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2012/01/31 / Gem R. Zhang

Beginners’ Instant Doses of Nihongo!

These are some of the common Japanese phrases/greetings…

にほんご NIHONGO

(in Japanese characters)

ロマ字 ROMAJI

(In Roman characters)

えいご EIGO

(English equivalent)

はじめまして

Hajimemashite

douzo yoroshiku

Nice to meet you

NOTE  This is used in situations of introducing one’s self to people of whom they meet for the first time.The phrase actually have a longer version and a more politer phrase “Hajimemashite douzo yoroshiku onegai shimasu“.If we break it down, part by partHajimemashite – The first timedouzo – pleaseyoroshiku – gentlyonegai –  pleaseshimasu – do

Thus, the meaning becomes like “From now on, please do take good care of me“. Because for Japanese people, if they meet new people, they expect good relation from the start to the end. And this is how they greet and the actual feelings they have when they meet new acquaintances.

にほんご NIHONGO

(in Japanese characters)

ロマ字 ROMAJI

(In Roman characters)

えいご EIGO

(English equivalent)

おはよう

Ohayou

Good morning(casual)

NOTE  The casual way to greet good morning is simply by just saying “Ohayou”. Casual in a sense that you use this phrase to people that you are already in familiar with. Example among family and friends.
ORIGIN STORY  The origin of “Ohayou” actually comes from the word “hayai” which means “early“. In early Japan, people wake up early in the morning to take care of their farms. When these Japanese meet, they usually say “O-hayai desu ne..” which means “So early of you!”. Then from that phrase eventually became shorter until the word “Ohayou” became the common early morning greeting in Modern Japan.

にほんご NIHONGO

(in Japanese characters)

ロマ字 ROMAJI

(In Roman characters)

えいご EIGO

(English equivalent)

おはよう ございます

Ohayou gozaimasu

Good morning(polite)

NOTE  Ohayou gozaimasu is a longer and more politer version of Ohayou.This is used in situations of greeting elders, superiors, leaders, and to people whom we think who deserves to be more respected.

にほんご NIHONGO

(in Japanese characters)

ロマ字 ROMAJI

(In Roman characters)

えいご EIGO

(English equivalent)

こんにちは

Konnichiwa

Good day!/Good afternoon/Hi!

NOTE  This phrase actually can be used as a greeting even for the entire day. Even in the evening, aside from greeting by Kombanwa, you can also freely use the greeting Konnichiwa
ORIGIN STORY  Konnichiwa originated from an early greeting “Kon nichi ii tenki desu ne…” this phrase means “The weather(tenki) this day(kon nichi) is good(ii) isn’t it(ne)?” Then eventually the phrase became shorter until how the Japanese greet it nowadays.

にほんご NIHONGO

(in Japanese characters)

ロマ字 ROMAJI

(In Roman characters)

えいご EIGO

(English equivalent)

こんばんは

Konbanwa

Good evening!

NOTE  This greeting is usually used to greet beyond 7PM in the evening.
ORIGIN STORY  Konbanwa comes from “Kon“, “ban” and “wa“. Where “kon” means “this“, “ban” as “eve“, and “wa” as “is“. Thus, literally “konbanwa” comes from an old phrase that meant “this eve/tonight is…

にほんご NIHONGO

(in Japanese characters)

ロマ字 ROMAJI

(In Roman characters)

えいご EIGO

(English equivalent)

おやすみ なさい

Oyasumi nasai

Good night

NOTE  This should not be mistaken as an equivalent to Good evening.  And not necessary that is has to be night time when using this phrase. This phrase can actually be used anytime of the day, such as having a “nap time” etc, and to be used freely anytime to greet people who goes to rest/sleep or encouraging them to take a rest/sleep.

A shorter phrase Oyasumi is commonly expressed among (closer ties) family and friends.

にほんご NIHONGO

(in Japanese characters)

ロマ字 ROMAJI

(In Roman characters)

えいご EIGO

(English equivalent)

いただきます

Itadakimasu

Thanks for the meal

NOTE  This phrase is commonly used every before eating a meal (especially to meals prepared by a host). Itadakimasu literally means “I receive” in English.

Thus, Itadakimasu does not only applies to “before meals” situations. Means, Itadakimasu can actually be used in situations of “receiving gifts/things” from others. This phrase simply shows how grateful the receiver is.

にほんご NIHONGO

(in Japanese characters)

ロマ字 ROMAJI

(In Roman characters)

えいご EIGO

(English equivalent)

ごちそうさま

Gochisousama

It was a wonderful meal

NOTE  This phrase is commonly used in every “after meals“. This is to show the host or to anyone that you are very grateful of the meal you’ve received. Or a way to show the host that you enjoyed it and how tasty it was.

にほんご NIHONGO

(in Japanese characters)

ロマ字 ROMAJI

(In Roman characters)

えいご EIGO

(English equivalent)

  • いって きます
  • いって らっしゃい
  • Itte kimasu
  • Itte rasshai
  • I’m going out now
  • Okay/Enjoy/Take care
NOTE  Itte kimasu comes from Itte which means Go and kimasu that means Come. Thus literally means Go and come, that conveys “Going but will be coming back“. And Itte rasshai as a respond to it that its “Okay you go. And be back” or as a way to show that you care to wait and wished the person to be safe on its way.

