Irasshaimase! いらっしゃいませ！ Welcome! In this new section I intend to teach you some basic Japanese, starting with this lesson on basic phrases and greetings.
Japanese pronunciation is very easy to pick up. Most letters are pronounced as you would say them in English including ch= as the ch in church and sh= as the sh in sheet. R is a bit weirder and it is more like a half l and half r. It is never rolled like in Spanish nor trilled as in French. Final vowels are usually very weak and almost silent. Desu = Pronounced “dess” not “desooh”.
For marks above vowels (sayónara): pronounce that sound longer than the others. “Sayooonara”
Hello! = (No real word for this, say Good morning etc, depending on the time.)
Good morning = Ohayó gozaimasu (Sometimes just ‘ohayó’ but this is less formal.) おはよう ございます
Good day = Konnichiwa 今日は
Good evening = Konbanwa 今晩は
Goodbye = Sayónara さようなら
Hello (on phone) = Moshi moshi (Last -i is very soft and almost silent) もしもし
How are you? = O-genki desu ka お元気です
I’m fine = Genki desu 元気です
Thanks = Arigató ありがとう
Thank you = Arigató gozaimasu ありがとう ございます
Thank you very much = Arigató gozaimashita ありがとう ございました
Please = Dózo どうぞ
Pleased to meet you = Hajimemashite はじめまして
You’re welcome = Dózo yoroshiku どうぞ よろしく
See you later = Mata (ja) また （じゃ）
Japanese people usually comment on the weather when they meet.
Nice weather isn’t it? – ii tenki desu ne 好い天気ですね
Só desu – Hmmm (You’re right) そうです
N.B. Só desu is a very useful expression and can be used in an infinite number of circumstances to show agreement or just as a thoughtful pause.
Read the conversation below and answer the questions:
A: Nakamura-san! Konnichiwa! 中村さん！ 今日は！
B: Tanaka-san! Konnichiwa! O-genki desu ka 田中さん！ 今日は！ お元気ですか。
A: Genki desu. Nakamura san wa? 元気です。中村さんは？
B: Mó genki desu. ii tenki desu ne もう元気です。好い元気ですね。
A: Só desu. Kyó wa ii tenki desu. そうです。今日は好い天気です。
B: Mata ja, Nakamura-san. またじゃ、中村さん。
A: Sayónara, Tanaka-san. さようなら、田中さん。
Answer the following:
1) What is the word for Mr/Mrs?
2) How do you say, “and you?”
3) How do you say ‘too’?
4) How do you say ‘today’?
(Answers at bottom)
Now translate the whole sentence.
1) San = Mr/Mrs/Miss
2) Name + wa. (Using the word for ‘you’ is actually a little familiar and could be seen as rude! You = Anata. Japanese people prefer to say, “and Mr Tanaka?” rather than “and you?”)
3) Mó = too / also / as well
4) Kyó = today
A: Mr Nakamura! Good day / Hello!
B: Mr Tanaka! Good day!/Hello! How are you?
A: I’m well, and you?
B: I’m well too. Nice weather isn’t it?
A: It is. (I agree / Hmmmm) It’s nice weather today.
B: See you later Mr Nakamura.
A: Goodbye, Mr Tanaka.
I hope you enjoyed and see you soon for more!