Here's a tentative list. Towards the end there are a series of sentences you can use in various situations you may encounter during the pilgrimage. It was the list Jeffrey Hackler used and found invaluable during his own pilgrimage.
Comments, corrections and suggestions please to Don Weiss, firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOTE: If you don't have a Japanese font installed in your computer, the few kanji (Chinese characters) that we have included will look like nonsense. Sorry.
Words related to Buddhism
Kukai (774 - 835)
The name used by Kobo Daishi during his life as a priest. The Chinese characters of the name mean Sky-Sea. (For a brief biography of Kukai, see my Brief Introduction to Shingon Buddhism.)
The posthumous name given to Kukai by Emperor Daigo 86 years after his death. It means Great Master of the Propogated Teachings.
Sometimes translated as hidden or secret. The name refers to the kind of Buddhism in which the most profound teachings are passed directly from teacher to student, either with words or with unspoken, heart-to-heart communication. Shingon is sometimes called Japanese Esoteric Buddhism
A physical symbol of a truth. Most often, it is used to refer to sacred hand gestures used during mediatation and ritual.
Syllables or series of syllables, usually recited in Sanskrit (or Japanese, in Japan). They contain the essence of certain Buddhist teachings and sometimes symbolize the powers or essence of certain Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Om mane padme hum is a Sanskrit mantra widely in Tibet.
A graphical representation of a Buddhist teaching, usually two-dimensional though sometimes a building a group of buildings may be laid out in the form of a mandala. Originally a kind of platform used for consecration or empowerment ceremonies, in some Buddhist schools such as Shingon mandalas are used primarily as a tool for meditation. (For more information on mandalas, especially as used in Shingon Buddhism, see my Brief Introduction to Shingon Buddhism.)
In Buddhist legend, there are four Pure Lands, each presided over by a Buddha or Bodhisattva. These are places designed to allow people to complete their spiritual development and attain enlightenment. In the Western Paradise of Amitabha, called Sukhavati in Sanskrit (the name means The Blissful), devotees awaken in a lotus flower and experience supreme happiness hearing the Buddhist teachings expounded by Amitabha. In line with an eary Buddhist teaching that to achieve enlightenment, women must first be reborn as men, every reborn in the Western Paradise is born male.
Saicho (767 - 822)
A contemporary of Kukai, Saicho founded Tendai Buddhism in Japan. He actually sailed to China in 804 on the same expedition as Kukai, but he returned much sooner. With him, he brought and extensive collection of sutras and Buddhist commentaries. Initially he and Kukai were allies in brining new teachings to the fore in Japan. Saicho accepted consecration by Kukai in a Shingon ceremony. Later they became estranged. Saicho had asked Kukai to lend him a sutra. Kukai refused, saying the truths contained in the sutra couldn't be properly understod by merely reading the words -- you had to be personally instructed by a master of the teachings.
The Buddhist sect brought to Japan by Saicho. It is based primarily on the teachings found in the Lotus Sutra. (Tendai is sometimes referred to as the Lotus Sect.) Tendai stresses the universality of Buddhist teachings, that all the teachings are really one, though theymay seem different. Similarly, Tendai also that human nature and Buddha nature are one and the same.
Nichiren (1222 - 1282)
Ordained as a monk at age 15, Nichiren was profoundly influenced by Tendai Buddhism. He took from Tendai a veneration of the Lotus Stura. But for Nichiren, this was not only the highest expression of Buddhist teaching, it was the complete teaching. He founded a sect known as the New Lotus School (in Japanese, School of the Lotus of the Sun"). He taught that any teaching other than the Lotus Sutra was irrelevant and that all other Buddhist sects were heretical. He taught that the veneration of the title of the Lotus Sutra, the if you chant the sentance namu myoho renge kyo ("I venerate the Sutra of the Lotus of the Good Law") with complete devotion, you will attain enlightenment instantly.
