The Travelling to Japan: Keys for Communicating and Discovering the Best Places to Visit event organized by the Centre for Modern Languages took place at the UOC’s centre in Madrid on Thursday 25 October. Dr Emi Takamori, professor at the Asian and African Studies Department at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM), gave a very engaging class on Japanese language and culture, entitled “Japanese for Tourists”, which gave helpful insights on handling some of the situations that arise during a trip, such as using public transport, shopping or finding accommodation.
The class began with explanations of some of the basic features of Japanese phonetics, grammar and writing, and how to read phonetic transcriptions using the Latin alphabet on station signs. In terms of transport, for example, we learnt how to ask “where is (the station, a train, the toilet)?” (doko desuka,どこですか). For shopping, we learnt how to ask for different items (kudasai, ください), about prices (ikura desuka, いくらですか), how to say we don’t understand (wakarimasen, わかりません), and also how to decline something (kekkô desu, けっこうです). In terms of accommodation, we learnt to order drinks during a dinner in a hotel (ryokan, 旅館).
During the class we had the opportunity to practise some of these expressions. We also recommend that you pay attention to the cultural information provided in the video, such as the description of what a Japanese toilet is like, meals with typical produce from different regions that can be bought at stations and the correct way to use hot springs, or onsen (温泉).