Japanese Expressions - The 3 Most Useful Japanese Phrases

By Emily Kato

If you are studying Japanese, there are a number of expressions that should be on your must learn list. These expressions will come in helpful every day in a number of different situations. These expressions can mean different things so learning them once will give you some vocabulary that is very helpful.

The first expression is 'Sumimasen'. This can have three meanings. It can mean 'Excuse Me', 'Thank-You' or even 'I'm Sorry'. Take a look at these examples to get the hang of using this word. 'Sumimasen. Toire wa doko desu ka'. This means 'Excuse Me, Where is the bathroom?'. The next use of Sumimasen is to say Thank-you. 'Kore wa chisai mono desu ga' which means this is a small present but please take it, and the reply could be 'Sumimasen' - Thank-you. Lastly it can mean 'I'm sorry' as in 'Okurete Sumimasen' e.g. I'm Sorry I'm late.

The next expression is 'So desune'. It can have a number of meanings, like 'Yes that's right' or 'Is that what you think' or if you are thinking and not sure what to say. For example 'Kyo wa atsui' - Today is hot, you could reply 'So desu ne' - Yes thats right.

The last expression is the hardest one to translate. It is "Yoroshiku onegai shimasu." Instead of trying to explain how to translate it and the meaning lets look at a couple of examples. Watashi no namae wa Yuko desu. Yoroshiku onegai shimasu. My name is Yuko. It is nice to meet you. Another example is Sugu ohenji o kudasai. Yoroshiku onegai shimasu. Please reply soon. Thank you in advance. If you try to translate into English the expression could mean "Please take care of something or someone". It is almost always use in introductions and means "Please include me as part of the group. Please be kind to me".

So there are three expressions that have a number of different meanings and should be at the top of your list for useful and handy words and expressions to learn and use in Japan. - 30216

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Japanese Expressions - Business Phrases Essential To Your Success in Japan

By Emily Kato

Before doing business in Japan or with Japanese companies, you should study at least a little simple Japanese words. If you know some Japanese it will help to create a great start to the meeting and relax your business partners. As well as the simple conversational phrases, take a little time to learn some business phrases and your meeting will be off to a very good start.

When it comes time for introductions, you would say Hajimemashite. This is then followed by Watashi no namae wa ________ desu, where you fill in the blank with your name. This is used the very first time you meet someone and means 'Hello, It's nice to meet you. My name is _____________ After this it is usual to bow and swap your meishi or business cards. Also part of an introduction is the phrases 'Dozo Yoroshiku Onegaishimasu'. This is tricky to translate, but essentially means lets have a good relationship.

Important words to know are the basic words to say 'Please', 'Thank-You' and 'You are Welcome'. 'Dozo' is used generally to mean 'Please' as in Please go ahead or Please do something before me. Thank You Very Much is said by the usual phrase Domo arigato gozaimasu. You may wonder how to reply if someone says Domo Arigat o Gozaimasu to you - the best way is to say Doitashimashite, which means you are welcome, no problem.

If you are at a dinner with a customer and he/she offers you a drink, you can say 'Onegaishimasu' which means Thank-You, I would like to accept. Sumimasen and Gomen Nasai are useful phrases to know - they both mean sorry. Gomen Nasai has a stronger meaning than sumimasen.

'Domo arigato gozaimasu' is a phrase that should be used at the end of the meeting. This phrase has the meaning of thank you, but also is a way of saying good-bye. You may think it is customary to say Sayonara to say goodbye but be wary that this phrase is usually used to say goodbye to someone that you are not expecting to see again for some time.

If you do put the time and effort into learning and trying to understand Japanese it will be valued and noticed. It is one sure way to delight and surprise your business partners. It is widely believed in Japan that Japanese is very hard to learn for foreigners and if you do learn and speak some words it will make a enormous difference. Even the most basic words or phrases will be welcomed, such as a thank-you or polite greeting.

Knowledge of Japanese culture is just as important as knowing the language. Knowing and understanding the company structure, social hierarchy and how business is actually conducted in Japan according to the sometimes unwritten rules will be crucial to your successful business relationships. - 30216

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Japanese Expressions - Forget The Textbook and Learn Casual Japanese

By Emily Kato

You could have gone to Japanese classes or learned your textbook and you think you are prepared to practice your Japanese. You might be in Japan and felt all geared up after studying hard, but can't comprehend anything around you. What's the problem? The problem is, that daily conversation is different to that you learnt in the classroom or from a book. When learning Japanese you will start off with the polite forms of phrases and terms and it is only when you get to Japan or try speaking to your Japanese contacts that you learn 'real' Japanese.

