Speakin’ Japanese: Bicycle banter

Speakin’ Japanese: Bicycle banter

by Shoji Kudaka
Stripes Okinawa

The key to enjoying your time in Japan is getting off base and exploring. For many of you, that means hopping on your bicycle and hitting the road. Hey, you’re not in Kansas anymore, so know the laws in Japan when you’re pedaling outside the gate. The following will help you when you’re bicycling about in Japan.

  • “Jitensha no futarinori wa ikemasen.” = Riding double on a bicycle is prohibited. (“jitensha” = bicycle, “futarinori” = riding double, “ikemasen” = being prohibited)
  • “Herumetto wo kabutte kudasai.” = Wear your helmet, please. (“herumetto” = helmet / hard hat, “kabutte” = wear, “kudasai” = please)
  • “Shingoo wo mamotte kudasai.” = Follow the traffic signals, please. (“shingoo” = traffic signals, “mamotte” = follow)
  • “Kasa wo sashite notte wa ikemasen.” = Riding a bike while holding an umbrella open is prohibited. (“kasa” = umbrella, “sashite” = hold open, “notte” = riding)
  • “Hidari-gawa wo hashiri mashoo.” = Let’s ride on the left side of the street. (“hidari-gawa” = left side, “migi-gawa” = right side, “hashiri” = run, “mashoo” = Let’s)
  • “Abunai!” = Watch out! (dangerous!) (“abunai” = dangerous)
  • “Kiwo tsukete!” = Watch out!
  • “Sumimasen.” = I am sorry.
  • “Jitensha ni butsukari mashita.” = A bike hit me. (“butsukari” = hit)
  • “Kega wo shimashita.” = I am injured. (“kega” = injury)
  • “Kyuukyuusha wo yonde kudasai.” = Call me an ambulance, please. (“kyuukyuusha” = ambulance, “keisatsu” = police, “yonde” = call me)
  • “Yukkuri hashiri masho.” = Let’s ride slowly. (“yukkuri” = slowly, “hashiri masho” = let’s ride)

When on OKINAWA, you can also say it in “Uchinaaguchi” (island dialect) like this:

  • “Yaaya Chakkuyaa yakutu, anshi Kurubundooyaa.” = You fell to the ground because you are careless. (“Chakkuyaa” = careless person)
  • “Cycling Teeghee Naasshi Sabirandee, Duu yamasabiinn doo.” = If you ride (a bike) for too long, you could injure yourself (“Duu Yamasabiin” = Get oneself injured)
  • “Kuri Kaaya Nanndurusakutuu Ukaasan.” = It is slippery and dangerous around here. (“Kuri Kaa” = Around here, “Nanndurusan” = slippery, “Ukaasan”= danger)
  • “Jichinsha Si Channu Atai Kakayabiiga.” = How long does it take by bike? (“Atai Kakayabiiga” = How long does it take)
  • “Yonnaa Yonnaa Shinasaiyoo” = You should go slowly. (“Yonnaa Yonnaa” = slowly)

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