Japanese: Lonely Planet Phrasebooks
Lonely Planet, 2004 (2004)
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
used to travel regularly (pre-kids) and the countries I found hardest to deal with were those like Thailand, China, and Japan, with different scripts - where even street signs were hard to decipher, never mind attempting to figure out which washroom door to open. I wish I'd had this pocket-sized book when I visited Japan, and will make good use of it next time I go.
his 4th edition of the
Lonely Planet Phrasebook includes a '
2000-word two-way dictionary
' (at the back), and the edges of its various sections are color-coded for fast and easy access while on the road. The Introduction tells us that 125 million people speak Japanese, mentions other languages spoken in the country, and the different dialects. Next in
, we're given a quick lesson in pronunciation (long and short vowels and consonants) and a brief introduction to written Japanese (
). This is followed by a handy
section, talking about things like phrase order, how to put together questions, and polite forms. Numbers, time and date, and phrases relating to money are also covered.
section covering getting around, asking directions, seeking accomodation, shopping, sending mail or making phone calls, using an Internet café, sightseeing, handling business, and so on. Next is
- meet and greet, going out, sport and culture, and (that universal icebreaker) talking about the weather.
has its own color-coded section, including a half page on '
the art of drinking tea
', and a
translating Japanese names for dishes and ingredients. Next,
covers emergencies, dealing with police, and talking about health matters. Frequently, the phrasebook also suggests relevant things to
, which I find very useful.
eading to Japan? Then you'll find this
Lonely Planet Phrasebook
extremely useful. But do get a copy in advance, work on basic sentence structures, memorize key phrases, and read over its cultural tips (advising when to take off shoes, bow, etc.) before you go.
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