Since I have started this website, I have gotten a lot of e-mails asking me about studying in Japan. For those of you who don’t know, I used to work as an admissions counselor to help bring students here to Japan. Something I will be doing again soon. For those of you who want to really learn Japanese, and especially for those who want to work in Japan, I would highly recommend studying in here.
There are possibilities to work in Japan for people who can’t speak Japanese fluently, or at least at a business level, but they are few. The primary two being recruiting and English teaching. If you really want to open up your options, then you need to learn Japanese fluently. One great way to do that is to study in Japan. Studying in Japan will help you both learn the culture and learn the Japanese language. Two things you will need to know to find a good job in Japan.
So, here is a list of Japanese words for those interested in studying in Japan. These words should help you ask questions about how your credits transfer, graduating, clubs, scholarships, student life, etc. Please feel free to add on more words in the comments.
- High school- 高校、こうこう
- Community College- 短大、たんだい
- College/University- 大学、だいがく
- Transcripts- 成績証明書、せいせきしょうめいしょ
- Credits- 単位、たんい
- Essay- エッセイ、
- Entrence essay-入学論文
- Entrance exam- 入学試験、にゅうがくしけん
- Scholarship- 奨学金、しょうがくきん
- transfer- 編入、へんにゅう
- Graduate- 卒業する、そつぎょうする
- Diploma- 卒業証明書
- Major, field- 専門、せんもん
This is a pretty short list that you can put into Anki and should be able to mostly remember in about a day. For those of you who aren’t using Anki, be sure to check it out. It’s a great tool and will help you learn faster. Also, as I mentioned earlier, be sure to add any additional words in the comments section.
You have been studying Japanese and learning lots of Japanese words. But what if you are heading to Japan and don’t have time to study or remember a lot of Japanese words? Well, I would say that there is always time if done efficiently, but just in case, here is a list of words that you must know.
I wanted to keep the list small and have decided to limit it to just 10 words. A Japanese words survival list if you will. If you can remember these words, then you should at be able to take care of your basic needs. They might not get you much further, but at least you will be able to get to the bathroom.
I should note that the grammar below is not complete. It is written for someone who only knows these ten words to get by.
1. Doko (どこ)-where
Knowing how to say where is really important. Especially if this is your first time to Japan. Just add the place name in front of this: Restaurant doko?
2. Ikitai (いきたい) -I want to go to
Similar to doko, but this allows you to tell someone where you want to go: Station ikitai.
3. Sumimasen (すみません)-Sorry, excuse me。
This word can be extremely useful because of all of the ways it can be used. Mainly, you can use it to say “sorry” or “excuse me”.
4. Ikura (いくら)-How much
You will most likely be buying things. This allows you to ask how much.
5. Otearai (おてあらい)-Bathroom
You will definitely want to remember this one. You can combine it with number one for: otearai doko?
6. Arigatou (ありがとう)-Thank you
This is the short form of thank you (thanks), but it is easy to say and easier to remember than the more polite arigatou gozaimasu.
7. Byouin (びょういん)-Hospital
This one is a bit of a no brainer. You can combine it with ikitai or doko to help you actually get there?
8. Tabetai (たべたい)-Want to eat
Not quite hungry, but about as close as you can get with one word. Also allows you to say what you want to eat: sushi tabetai!
9. Nomitai (のみたい)-Want to drink
Same as above, but for drinking. Omizu (water) nomitai.
10. Eigo (えいご)-English?
Said with a rising voice this will mean “can you speak English?” More and more people can these days, so it might be helpful if you need some help.
*Bonus 1. Speak English slowly- A lot of Japanese words now days are English words. speak slowly and enunciate clearly and they will likely understand.
**Bonus 2. Write it down-Japanese are required to study English from middle school (now elementary school) and actually have a pretty good understanding of grammer. Write it down and they will likely understand.
As I mentioned before, this definitely isn’t a complete list, and it is more for someone who has no experience with Japan. These words should help you get the basics, but not much more. On the plus side, anyone should be able to remember 10 words on the flight over. You could also print them out and stick it in your pocket.
Now’s your chance to tell me: what words would you put in your top 10 words you have to know.
For a much longer list of words see here: common Japanese words
You can also find a downloadable list here: 1000 Japanese words
Learning Japanese words is definitely the foundation to learning Japanese. I’m not saying that grammar isn’t important, but words are the basic building blocks. If you know words you can still communicate. It may not be pretty, but you can probably get them to understand. You need words to convey all the details of what you want to say. So it goes without saying that the more words you know, the better you will be able to explain your thoughts in more detail and more completely. Anki can help you learn more Japanese words.
If you are reading this article and thinking “what is Anki”, check out this pst on how to Anki to study Japanese: Anki. Simply put, it’s a program that helps you schedule when to study words at the best time. Basically, it maximizes your study time. It’s a great Japanese study tool and it’s free!
So how should you use it?
Anki is a pretty amazing program with lots and lots of features. It will really let you micromanage your Japanese words if you so choose. I recommend that you play around with the options to see what suits you best.
There are three simple recommendations that I have to get the most out of the program.
1. Add both the word and the sentence you found it in on the front of the card. You don’t have to translate the Japanese sentence, but it will help you remember where you found it and also to read it in context. A lot of times seeing the sentence will help you remember the meaning. The more connections to this word in your brain the better.
2. Use kanji for the sentence. This will help you get used to seeing the kanji and improve your recognition. It may seem difficult at first, but it does get easier the more you see it.
3. Study everyday! This is the last tip, but it is really the most important. In order for Anki to work well you need to study when the cards come up. If you only study once a week or every couple days you are not really getting the benefit of Anki. You have to study the words when Anki tells you to.
Bonus tips: Make sure you are studying the most common Japanese words. I spent two semesters in college learning Japanese that I couldn’t use. After two semesters I could barely complete a greeting. Make sure you study common words that are actually used.
It’s been a while since I have had a chance to post here on Japanese words. Hopefully every one’s studying is going well and you are all on your way to fluency. I have been pretty busy with putting together a wedding, having family visit, and all the chaos that goes along with that.
I have also been trying to clean up around the house and have some Japanese books I need to get rid of. I have listed them all below along with prices. If you are interested, please comment below. I will be responding in the order the comments show up so it is a first come first serve basis. I also have some special edition “Initial D” manga if anyone is interested. The books are about the series rather than part of the story and each one has a special collectors item (paper ae86, stickers, team cards, etc)
Payment can be made through paypal.
Remembering the Kana
$10 including shipping
Kanji Power Handbook for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (practically brand new)
$15 including shipping
Langenscheidt’s Pocket Dictionary: Japanese
$10 including shipping
Handbook of Learning Japanese and Life in Japan
Free + $5 shipping
One of the main focus of Japanese Words has always been about learning new Japanese words. In the beginning you need to know a certain number of words to communicate in Japanese and as you get to a more advanced level you will need to more words to express more complex ideas and feelings.
Today I stumbled across a site that has a number of common Japanese words such as numbers, colors, common Japanese phrases, animals, and other Japanese vocabulary. They also have sound.
You can check out the Japanese page here. In case you are studying another language as well, you can find other languages here.
Good luck and let me know what you think!