I’m planning to stay in Osaka for 6 days in May for watching football games and trying local foods as many as possible. However I’m worried that every guidebook says local people cannot speak English. If anyone here has experienced some difficulties, please tell me how you overcame it.
You are right, not many Japanese can speak English. However, there are people who can speak English and some other languages, such as Chinese, at major tourist spots, like shopping district before Kiyomizu temple in Kyoto. Everyone in Japan learn English starting from Grade 7, meaning that Japanese people have basic English skills. Basic English skills means counting 1, 2, 3, and ‘my name is _____’. So, chances are if you speak to them SLOWLY in easy English, they may be able to understand what you are trying to say.
Also, I have noticed that many staffs working at Starbucks can speak fairly good English.
If you are headed to Osaka, I am assuming there will be some people at tourist spots in Osaka who can speak English. If you want to go to a restaurant or a food vendor, you might want to go to the ones that have English menu. That way, you can tell them what exactly you want to eat. Some menu even have explanation in English!
I don’t know if this helped your question, but enjoy your trip!