Speakin' Japanese: Conveni-ently conversing

by Tetsuo Nakahara
Stripes Okinawa

Seven Eleven, Family Mart, Mini Stop, Lawson – there are so many convenience stores, or “konbini,” in Japan. And there are so many things you can buy and do at them. You can pay utility bills, book a concert ticket, send packages or use an ATM, photo copier or just the restroom. Here are a few phrases to help you get the most out of your next stop at a konbini.

“Sumimasen, konbini wo sagashite imasu.” = Excuse me, I am looking for a convenience store.

“Toile wo karitemo iidesuka?” = May I use the toilet?
(It’s polite to make a small purchase afterward if that’s all you came in for.)

Ordering hot food at the counter

“Nikuman wo hitotsu kudasai.” = Please give me one steamed bun.

“… wo hitotsu kudasai.” = Please give me one ….

“Nikuman” = Steamed bun (meat filled)

“Karaage” = Fried chicken nuggets

“Korokke” = Croquette (potato and meat filled)

“Amerikan doggu” = Corn dog

“Hitotsu” = One (of)

“Futatsu” = Two (of)

“Mittsu” = Three (of)

“Spoon wo kudasai.” = Please give me a spoon?

“ohashi”= chopstick

Buying cold precooked food (pasta, bento, etc.)

“Atatame masuka?” = Do you want it warmed up?

“Onegaishimasu.” = Please do so.

“Daijyoubu desu.” = That’s OK (no).

Buying cigarettes or alcohol

“Jyu ban no tabako wo hitotsu onegaishimasu.”
= Please give me one pack of No. 10 cigarettes? (Cigarettes are stocked behind the counter and numbered by brand.)

“Jyu” = 10 / “ban” = Number (“Ichi ban” = Number one, “Ni ban” = Number two, etc.)

“Nenreikakunin wo onegaishimasu.” = Please confirm your (legal) age (by pushing the panel on the touchscreen at the register).

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