Survival Japanese

New refreshed version of “Survival Japanese” is here!

Hi, my name is Mariko. I am a Japanese language teacher living and working in NSW, Australia.

Although I’ve been calling Australia home for the last quarter of a century, I was born and raised in Kyoto – the ancient capital of Japan – and I love my home town and home country. I’m very happy to see so many people wanting to visit Japan and experience the unique mix of frontier technology and ancient traditions.

To me, the best part of travelling is to meet local people, to get to know their way of life and to be able to communicate with them. I have experienced in India that I could get a really big smile from local children if I could say something in Hindi.

I would love you to be able to say a few things in Japanese so that you can get a similar reaction from locals.

Practical Benefit

Also, knowing a few short phrases can save the day. When a train comes in but if you are not sure whether that train is the right train or not, by the time you get your smartphone out and show the Google Translate screen to someone nearby, the train would be gone! A previous subscriber to this course told me that being able to ask “Does this train go to…?” in a split second in a remote area had saved him from catching the train going in the opposite direction. If he had caught the wrong train, he would have had to stay the night somewhere he didn’t want to be.

Having been teaching Japanese for so many years using computer technology, I thought I can provide you with an electronic phrase book with audio files embedded for your convenience! All audio files are in the MP3 format, therefore they can be played back on any smartphones, tablets and computers.

Survival Phrases are grouped by the following situations:

  • Greetings & Communication Basic
  • At the airport
  • Shopping
  • Accommodation
  • Getting Around
  • Eating out
  • Emergency & Medical Care

Covered Survival Phrases include:

  • I’m using a JR pass. I need a (temporary visitor’s) stamp in my passport.
  • Can I use a credit card?
  • May I try it on?
  • Do you have a larger size?
  • Do you have an English menu?
  • Non-smoking seat(s), please.
  • Could I have the bill, please.
  • I’m a vegetarian.
  • Could you take our photo?
  • Is Wi-Fi free?
  • I have an allergy.
  • I cannot eat eggs.

You can download and print out all the Japanese phrases covered in this guide so that you can take it with you.

If a phrase you are after is not included in the book, please email me. If the phrase seems useful to many others, I will include them in the appropriate section!

Travellers’ Tips

As I said, I grew up in Kyoto and I knew the way around in Japan. However, when I first went back to Japan with my new Australian family, my mobile phone didn’t work there; I could not withdraw money out of my Australian bank account; I could not buy Panadol (paracetamol) for my baby son,… It felt like I was in a foreign country. Things are different over there. So I decided to include some tips I found useful.

Screenshots on my mobile phone


Many previous subscribers have advised me that learning a few phrases from this electronic phrase book helped them with:

  • catching the right trains/buses
  • getting more pillows/blankets in a hotel
  • getting a better deal in restaurants as being able to read prices in Kanji characters helps, etc.

This is just a compilation of useful phrases with sound – no grammar explanation or anything! If you are interested in learning useful Japanese for travellers in a more conventional way, my Travellers’ Japanese” course on Moodle would be more suitable.


This web-based electronic phrase book is currently offered for AUD 14.95 and that will allow you to access the contents for 26 weeks (6 months). Your payment will be processed through PayPal using your credit card or PayPal account so that you can start learning phrases and reading Travellers’ Tips straight away.

I look forward to seeing you in the course!

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