All Purpose Aisatsu
By Matthew Coslett
On August 3, 2015
Almost every day, learners hear a lot of really useful Japanese being used in introductions and greetings. After living in Japan for a while, it is easy to become so accustomed to listening to these phrases that we don’t even think about their construction. Gaijinpot presents a guide to 5 common Japanese phrases that you probably use every day, how they are used and some ways that we can use these forms to expand our Japanese knowledge.
You can say (お)久しぶり another way by using 久しい a little differently. In the similar sentence
Similarly, ぶり can be used in a similar way in the sentence 7
ぶり is also often used to talk about rare occurrences. With the increasingly hot summers that Japan has been experiencing, learners will often hear people say things about how this is the hottest summer in half a century (50
When you go for lunch at your office, it is common to tell your co-workers that you will leave by saying ‘
This rule also applies to the standard reply which is usually
In both of these Japanese sentences, it is easy to miss the Japanese word for a break,
For example, if you have been working really hard, you may want to suggest a quick break to grab a cup of tea: ちょっとお
Similarly, if you’ve been working a student really hard, you may want to suggest a short break by saying 10
おやすみなさい is the Japanese equivalent of ‘goodnight/ sleep well’ and most learners will hear it when they turn in for the night. Interestingly, the ～なさい-ending is often used to make orders, so the meaning is could be understood as ordering someone to rest!
A similar use of this grammar point is お
Of course, you can drop the お and make this grammar point a lot more direct. This grammar point is especially useful for teachers. If you have lazy students, you can yell
頂きます and ごちそうさまでした
In the Japanese world, the speaker should always be aware of their status relative to other people and with 頂きます, the speaker is humbling him/herself before the person who did them the service of cooking or providing the food. People working fulltime at elementary schools or kindergartens will likely hear this every day before the kids start to eat their lunch.
Luckily, 頂きます is useful in any situation where you receive something from someone such as ケーキを頂きます (I receive this cake). Another useful use of 頂きます is for when you suddenly change your mind about what you want. For example, if you change your mind about having a coffee and want to ask for tea instead, you might say コーヒーをやめてお茶を頂きます (Cut the coffee. Could I have a tea instead?).
Another phrase that is associated with eating is ごちそうさまでした. ごちそう in this sentence literally means ‘a feast’. You will still sometimes hear people use this to comment on all the delicious food someone has prepared: すごいごちそうですね (Wow! What a feast!)
After a hard day’s work, you will often hear おさきに
The 先 (さき) in this sentence is a useful grammar point. さき appears in any sentence where you want to say someone does something first. A simple example is when you are in an elevator with multiple people and you want to tell them that you will hold the doors open for them. A simple お先にどうぞ (Please go first) will do this job for you. Similarly, if you ever experience that awkward moment where you and your co-worker continually start speaking at the same time, you can say
One of the fascinating things about Japanese is that, within phrases and greetings that Japanese learners hear every day, a lot of really useful Japanese phrases and vocabulary points are hidden. By taking common Japanese phrases and looking at how they are constructed as well as how they are commonly used, learners can make their language study a lot more efficient.