Speakin' Japanese: Car chatter

Speakin' Japanese: Car chatter

by Takahiro Takiguchi
Stripes Japan

While Japan is known for its impeccable public transportation, a personal vehicle will help you get around base and even help you explore attractions near and far.

When you arrive, buying a vehicle may very well be one of the first things you do after checking into your new base. The following words and phrases will help you negotiating a Japanese car dealer outside of the gate. 

“Kono kuruma wa ikura desuka?” = How much is this car?
(“kono” = this, “kuruma” = car, “ikura desuka” = how much is..?)
(Pronounced: cone-oh koo-roo-mah wuh eekoorah desookuh)

“Doru wa tsukae masuka?” = Can I use dollars? (Do you take dollars?)
(“doru” = dollar, “wa tsukae masuka” = can I use..?)
(Pronounced: dough-roo wuh zookah-ey mass-oo-kah)

“Yasuku narimasenka?” = Can you give me a discount?
(“yasuku” = cheeper, “narimasenka” = can you make…?)
(Pronounced: ya-zoo-koo nah-ree-mass-en-kah)

“Kono kuruma wa nannen-sei desuka?” = What year was this car made? (How old is this car?)
(“nannen-sei” = ..year made)
(Pronounced: cone-oh wuh nahn-nehn-say desookuh)

“Shuurireki wa arimasuka?” = Does the car have any repair history?
(“shuurireki” = repair history, “arimasuka” = is     there..?)
(Pronounced: shoo-ree-reh-kee wuh are-ee-mass-kah)

“Hoken wa doko de kakeraremasuka?” = Where can I insure the car? 
(“hoken” = insurance, “doko” = where, “kakeraremasuka” = insure/take) 
(Pronounced: Ho-ken wuh dough-koh deh kah-keh-are-eh-mass-kah)

“Donna hoshoo to shiharai hoohoo ga arimasuka?” = What kind of warranties and payment plans do you have?
(“donna” = what kind of, “hoshoo” = warranty, “to” = and, “shiharai hoohoo” = payment plans)
(Pronounced: dough-nah ho-show toe she-hair-eye ho-ho-o gah are-ee-mass-kah)

Pronunciation key: “A” is short (like “ah”); “E” is short (like “get”); “I” is short (like “it”); “O” is long
(like “old”); “U” is long (like “tube”); and “AI” is a long “I” (like “hike”). Most words are pronounced
with equal emphasis on each syllable, but “OU” is a long “O” with emphasis on that syllable.

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