Publisher wants to help make it easier to help.

With all travel-restricting pandemic protocols discontinued and the yen weaker than it has been in decades, Japan is seeing a huge surge in inbound overseas tourism. Unfortunately, this has come with some high-profile incidents of inappropriate behavior by foreign travelers.

That shouldn’t be taken to mean that the average Japanese resident is upset about people from overseas visiting their country. Most Japanese people see foreign interest in Japan as a sincere compliment to the culture, and many recognize that between Japan’s unique societal norms and difficult-to-learn language can sometimes leave foreign travelers in a quandary as to what they can/should do while in Japan.

So to help smooth such issues out, Japanese publisher Alc has brought out a new book with the specific goal of teaching Japanese people the English they need to help out foreign tourists who’re in a jam.

Titled Conversational English to Help Sightseers, or Kankoukyaku wo Tasukeru Eikaiwa in Japanese, the 204-page book contains 40 different scenarios in setting such as train stations, restaurants, shops, and sightseeing/cultural attractions. Topics covered include directing foreign travelers to the train they need to take to arrive at their intended destination, helping confirm with restaurant staff what sort of potential allergens are present in a dish, and explaining the steps required to log on to free Wi-Fi services.

The book should be helpful in dealing with a social phenomenon in which Japanese people are often self-conscious about their English proficiency level to the point of not trying to speak the language unless they know their vocabulary and syntax are unerstandable, and another in which they’re sometimes reluctant to offer help unless they’re certain they’ll actually be able to improve the situation. Though Japanese people take English classes as part of their required education growing up, many adults have forgotten much of what they studied, and so the book’s author, Junnosuke Hamasaki, focuses on using short, direct phrases that are easy to remember and reduce the possibilities of misuse or misunderstanding.

▼ Like all phrasebooks, this one can also work the opposite way and teach you phrases for such conversations in Japanese, provided you can read the Japanese text.

Conversational English to Help Sightseers is priced at 1,760 yen (US$11.80) through Amazon here and is on sale now, so maybe some of its readers will be able to help anyone looking for the new for-tourist buses coming to Kyoto soon.

Source: PR Times
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert images: PR Times, Amazon Japan
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