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Archive for the 'Tokyo Intern' Category

“Gochumon O Dozo”

Hello Readers!

The title means, “your order please”.

Today I completed JapanesePod101.com Survival Phrases lessons 12, 13, & 14, and SurvivalPhrases.com Japanese lessons 11 & 16. The bulk of the material was about fast food, which is what I want to expand upon today.

So far, the fasuto fudo (fast food) I have been to just happen to both be American chains; Subway and McDonalds.


McDonalds Sign

These are photos of a McDonalds located next to the JPod101 HQ. Can you understand the Kanji on the banner? [Photo by Emily Carsch]

Subway was fantastic! In America, we “eat fresh” with tuna, turkey, ham, and roast beef; just to name the staple items. At the restaurant here in Japan, you can order egg salad, shrimp and avocado, and veggie dogs for example. Instead of your standard condiments like mayonnaise and mustard, Subway offers toppings like basil, wasabi, and pepper sauce.

Want a combo meal? Here, instead of chips, you get potato wedges and you choose which flavor you want; regular, cheese, basil, or BBQ. As far as the beverage is concerned, that too is different than in the US. It seems that “free refills” is virtually unknown here. Want diet cola or a lemon-lime soft drink? You won’t find that here. The options at the Subway I went to were limited to Coke, Ginger Ale, tea, and “Melon Pop”.

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A Place to Rest Your Head

Have you ever heard of a capsule hotel?

I hadn’t until I starting reading up on Tokyo, and was reminded of it again this week in JapanesePod101.com’s Survival Phrase lessons 9, 10, and 11 and SurvivalPhrases.com Japanese lessons 9 and 10.

Weekly Mansion

This is a photograph of the entrance to where I’m staying. [Photo by Emily Carsch]

Kapuseru hoteru, or capsule hotel, is not like any hotel people are used to in America and many other western cultures. While I have yet to stay in one, I hear they’re quite the experience and am looking forward to the day I get to try it out.

Here in Tokyo, the metro system stops at midnight and starts again at five in the morning. Taxis are usually very expensive making the metro the overall transportation of choice here. Often, it is easy to find yourself out in one of the fun districts of Tokyo past the stroke of twelve. This is where a capsule hotel comes in.

Looking for a place to stay until the wee hours of the morning? Renting a capsule might be what you are looking for. I hear it’s merely a bed and television, and that there is not even enough room to stand, but it’s a place to hang your hat until the trains start again in the morning.

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Lost in Translation

Konbanwa nihongo speakers!

I’ve just finished lessons 6, 7, and 8 from both JapanesePod101.com’s Survival Phrases and SurvivalPhrases.com Japanese. The main focus of my day’s lessons were how to ask, “do you speak English?” and “how do you say this in English?” Respectively, these phrases are “Eigo ga hanasemasuka?” and “Kore wa eigo de nanto iimasuka?”

Metro Escalator

This is just a quick photo of an escalator in the subway that I mention. Notice the people standing on the left and scaling on the right. [Photo by Emily Carsch]

A lot of the talk was about the Japanese people’s ability to speak English, though they shy away from doing it. I, for one, did not realize just how much the Japanese are required to study English in school. I was shocked that most study English for at least six years.

In my teachings in the United States, I took at least six years of Spanish, or “supeingo”, and really feel today like I have a fairly good grasp of the language. With this said, it seems to me that the Japanese people would have at least some understanding of English like my experience with Spanish.

I have found that there are two types of people here in Japan when it comes to speaking English. There are the Japanese who are excited to practice their skills in English and will often start a conversation in English with you out of their own will. The second type of person is the one we heard about in the podcasts; the ones that are shy and a bit too intimidated to try their hand at English with a native English speaker.

Let me tell you about my experiences with each…

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“O-Kaikei Onegai Shimasu!”

Now that I have finished SurvivalPhrases.com Japanese‘s restaurant phrase series (numbers 12, 13, 14, and 15), I know that “o kaikei onegai shimasu” means, “check, please!”

With these lessons under my belt, paired with the earlier JapanesePod101.com Survival Phrase lesson number 3, I was feeling confident enough to test my skills out in the real world (not to mention, Peter wanted to test me some too!) So off we went for lunch into a traditional Japanese cuisine restaurant.


Sorry for the poor quality; the photo is from a cell phone, but I wanted to get a picture to show you what negitoro-don looked like! The pink part is the tuna. [Photo by Emily Carsch]

Just as mentioned in the SurvivalPhrases.com podcast, the Japanese hostess said, “irasshaimase, nan mei sama desuka?” upon our entering. Of course, I knew that meant, “welcome! How many people are in your party?” I responded with, “yon mei“, there are four people. The woman pointed to where we were to be seated while welcoming us in.

Immediately, we were given small glasses of water and a menu. So far, I have found that unlike in America where everyone receives a menu, instead, only one is given here in Tokyo and the table shares it. We ordered a dish called “negitoro-don“.

Only minutes later, each of us received two trays. On the first was a dish of cold, thin noodles with a small dish of wasabi and onion, and a small bowl of soy-tasting, cold broth. We put the wasabi and onion in the broth and mixed it. Then I was told to put mouthfuls of noodles into the broth at a time and slurp them up.

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Five for Five

Hello fellow Japanese learners!

Emily here, and I’ve just made it through lesson five in both JapanesePod101.com’s survival phrases and SurvivalPhrases.com Japanese podcasts and PDF files. I learned about Japanese restaurant phrases, Japanese basic greetings, and about the magical “wa”.

High-tech toilet

High-tech toilet 2

This is an example of one of the high-tech toilets I have seen. In this case, the operating system is on the wall. This one was neat in that the toilet lid opens automatically when a sensor catches you coming in. It also makes the sound of running water to help you out. [Photo by Emily Carsch]

Perhaps the most interesting was the overlap between the lessons. In basic greetings, we learned how to say good morning, afternoon, and goodnight in Japanese. In the Magical “Wa” we learned that adding the Japanese suffix, “wa“, to a word is like putting a question mark to the end of the phrase.

Notice that good afternoon in Japanese is “konnichi wa“. Konnichi, meaning afternoon, and the magical wa at the end is almost like saying, “how is your afternoon?”, or “how is it going this afternoon?” and thus, “good afternoon”, “konnichi wa“. The same goes for goodnight, or “konban wa“.

Another interesting point made in the SurvivalPhrases.com Japanese lesson #4 was that Ohayou Gozaimasu, meaning good morning, can also be used at any time of the day when first meeting someone. Today, on day six in Tokyo, after having met several people, I have found this fact to be true, and did not understand it until having listened to this podcast.

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First Day on the Job

Shibuya Crossing at Night

Shibuya Crossing at Night [photo by Emily Carsch]

It is easy to get distracted by all of the lights, sounds, colors, and people at this large intersection. This photo gives you a good idea of the beginning of my Tokyo Adventure!

Hello JapanesePod101.com listeners!

My name is Emily, and I’ll be interning at JapanesePod101.com’s Headquarters in downtown Tokyo for two months. I will be visiting and staying in Japan for the first time. While I’m so happy to be here, I have a big problem…

I don’t speak Japanese!

Now, while it may seem like I’m in trouble, I’ve already come up with a solution. I’m going to learn survival Japanese using JapanesePod101.com’s Survival Phrases and SurvivalPhrases.com Japanese. As I’m only here for 2 months, I need Japanese basics, and I need them fast! Plus, this will be a great way for me to see if these courses live up to the hype. (I hope my boss doesn’t see this!)

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