6. Greetings


English:Hello. / Good afternoon.
Kana:(ko)(n)(ni)(ti)(ha)(period)
Romanization:Konnitiwa*.

* This is a single-kana postposition whose actual sound is (wa). We later learn it as the topic marker.

Note: It is uncommon to use this phrase for your family members.


English:Good bye.
Kana:(sa)(yo)(u)(na)(ra)(period)
Romanization:Sanara.

Note: In colloquial Japanese, this phrase is often shortened to (sa)(yo)(na)(ra) "sayonara".


English:Good morning.
Kana:(o)(ha)(yo)(u)  (go)(za)(i)(ma)(su)(period)
Romanization:Ohagozaimasu.

Note: The phrase shown here is polite. You can simply say (o)(ha)(yo)(u) "ohayô" if politeness is not required. It should be the first greeting between you and a person you talk to in the morning. It is not so common to use it twice a day for the same person, while in English some people use "Good morning" to mean "Good bye" in the morning.


English:Good evening.
Kana:(ko)(n)(ba)(n)(ha)(period)
Romanization:Konbanwa*.

* This is also the topic marker.

Note: It is uncommon to use this phrase for your family members.


English:Good night.
Kana:(o)(ya)(su)(mi)(na)(sa)(i)(period)
Romanization:Oyasuminasai.

Note: This phrase is used only when you are expected to go to bed in a few hours, perhaps past 9 p.m. or so. You can also say (o)(ya)(su)(mi) "oyasumi", which is more casual. It should be the last greeting between you and a person you talk to in the night. It is not so common to use it twice a day for the same person, while in English some people use "Good night" to mean "Good bye" in the evening.


English:Thank you very much.
Kana:(a)(ri)(ga)(to)(u)  (go)(za)(i)(ma)(su)(period)
Romanization:Arigagozaimasu.

Note: The phrase shown here is polite. You can simply say (a)(ri)(ga)(to)(u) "arigatô" if politeness is not required.

You can add the word (do)(u)(mo) "mo" before them, such as (do)(u)(mo) (a)(ri)(ga)(to)(u) (go)(za)(i)(ma)(su) "mo arigatô gozaimasu" and (do)(u)(mo) (a)(ri)(ga)(to)(u) "mo arigatô". The word (do)(u)(mo) "mo" itself can be used as a simple version of "thank you."


English:You are welcome. (as a reply to thank you)
Kana:(do)(u)  (i)(ta)(si)(ma)(si)(te)(period)
Romanization:itasimasite.


English:(none)
Kana:(i)(ta)(da)(ki)(ma)(su)(period)
Romanization:Itadakimasu.

Note: It is good manners to say this phrase before you have meal. The literal translation is "I begin to eat," but it actually means "thank you for the meal."


English:(none)
Kana:(go)(ti)(so)(u)(sa)(ma)(de)(si)(ta)(period)
Romanization:Gotisamadesita.

Note: It's good manners to say this phrase after you have meal. The literal translation is "it was a delicious meal," but it actually means "thank you for the meal."


English:I'm sorry.
Kana:(go)(me)(n)(na)(sa)(i)(period)
Romanization:Gomennasai.

Note: Saying this phrase does not necessarily mean admitting that you are to blame. In Japanese culture, it is important to say some kind of apology before blaming someone.


English:Excuse me.
Kana:(su)(mi)(ma)(se)(n)(period)
Romanization:Sumimasen.

Note: This phrase is similar to the previous one, but lighter in meaning. It is often used to talk to someone you don't know. In colloquial Japanese, it often becomes (su)(i)(ma)(se)(n) "suimasen".


English:A happy new year.
Kana:(a)(ke)(ma)(si)(te)  (o)(me)(de)(to)(u)  (go)(za)(i)(ma)(su)(period)
Romanization:Akemasiteomedegozaimasu.

Note: The phrase shown here is polite. You can simply say (a)(ke)(ma)(si)(te) (o)(me)(de)(to)(u) "akemasite omedetô" if politeness is not required. In Japan, the new year is much more important than Christmas because few Japanese people are Christian. People mail (ne)(n)(ga)(zi)(small yo)(u) "nengazyô" (new year cards) in late December and the post office delivers them on the new year day, which is the busiest day for the post office. Some people even write hundreds of new year cards for all of their acquaintances.


Further readings:

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