In the first few months of being in Japan, my husband was hard at work, learning Japanese. I, on the other hand, could not discipline myself to do so. One day we were waiting for a train and there was an announcement. I turned to my husband and said, “The train’s arriving.” He looked at me confused replying, “How did you know? That was in Japanese.”
I knew because I heard the Japanese word “tochaku” which sounds like the Korean word “dochag” – which both mean “arrival”.
Nevertheless, my husband felt a pang of envy as he had spent his days studying while I effortlessly learned new words because of my Korean fluency. It just wasn’t fair!
There are many words that are similar between Korean and Japanese. I learned this through talking with friends, watching Japanese TV, and reading Korean-translated signs in Tokyo.
Learn the following words, and you’ve got them down for both languages. I love efficient learning!
English word – Japanese / Korean
Arrival – とうちゃく tochaku / 도착 dochag
Above – うえ ue / 위의 wi-e
Photo – しゃしん shashin / 사진 sajin
Promise – やくそく yakusoku / 약속 yagsog
Calculation – けいさん keisan / 계산 gyesan
Electric fan – せんぷき senpuki / 선풍기 seonpung-gi
TV – てれび terebi / 텔레비 tellebi
Cooking – りょり ryori / 요리 yoli
Earthquake – じしん jishin / 지진 jijin
Newspaper – しんぶん shinbun / 신문 shinmun
Time – じかん jikan / 시간 shigan
Honestly – しょうじき shoujiki / 솔지키 soljiki
Bag, purse – かばん kaban / 가방 gabang
Family – かぞく kazoku / 가족 gajog
Part-time job – あるばいと arubaito / 아르바이트 aleubaiteu
Handshake – あくしゅ akushu / 악수 agsu
Tea – おちゃ o-cha / 차 cha
Mood (feeling) – きぶん kibun / 기분 gibun
Convenient, easy – かんたん kantan / 간단 gandan
If you know the above words in Japanese, now you know them in Korean, too! And, of course, vice versa. I still don’t speak Japanese perfectly, but I have used every one of these words to help me connect and communicate with others in Japan.