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Common Japanese Phrases for Daily Use

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Japanese is a fascinating and rich language that can seem daunting to learn. However, knowing some common phrases can make daily interactions smoother and more enjoyable whether you’re a tourist or starting to learn Japanese. Here are some phrases you will likely use in everyday conversations:

おはようございます (ohayou gozaimasu) – Good morning.
This is a polite way to say “good morning” in Japanese. The casual version, mainly used with friends and family, is simply “おはよう” (ohayou).

こんにちは (konnichiwa) – Good afternoon or hello.
A greeting that can be used from late morning until late afternoon. It’s a versatile phrase and likely one of the first Japanese words learned.

こんばんは (konbanwa) – Good evening.
This greeting is used in the late afternoon and evenings.

さようなら (sayounara) – Goodbye.
A formal way of saying goodbye, often used when you will not see the person for a while.

ありがとうございます (arigatou gozaimasu) – Thank you (polite).
This phrase shows gratitude in a more formal and polite manner. To say thanks more casually, you can just say “ありがとう” (arigatou).

すみません (sumimasen) – Excuse me/I’m sorry.
This flexible phrase is used to get someone’s attention, to apologize for a mild inconvenience, or to thank someone for a service (often used instead of “thank you” by men).

いただきます (itadakimasu) – Let’s eat/Bon appétit.
Said before eating to express gratitude for the food.

ごちそうさまでした (gochisousama deshita) – Thank you for the meal.
Spoken after eating as a polite way to thank the person who cooked or provided the meal.

はい (hai) – Yes.
A respectful affirmation to a question or statement.

いいえ (iie) – No.
A polite way to disagree or deny something.

どうぞ (douzo) – Please/Go ahead.
A polite term offering something to someone or allowing them to go first.

お願いします (onegai shimasu) – Please (requesting a favor).
This phrase is used when you ask someone to do something for you.

Having a grasp of these phrases will enhance your ability to communicate effectively in Japanese for daily tasks and social interactions. It’s also a great starting point for those who wish to delve into the language more deeply. The more you use them, the more natural they will become. Don’t be afraid to practice them with native speakers, as they can offer valuable feedback and appreciation for your efforts to learn their language. Ganbatte kudasai (がんばってください) – Do your best!

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