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Is not knowing Japanese a problem?

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I have never been to Japan but kind of interested.

This may be a stoopid question so forgive that but is not reading or speaking Japanese a problem?  Specifically a snow resorts which I presume are mostly in the country rather than in the city (doh!)

Just kind of wondering what the hurdle is like.

Awesome to find so much good info on the subject. never imagined I'd go snowboarding in Japan.

 

 

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Hi

Not really at all.

A bit of Japanese always helps - and creates a good impression too if you are willing to learn and try - but I first came here with virtually no Japanese and I managed.

If you are going to one of the big popular gaijin-friendly ski resorts there will be plenty of English around for you.

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Hi Miller! That is a fair question and I asked it before I came here. You can still make your way around and function on a trip fine without it, as I did on a number of trips here. However if you are planning on staying longer it makes life a lot easier and fuller! I think it is good to try learn some basic phrases and cultural things, as it shows respect. I knew very little on my first trip here and I went to some far-out places away from towns etc with no probs. People are very friendly and generally can read English quite well. If you take a notebook that is good for communication I found!

Edited by Kerrie Gray

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I would say - bring a smile and a friendly attitude and you'll be just fine. I remember when I first came to Japan and that's what I brought (or certainly tried to) and it was a fun adventure. There's more English around now than back then too.

 

 

 

 

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As said above.

We found the experience to be a lot of fun. Of course in a place like Niseko there is a lot of English spoken so it's easy.

That is why next winter we are planning to go somewhere that will have less of that and looking forward to it. We're going to stay somewhere that isn't full-on English capable. Going to be a fun part of the holiday.

 

 

 

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I imagine you could get pretty far with just pointing and gesturing.  A couple of suggestions, though:

 

1) If you have time before your trip (say a week or two), at least try to learn katakana.  These are the phonetic characters used to represent foreign loanwords, like "ski," "hotel," "taxi," "pizza," "sandwich" etc.  Pretty handy to be able to read, even if you know zero Japanese.

2) Use common sense, and err on the side of caution.  For example, at Nekoma this year I saw a foreign guided-tour group cheerfully ducking the rope into posted avalanche-danger terrain, without (apparently) any avalanche gear.  There was a sign that said "Keep out" in English, but the rest of the signage, including the avalanche warning, was in Japanese.  Were the tour guides unable to read the signage, or did they just not care?  (And did their customers know they were being taken into posted avalanche terrain?)  Either way, you probably don't want to be that kind of doofus.  Don't assume you can safely ignore signs just because you cannot read them.

(This doesn't apply just to Japan, of course.  A couple of US ski team members died in an avalanche in Austria in 2015 when they ignored warning signs that they could not read.)

 

Edited by Metabo Oyaji

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We know almost no Japanese but plan to at least try to get to know a little before our trip next winter. It seems the polite thing to do as well as surely making the holiday an improved experience.

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We enjoyed the challenge of trying and the Japanese we met were all very helpful.

Wonderful experience.

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It doesn't sound like it will be a problem. But we always like to put some effort into it when we go abroad, so plan on taking a few classes later on this year in conversational Japanese.

 

 

 

 

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We visited Japan for the first time this last winter. Just a few words and a positive smiley attitude was enough to get by.

We found people to generally be very helpful and polite and didn't encounter any really difficult situations.

Tons of fun!

 

 

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Sorry for my lateness but.......... thank you for the responses. All good to hear.

 

 

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