No48 [Language] Omoshiroi yo NIHONGO!

Welcome once again, to the fascinating world of the Japanese language.

From the last issue, we have been introducing 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.

In this issue, let’s take a look at some phrases you can use at izakaya style bars/restaurants in Japan. As you may know, Japanese people prefer eating little by little while they drink, and izakaya, typical Japanese style drinking establishments, feature many small dishes similar in style to Spanish tapas that go well with the beer, sake and shochu etc.

Irasshaimase. (いらっしゃいませ。) = Welcome.
“Irasshaimase” is a phrase you often hear in Japan, not only in izakaya but also when entering all kinds of shops. Please don’t get shocked if the shop staff say it in a loud and enthusiastic voice, this kind of greeting is rather normal in Japan.

Futari desu. (二人です。) = There are two of us.
In Japanese, it can get a little complicated when we count something. A specific noun is added after the number that varies depending on what kind of object is being counted. We learnt how to count from one to ten in the last issue, which went ichi, ni, san, shi/yon, go, roku, shichi/nana, hachi, ku/kyu, ju. When counting people you just add “nin” at the end of number, e.g. go nin (=five people), ju nin (=ten people) etc. The numbers one and two are exceptions and use hitori (=one person) and futari (=two people). Also, when counting four people you can only use “yonin” and never “shinin” which is incorrect. Seven people can be either “nananin” or “shichinin” though.

Toriaezu biiru. (とりあえずビール。) = Let’s start with a beer.
It is somewhat of a tradition to make the first drink of the evening a beer when drinking at an izakaya.

Kanpai. (乾杯。) = Cheers.

xxx kudasai. (xxxください。) = xxx please.
You can just add kudasai at the end of the item you wish to order in exactly the same way as you would with “please” in English.
E.g.) Menyuu kudasai = Menu please. / Ohiya kudasai = Water please.

Itadakimasu. (いただきます。)
Japanese people always say “itadakimasu” before they start to eat as a custom deriving from Shintoism. The literal meaning of the word is “I humbly receive” and the intention is to thank the person responsible for making the food or the deities that granted it.

Gochisousama deshita. (ごちそうさまでした。)
This is a standard formality people use when they have finished eating. Again it expresses gratefulness.

Oaiso. (おあいそ。) = Bill please.
Oaiso is a slightly archaic slang phrase for “bill please”, which is not suitable for sophisticated restaurants but does match perfectly with the informal ambiance of an izakaya.

Special Gift Competition!

We are offering the chance to win 5 badges with either of the below phrases in Japanese:

Irasshaimase, dozo. (いらっしゃいませ、どうぞ。) = Welcome, please.
Toriaezu biiru. (とりあえずビール。) = Let’s start with a beer.
Kanpai. (乾杯。) = Cheers.
Oaiso. (おあいそ。) = Bill please.

To enter, please send your name, address and the phrase you would like to recieve, to with the subject as “Badge”. Competition closes on 10th of March 2017.

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