Are you trying to learn Japanese for your planned tour? Or simply to make sense of real anime voices? Or just to survive a night with a Japanese acquaintance? If so, these phrases will surely be of help:

  1. Yoroshiku onegai shimasu. (silent ‘u’) Literally, it’s translated “Please look favorably upon me.”  It simply means “It’s a pleasure to meet you.” You say this after the other person said “Hajimemashite” (Nice to meet you.)
  2. Sumimasen. A very useful phrase when you feel sorry or when you need to ask a favor. You may use this to say “I’m sorry” or “Excuse me.” An alternative for this phrase when you’re sorry is Gomennasai.
  3. Ano… A syllable used to express hesitation, signal your turn to speak or simply get someone’s attention. For instance, someone stepped on your foot (ashi), you may say: “Ano…sumimasen.. Ashi.”(Then point your finger to your foot.)
  4. Ojama Shimasu (silent u). When entering the house of a Japanese,you’ll leave a very good impression if you use this phrase. It literally means “Please excuse the intrusion.”  Simply, it means “Excuse me” specifically when entering the host’s home.
  5. Itadakimasu (silent u). In Japan, it’s a custom to use this phrase before eating; it means “Let’s eat.” or simply a way of saying thanks for the food. Gochiso-sama deshita! (lose the “i” on – shita) is said when you finish eating. These phrases should be remembered as a pair when dining with a Japanese friend.
  6. Ki o tsukete. This phrase  means “Take care“.  It is usually said after “See You” or Ja mata or Ja ne

I bet with those phrases, you’ll feel a bit ready for your first Japanese date! Oyasuminasai.

I’m not a Japanese speaker. I’m just an exuberant Japanesepod101 Absolute Beginner series listener. If you’re learning Nihongo, or you’re a fluent Japanese speaker, I would love to hear your input at the comment section.

By Issa

5 thoughts on “How to Win a Japanese Friend?”
  1. The most useful thing I’ve found in Japanese is how to apologize. The Japanese have 100 or more different words to make an apology, and you’ve listed some of the most common. “sumimasen” and “gomen nasai” are a good beginning. I would also recommend using “shitsurei shimasu” a lot. It roughly translates to “I’m being rude” and can also be used in place of “excuse me” in English. If you do something REALLY REALLY bad, offend your hosts, and practically need to beg for an apology, the best phrase in this case would be “moshi wake gozaimasen”. Use this sparingly and only for really bad offenses.

    Knowing how to apologize properly in Japanese will get you far in that country and is considered a mark of good breeding and good manners. It will help you fit in much more quickly.

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