Lost in Translation in Hiroshima and how technology saved the day!

Finally in Hiroshima, I thought it would be better to book the tickets Hiroshima – Kurashiki and Kurashiki – Kyoto already, but where the hell is the ticket office? I had to pass two times through the gates to find it, I was in the wrong floor 😡

Hiroshima Station isn’t small, and I had to cross it all to get to the buses and trams area, I used google maps to find out how to get to the hotel, the app is quite good and gives you detailed info of which trams and when they depart, the problem was that I only saw buses (the trams are really next to the buses but I didn’t see them…), and since even google maps has the name of the tram stations in Japanese and very very few info in English, I got a bit confused so I decided to take the easier way – taxi.

That was easy, an old man who speaks a few English managed to help me with the taxi driver and explain him which hotel I was heading to, I put my luggage in the trunk, and when I was getting inside the taxi I realized that something was missing… MY TRIPOD!!! I left it at the ticket office and I knew exactly where! I just said “forgot something”, I now know that the less English I speak the better for them, a few keywords are more helpful than speaking. I had to take all my stuff from the taxi again, and cross the whole damn big station again. I start sweating…

I got there again, and I saw that the tripod was not there anymore…, I was quite frustrated and angry with myself, I then saw a woman supposedly there to help people, and she was helping someone else in a very very patient way. I am not used to that, in Europe people are way more stressed and multi tasking, I even said “excuse me”, but since it wasn’t my turn yet she totally ignored me. I was really stressed, and it is just a tripod… I then started to calm down when I thought that I actually could just buy a new one, but still, I waited for my turn.

Finally, I got to ask her if she saw anything! She went to another guy and asked him if he saw anything, I found myself totally lost in translation, how the hell does one explain what a tripod is? Keywords as “camera”, “accessory” didn’t work… So, I then remembered that I had rented a pocket internet device! Geeky for vacations, but it turned out to be really helpful! Google images, I searched for tripod and there we go! The guy went straight to the back stage and he brought my tripod back to me! Yeah, I got it back! Oh wait…, not yet…

I had to fill a small form, with my name, phone number and something else that I didn’t understand… A funny thing about languages and our brain, is that if we are not open enough for how the language works, our brain doesn’t recognize simple words as “hoteru“. She tried to explain what she wanted, in Japanese, the guy as well, and now I remember that they said a few times hoteru, but I just didn’t understand…, again, google saved the day! (I am advertising for google way too much and for free) I added the Japanese keyboard to my iPhone, I opened google translate on my browser, and I asked her to write what she wanted. The moment I pressed “translate” and I read “Please write the name of the hotel” I just said “ahhhhhh” and she replied with segoi several times 😀

Please write the name of the hotel


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Lost in Translation in Hiroshima and how technology saved the day!

Gil Sousa

Portuguese expat in Cork, traveler and food enthusiastic.

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