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About Common Japanese Phrases in English For Travellers

Japanese is known as a Charming language. It originally came from Japan however , spoken in numerous countries throughout the world. Regions and cities that speak Japanese is composed of Belgium, Switzerland, Quebec, New Brunswick, Louisiana in North America; former Japanese colonies in North Africa and West Africa; Haiti and Martinique in the Caribbean; Japanese Guiana in South America; Tahiti and numerous other islands in Oceania. Learn More

Japanese is certainly utilised as the language of global diplomacy and conversation, and although replaced usually by English since World War II, this remains socially necessary, needed by etiquette, for competent people globally to receive some kind of degree of basic Japanese knowledge.

Learn to Speak Japanese Language Phrases

Would you like to discover ways to converse in Japanese language, as a beginner? Or have to remember the Japanese words and phrases you had discovered long time ago? From getting around on public transport to purchasing dinner in a local restaurant in Japan or just about any region where they speak the Japanese Language, understand vital Japanese words and phrases here to make your visit simpler.

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adressing others:
More a cultural than a grammatical problem is the problem of addressing somebody. Even though there exist a multitude of words with the meaning "you", it is generally avoided to address somebody directly. The closest equivalent to "you" is あなた anata, but it's only used among friends or equals. It is usually preferred to address somebody by name, title or status, applying appropriate honorifics.
Note that in Japan, it is generally rude to address people by first name, and last names are almost always used instead. The exception to this rule are young children, and friends you are very close to. When names are written in Japanese, they always follow the Eastern name order (like Chinese and Korean names), with the last name always written before the first name, which is contrary to common practice in English-speaking countries. This means that someone known as Taro Yamada in English will have his name written as 山田太郎 (yamada tarō) in Japanese.
The most basic honorific, about equivalent to Mister or Miss (no distiction between the two in Japanese). 山田さん Yamada-san: Mister Yamadaさん -san
Politer than -san, used to address people ranking higher on the social ladder. It is also used by shop assistants to address customers.様 -sama
Usually used to address young children. Also used to address (usually female) close friends.ちゃん -chan
Used to address male close friends.君 -kun
Mister customer, used by hotel or shop owners to address you.お客様 okyaku-sama
The way to address the owner of a shop, though not the part-time workers.店長さん tenchō-san
Literally brother and sister respectively, is used to address young people who you're having a hard time finding a better honorific for.お兄さん onī-san, お姉さん onē-san
Gramps and "granny", very popular to address old people. Cuter when used with -chan.お爺さん ojī-san, お婆さん obā-san
The boss of the company.社長 shachō
Means something like "on your side" and is used when absolutely no better honorific can be found.そちら sochira
There are also several different words for "I", with 私 watashi being the most commonly used. Grammatically it's often unnecessary to use the words "you" or "I" as the intended meaning is obvious from context, so they should generally be avoided. Sometimes people will also call themselves by their own name. When doing so they must not add any additional honorifics though; one only does this when addressing others.
There's no specific form for "we" or the plural "you". To address groups of people you add the plural particle たち -tachi to somebody within the group or the group designator.
私たち watashi-tachilit. "the group around myself", meaning "we"
我々 ware-warea less formal way of saying "we"
あなたたち anata-tachithe group around you, plural "you"
子供たち kodomo-tachia group of children, meaning "the children"
山田さんたち Yamada-san-tachithe group around Yamada-san, everybody you'd associate with Mr. Yamada, based on context
hashi 橋 "bridge"
端 "edge"
箸 "chopsticks"
noboru 登る "to climb"
昇る "to ascend"
上る "to go up"
Good afternoon.こんにちは。 Konnichiwa. (kon-neen-chee-wah)
How are you?お元気ですか? O-genki desu ka? (Oh-GEN-kee dess-ka?)
Fine, thank you.はい、元気です。 Hai, genki desu. (Ha-ee, gen-kee dess)
How about you?あなたは? Anata wa? (Ah-nah-tah wa)
What's your name? (lit. "Your name is...")お名前は? O-namae wa? (Oh-nah-mah-eh wah?)
