Welcome once again, to the fascinating world of the Japanese language.
From this issue forward we would like to present a series of useful phrases categorised into different situations that you might often come across during everyday life in Japan, or even just when you are over there sightseeing. For the first in the series, let’s take a look at some phrases you can use when meeting someone for the first time. As you may imagine, these can be put to use straight away!
Konnichiwa (こんにちは。) = Hello
“Konnichiwa” is suitable at any time of the day, morning, daytime or evening, in just the same way as the Englihs “hello”. If you specifically wish to say “good morning” you can use “ohayou gozaimasu” instead, and “konbanwa” for “good evening”.
Hajimemashite (はじめまして。) = Nice to meet you.
“Hajimemashite” is used to greet someone you meet for the first time. Please note that it is only suitable in the first moment after meeting and cannot be used to say goodbye to someone after a first encounter like “nice to meet you” can.
Namae wa xxx desu. (名前はxxxです。) = My name is xxx.
xxx sai desu. (xxx歳です。) = I am xxx years old.
Counting from one to ten in Japanese goes ichi, ni, san, yon, go, roku, nana, hachi, kyu, ju. You can then just put two together with a “ju” (ten) in the middle for numbers higher than eleven (E.g.: ju ni = 12, san ju kyu = 39.)
Shusshin wa xxx desu. (出身はxxxです。) = I am from xxx.
Shumi wa xxx desu. (趣味はxxxです。) = My hobby is xxx.
Typical hobbies: eiga kansho = watching films / ongaku kansho = listening to music / supootsu = sports / ryoko = travel / ryori = cooking / gakki enso = playing musical instruments / dokusho = reading
Shigoto wa xxx wo shiteimasu. (仕事はxxxをしています。) = I do xxx (for a living).
bengoshi = lawyer / isha = doctor / kaikeishi = accountant / ginkouin = bank clerk / eigyoman = sales representative / ashisutanto = assistant / biyoshi = hairdresser / kyoshi = teacher / keibiin = security guard / hanbaiin = retail clerk / kurieitaa = creator / kameraman = photographer / enjinia = engineer
Yoroshiku onegaishimasu. (よろしくお願いします。)
This one is a bit difficult to translate directly into English. Literally it is close to “please take care of me” or “please treat me well” but the phrase is used for many things in many contexts in Japanese life. In the most general sense it means “I humbly ask for favourable dealings between us in future interactions”. Practically, “yoroshiku onegaishimasu” is often used like a goodbye greeting and is very useful in many everyday situations. For example as a final sign off at the end of a business email or to show sincerity and humility when asking someone to do something for you.