When planning a trip to Japan, there are many ways that you may want to prepare yourself. One way to get the full experience when visiting a foreign country is to immerse in the culture, the food, and everyday life. Another way to better your experience when visiting a foreign country is to improve your knowledge of the local language.
You may feel that learning a new language in preparation for a trip may be a difficult task to undertake. It may, however, be one of the best things to do in anticipation of your get-away. Instead of looking at learning Japanese as a burden, view it as a challenge and a way to enhance your cultural experience of a foreign land.
Learning Japanese before and during your trip may even lessen any anxieties. Many people when traveling fear getting lost or not being able to communicate. Being able to communicate in the mother language will allow you to relax and have fun. If you do not get to learn everything, don’t fret, you can always rent a pocket wifi in Japan so you can stay online to look up some words.
Below are some tips on how to practice your Japanese skills, and things that you can do during your trip.
#The Necessary of Learning Japanese before Vacationing in Japan
You may ask yourself is it really necessary to learn Japanese simply because you will be traveling there. The real answer is no, probably not. In reality, many people there speak English and you will find some signs in English in large cities.
Learning some Japanese will however offer you a different and more extensive experience. For example, although many people speak English in large cities, many do not. You also limit yourself to where you will feel comfortable in going.
If you truly want to experience Japan and all that it has to offer, learning the language, even if you learn just enough to get by, will offer you a more thorough experience.
#Where to Start
If you decide to take the leap and learn Japanese, you may ask yourself, where to start. The first step when learning a new language is to commit. Find something that motivates you (like that trip you are about to take) and use it as a motivation to learn. Then make learning the language a priority. Decide on what exactly you would like to achieve as far as learning Japanese, and set goals and plans on how to achieve those goals.
#What Sources Should You Use?
It can seem a bit intimidating when you are ready to learn a language and don’t know where to start. Thankfully, there are many different sources out there to learn Japanese.
With the internet, there are several sources that can help you achieve your goal of learning Japanese. These sources can be used prior to your travels and even while you are there. Some of the best sources for learning Japanese are:
- Anki – A software that will help you improve your vocabulary
- Tangaini Jisho – A dictionary software that will also help with vocabulary
- Italki – An online language service that provides teachers and lessons online
Other than educational sources, there are other ways to learn a language. Immersion is one of the best-proven ways for people to learn how to speak a second language. You can immerse yourself in the Japanese language and culture even before you get to Japan. You can do that by joining groups, getting to know people in the Japanese community and even by contacting the Japanese embassy in your city. Encircle yourself with Japanese people and culture and see the difference that it can make.
The same applies to when you are in Japan. If you really want to learn about the culture and the language, the best thing to do is plunge in. Instead of only frequenting tourist spots, visit some local spots. You will get the true taste of Japan.
#Learning Common Japanese Phrases
One of the best ways to improve your Japanese skills is to learn a few key phrases. Japanese has a lot of common phrases that can be used as greetings and casual conversation. Remember to focus more on intonation and rhythm to sound more like a native.
Japanese particles are an important part of the Japanese language and grammar. In Japanese, unlike some other languages, particles help define what a person is trying to say. These words do not only glue all other words together in a sentence, but they are also essentially the backbone of the sentence.
If you learn the Japanese particles and how to use them, you will be able to communicate better.
#If All Else Fails, Use Your Pocket WIFI
If after all of your preparation and attempts to learn still leaves you a little weary while in Japan, there are some things that you can do. Technology has come a long way and in this case, it is your friend. One issue that people have in a foreign land is access to the internet. Fortunately, you can always use pocket wifi.
The pocket wifi will give you the luxury to have access to the sources mentioned above, as well as maps and more. You will be able to look up words, destinations and keep you connected to your loved ones at home.
You can even pre-order one and have it delivered to the hotel before you arrive.
Remember that learning about new places, new cultures, and new languages are great ways to discover the world and to see new things. Your decision to learn or improve your Japanese will enhance your vacation in more ways than one.
Tiffy, a.k.a. asiatravelbug, is a travel planning freak, an ex-finance manager and currently a digital marketing ninja. Traveling has kept her sane from all the hustles and bustles of corporate life. Despite being a nervous flyer, Tiffy’s wanderlust has led her to visit Japan for 10 times (and counting). Her favorite cities are Kyoto and Tokyo and would choose to visit Japan over Paris in a heartbeat !