anibee's Guide to Nifty Japanese Words 101! (Vol. 15)

Asking for help!

We've all been there before: you're hopelessly lost, you're carrying 10,000 kgs worth of goods you just got from Akihabara, you really need to go to the toilet and you just want to find the @*#&$ (& train and get back to your hotel. Everyone needs a bit of help now and then, and things really start to suck if you're unable to ask for it in a foreign country.

That's where we come in! Here are some handy phrases you can could in most situations to start your journey on the road... to getting helped out!

あの…

Ano…
"Umm.."

Politeness Level - 8/10
Desperation Level - 3/10

One of the most basic ways to start asking for help, or beginning a conversation in general. Super polite and very unobtrusive, most people would generally stop and listen to your request after this initiating phrase. Just make sure you follow up with your actual request quickly, or they'd think you're a loon.

お忙しいところ申し訳ありませんが…

Oisogashii tokoro moushi wake arimasen ga…
"I'm incredibly sorry to bother you while you're so busy, but..."

Politeness Level –- 10/10
Desperation Level -– 7/10

If you really don't want to offend anyone, ever, you can't get more polite than this phrase. Using the finest of words that keigo Japanese has to offer; very few (decent) people will have the heart to refuse helping you after hearing such a phrase being addressed to them. Practice before usage is highly recommended.

ちょっと手を貸してくれませんか?

Chotto te wo kashite kuremasen ka?
"Could you please lend me a hand for a moment?"

Politeness Level - 7/10
Desperation Level - 8/10

This phrase gets into more "direct request" territory, which generally isn't regarded as the most polite of ways of asking things in Japan (with the country being all about social grace and all). Still, sometimes the direct approach is the only approach, and this phrase immediately lets your subject know you need some help, fast.

助けてくれーーー!!!!

Tasukete kure!!
"HEEEELLLPP!"

Politeness Level -– 5/10
Desperation Level -– 10/10

Being attacked by humanoid monsters, shot at with lasers, and falling off a bridge are but a few situations that would justify your using of this phrase towards a total stranger, nothing gets more direct than this. As an added option, you can leave out the くれat the end, although you can probably take off another 1 point from the politeness level.

- Q

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