Shopping Japanese: Vocabulary and Phrases – Japanese Essentials

How to Shop in Japanese

Tokyo is a great place to enjoy some shopping therapy and with Japan priding itself for its customer services most clerks will do their best to assist you in anyway they can, even if they might do not speak much English. Hence knowing how to make a purchase in Japanese is a good start to prepare for your shopping frenzy!
When you’ve finally made up your mind and opted to buy that great ‘I love 日本’ T-shirt, let the clerk know with the following sentence.

Getting a T-Shirt
Expressing This, That and That (Over There)

Getting a T-Shirt

このTシャツ(を)ください。(This shirt please.)

The phrase …(を)ください translates as ‘please’ and indicate a request to do something. The particle を, marking a direct object of a verb in a sentence, can be omitted. Be careful, this particle can be written “wo” but is always pronounced “o”.

Expressing This, That and That (Over There)

Like これ, この is a demonstrative and stands for “this”, referring to something close to the speaker. その means “that” and refers to something close to the listener. あの also means that but refers to something neither close to the speaker nor close to the listener.

この, その and あの always precede a noun while これ、それ and あれ are used instead of a noun.

For example:

これ、ひとつください。(I’ll have 1 of this please.)
Japanese language uses different counters depending on what you’re counting and very often some numbers will be irregular. When counting things in general, you will use つ. However, from 1 to 10 you’ll find some irregularity.

  • ひとつ ー one
  • ふたつ ー two
  • みっつ ー three
  • よっつ ー four
  • いつつ ー five
  • むっつ ー six
  • ななつ ー seven
  • やっつ ー eight
  • ここのつ ー nine
  • とう ー ten

Let’s practice the conversation below.
ジョン: すみません、このTシャツ、ふたつください。
店員: はい、ありがとうございます。
ジョン: あ、それから、これもください。
店員: かしこまりました。
ジョン: カードでおねがいします。
店員: お支払しはら方法ほうほうは?
ジョン: 一回いっかいで。

John: Excuse-me, I’ll have two of these t-shirts.
Clerk: Okay, thank you.
John: Oh, and I’ll take this too.
Clerk: Alright.
John: I’d like to pay by credit card.
Clerk: What’s your payment method? (= how many payment would like to make?)
John: In one time.

Japanese Shopping Vocabulary

  • それから ー And then…
  • かしこまりました ー translates as “alright”, “right away”. It’s a very polite way to say you have understood a request.
  • カード ー credit card
  • で ー particle indicating a mean and here translates “by” or “in” as “in one time”.
  • ねがいします is a very polite way to make a request.
  • 支払しはら: payment
  • 方法ほうほう: method, way of doing something
  • 一回いっかい: one time, once

Japanese people usually pay in cash so if neither you or the clerk say anything about the method of payment, it will be in cash.

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