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Survive and Thrive in Japan with Point-and-Speak

Updated on April 24, 2017

"The Original POINT-AND-SPEAK Phrasebook JAPAN" by Toshiya Enomoto stands out as my favorite and most essential book when braving everyday life in Japan. It's easy to use and covers every situation you can think of.

One day, I made the firm decision to go to Japan despite not knowing the language, local customs or having any contacts. About a week later, I found myself in Kobe, and feeling the culture shock big time. I had no idea what was going on and there was no escape! It was the language barrier mostly and I knew I had to get an edge if I was going to make the most of my adventure.

This seemed unlikely until I came across "The Original POINT-AND-SPEAK Phrasebook JAPAN" by Toshiya Enomoto. It's small, thin and light so you can carry it anywhere. At the same time it's packed full of words and pictures that could break the barrier with any local in any situation.

It's as simple as it gets. Look up what you want to say among the large, colorful bubbles then read it to the local Japanese person. The word (or phrase) is followed in Japanese. Then this Japanese word is followed by an English spelling of the pronunciation. Or, simply show the book to him or her and point to what you want to say. Hence, the "POINT-AND-SPEAK." Nearly all of the bubbles have pictures in them; not only will this help you find what you are looking for faster but it will also help the native understand what's going on.

The way it's all organized is very clever so it's simple to use. Want to tell your barber how you like it? Point and speak! Want extra cabbage with your yakisoba? Point and speak! It's too easy!

One thing I've noticed is that even the locals love this book. All of my Japanese friends are fascinated by it. The expats and tourists I show it to kick themselves for not finding it sooner. I've included a few photos below for more information. It's just a tiny taste of the perfect phrasebook.

Photo Gallery

Click thumbnail to view full-size
A colorful Table of Contents for every situation Phrases and vocabulary matched with pictures; staying at a hotel, for exampleThe most popular destinations in Tokyo and how to get thereLife in Japan throughout the year for the expats Japanese foods and snacks by name and matching pictureGoing out for a drink? Here's what to order and what the locals call itPictures and vocabulary when we're not feeling wellReport any crime to the authoritiesSome of the author's notes on local customs and daily lifeA short but thorough glossary if you didn't find what you were looking forTo more detail, use a water-soluble marker on the back of the book
A colorful Table of Contents for every situation
A colorful Table of Contents for every situation | Source
Phrases and vocabulary matched with pictures; staying at a hotel, for example
Phrases and vocabulary matched with pictures; staying at a hotel, for example | Source
The most popular destinations in Tokyo and how to get there
The most popular destinations in Tokyo and how to get there | Source
Life in Japan throughout the year for the expats
Life in Japan throughout the year for the expats | Source
Japanese foods and snacks by name and matching picture
Japanese foods and snacks by name and matching picture | Source
Going out for a drink? Here's what to order and what the locals call it
Going out for a drink? Here's what to order and what the locals call it | Source
Pictures and vocabulary when we're not feeling well
Pictures and vocabulary when we're not feeling well | Source
Report any crime to the authorities
Report any crime to the authorities | Source
Some of the author's notes on local customs and daily life
Some of the author's notes on local customs and daily life | Source
A short but thorough glossary if you didn't find what you were looking for
A short but thorough glossary if you didn't find what you were looking for | Source
To more detail, use a water-soluble marker on the back of the book
To more detail, use a water-soluble marker on the back of the book | Source

My day at the Toka Ebisu Festival

I love seeing new things from all over the world. This is the Toka Ebisu Festival at the Nishinomiya Shrine. My phrasebook came in handy that day!

The perfect compliment

Kana Can be Easy
Kana Can be Easy

"Kana Can be Easy" by Kunihiko Ogawa compliments "Point and Speak" perfectly. Learning hiragana and katagana is difficult but Ogawa makes it easy. Take a look and you'll see why.

 

What do you think? Do you love to travel? Where will you go?

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  • Heidi Vincent profile image

    Heidi Vincent 4 years ago from GRENADA

    I LOVE arriving at where I am going but not the airport activities to get there. I want to go to Cuba next.

  • socialcx1 profile image

    socialcx1 4 years ago

    Have not been to Japan yet but it is very high on my wish list.

  • sousababy profile image

    sousababy 4 years ago

    I'm certain this would help me - esp. if I needed to go to the bathroom in a country where I do not speak the language.

  • lesliesinclair profile image

    lesliesinclair 4 years ago

    Such a smart idea for the impromptu traveler. I'd heard about such a booklet but never used one, and now I see how handy it would be.