Japanese Lesson 1: Hello!

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:

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!

Mata ja!


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