Saturday, May 28, 2016

Osaka: Which Namba Station?

When you arrive at Kansai International Airport (symbol: KIX) and try to reach your destinations via trains, sometimes you need to make connections at Namba Station (see diagram below).

Namba Station is one of the main connection points (the other two are Umeda and Tennoji Stations). But, Namba Station actually means 3 different stations on Google map:
  • JR-Namba Station
  • Nankai-Namba Station
  • Osaka-Namba Station

JR and Other Private Railways in Kansai Region

On Internet, Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass) is often recommended for traveling throughout Japan, which can be used on the railway, bus and ferry services that are provided by Japan Rail Group with few exceptions.

If you are traveling within Kansai region, however, most train services are provided by a myriad of private railway companies. See the caption of the above diagram for some of them.

Which Namba Station?

To search for train routes, Hyperdia becomes a handy tool. However, most likely you will find the following stations (name pair used by Google/Hyperdia):
  • JR-Namba Station / JR-NAMBA
  • Nankai-Namba Station / NAMBA(NANKAI)
  • Osaka-Namba Station / OSAKA-NAMBA
which are highlighted in yellow-colored rectangles of the above map (click to enlarge). Based on which railways you ride on, you might arrive at different Namba station. For connections, you may need to walk over to the nearby Namba station which is serviced by another railway company. For example, if you ride on trains serviced by Nankai Raiways, you could arrive at Nankai-Namba Station. To reach Nara, you may want to take trains serviced by Kintetsu Raiways. In that case, you need to take a 12-mins walk to Osaka-Namba Station (see map below).


  1. Kansai Thru Pass (Surutto Kansai)
  2. Hyperdia
  3. Japan Rail Pass
  4. Japan Rail Group
  5. How to enjoy Osaka
  6. KIX to Namba Station serviced by Nankai Limited Express Rapi:t
    • KIX → Tengachaya → Shin-Imamiya → Namba
    • Departure from KIX roughly every 30 mins
    • Regular seat: 1130 yen (downloaded on 05/30/2016)
    • How to purchase a ticket
  7. Living in: The world's safest cities
    • Osaka, Amsterdam, Sydney,  Singapore, Stockholm
  8. Best Things to do in Osaka - Overnight City Guide (video)

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Japanese: Top 15 Questions to Learn

You can watch Risa teaching "Top 15 Questions to Learn" from youtube here.

In this article, we list those questions in written forms.  So, you can practice them repeatedly or you can copy the phrases from here and paste them to japandict.com or a Japanese language-learning tool for further research.

Section 1

When is your birthday?
あなたの   誕生日   は いつですか
Anata no tanjōbi wa itsudesuka

How old are you?
お 幾つ ですか?
Oikutsu desuka

How are you?
お  元気  ですか?
Ogenki desuka?

What's your name?
お  名前  
Onamae wa

What's this?
これは  何  ですか?
Korewa nan desuka?

Where are you from?
ご 出身  は どちらですか?
Go shusshin wa dochira desuka?

Where is the bathroom?
トイレ は どこ ですか?
Toire wa dokodesu ka?

Section 2

Where do you work?
どこで  働  いて いますか?
doko de hataraiteimasuka?

Where did you learn Japanese?
      にほんご   なら
どこで  日本語 を 習  いました か?
Doko de nihongo o naraimashitaka?

Where do you live?
どこに 住んで いますか?
Doko ni sundeimasuka?

How long have you been studying Japanese?
        にほんご   なら
どの くらい日本語 を 習て いますか?
Dono kurai nihongo o naratteimasuka

What did you say?
何  て 言いましたか
Nanite iimashitaka

Have you been to Japan?
日本  に  来 たことがありますか?
Nihon ni kita koto ga arimasua?

Section 3

Do you like Japanese Food?
にほん   りょうり    
日本 の 料理 が 好き ですか?
Nihon no ryōri ga suki desuka?

What's your phone number?
でんわ ばんごう    なんばん
電話  番号  は 何番 ですか?

Tenwabangō wa nan-ban desuka

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Survival Japanese—How to Order 丼ぶり

(どん / don) or 丼ぶり (どんぶり / donburi) in Japanese means:
  • Bowl of rice with food on top
Rice-bowl dish in Japan can consist of various ingredients which are simmered together and served on the top of rice.

In this article, we will introduce some  丼ぶり (どんぶり / donburi)  and show you how to order them.


As shown in the picture, there are many kinds of 丼物 / どんぶりもの / donburimono.   In Japan, there are large chain stores such as Yoshinoya (吉野屋), Sukiya (すき屋), Matsuya (松屋); They offer 丼物 at a low price.

Here we introduce some common ones:
  • 親子丼 / おやこどん / oyako don
  • 天丼 / てんどん / ten don
    • tempura served over a bowl of rice
  • カツ丼 / カツどん / katsu don
    • breaded pork on rice
  • 鰻丼 / うなどん / unadon (or うなぎ丼 / うなぎどんぶり / unagidonburi)
    • bowl of eel and rice
  • 若鳥丼 / わかどりどん / wakadori don 
    • young chicken on rice
  • 玉子丼 / たまごどん / tamago donburi 
    • bowl of rice topped with boiled eggs
  • 鉄火丼 / てっかどん / tekkadonburi  
    • vinegared rice topped with sliced raw tuna
  • 牛丼 / ぎゅうどん / gyuudon
    • rice covered with beef and vegetables
  • 豚丼 / ぶたどん / butadon
    • rice covered with pork and vegetables
  • カレー丼 / kare-don
    • rice Bowl Topped with Japanese Curry
For more choices, read information from this site.

