4.0 out of 5 stars What do you need to be able to say to get around in Japan?
Japanese is a complicated language, and if you are only going over for a short trip, then odds are you aren’t going to master too much of the language before you get there. A few key greetings and phrases, maybe, and even then only if you have the time to memorize them.
“Say it in Japanese” is a convenient phrase book designed exclusively for travelers. It is very compact, being about the size of an average wallet, and can easily be slipped into a pocket and carried around. This is a huge consideration considering weight allowances for modern air travel, where heavy, bulky books can’t really be justified.
The book has over 2,200 entries that are either single words or phrases designed to ease everyday communication. All of entries are categorized, such as “café and bar,” “bus, subway and streetcar,” renting autos and other vehicles,” “sightseeing” and the all important “nightclub and dancing.” The English phrase/word is given first, followed by a Japanese pronunciation written in the English alphabet, and then the phrase written in natural Japanese. This allows you to show the book to a Japanese person if you aren’t confident in the pronunciation, or if communication isn’t clear.
As a traveler’s phrasebook, I wouldn’t really recommend “Say it in Japanese” for serious students of the language. You might learn some new vocabulary here and there, but it isn’t really designed for that. Casual travelers, however, will probably find that it gets them out of some tight spots, and makes a trip to Japan a whole lot smoother.