You’re not required to learn Japanese in Singapore before travelling to Japan, and you can go there without even really understanding the language. But, there are a lot of benefits to taking the time to learn the language if you plan on visiting the country nicknamed as the “land of the rising sun”. We’ll explore some of the benefits in the article below.
1. It’s easier to tell time and not get lost
Keep in mind, there’ll be few signs in Japan with English translations, especially if you’re not in the big cities like Tokyo. So, unless you know your numbers and directions, you’ll find it hard to navigate your way through it all. This can be especially hard if you want to travel a lot.
Not knowing what platform the train will arrive in, and when, or not being able to ask local Japanese for directions, can severely hamper your travel experience and you’ll be left at the mercy of your tour guide.
2. Question words
Even if you can’t fluently speak Japanese, knowing how to ask basic one-word questions can do wonders for your experience. For example, the word Doko means “where” and you can use it to pretty much navigate where you want to go. Because most Japanese understand basic English as well, you’ll only need to tell them the name of the place where you want to go, and they’ll gladly show it to you.
Other important words include itsu, which means “when”; dare, which means “who”, nin ikura, which means “how much” and nanjikan, which means “what time”.
3. Visit less metropolitan cities
Yes, Tokyo and other big cities in Japan are modernised to make it easier for foreigners to navigate their surroundings. But, your time in Japan will be severely limited if you can’t go and visit the other cities, in particular, places such as Kyoto and more. In smaller cities, nobody really speaks English, and the signs are mostly purely in Japanese.
While it’s still advisable to only go to such cities with a local or someone who’s already familiar with the local language, not knowing even some basic Japanese phrases can make it hard for you to enjoy your trip and enjoy everything as a local would.
4. Purpose of visit
Of course, just how much Japanese you should learn depends on how long you plan on visiting the country.
If you plan on staying for a year or two, then you can benefit a lot from learning Japanese beforehand. Although, not too much, since you’ll be learning the intricacies of the language as well once you’re there. However, if you’re only going to be there for a few days or a few weeks, then you definitely should try to learn Japanese.
The reason for this is because, if you know zero Japanese, you’ll be spending the majority of your time trying to understand what’s going on around you and being amazed by even the simplest of things. Even if you can pick up parts of the local language while you’re there, this is something that you can do at home and on your own.
Taking the time to learn even the most basic of phrases in Japanese through Japanese courses in Singapore puts you in the best position to get the most out of your time in the country.