How to Order

How to order in Japanese at Restaurant. - YouTube


Oct 9, 2011 - Uploaded by komori841
This theme is requested by the viewer. I am telling how to order food at Japan. Now you can come Japanese ...

8. How to order food from a menu in Japanese - YouTube


Jan 24, 2015 - Uploaded by Learn Japanese Pod
In this video we learn some useful phrases for ordering or buying things at arestaurant or shop.

How to Order at Restaurant 【Japanese Conversation Lesson ...


Aug 9, 2014 - Uploaded by Japanization
How to Order at Restaurant 【Japanese Conversation Lesson】 ... 1:29 - Voice says "i jou yoroshii deshou ka ...


May 5, 2015 - Uploaded by LearnJapanese123 Video
LearnJapanese123 Video: - Making an order at Japanese ... How to order, eat and pay for sushi in Japan (at ...

Japanese conversation 1: ordering in a restaurant - YouTube


Jun 20, 2015 - Uploaded by 英会話のEnglish Garden
Japanese conversation 1ordering in a restaurant. 英会話のEnglish ... We ...


  1. OKsfood.com
  2. Food and Drinks in Japan
  3. Cultural Immersion: Experiencing a Traditional Market in Kyoto (Travel for a Purpose)
  4. Chickens and Eggs (親子)

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Survival Japanese as a Traveling Vegetarian

In you stay at a temple in the Mount Koya area, you may be able to enjoy a vegetarian food named
  • 精進料理  /  しょじん りょり  /  Shojin ryori 
    • This is a buddhist temple food
But, normally Shojin ryori is not served outside the temple.

Survival Guides

If you are a vegetarian traveling in Japan, you may want to read the following general guides first:
In this article, we try to offer more suggestions and helps for a vegetarian traveling in Japan.

Most Common Japanese Vegetarian Foods

If you are a vegetarian, you may want to consider the following common vegetarian dishes in Japan:[1]
  1. Mochi /  / もち / mochi
  2. Eggplant /  なす / nasu (and other vegetable side dishes)
  3. Skewer  /  串物  / くしもの / kushi-mono
  4. Pickles  /  漬物 / つけもの / tsukemono
  5. Daikon / 大根 / だいこん / daikon
  6. Beans /  / まめ / mame
  7. Nori seaweed (and kelp) / 海苔 / のり / nori
  8. Tofu / 豆腐 / とうふ / tofu
  9. Burdock root (and sometimes carrot) 
  10. / 金平/ きんぴら / kinpira
  11. Rice / 米 /  コメ / kome
If you stay in Kyoto area, you will find more vegetarian choices like:
  • Tofu skin / 湯葉 / ゆば / yuba 
  • Wheat Starch  / なマーフ  / nama-fu 
  • Kyoto-style vegetables / 京野菜 / きょ やさい / kyo yasai 
  • Dark seaweed / 鹿尾菜  / ひじき / hijiki
  • Dried daikon strips / きりぼし大根 /  kiriboshi daikon 

Dashi Broth

Dashi (だし)is a Japanese stock or broth, and it is a fundamental ingredient in many Japanese dishes including vegetarian dishes. Dashi is made from kombu (dried kelp), bonito flakes (dried and smoked skipjack tuna that is shaved into thin flakes), anchovies/sardine (iriko or niboshi), or a combination of all or two of them.

In case you are a vegan, maybe you want to pay more attention to what ingredients are used in the Dashi (だし) broth.

Useful Japanese Phrases

As a vegetarian, you can watch Yuka's video here to learn some useful phrases while you travel in Japan:

I am a vegetarian

 私 は ベジタリアン です
Watashi wa bejitarian desu

I don't eat meat 

わた     にく    
 私  は お肉 を 食べません
Watashi wa Oniku wo tabemasen

I don't eat seafood 

わたし      さかな     た
  私 は お 魚 を 食べません
Watashi wa Osakana wo tabemasen

I don't eat egg 

わたし       たまご      
私 は お 玉子 を 食べません
Watashi waō tamago o shoku bemasen

Is bonito used in the dashi broth?
             ぶし    つか
おだし に  かつお節 わ 使って いますか
Odashi ni Katsuobushi wa tsukatte imasuka?

I'm a vegan 

わたし   かん ぜん さい しょく しゅぎしゃ

 私 は 完  全  菜  食 主義者   です
Watashi wa kan zen saishoku shugisha desu

Photo Credit


  1. 10 vegetarian foods you can order at almost any Japanese restaurant
  2. 食べログ (Tabelog
    • Restaurant search in Japan
  3. Meaning of Japanese
    • Pronunciation sounds good
  4. Japan Guide: 4 Useful JAPANESE Phrases for Vegetarians :JAPAN 101 (video)
  5. Japan Travel Guide: 5 Things You Should Know about Restaurants in Japan (video)
  6. Japan Guide : 5 Things You should Know about Restaurants in Japan #2 : Japan Travel Guide (video)
    • Need to know about what otoshi (or cover charge) is at izakaya (居酒屋).  
      • Normally, you cannot avoid paying for otoshi.
  7. Eating vegan in Japan – survival guide
  8. Some vegan restaurants in Kyoto (2008)
  9. Groceries in Japan – A Short Guide
  10. Survival Japanese at Restaurants (Travel for a Purpose)
  11. Romanization of Japanese
  12. yōshoku (洋食)—Western-style Japanese Foods
  13. Survival Japanese at Restaurants (Travel for a Purpose)
  14. 111 Japanese Phrases for Beginners (video).
  16. Japanese: Top 25 Adjectives to Learn (Travel for a Purpose)
  17. Japanese: Top 15 Questions to Learn (Travel for a Purpose)