NIHONGO ESSENTIALS

Writers: Dara Aya | Illustrator: Carina Audrey Budiarto | Editor: Christoforus Reynaldo


All packed up for your flight to Japan? We can feel the excitement from here! We’re pretty sure you’ve read our KICAU magazine edition, especially the part about packing essentials, so we’re confident you’ll do just fine in that department; but just hold your horses and hear us out for a bit here. Are you sure you won’t get lost in translation once you set foot in the land of the rising sun? Of course, learning Japanese in Foundation Classes is a huge help, but we assure you these phrases down below might be worth remembering!

Let’s not forget Miss Rona!

Just because you’re going to start a new chapter of your life in a foreign country, doesn’t mean the possibility of contracting the new coronavirus has somehow been minimized. The pandemic still lingers around the corner, and since your new chapter is in a foreign country surrounded by its foreign language; knowing these medical terms might just be the smart thing to do!


- Coronavirus vocabulary

  • 新型コロナウイルス (shingata korona uirusu) = Novel Coronavirus

  • 感染者 (kansensha) = Infected Person

  • 渡航歴 (tokoureki) = Travel History

  • 陽性 (yousei) / 陰性 (insei) = Tested Positive / Negative

  • 自宅待機 (jitaku taiki) = Home Confinement/ Stay home

- Clinic vs Hospital

クリニック or clinic is smaller and can be found in various locations around the city. If you have a mild condition, it might be best to go to a clinic first. The doctors there will be able to inform you whether your condition is indeed mild or need further consultation at a larger hospital. You won’t necessarily be turned down if you were to directly go to the hospital, but they might request you to pay an extra fee.


- Explaining your conditions

Once inside the clinic, walk to the reception desk (uketsuke, 受付) and tell them if it were your first visit. You will then be asked to fill out a medical questionnaire (monshinhyou, 問診票) that will ask for general information about yourself. It is also completely normal to ask the staff members for further language support.

After filling the form out, simply return it to the reception desk and wait for your name to be called to enter the doctor’s examination room, where you will have to answer questions about your condition. Down below we have curated useful websites that have extensive information on types of illness in Japanese as well as purchasing medicines at the drugstore:


Out and about in the city

Get your masks and hand sanitizer with you all the time, because it's time to shake off the cabin fever by stepping outside and explore the downtown area of Beppu! You might want to also check out our Missin’ Beppu article for recommendations on places you must visit.

Perhaps you’re craving for food other than what you’d usually cook at home, so a trip to one of the best restaurants in town will most definitely hit the spot. Once you enter the restaurant, the staff will usually either ask [こちら] / [店内] でお召し上がりですか?(Are you eating here?, tennai de o meshiagaridesuka ) or なんめいさまですか?(How many people?), and if the place seems packed or you’d rather have a nice meal with your friends at the nearby beach, then you’d simply reply with [持ち帰りで] (Take it home/takeaway, mochikaeri de ).


Now maybe your problem is with the menu and you’re worried about certain food. The best way to ask the staff is either by saying 「ベジタリアン」/ 「ハラル」 対応していますか?(Do you accommodate vegetarian or halal?, hararu taioushite imasu ka) or これ「豚肉」はいってますか?(Does this contain “pork”?, you can change the [pork section] to any food you are concerned with). A quick reminder before settling on your final order, most restaurants in Japan don’t offer take-out/doggy bags for your leftovers; so, it is important to never over-order! Once you’re ready to leave the restaurant, head over to the cash register with your order sheet in hand that is usually placed on the side of the table by the staffs, or raises your hand and simply say すみません、お勘定をお願いします (Sumimasen, okanjyou wo onegaishimasu, Would you please check?).


Maybe it’s nearing closing hours of the restaurant and all there’s left are the nearby コンビニ. Don’t get discouraged just yet, because they actually have a good selection of ready-to-eat meals. Here are some websites that will help to diversify your convenience store food choices:

Looks like your fridge is looking a bit bare as well, why don’t you head on over to one of the supermarkets downtown? The nearest one from AP House is Marushoku Sekinoe right next to the Kitashinden bus stop, or if you’re staying over in your friend’s place downtown and it’s past 11 PM, no worries because MaxValu next to the Beppu Post Office opens for 24 hours! Japanese supermarkets also offer a wide selection of pre-made food or お惣菜コーナー(おそうざい コーナー, Osozai kohnah), such as コロッケ (korokke, croquette), お弁当 (bento), and 寿司 (sushi) that taste quite delicious.


The pricing might make you think twice about buying them if you’re on a tight budget, but before you get discouraged, maybe you should wait until the evenings around 8 PM to start grocery shopping as they will start to be on sale for 50% off! Just keep your eyes peeled for any stickers that say 半額 as it means the item is half-priced, meanwhile if you see a yen amount followed by 引, this tells you how much of a discount you will get. You might also find these discount stickers on meat, fruits, and fish as well; so, it is definitely worth waiting for!


There are still more to learn out there, but we think the best form of learning is to experience it first-hand; so, what are you waiting for? Grab your mask and hand sanitizer, because the land of the rising sun is waiting to be explored!

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