Survival Japanese – at the hospital

When staying in Japan for a certain amount of time you may have to go to the hospital. A few of them, especially in big cities such as Tokyo or Osaka have english speaking staff but most of the time it is not the case that is why a little basic sentences to describe your symptoms might be useful.

Please let us know if we forgot anything!

Survival vocabulary:

What experiences did you make with Japanese hospitals? Would like to share with us your experiences?

Do you know the origin of the Japanese word arigatou

Do you know the origin of the Japanese word for thank you – arigatou? Watch this nice video and find out.

Here are the two kanji mentioned in the vide0:


有 - ari - to exist

難 (no kanji card yet). This is the kanji used in 難しい – muzukashii – difficult





How do you say thank you in your language? Let us know in the comment section.

Survival Japanese – at the hotel

When you travel to Japan you will most likely stay at a hotel. Although most hotels nowadays have English language skills it might be useful to know a few phrases in Japanese – especially when traveling apart from the typical tourist locations.

Survival vocabulary

English Romaji Furigana
air conditioner eakon エアコン エアコン
bed beddo ベッド ベッド
blanket moufu もうふ 毛布
body soap bodii soopu ボディーソープ  ボディーソープ
check-in chekku in チェックイン チェックイン
check-out chekku auto チェックアウト チェックアウト
double room daburu ダブル ダブル
elevator elebeeta エレベータ エレベータ
extra bed tsuika beddo ついかベッド 追加ベッド
hair dryer doraiyaa ドライヤー ドライヤー
hot spring bath onsen おんせん 温泉
hotel hoteru ホテル ホテル
Japanese style room washitsu わしつ 和室
Japanese style hotel ryokan りょかん 旅館
key kagi かぎ
non smoker kin-en きんえん 禁煙
reception furonto (front) フロント フロント
reservation yoyaku よやく 予約
room heya へや 部屋
room charge shukuhakudai しゅくはくだい 宿泊代
room number heya bango へやばんごう 部屋番号
safety deposit box kinko きんこ 金庫
shampoo shanpuu シャンプー シャンプー
shaver higesori ひげそり 髭剃り
shower shawaa シャワー シャワー
single room shinguru シングル シングル
smoker kitsu-en きつえん 喫煙
 soap sekken せっけん 石鹸
 tissues tisshuu peepaa ティッシュペーパー ティッシュペーパー
toilet toire トイレ トイレ
toilet paper toiretto peepa トイレットペーパー  トイレットペーパー
 tooth brush ha burashi はブラシ 歯ブラシ
 tooth paste hamigaki はみがき 歯磨き
towel taoru タオル タオル
TV terebi テレビ テレビ
twin room tsuin ruumu ツインルーム ツインルーム
valuables kichouhin きちょうひん 貴重品

Survival phrases

Kanji 朝食は含まれていますか?
Furigana ちょうしょくはふくまれていますか?
Romaji choushoku wa fukumarete imasu ka?
English Is breakfast included.

Kanji 部屋を変えて下さい。
Furigana へやをかえてください。
Romaji heya o kaete kudasai.
English Please change the room.

Kanji 部屋を変えて下さい。
Furigana へやをかえてください。
Romaji heya o kaete kudasai.
English Please change the room.

Kanji 朝食はどこですか?
Furigana ちょうしょくはどこですか?
Romaji choushoku wa doko desuka?
English Where is breakfast?

Kanji 朝食は何時ですか?
Furigana ちょうしょくはなんじですか?
Romaji choushoku wa nanji desuka?
English What time is breakfast?

Kanji カードでいいですか?
Furigana カードでいいですか?
Romaji kaado de ii desuka?
English Can I use credit cards?

Kanji 領収書下さい。
Furigana りょうしゅうしょください。
Romaji ryoushuusho kudasai.
English Can I have a receipt?

Kanji この荷物を預かって下さい。
Furigana このにもつをあずかってください。
Romaji kono nimotsu wo azukatte kudasai.
English Can you please keep this luggage.

Kanji 預けた荷物を返して下さい。
Furigana あずけたにもつをかえしてください。
Romaji azuketa nimotsu o kaeshite kudasai.
English Please return my luggage.

What experiences did you make with Japanese hotels? Do you have some funny stories you would like to share with us?

Survival Japanese – shopping

Japan is one of the greatest (but expensive) places for shopping in the world. The mix of traditional and contemporary culture is fantastic and especially Tokyo offers so many shopping districts and high class malls. Since most shop clerks do not speak English it is very useful to know a few sentences in Japanese to get what you want.

With the exception of western Japan (Osaka) it is not common to negotiate prices. However, you can always try and as a foreigner you sometimes can get some discount.

English Romaji Furigana
How much is it? ikura desuka? いくらですか? いくらですか?
I will take this. kore kudasai. これください。 これ下さい。
Do you take credit cards? kaado de ii desuka? カードでいいですか? カードでいいですか?
Is there a bigger size? ookii no arimasuka? おおきいのありますか? 大きいのありますか?
Is there a smaller size? chiisai no arimasuka? ちいさいのありますか? 小さいのありますか?
Can I have a discount? waribiki onegai shimasu. わりびきおねがいします。 割引お願いします。

What are you looking for when you go shopping in Japan?

Survival Japanese – Japanese greetings

Even if you don’t speak a word of Japanese, knowing a few common greetings will help breaking the ice with your Japanese counterparts. This is a list of very common Japanese greetings you can apply in various situations. This article also covers a few basic Japanese manners related to greetings.


English Romaji Furigana
Good morning ohayou gozaimasu おはようございます お早うございます
hello konnichi wa こんにちは 今日は
good evening konban wa こんばんは 今晩は
Good night oyasumi nasai おやすみなさい お休みなさい
Good bye sayonara さよなら さよなら
Welcome youkoso ようこそ ようこそ

Related patterns

English Romaji Furigana
How are you? ogenki desuka? おげんきですか? お元気ですか?
What’s new? saikin dou desuka? さいきんどうですか? 最近どうですか?
I am fine. genki desu. げんきです。 元気です。
See you later mata kondo またこんど また今度。

Exchanging business cards

There are a few basic rules on how to exchange business cards in Japan. First of all you exchange business cards with two hands. When receiving the other persons business card you should contemplate it for a few seconds. During this time you confirm the name as well as the title, so that you get an understanding on where this person stands in relation to the other participants. It is also considered polite to say a word about the other person (e.g. Your offices are in a convenient place, etc.)

When you sit at the conference table you arrange the business cards in front of you so that they match the order of the people sitting in front of you. This can be a bit difficult when many people attend a meeting.

You never write something on the business cards in front the people you received them from. This is considered as rude and I have only seen very highly ranked people doing this. Later on you of course are free to write any useful information on the business card.

You sometimes might not be sure if you have met a person before. Not handing over your business card would be rude, but not recognizing the other person does also not send a good message. In this case you address the person, when you realize that you met before you mention that your business card has changed. Japanese always want to have the latest version of your business card.


In Japan people bow to each other when exchanging greetings. The degree of the bow expresses the level of respect towards the other person. In general bowing by about 15% is regarded as sufficient – especially for foreigners.
There are differences between the way women and men bow. Whereas men keep their hands at the side of the body, women put the hands in front of the body.

Do you have experience with Japanese manners? Tell us more about it.

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