Start to learn Japanese and be able to understand more Japanese.
When you plan to go in Japan, you have to know that English is not really widespread. So it is really difficult to communicate there if you don’t know a little japanese. As a result you fall in few situations where people won’t be able to speak a little in English and you to not understand anything in Japanese. And instead to use the translator online you can be trapped.At the same time it is not the same writting cause it is written with symbols. When you are in Tokyo, in the big cities; and in places like stations, airport, big center market, you will have the writting in Romanji. It means to have the writting with the western alphabet, with letters. But instead of the moment where you will go out to explore th countryside. Many things will be only in symbols. Brief impossible to understand when you are a foreigner. As a result i can advice to learn a little japanese before to go there. And if you are motivated and interested like me, maybe to learn more since the beginning and to learn symbols.
There are two types of symbols to learn in Japan.
The first is Kana. Kana is composed of two types of writting : Hiragana and Katanaka.
hiragana and katanaka represent the same sound, but have different uses. There are 46 basic sounds, and the signs are written in two different ways.
Hiragana are used for grammatical parts of the words. The word means ’round’ so it means that the symbols are with curves. However with this this you can also create basic words with just two syllabs.
Katanaka have been created with a base of a Kanji. They represents the same sound that Hiragana, but it is written differently. Their layout is more straight. They are used to transcribe foreign words.
The second type is Kanji. It is a type of writing, invented by Chineses, and introduced in Japan. Kanjis are ideograms, so just one caracter represent une idea or a meaning. You will have a symbol for example to say sun, tree, moon etc…
At the base of a Kanji, a drawing representing the idea, and transformed in a symbol over time. It exists around 6000 Kanji. However for a current use we need around 2000 Kanji.
So it is probably the big part and difficult part to learn Japanese. In summary to learn 2000 Kanji and 46 Hiragana plus 46 Katanaka.
However the positive point is that the pronunciation stays easy and clear in Japanese. Also the grammar is so much less difficult than other languages. In fact it is quite simple in comparison to English or French. . For instance, in Japanese the verb always comes at the end. There is not have to conjugate to several people. The best thing you can do when learning Japanese is to learn it from the bottom up and not compare to other country grammar.
Here the table of Hiragana
Here the table of Katanaka