In standard Japanese, osettai means a tip or a little gift. In connection with the pilgrimage, it refers to a gift (usually of money, sometimes food) given to pilgrims by people they meet along the way. Osettai is given both in the spirit of dana (a Sanskrit word meaning a gift freely given as an expression of the compassion of the giver) and also as a way of participating in the pilgrimage. Osettai should never be refused, but rather accepted humbly, with thanks.
The Pure Land school of Japanese Buddhism (Jodo-shu) and the New Pure Land School(Jodo Shin-shu) teach that if you recite the sentance Namu Amida Butsu ("I venerate Amitabha Buddha") with complete devotion, you will be reborn in the Western Paradise and achieve enlightenment. Since these schools are the most popular Buddhist sects in Japan, you will often hear pilgriims reciting the nembutsu at pilgrimage temples.
The main hall of a temple, where the main image (honzon) is enshrined
One of the principal building at Koyasan. The original Kondo was the lecture hall where Kukai taught his students. the present building is a reconstruction dating from 1932.
Nearly every Shingon temple has a Daishido, a hall that enshrines an image of Kukai. The only exceptions are temples where Kukai is the honzon, the principal image, so the hondo and Daishido are the same.
Sitting meditation. Usually used to mean the meditation taught by the three schools of Zen Buddhism.
One of the two Japanese words usually used to refer to enlightenment. (The other is kensho.)
Head priest of a temple. The second in command is the Fuku-Jushoku. In either case, when talking with them, or any other Shingon priest, the proper form of address is Sensei ("teacher").
Words related to the pilgrimage
shikoku hachiju ha kasho
A numbered temple of the pilgrimage
A unnumbered temple usually visited by the pilgrim
A pilgrim's walking stick
A pilgrim's straw hat
Juzu (sometimes nenju)
A white pilgrim's garment worn at service
A white pilgrim's shoulder bag
A pilgrim's book to collect seals
A narrow strip of cloth that goes around the pilgrim's neck and hangs down in front, like the stole in a Catholic priest's vestments.
A hanging sealed scroll
A case to keep your name slips and the slips you collect at each temple, with a picture of the honzon.
A service book
Instruments for chanting Goeika, the traditional hymns of the pilgrimage. There is one goeika for each temple.
A raincoat or an umbrella
Basic kanji for reading route signs
toire or (less polite and not used much anymore) benjo
Shikoku no michi
numbers - 1 through 10, 100
Words for giving and getting directions
on the right
migi no ho
migi ni magatte
on the left
hidari no ho
hidari ni magatte
I want to go to Bando.
Bando eh ikitai desu.
Note: If you want someone to stop, turn right, or turn left you must always use kudasai at the end or else you are making a very strong demand.
far - near
toi - chikai
in front of - in back of
mae ni - ushiro ni
at the next corner
tsugi no kado ni
Food and Drink
Chicken roasted on skewers
Thin wheat noodles served cold in summer
Vinegared rice, normally either topped with fish (sushi nigiri) or wrapped around a variety of things (makizushi)
Ordinary water is mizu. Hot water (for tea, etc.) is oyu
A refill please (used for rice, tea, etc.)
O-kawari onegaishimasu. (Or just hold up your bowl, smile, and say, "O-kawari.")
O-naka ga ippai.
This is okay (meaning This is enough.)
Michi o mayoimashita.
I'm a vegetarian.
Watashi wa yasaijin. or Watashi wa saishokushugisha desu.
I don't eat meat.
Niku wa dame desu.
I don't eat fish.
Sakana wa dame desu.
I eat fish.
Sakana o taberu.
Sakana wa O K desu.
I like fish.
Sakana ga suki.
