- “no” is seldom used (considered rude), so cross arms
- sumimasen – pardon me, excuse me
- gomen nasai – sorry
- wakari masen – I do not understand
- wakari mashita – I do understand
- hai – yes
- arigato gozaimasu – thank you very much
At the postal counter
Learning a few key phrases is always helpful but it will be obvious to the Japanese that you do not understand. I make no bones about this fact as I certainly don’t wish to mislead them into thinking I can speak Japanese. I have found the international art of respectful body language to be most useful.
If you have allergies or medical conditions, make sure you keep these explanations on you at all times, written in Japanese. I have mine taped inside my phrase book.