In a country with many delicious cuisine like Japan, how would it be possible to resist food cravings? It’s hard enough for a regular traveller, so you could imagine how difficult it would be for Muslims due to their dietary restrictions and lifestyle.
Before deciding which restaurant to dine at, figuring out which food they could consume in a country with a language you do not speak poses some difficulties and challenges. On top of that, Muslim travellers would also need to inquire about prayer facilities.
If you are a Muslim, then you are a lucky one! In this article, I will share with you come communication tips that would ease some of your travel woes in different circumstances. Let’s have a look at how you could communicate with the staff at the restaurant.
Useful Phrases for a Restaurant
Moushiwake gozaimasenga, watashiwa butaniku wo taberaremasen. Toriniku, gyuniku, sakanawa daijyoubu desu.
I’m sorry, I cannot eat pork. Chicken, beef and fish are okay.
Kono nikuwa hararu niku desuka?
Is this meat halal meat?
Kono misewa, nonpooku menyuuwa arimasuka?
Does this store have a non-pork menu?
Kono ryouriwa osakega haitte imasenka?
Does this dish contain alcohol?
Kono nomimonowa osakega haitte imasenka?
Does this drink have alcohol?
Kono misewa, arukooru nomimonoga teikyou saremasuka?
Does this shop provide alcohol drinks?
Kono misewa, oshyoyuwo tsukawanai ryouriwo teikyou dekimasuka?
Does this shop offer shoyu-free dishes?
(*shoyu refers to Japanese soy sauce, which may include alcohol)
Useful Phrases for Hotels and Facilities
Reihaini tsukaeru supesuwa arimasuka?
Do you have a space that can be used for prayer?
Reihaiyou no matto wo kashite itadakemasuka?
Do you lend prayer mats?
Chikakuni mosukuga attara ikikata wo oshiete kudasai.
If there is a mosque nearby, please let me know how to get there.
How to communicate with the local
Now that you have knowledge of these useful phrases, the next thing to do is to figure out how to communicate the message to the staff at the restaurant or hotel. Many times, we end up using body language, which could be easily misinterpreted and difficult to convey details of information, especially when it is specific. To avoid such problems, there are three things you can do.
1. Put useful phrases on paper
In order to convey a clear message to a person, I advise printing out the phrases (preferably in Japanese) on a piece of paper or a card. You can also write the phrases down instead, but you have to make sure your handwriting is big, clear and readable.
I recommend including the English translation below the Japanese phrase – it works as a personal reminder of what you printed in Japanese.
2. Speak Japanese by reading Romaji
Speaking Japanese is not impossible even if you have zero knowledge of it. There is the Romaji version of Japanese, which refers Japanese words in the romanised version that uses alphabets from A to Z. If you happen to meet a person who doesn’t understand English, it’s time to whip out your printed phrases and show it to the person or read the phrases out loud in Romaji.
If you are a beginner Japanese language learner, this would be a helpful tool.
3. Use Google Translate App
If you have any other phrases or words you want to convey besides the ones mentioned above, I recommend using the Google Translate app. For word-to-word translation, it is pretty much reliable.
However, there’s a catch. It’s easy to get the impression that Google Translate can easily translate everything with just a click, but technology has its flaws too. Phrases and could be translated wrongly at times. Hence, if you want to use this app, do also get the phrases printed out or written down on paper as a backup.
In short, these survival phrases for Muslim travel is made easy with for you now! Next time you are travelling to Japan for a trip of a lifetime, this would be your lifesaver, so bookmark this page, and put in the effort to learn these phrases!