You might not work in a Japanese environment. (And if you do, you might want to check out these useful business Japanese phrases.) You might not be studying Japanese. And you might not have any Japanese friends and family or any personal interest in the language.As a result, you might think that there is no need to learn the language at all.
However, did you know that Japan is the world’s third-largest economy, after the United States and China, with a GDP of roughly $4 trillion? This means that there are many Japanese exports that seep insidiously into our daily lives without our noticing. Here are 3 instances where Japanese has become part and parcel of our lives and where you might find an unexpected use for the language.
Playing video games
Are you an avid gamer? Do you want to understand what is going on when all those Japanese characters appear on screen? Are you worried about choosing the wrong settings? Then you need to learn some basic Japanese! Let me share with you my real life experience.
Some time ago, I was invited to a friend’s house party and my friends started playing a Japanese video game. But they were stuck right at the beginning at the start menu, because the menu was in Japanese! I was roped in to be the translator and after that, there were smiles all round because they could finally play the game.
Moral of the story: If you play Japanese video games, it would probably help to know some basic Japanese.
Fancy toilet seats
Ever been impressed with the fancy warm toilet seats with a gazillion buttons from Japan? If you think they can only be found in Japan, think again. Once, I was in a cafe where the owner was a big fan of the fancy Japanese bidet. And he painstakingly imported one from Japan. The problem was, all the buttons on the control panel were in Japanese! You have no idea how relieved I was that I understood Japanese.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my toilet seats warm, especially in winter. But I do wonder about all those poor souls who can’t read Japanese, what do they do in such instances?
At a Japanese restaurant
If you are at an authentic Japanese restaurant run by Japanese people for Japanese people, you can bet that the menu will be in Japanese. And if you are down on your luck, there might not be any accompany pictures. How are you going to order if you don’t recognize anything on the menu? My suggestion is that at the bare minimum, you should learn the names of your favorite dishes before you embark on your foodie journey.
Otherwise, you might return home with an unsatisfied stomach. That’s not what you want after paying for an expensive meal out, right?
The use of Japanese pops up more than you think. Learning some basic Japanese might pay you unexpected dividends!