I arrived in Japan and brisked through the airport with no problems.
I even acquired a SIM card for my phone through SoftBank.
Pretty good deal for a card there, ~1 USD per day and ~1.5 USD more for unlimited data (but only 3G).
Hotel was easy to get to and everything was going great.
At no time did I ever have to say anything in Japanese. Lucky me!
Then I went to a restaurant and that’s when it all fell apart. Ok it wasn’t THAT bad but the initial contact went something like:
Girl> says something really fast in Japanese of which I caught and understood nada
Me> (blank stare)
Girl> (points at table) says something about the table in japanese of which I understood the word no
Me> (assuming the table isn’t ready yet and nods)
Girl> (again pointing at table) says something in japanese but this time it’s a question to me
Me> (this is that I forgot how to say “sit” in japanese.. so after an awkward pause) … sit?
Ordering was also a mess:
I didn’t know how to say “do you have ramen?” so instead I just asked her:
何（なに） を いい ですか
She understood that, even though it might not be correct and recommended something that was actually really good.
I did know how to ask for a beer though but I kind of used a very casual (aka ignorant foreigner) way of asking:
Well, this first night clearly demonstrated that I need to work on my vocab. So I plan to do that everyday that I am here. :P
Anyways here are some helpful words for anyone that runs into this situation:
two people : 二人（たり）: fu ta ri
sit : 座（すわ）る : su wa ru
do you have (noun) : (noun) を 持（も）てる : (noun) wo mo te ru