Kyoto, Kanazawa Sightseeing by Taxi

Sep 13th, 2013, 01:50 PM
  #1  
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Kyoto, Kanazawa Sightseeing by Taxi

To save time, we plan to tour the major sights in these cities by taxi. Do the drivers generally know the names of the major sights or do I need to have their names written down in Japanese? We are staying at the Hyatt in Kyoto so I would expect that they would know where that is located. Am I correct in assuming this?

In Kanazawa, we are staying in a relatively unknown machiya, so for that I will make sure we will have the address written out in Japanese.
Craig is offline  
Sep 13th, 2013, 02:32 PM
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Hey, Craig, I have made the same assumption as you, so will be interested in what others have to say about this. I'm even wondering whether we need to have more than the address for the machiya - a little map, perhaps?
Kathie is offline  
Sep 13th, 2013, 02:49 PM
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Probably both wouldn't hurt, Kathie - you never know, you might be returning to the machiya on foot so a map would be helpful for that.
Craig is offline  
Sep 13th, 2013, 02:59 PM
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I've found that the most useful taxi info for a shop/resto/inn is a phone number -- if the driver doesn't know the place, he'll call & get directions.
DonTopaz is offline  
Sep 13th, 2013, 03:04 PM
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More concerned about sights, Don...
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Sep 13th, 2013, 04:05 PM
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kja
 
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Is there an argument against taking the kanji names? It would seem easy enough to do and would ensure that you were prepared in the unlikely event that a driver didn't understand you. And I would take a map, too -- again, why not?
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Sep 13th, 2013, 06:10 PM
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Just trying to simplify my life. I already have a book's worth of info for this trip - local maps, train and subway exit details. It would just be nice if there was some aspect where we could just say "go" and it would happen...
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Sep 13th, 2013, 06:22 PM
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'we could just say "go" and it would happen...' what fun would that be....lol....

I don't take taxis but I do try to have maps and I have my cheat sheet with all the places I plan to visit written out in English, kana and Kanji.....

As far as subway exits at least in Tokyo they are numbered very well (much better than here in NYC) and you can see them on google maps if you do a real zoom in - plus subway stations usually have good street maps with English names I do believe....
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Sep 13th, 2013, 06:25 PM
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kja
 
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OMG, Mara, I wish I'd known to look for subway exit numbers when I was in Tokyo. Now THAT would have simplified my time there!
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Sep 13th, 2013, 07:21 PM
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You can write the names down in English if you can't communicate the name of the site verbally. Some tour books, pages, show Japanese names next to the English names and you could show that.

It would be helpful if you learn to pronounce names of places in Japanese. It is not that hard.



a sounds like a in ah
e sounds like e in eh
i sounds like e in be
o sounds like o in oh
u sounds like oo in poo

Vowel sounds are short in duration, unless there is a bar over the letter like in Kyōto or Tōkyō. Tō sounds like toe, toh but "to" is shorter, you stop your breath as soon as you say the o sound, you don't push the o out, you cut it off in the back of your throat.

Vowels end syllables: Shi na ga wa. No accent on any syllable. The letter Y does not end a syllable, it starts or is in the middle of a syllable. Say kyo like you would say Q, but with an o sound. Tō-kyō is two syllables.

You get it in the taxi and say "ki yo mi zu de ra" using the vowel sounds described above. You are supposed to roll the r like in Spanish but the taxi driver will know what you mean by the time you get to it.

m and n, when not followed by a vowel are out there on their own: shi n ka n se n しんかんせん but sounds like shin kan sen (sheen kahn sen)
mrwunrfl is offline  
Sep 13th, 2013, 07:27 PM
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I got carried away. Learn the vowel sounds and know that vowels end syllables. Pronounce Japanese names as you would pronounce them in Hawaiian and you will be close enough.
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Sep 13th, 2013, 11:17 PM
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In Kyoto especially you shouldn't have trouble. For the Kanazawa machiya we will give you a landmark as cars cannot get right to the door. Every driver knows the nabe shop Taro (restaurant) so ask to go there. We will have it written for you. Sights should be ok.
KimJapan is offline  
Sep 14th, 2013, 05:13 AM
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This has been helpful.