Survival Japanese - in no particular order
sitting on your folded knees with your rear on your ankles. Very uncomfortable after awhile without practice but very comfortable for those of us with bad backs. Normally, Japanese sit this way on formal occasions. If you sit seiza when you first sit down with someone on a tatmi matted floor, they will think you are very well behaved. But then they will say, "kirakuni dozo" which roughly translates as "Please be comfortable," an invitation to sit cross-legged.
sunny or clear
kaze (stong wind is sugoi kaze)
taihu (or taifu; the Japanese sound is midway between the "h" and "f" sounds in English)
yesterday -- today -- tomorrow -- the day after tomorrow
kino -- kyo -- ashita -- asatte
Words for your lodgings
Japanese bed and breakfast inn
Japanese inn. Some ryokan cost no more than minshuku. Some are far more expensive. Always ask (Ikura des' ka? -- How much is it?)
buranketo or mofu
ocha (Japanese tea), kocho (black tea)
sokomame or just mame (which also means bean)
I have a blister.
Mame ga dekite imashita.
How does it feel?
rough - smooth
barabara - subesubeshita
soft - hard
yawarakai - katai
chizu (Note: if you make the "i" too long, you are saying "cheezu" which means "cheese")
baykari or pan ya
o-hashi (the throw-away chocksticks you will almost always use in Japan unless you bring your own are properly called waribashi, but if you say o-hashi, everyone will know what you mean)
ohayo gozaimasu (the final "u" is hardly spoken, just sort of breathed)(Japanese stop saying good morning at about 10 a.m.)
see you again
dewa mata nochi hodo
chu shoku (or lunchi)
yu shoku (or deenah)
What's your name?
Anata no namae wa nan desu ka?
My name is . . .
Watashi wa . . . desu
What time is . . . ?
. . . wa nanji desu ka?
Are you hungry?
Onaka ga suite imasu ka?
Onaka ga suite imasu.
Nodo ga kawaitte imasu.
Just before starting to eat, Japanese almost always say, "Itadakimasu." It means "I humbly receive this." It is also often used to thank someone for a gift.
When they finish a meal (or leave a restaurant after paying the bill) Japanese usually say, "Gochiso sama desu." It's a formal thank you used for meals.
Give me this, please.
Kore o kudasai.
I really like it.
Taihen suki desu.
Kore wa nan desu ka?
Whats that? (pointing to something near the person you are asking)
Sore wa nan desu ka?
What's that? (pointing to something not near either you or the person you're asking)
Are wa nan desu ka?
Can you do it?
Ikeru? or Dekimasu ka?
I can do it.
Ikeru. or Dekimasu.
tough or difficult (as in (That's a tough trail, isn't it?)
Taihen desu ne?
That's not correct.
Sore wa chigaimasu.
Ikimasho. (The masho ending on any verb makes the statement, "Let's . . . together.")
(To make this a little more emphatic, you can say, "Isho ni, ikimasho.")
How are you?
O genki desu ka?
Where's the toilet?
Toire wa doko desu ka?
denki sentakuki (denki means electric, sentaku means laundry; you often hear sentakki for washing machine)
Thank you very much.
(This is said for somoething being done for you now or in the future. For something already done for you, you should say, "Arigato gozaimashita.")
I'm sorry. I don't speak Japanese.
Gomen nasai. Nihongo ga wakarimasen.
Do you understand?
I don't understand.
(You'll often hear less formal versions of these words -- Wakatta? Wakaranai. Wakatta.)
Please say it once again.
Mo ikkai itte kudasai.
Please say it more slowly.
Moto yukkuri hanashite kudasai.
I live in California.
Kariforunia ni sunde imasu.
You can't do anything about it.
Shikata ga nai.
How much do I owe you?
Ikura desu ka?
Please write it down.
O kake kudasai.
Could you call for me?
I am an American - British - Canadian, etc.
Amerika jin desu.
I'm walking to Bando.
Bando eh ikimasu.
I'm walking to Temple 17.
Ju nana-ban fudasho eh ikimasu. (ju-nana is 17; ban indicates that the number is one in a series; fudasho means numbered Shikoki Pilgrimage temple)
Where is Temple 17?
Ju nana-ban fudasho wa doko desu ka?
Where are you going?
Dochira eh? (In the local dialect, doko ikyong?)
It's cold, isn't it?
Samui desu ne?
