Don't Wear Your Towel in the Onsen!
Don't Wear Your Towel in the Onsen!
A Touch of Traditional Japan
A Touch of Traditional Japan
Deciphering the Menu is Half the Fun!
Deciphering the Menu is Half the Fun!
Cooking Onsen Nozawa
Cooking Onsen Nozawa
Nozawa Onsen
Nozawa Onsen
Furano Japan
Furano Japan
Zenkoji Temple Nagano
Zenkoji Temple Nagano
Japanese and Australian Culture Combination!
Japanese and Australian Culture Combination!
Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort Japan
Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort Japan
Japanese Onsen
Japanese Onsen
Pachinko Parlour - Popular Japanese Game
Pachinko Parlour - Popular Japanese Game
Sapporo Hokkaido
Sapporo Hokkaido
Sapporo Beer
Sapporo Beer
Gotta Wear a Mini Skirt No Matter How Cold It Is!
Gotta Wear a Mini Skirt No Matter How Cold It Is!
Ramen Alley Sapporo Japan
Ramen Alley Sapporo Japan
Nagano Japan
Nagano Japan
Sapporo City
Sapporo City
Japanese Onsen, Zao Onsen
Japanese Onsen, Zao Onsen
Zao Onsen
Zao Onsen
Zao Onsen
Zao Onsen

Language & Customs

Many websites about skiing in Japan cite that all Japanese people study English at school and therefore most Japanese people can understand basic English, but this is not the case. The degree of English spoken varies widely across the ski resorts of Japan. The highly Westernised Niseko is at one end of the spectrum where Japanese is barely spoken! At the other end of the continuum there are small off the beaten track ski resorts where not a word of English is spoken or understood. This scenario is somewhat more common in the remote areas of Hokkaido.

Most large Japanese ski resorts have some restaurants that have English menus. Less “discovered” places may only have photos on the menu or food models, whilst the really interesting places only have a Japanese menu! If you don’t speak fluent Japanese it will be incredibly handy to carry a phase book, even if only to ensure that you don’t order eel or horse sashimi for dinner!

Even if you can’t read Japanese kanji it’s easy to find your way around Japan. Road signs commonly use the Western alphabet or roads are numbered, and the major train stations have signs in English. Shop fronts also commonly display signs using the Western alphabet.

The Japanese love people who make an effort to communicate in their language and indulge in their culture. The following are some of our favourite phrases:

English

Japanese Phonetic Pronunciation

Comments

yes

hai

 

no

iie

 

thank you

arigato

THE most important word to learn

thank you very much

arigato gozaimas

The 2nd most important phrase to learn

you're welcome

doitashi mashitay

 

good morning

o hi yo gozaimas

Add the gozaimas to be extra polite

good afternoon (or "hello")

kon nee chee wa

 

good evening

kon ban wa

 

good-bye

sayonara

 

please

kudasai

 

please (as in "go ahead" or “after you”)

dozo

The towies will say this a lot to you

excuse me

 sumimasen

 

snow

yuki

 

I'm sorry

 Gomen nasai

 

Cheers!

Kanpai!

You might use this one a few times!

happy

gen ki

 

delicious

oy shee

 

great

segoi

 

fantastic

subararshi

 

wait a moment, please

chotto matte kudasai

 

where is the toilet?

toilet wa doca desu ka?

They’ll understand the Western word “toilet”

Let’s go!

ickie ma-shaw!

A favourite for skiing

Cold

samui

Plenty of opportunity to use this word

The numbers are different depending upon the context. The use of “ichiban” (number one) is different to when ordering one beer – “biero hitotsu”. Numbers 1-4 are probably the most important to learn, as it’s too difficult to carry more than 4 beers anyway!

Number in English

Japanese Phonetic Pronunciation

one

hitotsu

two

futatsu

three

mittsu

four

yotsu


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