Speakin' Japanese: Catching a train

Speakin' Japanese: Catching a train

by Takahiro Takiguchi
Stripes Japan

When trying to navigate a train station, try using these phrases.

“Douyatte kippu ga kae masuka? = How can I buy a ticket?
“Douyatte” = How

“DouyattePASMO ni chaaji deki masuka? = How can I charge on my PASMO (IC card)?
“Douyatte Shinjuku made ike masuka? = How can I go to Shinjuku?
“Douyatte norikaetara iidesuka? = How can I change the train?

Tsugi no tokkyu wa nanji desuka? = When does next express come?
“Nanji” = “When” or “What time”

Shuuden wa nanji desuka? = What time is the last train?
Shihatsu wa nanji desuka? = What time is the first train?
( “Shuden” = “Last train”; “Shihatsu” = First train)

“Doko de norikae tara iidesuka? = Where can I change my train?
“Doco” = Where

“Doko e ikimasuka? = Where are you going?
“Doko kara kimashitaka? = Where did you come from?
“Doko de kippu ga kaemasuka? = Where can I buy a ticket?
(“de” = “at”;  “kara” = “from”;   “e” = “to”)

“Dooshite densha ga ugokanai no desuka? = Why isn’t this train moving?
“dooshite” = “why”

“Dooshite otsuriga denai no desuka?= Why hasn’t my change come out (from the ticket machine?)
“Dooshite Konnani konde irunodesuka? = Why is this train so crowded?

Densha ni kaban wo wasure mashita.” = I left forgot my bag on the train.
Densha wo machigae mashita.” = I took a wrong train.
“wasure mashita” = forgot or left
“machigae mashita” = take a mistake


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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