This is a monumental undertaking on my part, mostly inspired by the EJE. This will surely be a work in progress. If you notice a Node Title in Japanese, refer it to me. I will either include it here, or reference here as appropriate. For idioms and other kotowaza see: Japanese expressions.


There exist (or have existed) many useful Japanese phrases in the nodegel. However, a reference such as this may be more helpful than trying to locate a phrase by searching for the Japanese, and then reading the node. (If you knew the Japanese why would you search for it in the first place?) Like any first year Japanese text book, the phrases are arranged by situation. For hiragana, katakana, and kanji I've used Unicode and included spaces and other English punctuation to increase clarity.

Greetings, Meetings, and (soon to be added) Partings

  • Good morning Ohayou gozaimasu お早うございます (おはよう ございます)
    This greeting is used in the morning until around 10 AM or when it stops feeling like morning time. In the 'feeling' vein, co-workers will greet each other this way at the beginning of a shift, even the night shift. When one is familiar with the greetee you might just say Ohayou (prounounced a lot like "Ohio" but the o trails off. Learn more at Japanese long vowels). See also: Japanese Slang For Greeting Your Shiftless Friends See also: Ohayou gozaimasu*
  • Good day / Hello Konnichi wa (こんにちは)
    This greeting is used during the day, until sundown. The term itself is idiomatic. The particle wa (は the subject marker) can be translated as "speaking about" and konnichi as "today" with a meaing abbreviated from "Speaking about today..." or "Today is... something." Konnichi wa ii Otenki desu for example. While that may sound like "Today is good weather" to us, English speakers, it sounds just fine to speakers of Japanese.
  • Good evening, sir Sensei, konban wa 先生, (せんせい, こんばんは)
    This greeting is used from sun down to sun up. The addition of the honorific sensei is for elders or men you aren't on familiar terms with (total strangers) as a more formal greeting. Typically (i.e. almost all the time) one would use just Konban wa with friends, family, and co-workers. See also: Sensei, Konban wa.*
  • Are you doing well? / How are you? Ogenki desu ka? お元気 です か (おげんき です か)
    Unless you are talking to your shiftless friends you would ask Ogenki desu ka? (note the honorific O). This term means literally "Are you healthy?" See also: Ogenki desu ka (idea)*, Go-kigen ikaga desu ka 御機嫌 (ごきげん) "Are you in good spirts" -- something you would ask your Lord. obsolete as far as I can tell. More research is necessary.
  • Thanks be to you (for asking). Okagesama de (おかげさま で)
    The Okage is a respectful reference to one who offers assistance or "backs you up", God, Buddha, a friend concerned for your health, etc. Sama is the extra polite suffix. The phrase itself is idiomatic for English phrases along the lines of "thank God", "thank my lucky stars", or "thank you for your support" and is therefor used in a greeting as such, "Thank you, Okage-sama (for being concerned about my welfare)". See also: O-kagesama de.*
  • I'm doing well. Genki desu. 元気 です (げんき です)
    Literally "I'm healthy". A more emphatic way of saying this is Genki da yo! which is a lot like saying "I'm Grrrrreat!". Be careful with the use of yo, reserve it's usage like you would baka, since it's a strong term and isn't appropriate in all places.
  • Been a long time, huh? Ohisashiburi desu ne? お久し振り です ね (おひさしぶり です ね)
  • Making or accepting an introduction

  • How do you do? / Pleased to meet you Hajimemashite めまして (はじめまして)
    This means simply "For the first time" so think of it as "(please to meet you) for the first time." It's probably noted elsewhere on E2, but the vowel i between to voiced consonants is contracted. The pronunciation then sounds like this: /ha-JI-may-MA-shtay/. See also: Hajimemashite*
  • Pleased to meet you / Have my best regards Douzo yoroshiku どうぞしく (どうぞ よろしく)
    Literally "I offer my best regards (so that you will treat me and our relationship well)". Most of the meaning is implied. See also: Yoroshiku o-negai shimasu, Douzo yoroshiku.*
  • Talking about the Weather

  • Muggy/Humid isn't it? Mushiatsui desu ne? 蒸し暑い です ね (むしあつい です ね)
    Use this phrase nine months out of the year, if you live in Florida. Also to cover: ame, hare, kumori, yuki, summer, winter, fall, spring, maybe tips for understanding the impossibly fast talking weather girls.
  • Talking about Gardens

    Begin with: Japanese Words About Gardens

    Talking about Yourself, and asking about Others

    Sumimasen, Igirisujin desu ka. (idea) Sumimasen, anata no namae wa nan desu ka? Anata no wa chairo no kaban desu ka. (idea) Gakusei desu ka. (idea) Dochira-sama de irasshaimasu ka. O-jama shimasu. (idea) Shitsurei shimasu (idea) Moshi moshi

    Smalltalk (agreements and disagreements)

    soo desu ka so desu neh Soo desu Anta baka?! Iie chigaimasu. (idea) Toukyou wa Nihon no shuto desu. (idea) ma-ji??

    Terms for Travelers

    Wakarimasen! (idea) Wakraimasu ka Chotto matte kudasai. (idea)

    Going out, Returning, Inviting

    itte kimasu, tadaima, sayounara write about then nuke: O-agari kudasai. (idea) O-hairi kudasai. (idea)

    When out Shopping

    Ocha wa ikaga desu ka. (idea) Dare no o-kane desu ka. (idea)

    At the Bar

    Nama biiru o kudasai. (idea) O-sake wa nomimasu ka. (idea)

    See also: Japanese pickup lines for men

    After the Bar

  • Where is (a/my/the) hotel? Hoteru wa doko ni arimasu ka? ホテル は どこ に 有ります か (ホテル は どこ に あります か)
    A general form for "Where exists the subject?". In this example hoteru, hotel. Other subjects/locations which might be appropriate after the bar: anata no apaato, eki, Keisatsu-sho.
  • See also: making love in Japanese, having sex in Japanese

    Finally, other references can be found on E2:

    See also:
    waga hai wa neko de aru, Japanese Tea Ceremony Talk, Japanese numbers and counting, Japanese verb inflection summary and Japanese verbs

    To include or consolidate:
    Osaki e douzo. (idea) O-mizu o itadakemasu ka. (thing) Dou itashimashite. (idea) Itte kimasu. (idea) Oyasuminasai Kunio-kun. (idea) Oyasumi nasai konnichiwa Tanaka to moushimasu. Onamae wa nan to osshaimasu ka. (thing) Kiiro no kuruma wa anata no desu ka. (idea)


    Finally, special thanks to gn0sis, Gritchka, Mowph et al for help, comments, and/or encouragement.

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