No, I don't speak ANY Japanese. When I'm working I always have a full-time interpreter. I sympathize with you, though - it's quite a challenge. Almost everywhere else I've been (including Belgium), I pick up enough to get by, between the local language and whatever amount of English the locals speak.
Tokyo's quite a different story. The last few times I've been there, I stayed in Shibuya, near you, at the Excel Hotel. For a part of Japan that's full of tourists, they don't do much to make it easy.
I remember venturing out on my own to find a cash machine in that neighborhood. The hotel knew of only one in that whole area that would connect to my American bank network, and when I found it there was only one bank employee who spoke a little English. I tried to use hand-gestures and even wrote down -Y20,000 and waved my card around like an idiot.
I'm very sensitive to the fact that most foreigners hate Americans, even the polite Japanese, so finally I gave up, bowed a couple times and left.
"Booklover, as always great finds!
My favorite is the Jesus one saying if JFK came back would he want to see sniper rifles everywhere. Excellent point! Not to mention, Jesus as a pottymouth is priceless!"
"I think what this women did was brave and powerful. When was the last time you saw an ordinary person - not a celebrity, pundit or atheist activist - simply and sincerely affirm their atheism on national TV? I see it as a very positive sign for the…"