To make the Japanese less formal and more 'real', here are a couple of tips. You may have learnt that some complete sentences in Japanese that are asking a question end with 'desu ka?'. For instance to ask 'How are You?' you can say 'O Genki Desu ka?'. In 'real' Japanese, the 'o' and 'desu ka' is dropped and you would just say 'Genki?'. Another point is when asking questions using just one word is that it is spoken with a rising pitch, with this rising tone taking the meaning of the question form. One more example is 'Is it hot?' can be shortened to 'Atsui?' with a rising tone.

The word for 'Me' and 'You' that is typically in the textbook is 'Watashi' and 'Anata'. These words are often learnt first as they can be used by both men and women. If you listen to casual Japanese conversations, you will come across a few more words that used for 'Me' and 'You'. In casual speech, males will refer to themselves with 'Boku' or 'Ore' and females 'Atashi'. For 'You' girls will say 'Anata' or the reduced version 'Anta'. 'Kimi' or 'Omae' are used by guys. You have to be cautious if you are going to use some of these words though, as 'Omae' has a strong and rough kind of meaning and is better not used unless you know when it should and shouldn't be used.

You may have thought there is only one way to say 'Yes' and 'No', using 'Hai' and 'IIe'. Well when you listen to real casual Japanese, you may hear some other words instead. In fact there are some other ways to say the same thing. Other ways to say 'Yes' are 'Un' and 'Ee'. For 'No', there are 'Iya' and 'Uun' (a longer sounding version of 'Un' for 'Yes'.

If you can speak Japanese and also throw in some casual 'real' Japanese your friends will be very impressed. If you do that, you will probably get some compliments, so you would want to be able to understand them. If a Japanese person is amazed at your Japanese ability, here are some ways they may express it. 'Nihongo jozu da ne', 'Nihongo umai ne' or 'Nihongo Pera Pera', all mean your Japanese is first-rate. - 30216

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Speaking Polite Japanese - Tips To Get Started

By Emily Kato

Japanese is sometimes thought of as a tough language to learn. There are a number of distinct alphabets including Kanji, adapted from Chinese characters which has a great number if you would try to learn all of them. Another tough part of the language is 'keigo' or polite language. The Japanese language has a number of different ways to say the same thing according to the level of politeness. In this article we will cover one of the prefixes you should be aware of, which is starting words with 'o' and 'go'.

You might not have realised when you have been learning Japanese that 'o' and 'go' are really prefixes that can construct words more polite or respectful. A word you may have already have learnt is 'okane' which means money. Another example is learning to say 'How are You' which is 'Ogenki desu ka'. How about words for the family e.g. 'Okaasan' (mother) and 'Otoosan' for father. Using the prefix 'go' a common word is 'gohan' - rice.

For several words the prefix is optional and for others the prefix always has to be used. If you are asked 'How are You', you wouldn't answer 'OGenki desu', you would respond 'Genki desu'. The 'o' prefix is removed and not used. This is especially true as you are referring to yourself. Someone may ask about your husband by saying 'goshujin', adding the prefix 'go' to the word for husband 'shujin', but if you are referring to your own husband you would just say 'shujin'.

Words where the prefix is never separated include words like 'gohan' - you cannot just say 'han' and also 'ocha' which means tea - you wouldn't just say 'cha'. Particular words the prefix is optional and these include words like 'okane' which means money, 'sake' and 'osake', the drink and 'karada' and 'okarada' which means body. The prefix can be attached to nouns like in the previous examples or to verbs, for example in 'odekake' which means to go out.

Its possible to append the prefix to most any word in Japanese to show respect and make your Japanese language sound more polite. You should be careful though as it may sound a little strange if you add 'o' or 'go' too much in your sentences. Now that you know a little about these prefixes, pay attention next time you are listening to Japanese and you will certainly hear their use. You will also notice how the speaker is using the honorific term and the listener if replying will not use it as they are referring to themselves. - 30216

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Japanese Phrases - What To Say When Saying Farewell in Japan

By Emily Kato

If you have to inform someone that you are returning home and leaving Japan for good, you would use the phrase 'Kuni e kaerimasu'. If it is in the future, say in the summer holidays that you are leaving, you would say 'Natsuyasumi ni kuni e kaerimasu'.

However if you are not certain, and would like to just say that you may well be going back, you can say 'Kotoshi, tabun kuni ni kaerimasu', which means 'I will possibly go back home to my country this year'.

You would probably want to thank your hosts, friends or colleagues and to say 'Thank-you for everything' in Japanese, you would say 'Iroiro arigato gozaimashita'. Japanese are very proud of their country and would be very pleased to hear 'Nihon wa yokatta desu' - 'I had a great time in Japan'.

