Useful Japanese Phrases


a as in father

i as in the 'ee' in keep

u as in the 'oo' in food

e as in edit

o as in open

r as in the soft “dd”’s in ladder


Arigato  -  Thank you.


Domo (DOH moh)  -  Thank you.


Domo arigato(gozaimasu/gozaimashita) (ah ri GAH toh)  -  Thank you very much.


Doitashimashite  -  You are welcome.


Dozo (DOH zoh) – Please; Here you are.


Gochiso - sama (deshita)  -  Corresponding to itadakimasu, this phrase traditionally closes a meal. Thank you, it was very tasty.


Gokuro - sama (desu; deshita) - Thank you for your trouble; I’m sorry to have troubled you. (Usually said from boss to worker after a long day).


Itadakimasu – Say 'Itadakimasu' (pronounced EAT - tah - dah - key - mas, with the u on the end half - suppressed and trailing off) in the same fashion that grace would be said before a meal. It translates literally to 'It is sacrificed'. Basically, “Let's eat.”


Itamae  -  The sushi (or other Japanese) chef. 'Itamae - san' is a polite way to address a sushi chef. May be shortened to 'ita - san'.


Jaa, mata ato de; Jaa ne; Mata ne; Ato de ne  -  See you later. (You can mix these up and it will still come out ok)—use this for your students and peers, not so much for the boss.


Konbanwa  -  Good evening.


Konichiwa -  Hello; Good afternoon.


Mou ichido itte kudasai (onegaishimasu) - Will you please say that again?


Mou sukoshi hanashitte kudasai (onegaishimsu) - Will you please speak a little more slowly?


Ogenki desu ka?  -  How are you?


Ohayou gozaimasu  -  Good morning.


Oishii! - This is delicious! (While eating—it’s ok to say this with your mouth full too!)


Oishi - sou! - That looks delicious! (Before you eat something).


Oishikatta! - That was delicious! (After you eat something).


Ojamashimasu - May I come in? (When entering someone’s home).


Ojamashimashita - Thank you for having me. (When leaving someone’s home).


Omakase  -  Chef's choice: asking the sushi chef to choose what you'll have next. It is acceptable (i.e., it would not be rude or awkward) to let the sushi chef know your budget in such a situation.


Onegaishimasu (onegaishimas) - If you please.


Osakini (shitsureishimasu)  -  When you leave work before others or eat before others. It literally means, “I am being rude doing this before you.”


Oshigoto wa do desuka?  -  How is your job? How’s work?


Otsukare (sama;samadesu;samadeshita) - Said at the end of work, “Good job, you must be tired.”


Oyasumi (nasai)  -  Good night.


Sayonara  -  Good - bye.


Sumimasen - Excuse me (to ask a question).


Shitsureishimasu - Excuse me (if you bump into or interrupt someone/something).


Shitsureishimashita - Excuse me (after you asked someone something or had to interrupt).


Tanoshimi: Pleasure/Looking forward to “…Otanoshimikudasai” Please enjoy your…


Wakarimasen - I don’t understand.


(Hai), Wakarimasu -  (OK;Yes) I understand.