Anonymous
Anonymous asked in TravelAsia PacificJapan · 1 decade ago

Do a fair majority of people speak English in Tokyo?

11 Answers

Relevance
  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    In ANY Japanese city, you will find younger people (30 or under) who speak English well. They've gotta take it in school.

    They're shy about their abilities, so they may not let on that they are any good at it 'cause they're modest too.

    In Tokyo, you're dealing with a jet-setting, urbane crowd. They can help you in English most of the time. It's quite foreigner-friendly.

    DO NOT let this stop you from trying to learn Japanese though. It's very useful.

    Source(s): Lived in Japan. Know English.
  • 1 decade ago

    I have been to Tokyo 2 times now and speak very little Japanese so I have to resort to English from time to time. Some people speak English but I wouldn't count on it. If you're really desperate you can usually find someone who speaks English at least a bit. You'll probably have better luck with younger people who may have learned it recently in school and who will be eager to practice on you. Also, since a lot of people do study some English in school they do tend to understand English but just may not be very good at speaking it back to you.

    One other trick that I have learned is to write things down in English. This will give the person that you're trying to communicate with a better chance at understanding what you're trying to say. The trick then is understanding what they say back.

    Another thing to try are the travel books that have pictures of various items. To use them you point to what it is you want. With pictures being rather universal it's another way to get your point across.

    Either way, I've never had much trouble getting around Tokyo and I've never gone hungry. As always, it's good to know at least a few words in the native tongue of the country you're visiting.

    Source(s): personal travels.
  • 1 decade ago

    If you mean in their daily lives, then no. The predominant language is Japanese.

    English is a required subject in junior high and high school, so school-age kids (at least, the ones who pay attention in school) can probably communicate a bit.

    Because of the school requirement, English is the most common foreign language in Japan. But other than foreigners (which is a very small percentage, even in Tokyo) and people who deal with foreigners, probably only students are speaking English with any regularity.

  • 1 decade ago

    I went to Tokyo in 2003. Most people didn't speak English, at least they were not used to speaking English.

  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • 1 decade ago

    Before i moved to Japan, I used to "tour" Tokyo n Yokohama alone when following hubby back to Japan during official trip once a year for 6 years. Obviously as a tourist, I only go to tourist spots for shopping, eating and have fun. However, I have not met any Japanese that could speak decent English at all minus 99% cant speak at all. When I said decent English mean English English not Japanese English. You really need to tune your ear to be able to understand Japanese English.

    I felt down and very low whenever, and ,how a Japanese who cannot understand English reacted. They immediately shut you off or shun you off that makes me look like an alien. I said this because I have been to many countries that doesnt speak English ie Thailand , they normally will give you a smile and shake their head but they don't make you feel unwanted.

    This is something unacceptable when Japanese boast themselves having very good manners

    Source(s): personally experience and still sore about it! gosh....maybe I am not a white
  • kb
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    I don't think a fair majority of people can speak English fluently because they live in Japan and they don't need to speak English. But there are people who can speak SOME English in Tokyo.

    Source(s): Japanese girl
  • 1 decade ago

    I wouldn't say the majority are fluent in English. Young people are more likely to speak some English. You can certainly get by communicating in English, but only a small amount speak really good English such as people working with tourists.

  • 1 decade ago

    Well not all japanese in Tokyo can speak english. They probobly know a few english words. But most shop in Tokyo have english speaking staff.

    Im really amazed by Japanese who can speak english or us 'Gaijin's' who can read and speak Japanese. Its really hard to study english for japanese (vice versa) because they are used to there Kanji, Hiragana, and Katakana.

    I really havent seen any Japanese who can speak proper english (except for the ones born abroad).

    Well even thouh there english is bad im still amazed to see that they have an effort to learn english. Its also cute to hear Japanese girls speak english. Lolz

    Source(s): Went to Japan by myself when I was 14, now I'll be comming back this Aug to stay 15 dyas in Tokyo
  • 1 decade ago

    Probably most people under the age of 50 speak at least a decent amount of English in Tokyo.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    They may know the basics, but its nowhere near fluent! Younger people generally speak English better than older people. Most people would know basic words (such as "hello" or "thank-you") but struggle with basic conversation. If you need to speak English, just remember to speak very slowly and use simple words.

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.