Key phrases
basu                                                   bus
takushı‾                                            taxi
kuruma                                             car
densha                                              train
shinkansen                                      Japanese bullet train
chikatetsu                                        underground or subway
hiko‾ki                                             plane
nani de ikimasu ka?                      how are you going?
nani de Kyo‾to e ikimasu ka?     how are you going to Kyoto?
basu de ikimasu.                            I’m going by bus
shinkansen de ikimasu.                I’m going by bullet train

nani = “what”
nani de = “by what”= “how”
nani-jin = “what people” = “which nationality”
nani-go = “what language”

Listening and speaking
Sumimasen. Tanaka-san wa nani de Himeji-jo‾ e ikimasu ka?
                              Excuse me. How are you going to Himeji Castle, Mr Tanaka?
Basu de ikimasu.                             I’m going by bus.
Sumimasen. Yamada-san wa nani de resutoran e ikimasu ka?
                             Excuse me. How are you going to the restaurant, Mrs Yamada?
Takushı‾de ikimasu.                     I’m going by taxi.
Sumimasen. Buraun-san wa nani de To‾kyo‾eki e ikimasu ka?
                              Excuse me. How are you going to Tokyo train station, Mr Brown?
Chikatetsu de ikimasu.                  I’m going by subway.

Conversation 1
Konnichiwa, Buraun-san.             Hello, Mr Brown.
Konnichiwa, Yamada-san.            Hello, Mrs Yamada.
Buraun-san wa doko e ikimasu ka?
                                Where are you going, Mr Brown?
Fuji-san e ikimasu.                        I’m going to Mt. Fuji.
I‾desu ne.                                       That’s nice, isn’t it?
Nani de ikimasu ka?                      How are you going?
Densha de ikimasu.                       I’m going by train.
So– desu ka. Ki o tsukete.            Is that right? Take care.
Arigato– gozaimasu.                    Thank you.

Conversation 2
Sumimasen. Eigo ga wakarimasu ka?
                               Excuse me. Do you understand English?
Sumimasen. Wakarimasen.         Sorry. I don’t understand.
Watashi wa Kyo‾to e ikimasu.    I’m going to Kyoto.
Kono densha wa Kyo‾to e ikimasu ka?
                              Does this train go to Kyoto?
Hai, ikimasu.                                   Yes, it goes (to Kyoto).
So‾desu ka. Arigato‾gozaimasu.Is that right? Thank you.
Iee, do‾itashimashite.                  No, don’t mention it.


Noriba rank, stop
Noriba means “a place to get on”. If you want to catch a taxi, you go to a takushı‾ noriba, “taxi rank”. To catch a bus, you go to a basu noriba, “bus stop”.


Cars drive on the left in Japan. So remember to look right when you cross the road. To flag down a taxi, simply stick out your hand. They should come to you even if they are on the other side of the road. The rear doors of the taxi are opened and closed automatically by the driver, so please don’t try to open or close them yourself. It’s disrespectful to the driver if you attempt to do so.

Train travel
Train stations in the major cities are likely to have ticket machines, and some of them have English instructions. So, it is always easier to buy your ticket at the machines if possible. However, if you need to reserve a seat or want to buy a ticket for another day, you will need to go to the ticket office. Have your destination and date of travel written down to avoid any misunderstanding. Japanese trains are usually classified as (slowest to fastest) local (futsu‾), rapid (kaisoku), express (kyu‾ko‾) limited express (tokkyu‾) or super express (shinkansen). To know when your stop is coming up, listen out for the announcement “mamonaku [destination] desu”.
Mamonaku means “soon” or “shortly”.

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