Mr. W - we do not speak Hawaiian in Connecticut.

How do you pronounce "ryokan"?
Craig is offline  
Sep 14th, 2013, 07:21 AM
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> How do you pronounce "ryokan"?

As it's spelled, but with just 2 syllables (like Tokyo or Kyoto).
DonTopaz is offline  
Sep 14th, 2013, 09:30 AM
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I pronounce it poorly, Kurego. The ryo gives me trouble, but I managed to communicate Ryoanji well enough for our Kyoto taxi driver to get us there.

I would pronounce ryokan the same way you do, but in Japan would try to say rio kan, with rio like in Rio De Janeiro, but said quickly without spending any time on i (rio in one syllable), but that is still not right.

y like y in yes, not like in why or billy.
Na go ya (the y starts a syllable, no goy in Nagoya)

Hai = yes. Say "ha ee" (i.e. English long e). Now say it faster. Again, faster. Say it again, as fast as you can and the "ha i" sounds like English "hi". Sorta.

I approached the lady at the Hilton front desk and she spoke first:
she said: Hai!
I heard "hi" (hello), not "yes"
I replied "hi"
She heard "yeeesss" or maybe she heard "hi", but either way my response was appropriate in one of our languages.

She said hai, two syllables very quickly like this:
japanese.about.com/library/media/audio/sjp4-1.mp3
(click the > play button)

I said "hi" one long syllable, like this guy:
http://www.howjsay.com/index.php?word=hi&submit=Submit
(click on Submit)

He is using a lot more air for hi than she is using for hai.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Sep 14th, 2013, 09:55 AM
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Craig, I got your name wrong, sorry, it is:
ku-re-i-gu
mrwunrfl is offline  
Sep 14th, 2013, 10:25 AM
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mrwunrful is quite right about the importance of the correct pronunciation of japanese words
On one of my first forays into speaking japanese I had memorized book phrases.
I spoke one to a taxi driver and he looked at me with a puzzled look and said
"I'm sorry I don't speak english"
Back to the drawing board....
Japanese teachers have great stories about how mispronunciation can cause some serious miscommunication from insulting to comical.
Ryokan is a hard one, as english speakers can break it into three syllables with a hard R (Ree)-
Oh- Kan as in (Can do), which would be hard to understand for a Japanese person.
Ryokan can sound more like leocan with the R having an L component.
English speakers tend to stress syllables where japanese word are more evenly stressed through the word or phrase.
I use japanesepod101.com lessons to practice basic phrases and vocabulary. They have free lessons on Youtube as well.
The important thing to remember is if the other person doesn't seem to understand, shouting the phrase louder doesn't really help
kalihiwai2 is offline  
Sep 14th, 2013, 04:01 PM
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i'm glad I have "my man" to do the heavy lifting, in English, Hawaiian and japaneses, plus pig latin.
rhkkmk is offline  
Sep 14th, 2013, 04:37 PM
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Craig, Japanese almost always carry maps for their destinations, along with a phone number. Often the maps are on their phones. Addresses can be useless due to their way of numbering. Taxi drivers are happy to call for directions.

For tourist destinations, I'd just take lists of the names in either hiragana or kanji. Your hotel can do this, or just circle your destinations on a local city map.

"R" is a very tricky sound in Japanese. Kind of a combination of R-L-D. If you say Ree-oh-kan' only a few people will understand. Lyo-khan is closer. Kyoto, Tokyo, ryokan are all two syllable words.

In a pinch, always write down confusing words. Most people can read better than understand spoken English.
lcuy is offline  
Sep 15th, 2013, 09:28 PM
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Wodka=vodka.
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