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  • How much Japanese do you need to be able to speak?

    Having wanted to visit Tokyo for a long time, I have often toyed with the idea of taking lessons in Japanese.
    Would this be advisable, because how well can one get along in the Tokyo Disney parks if they don't really understand any of the language?
    Is it a BIG barrier to enjoying the parks?


  • #2
    Re: How much Japanese do you need to be able to speak?

    You don't need to know japanese. They have an English guidebook available at the ticket office. Many of the cast members speak English and many signs are in English. The rides, however, are in Japanese. It's kind of cool though, so even if you don't know the language it makes for an interesting Disney experience.

    In Tokyo, many people speak a little English. However, I found it very helpful to know basic phrases in Japanese, because many people don't speak English as well as they read and write it. Plus it's just cool to be able to talk with someone in their own language. (Getting around the Tokyo subway system is hard enough in Japanese, let alone trying to do it only speaking English. lol.)

    If you just want some basic Japanese, I recommend the Pimsleur series. You can buy it online new, you can get it used on ebay, or you can get it for free from the library. If you have the patience to go through the entire first level (there are three for Japanese), you will be able to communicate a good form of survival japanese.

    If you have always thought about learning the language anyway, by all means do it. The Japanese have a very rich culture and the English language has had an interesting influence which also makes it a little easier to learn.

    Be warned that this is a tough language and will take some effort. Good luck.

    - Anatole

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    • #3
      Re: How much Japanese do you need to be able to speak?

      Has anyone tried to Rosetta Stone series? Japanese is a language I'd love to learn, although I imagine its much harder for Americans to learn due to the different language characters.

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      • #4
        Re: How much Japanese do you need to be able to speak?

        Rosetta requires hardcore attention and time. I had great luck with one of the CD series, and listening while I drive to work. But you have to WORK at it while you listen; it's not osmosis.

        [grain of salt] Not to turn this into a shill opportunity, but my TDR book will have all the basic phrases you'd need. I got the reviewer copies back last week, which means I'm about 1-2 months away from first sales on Amazon. [/salt]
        Kevin Yee
        MiceAge Columnist

        I am the author of several Disney books:
        Jason's Disneyland Almanac - a daily history of Disneyland
        Walt Disney World Hidden History - tributes, homages, and ride remnants at WDW
        Your Day at the Magic Kingdom
        Mouse Trap
        Tokyo Disney Made Easy
        101 Things You Never Knew About Disneyland
        Magic Quizdom (The Disneyland Trivia Book)

        “The press [should be] a watchdog. Not an attack dog. Not a lapdog. A watchdog. Now, a watchdog can't be right all the time. He doesn't bark only when he sees or smells something that's dangerous. A good watchdog barks at things that are suspicious.” – Dan Rather

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        • #5
          Re: How much Japanese do you need to be able to speak?

          Originally posted by kcnole View Post
          Has anyone tried to Rosetta Stone series? Japanese is a language I'd love to learn, although I imagine its much harder for Americans to learn due to the different language characters.
          Back when Rosetta was offering an inexpensive sampler CD, I tried it out and didn't care for it. I think you get the best bang for the buck with the Learn in your Car series of CDs. They offer a lot of basic phrases which helps. To truly learn Japanese, though, you need a live teacher.

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          • #6
            Re: How much Japanese do you need to be able to speak?

            Originally posted by KevinYee View Post
            [grain of salt] Not to turn this into a shill opportunity, but my TDR book will have all the basic phrases you'd need. I got the reviewer copies back last week, which means I'm about 1-2 months away from first sales on Amazon. [/salt]
            I sure hope the reviewer knew what he was talking about for your sake Kevin!

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            • #7
              Re: How much Japanese do you need to be able to speak?

              Almost forgot. Download the Japanesepod101 podcasts free from the iTunes store. Their survival lessons are great for learning some really useful Japanese phrases.

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              • #8
                Re: How much Japanese do you need to be able to speak?

                Originally posted by KevinYee View Post
                Rosetta requires hardcore attention and time. I had great luck with one of the CD series, and listening while I drive to work. But you have to WORK at it while you listen; it's not osmosis.

                [grain of salt] Not to turn this into a shill opportunity, but my TDR book will have all the basic phrases you'd need. I got the reviewer copies back last week, which means I'm about 1-2 months away from first sales on Amazon. [/salt]
                Oh boy! Remember? I'm first in line, yeah?
                I want my cake back!
                sigpic

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                • #9
                  Re: How much Japanese do you need to be able to speak?

                  I only needed a few Japanese words to get by in Tokyo.

                  Here's a really necessary one if you go in the summer .... KORI = Ice.

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                  • #10
                    Re: How much Japanese do you need to be able to speak?

                    The other *must know* sentence is...

                    Toire wa doko desuka?

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                    • #11
                      Re: How much Japanese do you need to be able to speak?

                      Originally posted by TDLFAN View Post
                      The other *must know* sentence is...

                      Toire wa doko desuka?
                      Hmmm... I would have thought that this is the true "must know" phrase..!



                      BTW. the nicer way to say this is "Ote arai wa doko desuka?"

                      Anyway, every TDR visitor I talk to say that even if they didn't know any
                      japanese they had no trouble in TDR.

                      In Tokyo, it would definitely help. (BTW. even Japanese from outside
                      Tokyo have problems w/ the Tokyo subway system!) But it's not necessary either.

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                      • #12
                        Re: How much Japanese do you need to be able to speak?

                        Yeah, anything doko desu ka, anything ikura desu ka (how much) and of course arigatoo (thank you).

                        You can get pretty far with a few phrases, somewhat far with none. Knowing more will always add to the experience, so it's a matter of judging how much you want to learn japanese, and how much time you want to devote to it.

                        Some good podcasts out there, for sure. I like Learn Japanese with Alex and Bebe, though using Pimsleur first and then other materials worked best for me. YMMV.

                        - Anatole

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                        • #13
                          Re: How much Japanese do you need to be able to speak?

                          If your goal is not to learn Kanji(Chinese Character),it should be quite easy for you to learn the terms listed above.
                          宇多田ヒカル、待望の5thアルバム「HEART STATION」3月19日発売!!!
                          予約購入者先着特典「宇多田ヒカルB2サイズ オリジナル・ポスター」

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                          • #14
                            Re: How much Japanese do you need to be able to speak?

                            i'm currently learning japanese and i love it!
                            on crunchyroll, there are some basic japanese videos you can watch, and the same series on stage6 in a better quality, they are pretty good!
                            Eemaan:wave:

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