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Survive and Thrive in Japan with Point-and-Speak

I am an expat living in Japan. Every day is an adventure and a blessing. Here are some of my most memorable experiences.

One day, I made the firm decision to go to Japan despite not knowing the language, local customs or having any contacts. About a week later I found myself in Kobe, feeling the culture shock big time. I had no idea what was going on and there was no escape! It was the language barrier mostly and I knew I had to get an edge if I was going to make the most of my adventure.

This seemed unlikely until I came across "The Original POINT-AND-SPEAK Phrasebook JAPAN" by Toshiya Enomoto. It's small, thin and light so you can carry it anywhere. At the same time it's packed full of words and pictures that could break the barrier with any local in any situation.

It's as simple as it gets. Look up what you want to say among the large, colorful bubbles then read it to the local Japanese person. The word (or phrase) is followed in Japanese. Then this Japanese word is followed by an English spelling of the pronunciation.

Or, simply show the book to him or her and point to what you want to say. Hence, the "POINT-AND-SPEAK." Nearly all of the bubbles have pictures in them; not only will this help you find what you are looking for faster but it will also help the native understand what's going on.

The way it's all organized is very clever so it's simple to use. Want to tell your barber how you like it? Point and speak! Want extra cabbage with your yakisoba? Point and speak! It's too easy!

Photo gallery

One thing I've noticed is that even the locals love this book. All of my Japanese friends are fascinated by it. The expats and tourists I show it to kick themselves for not finding it sooner. I've included a few photos below for more information. It's just a tiny taste of this perfect phrasebook.

My day at the Toka Ebisu Festival

I love seeing new things from all over the world. This is the Toka Ebisu Festival at the Nishinomiya Shrine. My phrasebook came in handy that day!

The perfect compliment

What do you think? Do you love to travel? Where will you go?

Heidi Vincent from GRENADA on October 30, 2013:

I LOVE arriving at where I am going but not the airport activities to get there. I want to go to Cuba next.

socialcx1 on October 24, 2013:

Have not been to Japan yet but it is very high on my wish list.

sousababy on October 24, 2013:

I'm certain this would help me - esp. if I needed to go to the bathroom in a country where I do not speak the language.

lesliesinclair on October 23, 2013:

Such a smart idea for the impromptu traveler. I'd heard about such a booklet but never used one, and now I see how handy it would be.