Need to speak Japanese?

Nov 8, 2011
9
0
11
Sydney
#1
Hi guys,
I intro'd myself on other thread recently. I intend to do some good riding south of Yokohama over mid December /early January if weather permits. As I have not ridden previously in Japan and have absolutely no Japanese language (no words either), may I ask for some input on whether this might present any problems? In Australia we ride on same side of the road as in Japan, but my Japanese wife is very dubious about my being able to ride around. What do you think?:bike:
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
5,528
538
193
Yokohama
#2
no problems what so ever mate.... getting lost is part of the fun anway!

Even with no Japanese skill with a bit of broken English, talking really loud and slow with lots of hand gestures normally works..... or the fact that most Japanese at some point in there life try to learn our language and the fact there is over 4 million people in Yokohama the chances of you finding someone are in your favour.

Antoher thing is that Japanese love to hype up the complixity of living in Japan...its hype most of the signs are in Romaji and the police, bus, train staff are trained to deal with visitors to these fair lands.

Also there are plenty of members myself included that would be more than happy for you to join a ride and as i hail also from Yokohama no doubt we will ride together.
 

kiwisimon

Maximum Pace
Dec 14, 2006
2,669
483
103
Japan
#3
A bilingual atlas if you don't have a smart phone( in which case you'll always know where you are and if you use a GPS function you can always get home) and your address written in Japanese on a card along with your S.O's phone number and you're good to go. I got lost so many times in the wopwops of Saitama and Gunma with zero Japanese ability (and pre cell phone days) and came to no grief . You'll be good! If the worst comes to the worst catch a train home. I imagine you will have a cell phone so your wife can always call you and remind you it's time to come home. Izu peninsular beckons.
 

StuInTokyo

Maximum Pace
Dec 3, 2010
1,662
62
78
#4
no problems what so ever mate.... getting lost is part of the fun anway!

Even with no Japanese skill with a bit of broken English, talking really loud and slow with lots of hand gestures normally works..... or the fact that most Japanese at some point in there life try to learn our language and the fact there is over 4 million people in Yokohama the chances of you finding someone are in your favour.

Antoher thing is that Japanese love to hype up the complixity of living in Japan...its hype most of the signs are in Romaji and the police, bus, train staff are trained to deal with visitors to these fair lands.

Also there are plenty of members myself included that would be more than happy for you to join a ride and as i hail also from Yokohama no doubt we will ride together.
A bilingual atlas if you don't have a smart phone( in which case you'll always know where you are and if you use a GPS function you can always get home) and your address written in Japanese on a card along with your S.O's phone number and you're good to go. I got lost so many times in the wopwops of Saitama and Gunma with zero Japanese ability (and pre cell phone days) and came to no grief . You'll be good! If the worst comes to the worst catch a train home. I imagine you will have a cell phone so your wife can always call you and remind you it's time to come home. Izu peninsular beckons.
I completely agree!

The second day I was here, I decided to go for a walk, I spoke about 3 words of Japanese, and I got totally lost, I finally went to a koban (police box) and asked for help, no one there spoke any English, but we did gestures, and drew pictures and eventually they figured out where I wanted to go. I lived near the Aikido Hombu Dojo, (my three words of Japanese!!) and from there I could find my way home, so they showed me where the was on a map, drew me a crude map to take with me and I found my way home.

Next chance I had I bought said bilingual atlas (still have it!) and got a Japanese friend to write my address in Romaji and Japanese on a card that I carried around for a long time. Once I had that atlas I never got badly lost again. One time I was riding my bike from Ikebukuro to Shibuya, and not wishing to take the main traffic filled road I got lost, but if I stopped someone I would just say "Shibuya....?" and point in a direction I thought it might be, often the person I stopped had no idea, but in many cases they did and would nod their head yes, or shake their head no and point in another direction. :D

Cheers!
 

fredstaple

Speeding Up
Nov 1, 2009
198
1
38
Puerto de la Santa Maria
#5
You'll be fine

It would have been nice to speak, but not required at all to enjoy a good ride and you will be surprised at how many people are able to speak basic English, especially younger students/people.

If I was going to a completely new area, I would sometimes hit google maps and print and area map just to have it for emergencies. I am low tech and this worked for me in a back pocket stuck in a plastic bag.

If in a big city, I would bring a camera and take a picture of where I started my trip, hotel/subway, and could then show this to someone for help in returning just in case. I would also take a picture of some landmarks along the way to help me retrace my way back where I started.

Getting lost in Japan was great fun and it was a great adventure to just wonder about by bicycle.
 
Nov 8, 2011
9
0
11
Sydney
#6
Hi guys, wow thanks for all the comments and inputs. I look forward to doing some rides with some of you. At the moment I am booked to arrive in Japan on December 16th, so would be keen to try to get out and stretch the legs as soon as possible after that if anyone is interested. I don't have a contact number yet, but will stay in touch via TCC. I will be staying at Yokohamasi Kanagawu near Yokohama. Cheers, Kevin