August 24

Phrases Every International Traveler Will Never Need

My temporary rental cellphone has an “Interpreter” tool that translates hundreds of useful phrases into English, Chinese or Korean. All the Japanese traveler has to do is search the situation categories, choose a written Japanese phrase, and an animated cat will do all the talking in a chirpy, non-threatening, female voice.

Faced with mystery meat that has suspicious little red things in the gravy? Have your phone tell the waiter, “There is something strange in my food!”

Eager to come clean? Kitty can confess to the police, “I have stolen property.”

Want to get rid of the guy chatting you up at the bar? “I have rashes all over my body!”

And, of course, the essential phrase needed if you mow down the pumps at a service station with your rental car: “I can smell gas!”

Jonelle Patrick is the author of  four novels set in Tokyo

A young woman dressed as a Gothic Lolita is found dead in a car with two strangers. But the more Yumi Hata learns about her friend’s death, the more she’s convinced it was murder…read more