If you please.
Show me . . . please.
. . . o misete kudasai
Show me the room please.
Heya o misete kudasai
How do you do? (used the first time you meet someone)
Don't give up! (this is often said to you when you're walking, especially uphill.)
Ganbatte (or Ganbatte kudasai)
Just a minute please
Chotto matte kudasai
When will it be ready?
Itsu dekimasu ka?
Could you call this minshuku for me please?
Kono minshuku ni denwa o kaketekurete kudasai.
one night's stay
north - south - east - west
kita - minami - higashi - nishi
That's too bad!
Zannen desu ne.
What's the name of this?
Kore no namae wa nan desu ka?
Some handy pairs of words
early - late
hayaii - osoi
fast - slow
hayaii - yukkari
quickly - slowly
hayaku - yukkuri
big - little
okii - chiisai
tall - short
sei ga takai (or okii) - hikui
fat - thin
futoi - hosoi (for things)
futotteiru - yaseteiru(for people - Japanese also use the word smart, pronounced sumaato, for thin when talking about people)
man - woman
otoko no hito - onna no hito
boy - girl
otoko no ko - onna no ko
child - adult
kodomo - otona
pretty - ugly
kawaii - minikui
ordinary - unusual
futsu - mezurashii
smart - dumb
atama ga ii - atama ga warui or
kashkoi - baca [note: never say baca about someone else, but if you think you've made a silly mistake and want to say, "That was silly of me," point to your nose with your index finger (that's how Japanese point to themselves) and say, "Baca."]
WORDS FOR "HACHIJU HAKKASHO MAWARIMASU"
Help from Yoshitani, Furuya, Morikawa
February 3, 1995
WHILE I AM WALKING
I think I am lost
Tabun michi ni mayoimashita.
Where is the henro path?
Henro michi wa doko desu ka.
This is the henro path?
Kore wa henro michi desu ka.
How far is it to temple #45?
Yonjugo ban no fudasho ( bangai fudasho) made
ato dono kurai desu ka.
This is this road to (temple #?) ?
(Yonjugo ji) wa kono michide ii desu ka.
Where am I now on this map?
Watashi wa kono chizu de ima doko desu ka.
Excuse me, I need to rest.
Sumimasen. Kyukei ii desu ka.
Sumimasen. Chotto yasumitai desu.
AT THE TEMPLE
Do you take overnight guests? ( this evening)
(Konban) tomete itadake masu ka.
Do you have lodging? ( asking over the phone)
Shukubo wa arimasuka?
What time is your evening service?
Yugata no otsutome wa nanji desu ka.
What time is your morning service?
Asa no otsutome wa nanji desu ka.
Where can I have my NOKYO-CHO stamped?
Nokyo-sho wa doko desu ka.
Please recommend cheap lodging near here for walking henro?
Chikaku ni henro-yado wa arimasen ka.
Chikaku ni yasui (ryokan/ minshiku) wa arimasen ka.
What is the Minshiku's name and phone number?
Minshiku no namae to denwa bango o oshiete kudasai.
Where is the path to the top of the mountain?
Chojo e iku michi wa doko desu ka.
CONCERNING A MINSHIKU or RYOKAN
I want to make a reservation.
Yoyaku o onegai shimasu.
Do you have a vacancy?
Tomare masu ka.
Iie, manshitsu desu.
I want a room for one night.
Ippaku shitai desu.
How much is it per night?
Ippaku ikura desu ka.
Do you have a cheaper room?
Motto yasui heya wa arimasen ka.
May I stay in your cheapest room.
Moto yasui heya onegaishimasu.
May I have a quiet room?
Shizukana heya wo kudasai.
At what time can I use the furo?
Nan ji ni furo ni haire masu ka.
Furo wa nan-ji kara nan-ji made desuka.
I would like to pay now.
Ima seisan deki masu ka.
Is dinner and breakfast included in the cost of the room?
Nishoku tsuki desu ne?