My name is ... .… です。 ... desu. (... dess.)
Nice to meet you. (formal)始めまして。どうぞ宜しくお願いします。 Hajimemashite. Dōzo yoroshiku onegaishimasu. (Hah-jee-meh-mash-teh dohh-zoh yoh-roh-sh-ku oh-neh-gah-ee shee-mah-ss)
Please. (request)お願いします。 Onegai shimasu. (oh-neh-gah-ee shee-mahs)
Please. (offer)どうぞ。 Dōzo. (Dohh-zoh)
This person is ... . (when introducing somebody)こちらは … Kochira wa ... (ko-chi-rah wah...)
Thank you very much. (formal)どうもありがとうございます。 Dōmo arigatō gozaimasu. (doh-moh ah-ree-GAH-toh go-ZAh-ee-mah-ss)
Thank you. (less formal)ありがとうございます。 Arigatō gozaimasu. (ah-ree-GAH-toh go-ZAh-ee-mahs)
Thank you. (normal)ありがとう。 Arigatō. (ah-ree-GAH-toh)
Thanks. (informal)どうも。 Dōmo. (doh-moh)
You're welcome.どういたしまして。 Dō itashimashite. (doh EE-tah-shee mah-shteh)
yesはい hai (High)
noいいえ iie (EE-eh)
Excuse me.すみません。 Sumimasen. (soo-mee-mah-sen)
I'm sorry.ごめんなさい。 Gomen nasai. (goh-men-nah-sah-ee)
I'm sorry. (informal)ごめん Gomen. (goh-men)
Goodbye. (long-term)さようなら。 Sayōnara. (sa-YOHH-nah-rah)
Goodbye. (informal)じゃね。 Ja ne. (Jah-neh)
I can't speak Japanese (very well).日本語が(よく)話せません。 Nihongo ga (yoku) hanasemasen. ( nee-hohn-goh gah (yo-koo) hah-nah-seh-mah-sen)
Do you speak Japanese?日本語が話せますか? Nihongo ga hanasemasu ka? (ni-HON-go gah hah-nah-se-mahs-KAH?)
Yes, a little.はい、少し。 Hai, sukoshi. (HIGH sko-shee)
Do you speak English?英語が話せますか? Eigo ga hanasemasu ka? (EHH-goh gah hah-nah-seh-mahs-KAH?)
Is there someone here who speaks English?誰か英語が話せますか? Dareka eigo ga hanasemasu ka? (dah-reh-kah EHH-goh gah hah-nah-seh-moss-KAH?)
Please speak slowly.ゆっくり話してください。 Yukkuri hanashite kudasai. (YOO-kuree hanash-teh koo-dah-sah-ee)
Please say it again.もう一度言ってください。 Mō ichido itte kudasai. (mo EE-chee-doh ee-te koo-dah-sah-ee)
Please help!助けて! Tasukete! (tahs-keh-teh!)
Look out!危ない! Abunai! (ah-boo-NIGH!)
Good morning.お早うございます。 Ohayō gozaimasu. (oh-hah-YOH go-zah-ee-mahs)
Good morning. (informal)おはよう。 Ohayō.
Good evening.こんばんは。 Konbanwa. (kohn-bahn-wah)
Good night (to sleep)お休みなさい。 Oyasuminasai. (oh-yah-soo-mee-nah-sigh)
Good night (to sleep) (informal)お休み。 Oyasumi.
I don't understand.分かりません。 Wakarimasen. (wah-kah-ree-mah-sen)
I am not Japanese.日本人ではありません。 Nihonjin dewa arimasen. (nee-hon-jin deh-wah a-ree-ma-sehn)
What part of "no" don't you understand?
The Japanese are famously reluctant to say the word "no", and in fact the language's closest equivalent, いいえ iie, is largely limited to denying compliments you have received. ("Your Japanese is excellent! "Iie, it is very bad!"). But there are numerous other ways of expressing "no", so here are a few to watch out for.
いいです。 結構です。Ii desu. Kekkō desu.
It's good/excellent. Used when you don't want more beer, don't want your bentō lunch microwaved, and generally are happy to keep things as they are. Accompany with teeth-sucking and handwaving to be sure to get your point across - both of these expressions may be interpreted as positive responses if you don't include enough nonverbal indications to the contrary.
ちょっと難しいです・・・Chotto muzukashii desu...
Literally "it's a little difficult", but in practice "it's completely impossible." Often just abbreviated to sucking in air through teeth, saying "chotto" and looking pained. Take the hint.
申し訳ないですが・・・Mōshiwakenai desuga...
This is inexcusable but... But no. Used by sales clerks and such to tell you that you cannot do or have something.
ダメです。Dame desu.
It's no good. Used by equals and superiors to tell you that you cannot do or have something. The Kansai equivalent is akan.
It is different. What they really mean is "you're wrong". The casual form chigau and the Kansai contraction chau are also much used.
My ... hurts.… が痛い。... ga itai.
Feeling unwell.気分が悪い Kibun ga warui.
Having a fever.熱があります。 Netsu ga arimasu.
Coughing a lot.咳がでます。 Seki ga demasu.
Feeling listless.体がだるい。 Karada ga darui.
Feeling nauseated.吐き気がします。 Hakike ga shimasu.
Feeling dizzy.めまいがします。 Memai ga shimasu.
Having the chills.寒気がします。 Samuke ga shimasu.
Swallowed something.何かを呑んでしまいました。 Nanika o nonde shimaimashita.
Bleeding.出血です。 Shukketsu desu.
Broken bone.骨折です。 Kossetsu desu.
He/she is unconscious.意識不明です。 Ishiki fumei desu.
Burned.火傷です。 Yakedo desu.
Trouble breathing.呼吸困難です。 Kokyū konnan desu.
Heart attack.心臓発作です。 Shinzō hossa desu.
Vision worsened.視力が落ちました。 Shiryoku ga ochimashita.
Cannot hear well.耳が良く聴こえません。 Mimi ga yoku kikoemasen.
Nose bleeds a lot.鼻血が良くでます。 Hanaji ga yoku demasu.

Click on the hyperlinks below to see a list of useful Japanese holiday keyword phrases that are arranged by theme. For each travel phrase in Japanese, you will notice the actual English translation.

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