Survival Japanese Communication
I’ve been studying Japanese for seven years and have JLPT N2. I fell in love with Japanese from the artistic shapes of the kanji, and I was amazed at how its grammar differed from English from its core. Some people find this aspect of Japanese to be intimidating, but you will discover how easy it is to have a conversation with just a few words, and how your experience in Japan and your reception by Japanese people will transform with even the tiniest knowledge of the Japanese language. On a trip to a foreign country, why not take a chance on its language?
I use the West Tokyo local area of Asagaya, for its plenty of choices of cafés and bars that are easy to enter and enjoy together with residents of the town. It’s not often visited by tourists so it’s a perfect spot for us to use our first Japanese and understand what Tokyo local nightlife is all about!
What will we learn during the tour?
We’ll start right off learning the basics on the walk to the café, and we’ll be ready to say “good evening” and order your included first drink by the time we get there. We’ll spend one hour learning and practicing basic conversation skills. The course includes twenty minutes on greetings and formalities (please, excuse me, how are you, etc.), twenty minutes on basic sentences (this, that, what is this?, I want that, etc.), and twenty minutes on sentences with verbs (I’ll drink, I drank, let’s drink!!). The word list I use is extremely small so you don’t have to worry about cramming tons of information and forgetting it all. We’ll get a little warmed up practicing making a purchase at the convenience store, then we’ll end up at the pub which is the real test. We’ll find locals to mingle with and once the “Kanpai!!” (Cheers!) is done you’ll find that you’ve made new best friends in no time. You’ll also notice that you can already hold a basic conversation about where you are from, what you did today, and where in Japan you plan to go. These skills (and memories) won’t disappear when the tour is over, they will stay with you for the remainder of your travel and beyond!
I decided to conduct this tour at night instead of during the day because of the conversation opportunities it provides. The Japanese that I’ll teach can be useful day to day, but on vacation, there’s nothing so precious as making memories with local people. Many Japanese people are interested in the tourists who come to visit, but they don’t have confidence in their English and can’t get up the nerve to come and talk to them, so many tourists spend their whole trip without talking to any locals other than their tour guide or hotel staff. But if you speak just a little Japanese to them, it can break down those barriers, and even if they’re nervous, they’ll break out their high school English and before you know it you’ll be having a conversation and maybe even make a new friend across the world.
Nobody can master the complicated Japanese language in just three hours (or even seven years 😜), but what really matters is that we take that first step and extend the olive branch. The rest will work itself out.👍
What if I already know some Japanese?
The tour group will be mixed between beginners and those who’ve studied before, but in doing the tour I’ve never found it to be a significant problem adjusting to each person and giving advice for intermediate learners as well. Although we’ll cover just the basics of Japanese, those basics can be surprisingly deep and I’m confident I can provide information to keep students of various levels interested. Also, I’m sure that the experience communicating at the local bar will be a great experience for everyone, and if you’re confident you can help out in getting the new learners to try speaking as well 😉