language and socialization of Japanese people are highly compartmentalized, so it is inappropriate to use informal language off the bat.

Quoting Aeroflot001 (Thread starter):
in a way that sounds natural/modern

If you start by using phrases I would use (that sound natural/modern) people will be quite disappointed when the conversation abruptly becomes not-fluent. Generally not a good idea.

Quoting Aeroflot001 (Thread starter):
Hi!, how are you? I'm sorry, I don't speak Japanese, I speak English, Spanish and Portuguese, can you help me please?
along with a separate statement.
I am from Argentina, the US and Puerto Rico.

That is a lot of exposition for Japanese people, who outside of Osaka, are basically adverse to long initial conversation with people they don't know. Start small and work your way up - name, country, etc. Unless they have lived in the US, most Japanese won't know what Puerto Rico is.

"Sumimasen, nihongo ga dekimasen" should get the point across that you can't speak Japanese, balanced between formal and informal.

Spanish: "Su-pein go wakarimasuka?"

Portuguese: "Poro-togaru go wakarimasuka?"

"wakaranai" will mean "I don't understand at all" and "dekimasu" or "so desu" will mean "I can" in response

Most places in Japan you'll have more luck with Portuguese than Spanish due to the large number of Japanese-Brazilian immigrants and people who provide services to them.

Quoting Aeroflot001 (Thread starter):
I don't like seafood, though i'm willing to give it a try, my favorite cut of meat is "chicken breast". Google translate shows chicken as "チキン" which mimics the english pronunciation of the word Chicken. While Chicken breast comes out as "鶏の胸肉".

"chi-ken no muneniku onegai shimasu" should be enough to order it. You can replace 'onegai shimasu' with 'suki desu' to indicate that you like it.

Enjoy your first exploration of this fascinating land!



[Edited 2016-06-01 22:11:52]

RE: Japanese Speakers, Input Please.

Posted: Fri Jun 03, 2016 12:21 am
by Aeroflot001
Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 1):
"chi-ken no muneniku onegai shimasu" should be enough to order it. You can replace 'onegai shimasu' with 'suki desu' to indicate that you like it.

Enjoy your first exploration of this fascinating land!

Thanks a lot for the info, I appreciate it.

Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 1):
Most places in Japan you'll have more luck with Portuguese than Spanish due to the large number of Japanese-Brazilian immigrants and people who provide services to them.

With Brazil having the largest Japanese community in the world outside of Japan I had figured that there must be a decent Brazilian population in Japan. Does Tokyo have a "little Brazil"? I visited the liberdade neighbourhood in São Paulo and it was incredible to see such a strong concentration of first and second generation Nippobrasileiros. I had a delicious Chicken Katsu Kare there.