Moreover, its not necessary to say Itte kimasu as first and not to mistook saying Itte kimasu as always the last respond. Means, Itte rasshai and Itte kimasu can be said in vice versa.

にほんご NIHONGO

(in Japanese characters)

ロマ字 ROMAJI

(In Roman characters)

えいご EIGO

(English equivalent)

ありがとう

Arigatou

Thank you(casual)

NOTE  Arigatou is a casual way of saying Thank you. Used commonly among family and friends.

にほんご NIHONGO

(in Japanese characters)

ロマ字 ROMAJI

(In Roman characters)

えいご EIGO

(English equivalent)

ありがとう ございます

Arigatou gozaimasu

Thank you

NOTE  This is a longer and more politer version of Arigatou.This is used in situations of greeting officials, elders, superiors, leaders, and to people whom we think who deserves to be more respected.

にほんご NIHONGO

(in Japanese characters)

ロマ字 ROMAJI

(In Roman characters)

えいご EIGO

(English equivalent)

  • すみません
  • いいえ
  • Sumimasen
  • Iie
  • I’m sorry/Pardon me
  • It’s okay/No problem
NOTE  Sumimasen is commonly used in situations for asking a pardon/forgiveness. But not only that, Sumimasen is also used to excuse one’s self from being rude. Example, in going between two people talking… Sumimasen is used and it is what we actually commonly know as “Excuse me”Iie actually also means NO. But in this case, NO is shorten and expressed as “that its NOT a big deal/ a really NO problem to him/her

GOMEN NASAI is also used as “Sorry” or “Excuse me” usually for closer ties such as Family and Friends. While Sumimasen are usually used to strangers, people just met, and formal cases such as in a workplace.

にほんご NIHONGO

(in Japanese characters)

ロマ字 ROMAJI

(In Roman characters)

えいご EIGO

(English equivalent)

じゃ ね!(さようなら)

Ja ne!(Sayounara)

Good Bye!

NOTE  The commonly used term for saying Good BYEs is the expression Ja ne!If you want to use Sayounara, you need to be more cautious in using this phrase becuase this is actaully a very sensitive one to use.

Sayounara is a really deep expression and is usually used to people whom you think you won’t be able to see anymore for a very very long time! Or to whom you don’t want to see anymore. Lol.

Example in an actual Japanese culture, saying Sayounara is used by Japanese couples in situations of breaking up.

However, Sayounara can be used to express Good bye as a very formal and a very polite way when it comes to greeting superiors, leaders, and to people whom we think who really really deserves more respect!So be careful not to say Sayounara among to people you are really really close with🙂

にほんご NIHONGO

(in Japanese characters)

ロマ字 ROMAJI

(In Roman characters)

えいご EIGO

(English equivalent)

  • ただいま
  • おかえり なさい
  • Tadaima
  • Okaeri nasai
  • I’m home/I’m back
  • Welcome home/I’m glad you’re back
NOTE  Tadaima and Okaeri nasai is commonly used at homes. But these expressions are actually can be used outside a home…it could be in the office(in situations such as coming back from a field work/coming back from a lunch break).

It can also be used also in simple situations such as a friend went somewhere for awhile(went to buy a drink etc) and then came back. In these situations you can freely use these expressions. Because these expressions simply conveys that each parties were glad to be back to each other again(safely).

Note: Tadaima literally means “Tada” as “Just” while “Ima” as “Now. Which we have “Tada Ima” as “Just now”. Now this clearly states that it does not really mean as “I’m home” but instead.. “I’m home” as an English equivalent for it.

Copyright owned…this write-up is originally and proudly written by the author herself(RarusuChin). Information are based from what the author have studied from previous years and from her previous Mentors. If any case that it have similarities with other posts from other authors are plain coincidence or stolen copyright. Enjoy!🙂

UPDATE: How much have you learned today? TRY out this Exercise! CLICK HERE!

8 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Jerminix / Jan 31 2012 9:33 AM

    Great beginners tutorial, simple and well written. Hope there will be more to come😀

    • rarusuchin / Feb 1 2012 9:38 AM

      the first comment i thought it was an another ping back! lol… thanks a lot jerminix!🙂

  2. budyot / Jan 31 2012 11:59 AM

    hahaahh lolz at stolen copyright… anyways, really cool..very informative post. I really enjoyed reading and learning their origins.. lol.. hehehe those where not shared in school or by my nihonggo 1 sensei… keep posting… and maybe a little fun fact somewhere at the end…anyways..anything will do. . keep it up. gambatte..

    • rarusuchin / Feb 1 2012 9:45 AM

      its because i had 5 Japanese natives Mentors! they loved…. story telling but not just the about language but also the culture in it. thanks. yup more will come. keep updated🙂

  3. Ghelo Toukugawa / Feb 2 2012 3:20 PM

    I LOVE IT!😀

    • rarusuchin / Feb 3 2012 11:55 PM

      arigatou gozaimasu gao. keep updated! balik2x unya ari gao.. more to come pa🙂

  4. ricababy / May 8 2012 5:40 PM

    kon nichiwa, watashi wa rica desu.
    Watashi wa nippon o aishite
    i want to study nihonggo..
    can you teach me?

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