May 13, 2016

How much Japanese level should I learn?

I'll go to Japan this year. But many people say Japanese people doesn't speak english. Helping foreigner is bothering them. What is minimum level I should get?



I'm 28 years old, male, student.
I wanna move to Japan.

9 Answers

  • KevinC

    on May 13

    I think most Japanese people are delighted to offer any help, it makes their day special. You need to be able to read katakana and hiragana, and speak some common sentences, like 1. "Eigo deki masenn ga?" - "Can you speak English?" 2. "otearai wa doko desuka?" - "Where is the restroom?" 3. "osusume ha nani desuka?" - "What do you recommended?"

  • kcsantosh

    on May 13

    You don't have to be very good in Japanese to survive here. Learn basic words used during shopping, train, convenience store. Other things will be fine when you use basic and simple English while communicating with Japanese.

  • helloalissa

    on May 13

    How long will you be in Japan for this time? It will take a while to learn Japanese well, but if you want to live here, it's worth it to learn. After living here, you can use it all the time and learn a lot faster. It kind of depends on where in Japan you'll go. Around Tokyo, a lot of people seem super busy and bothered to help foreigners- but if I ask something in Japanese, they seem relieved, like "oh good, I don't have to try to speak English." Around Osaka, people might just start talking to you. In smaller towns, they will probably be scared to start a conversation, but really nice if you talk to them in Japanese. I don't think many people here can feel comfortable speaking English, but if you write something simple, some can probably understand it. I would learn as much Japanese as possible of course. Try to immerse yourself in it whenever possible. I recommend the All Japanese All The Time blog, plus a podcast called Japanese Pod 101, I think. They're better than textbooks to learn Real Japanese that you will actually use every day. (If you need to understand the rules for grammar, the textbook I like is called "Genki," but you can find free resources online too.) Things like asking where the train is going when you're looking for the right track, how much something is, asking what something is, etc. If you learn only the minimum, you'll have a limited experience in Japan. To really understand the culture and enjoy more of everyday life in Japan, knowing Japanese helps so much. I think if you're in someone else's country, it's rude to expect them to use another language.

  • Tatsuya

    on May 16

    Most Japanese can neither speak nor hear English. But if you talk to them slowly, you may get proper answer. Because native speaker speaks too fast for them.

  • klous

    on May 18

    @KevinC thx @joinsanto thx @helloalissa I'm planning stay 3 month. Entering Japan with tourist visa first. Then I wanna get job in japan. @Tatsuya Japan So some Japanese people can understand english word if speak slowly.

  • SurferDan

    on Aug 18

    I came on a tourist visa last year. But i learned as much Japanese as i could for 2 years before that so I had no problem. Now I'm living here and always try to speak Japanese...no matter what. Most Japanese can read and even speak some English, but don't expect to speak it. You are coming here so prepare to speak the language. Even if you try and aren't so good they will really appreciate your effort. That's how i felt my first time. Japanese people are generally shy towards foreigners especially away from big cities. Of course it depends where you go too. Tokyo is the where English is being spoken the most. The more rural you go the less English is spoken and on signs. Check out this book. I think it will help a lot if you don't plan on getting to deep in the language and need sometime to get by. Japan is an amazing country. Sure you will enjoy :)

  • kcsantosh

    on Dec 14

    I think you should learn at least level N3

  • Ashes

    on Feb 21

    In my opinion either learn tourist level Japanese and enjoy your cluelessness or prepare to go the whole slog to fluency. The middle ground of Japanese sucks. Definitely learn to read katakana and hiragana, this will help you to read some basic food menus.

  • ExploringJapan

    on Jun 12

    It really depends on what are you planning to do here in japan. If you are just coming here to tour then little basic japanese words would be enough and with the technology now google translator is very helpful. But if your planning to work here, there are companies who requires someone who can speak and read basic japanese. There are lots of apps that you can download to learn and practice. Goodluck!


Awaiting More Answers

3 Answers

Therapy Cats

Hello! I heard it was hard to find apartments that accept pets in Japan. I have a therapy cat who will absolutely have to come with me on my journey. Does anyone know if Japan apartments recognize therapy cats or how hard would it be to get my baby accepted? Thank you for the help!


on Jul 12

6 Answers

Any birthday idea?

It's my boyfriend birthday next month! I'm thinking about how to celebrate his birthday in Tokyo. We used to go abroad, but this time we would like to celebrate in Japan. Would be glad if your could recommend restaurants or any events in August? or how to celebrate in extra special way?


on Jul 10

11 Answers

Your favorite summer getaway spots?

Any favorite places you all have to get away to during the stinking hot summer months? I would love a long weekend away somewhere (ideally cooler!) We did Hakodate/Aomori one summer and really enjoyed it. Would love to hear your suggestions.


on Jun 12

3 Answers

Anybody know what these are?

Anybody know what these (larva, eggs, pupa...?) are and more importantly what (insect?) they will become? Thank you


on Jun 4