3 phrases you have to know in Japan!

  • 3 phrases you’ll hear everywhere in Japan

    When visiting Japan, you will probably bring some phrasebooks which teach you some basic Japanese phrases such as Konnichiwa(hello). However, there are many peculiar phrases that are hard to explain in another language. If you know these phrases, your trip to Japan or your Japanese studying might get better. Let me teach you some of these words in Japanese!


    Otsukare-sama is generally used as a greeting between co-workers, or from older person to a younger person. Sometimes, you would hear this word from barber after your haircut is done. Otsukare-sama is a word that describes the feeling of consideration to someone. Otsukare means tired, and sama is a word which is usually added after someone’s name, especially elder people, or people higher in status. So after the job is done, many people use this word to tell “good work”, “don’t stress out too much” and “take care”.

    Itadakimasu and gochisousama

    Itadakimasu and gochisousama are the greeting phrases, that are used before and after eating. Those have nothing to do with religion, they are simple greeting to express gratitude for food. Before eating, you should say Itadakimasu to express gratitude for the food served, person who made the food, and a person who prepared it. When done eating you should say Gochisousama to express gratitude as well.


    I think Suimasen is kind of a tricky word. Suimasen sometimes means “I’m sorry”, sometimes it means “Excuse me” and sometimes it’s used as “Thank you”. For example, when you bump into someone on the train you should say Suimasen as “Excuse me”. Or, when you notice that someone dropped her or his wallet, you also say Suimasen to call him or her over. However, if you drop your wallet on the train and someone picks it up for you, you can also say Suimasen before you say thank you. What a tricky word!

    So here are 3 phrases that you will probably hear in Japan. I think those words can be really tricky because they might not have any definition in other languages. However, if you can use those words, you will sound like a native Japanese speaker!