Bangohan to asagohan wa ryokin ni haitte imasu ka.
May I please just have simple lodging ( no meals)?
Sudomari de onegaishimasu.
Sudomari ikura desuka.
Yes, I eat Japanese food.
Hai, nihonshoku daijobu desu.
Another bowl of rice, please.
Gohan no okawari o onegaishimasu.
At what time does the (restaurant) open?
Nanjini ni (shokudo) ga akimasu ka.
At what time does the (store) close?
(mise) wa nanji ni shimarimasu ka.
My leg / back/ head hurts.
Ashi / senaka / atama ga itai desu.
Can I help you?
Otetsudai e shimasho ka.
Can I drink this water?
Kono mizu wa nondemo ii desu ka.
Can you make some musubi for me for my lunch, please?
Obento o onegai shimasu.
Can I wash my clothes here?
Koko de sentaku shitemo ii desu ka.
May I use the telephone?
*** I am much obliged for all the various things you have done
for me. Thank you very much.
Iro iro o-sewa ni narimashita.
Day after tomorrow - Asatte
tomorrow - Ashita
today - kyo
Konban - this evening
about - goro (goji goro (5pm), gojihan goro (5:30)
First - Hajime
and then - soshite
Buddhism = Bukkyoo
I am a high school history teacher
-- Kookoo no rekishi no sensei
I have a fever - Netsu ga arimasu
I have diarrhea - Geri o shiteimasu
I have a headache. - Atama ga itai desu
I threw up - Hakike ga suru
Are you hungry? - Onaka ga sukimashitaka.
Are you thirsty? - Nodo ga kawakimashitaka
teishoku - fixed menu
Chuu-ka donburi - Chinese-style - meat, veg, rice.
Oyako Donburi - chicken and egg
Yaki-meshi - fried rice
Jibun de arukimasu - I am walking by myself
Telephone conversation with Minshiku
( Anata wa moto yukuri hanashite kudasai. )
( xxx ryokan) desuka?
Watashi wa aruite henro wo shiteimasu.
Nihongo skoshi dake hanashimasu.
Yoyaku o onegai shimasu. Tomare masuka?
Itsu desu ka?
Itsu otomari desuka?
Kyo, Ashita, Asatte, Konban
(Sangatsu/ Shigatsu) first/second)
Nichi, Getsu, Ka, Sui, Moku, Kin, Do
Ippaku ( Nihaku) dekimasuka
Iie, manshitsu desu. (Bye,Bye)
Chotto matte -
Ikura desu ka?
Go sen gohyaku en
Nan nin desu ka.
Nan ji goro tsukimasuka?
Yo (4) ji goro desu ka?
Watashiwa henro desu.
Tabun go-ji ni aruite ikimasu.
Namae-wa nan desu ka
Dochira sama desu ka
Namae-wa Hakura desu.
Hawaii kara kimashita. America-jin desu.
Moichido Kakunin shimasu
- they will repeat
the info one more time for accuracy.
Hai. Wakarimashita. Yoroshiku.
(We will be waiting for you.)
Domo Arigato. Onegaishimasu. Bye,Bye.
Yoyaku o cansel shimasu.
At the minshiku
Kino / Kesa denwa shita.
Yoyaku shita. Namae-wa Hakura desu.
Kochira wa Hakura desu.
( do you know about the reservation.)
1st - Tsuitachi
2nd - Futsuka
3rd - Mikka
4th - Yokka
5th - Itsuka
6th - Muika
7th - Nanoka
8th - Yoka
9th - Kokonoka
10th - Toka
11th - Juichi-nichi
12th - Junni-nichi
20th - Hatsuka
21st - Niju-ichi nichi
Ojama Shimasu ( shita)
Suzushiku arimasen - it's not cool
Raishu - next week
Senshu - last week
demasu - leave, exit
ikimasu - go
mada - not yet,still Many thanks to David Turkinton for his extremely helpful suggestions and corrections. Updated 27 November, 2004 by Don Weiss email@example.com.