Finally you can say 'Sayonara'. 'Sayonara' is not a word that you would typically use while in Japan to people that you think you may meet again soon. But if you are not sure if or when you may meet the person, it is the right word to say 'Good Bye'. You may want to follow up with 'Itsu made mo ogenki de'. This means 'Please keep well forever'.

Some other useful phrases you may perhaps use at this time 'O ki o tsukete' - 'Take care of yourself', 'Minna ni yoroshiku' - 'Give my regards to everyone' and finally 'Kaette kara, tegami o kakimasu' - 'When I get home, I will write a letter'. - 30216

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Japanese Phrases For Getting To Know Your New Friends

By Emily Kato

It can be tricky to know what to say when meeting people for the first time. Some people have difficulty with this even in their own tongue. If you are in Japan, you should get to know some phrases that you can use when you meet people and can use to find out more about them.

'Onamae wa nan desu ka?' can be used to ask their name. If the person is from Japan, you can ask 'Nihon no dochira desu ka?', which means 'Where in Japan are you from?'

Next, you may want to ask about their family. e.g. to ask How many brothers or sisters do you have?, you can say Nan-nin kyoudai desu ka? To understand the answer, you will need to know words like sister 'Imoto' - younger sister, 'Ane' - older sister, and brother 'Ani' - older brother and 'Ototo' - younger brother.

Hobbies are always a good topic to get the exchange going. 'Shumi wa nan desu ka?' - means 'What are your hobbies'. The answers may be 'ryokou desu' - travelling, 'dokusho' - reading, 'uta o utau koto desu' - singing, 'supootsu o suru koto desu' - playing sports, 'terebi o miru koto desu' - watching television.

If you are looking to get personal, you can ask if the person has a girlfriend or boyfriend by using 'Kareshi/ Kanojyo wa imasuka?' where 'Kareshi' means boyfriend and 'Kanojyo' means girlfriend. The reply may be 'Watashi wa dokushin desu ', which means 'I am single'. You may also like to ask their age 'Anata wa nan-sai desu ka?' and where they live 'Anata wa doko ni sunde imasu ka?'. Many Japanese people don't really like to share personal information though, so you should proceed with caution if asking personal questions. - 30216

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Learn Japanese Phrases for Getting Around Japan on the Train

By Emily Kato

If you are travelling to Japan and you are not on an organized tour, you will have to to decide the best way to get around. The top alternative is to utilize public transport and particularly trains ('densha' is the word for train in Japanese). Trains cross the entire nation and vary from the bullet trains 'Shinkansen' that journey between the most important cities to local trains that connect small country towns. Trains in Japan are acknowledged for their reliability, security and are always clean and air-conditioned.

Buses ('Basu' is the word for bus in Japanese) are an alternative for a short journey within the city or between towns that don't have a direct rail link. They can be less reliable though, as they have to compete with the road traffic. In the cities, a superior substitute is to make use of the subway ('chikatetsu' is the word for subway in Japanese). When you are going between cities, the 'Highway Bus' is a great inexpensive choice to the train. The highway buses don't always keep to the timetable if there is overcrowding on the highway.

Hiring a vehicle ('kuruma' is the word for car in Japanese) is a common choice in a lot of lands but may not be the best option in the land of the rising sun. It can be pricey to rent out the car, next there are numerous toll roads and then there is the minor problem of reading the directions. If you are travelling between the major islands of Japan, you could also go by plane, although once more this alternative is relatively pricey.

The Following are a few general expressions for getting around using the train in Japan:

1. While trying to navigate your way in a new country, you need to ask the about your destination "I would like to go to ____ (your destination)" and you can achieve this in Japanese by using the expression "____ ni ikitai desu".

2. If you need to find your way to the train station, you can inquire "Eki wa doko desu ka?" meaning "Where is the train station?"

3. If you are looking for the ticket machine and cannot locate it, you can inquire someone with the expression 'Kippu uriba wa doko desu ka?'

4. If you want to ask how much the ticket costs, use the phrase 'Kippu wa ikura desu ka?'

5. When you are not confident where the train goes, just inquire using 'Kono densha wa doko e ikimasu ka?'

6. If you would like to inquire a person where to get off, make use of the expression 'Doko de oritara ii desu ka?'

7. If you are not sure where you are and wish to confirm the name of the station that the train is at, make use of the phrase 'Kono eki wa doko desu ka?'

If you take the time to study even these basic phrases, you will find them a great help on your visit to Japan. - 30216

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