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Archive for the 'Japanese Culture' Category

Kenkoku Kinen no Hi: Japan’s National Foundation Day

Japan is a country steeped in a rich history and fascinating culture, both of which the Japanese people reflect on each year on 建国記念日 (けんこくきねんび), or National Foundation Day in Japanese. This is a major holiday in Japan, celebrating the beginning of the country’s history. In this article, you’ll learn all about Japan’s National Foundation Day, from its origins to modern-day celebrations and traditions.

Are you ready to dive in? Let’s get started!

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1. What is National Foundation Day in Japan?

National Foundation Day is a day to commemorate the founding of the country and cultivate a love for it. It’s celebrated on the day the first Emperor of Japan was crowned as the “Day that Japanese history began.” This national holiday was first celebrated during the Meiji Era, where it was known as Kigensetsu.

While many countries celebrate Foundation Day on the date that they became independent, Japan is different. In the past, Japan was ruled by an Emperor. The lineage of many generations of Emperors can be traced back to times of mythology thousands of years ago. The first Emperor was crowned by God with the purpose of expanding her realm, and has been respected by the Japanese people since ancient times. This is why Foundation Day is celebrated on the day that the first Emperor was crowned—the beginning of 日本の歴史 (にほんのれきし), or Japanese history.

2. Foundation Day Date

Japanese Flag Waving in the Wind

Each year, National Foundation Day in Japan takes place on February 11.

3. How Does Japan Celebrate National Foundation Day?

On National Foundation Day, Japan holds events such as political lectures, symposia, and gatherings throughout the country. The Emperor system has its controversies, with opinions being divided in recent years about it following the female line. The National Foundation Day is an opportunity to hear the views of experts on the state of the country, and to deepen one’s own thoughts.

Starting with the Meiji Jingu, which is dedicated to Emperor Meiji, there are shrines that hold festivals for events such as National Foundation Festivals and Kigensai. There are a variety of festivals held that involve doing things such as pulling a portable shrine and playing drum and pipe music through a spectacular parade.

While remembering the many ancestors who were instrumental in the development of Japan for thousands of years since ancient times, people make wishes that the country will be even more prosperous in the future.

4. First Emperor of Japan

Who was the first Emperor of Japan, or 初代天皇 (しょだいてんのう)?

The correct answer is Emperor Jinmu. According to the Nihon Shoki, Emperor Jinmu was crowned on Lunar New Year’s Day of 660 B.C., or February 11 on the solar calendar. The Nihon Shoki is a book that was compiled at the beginning of the eighth century and is the oldest history book in Japan. In the book, it’s recorded that Emperor Jinmu was born with intelligence and a strong will.

Did you know that Japan has a unique way for counting years? It’s called the Kōki and starts counting from the year of the coronation of Emperor Jinmu. The first year in the Imperial Era was 660 B.C.

5. Essential Vocabulary for National Foundation Day

Japanese People Celebrating National Foundation Day

Ready to study some of the vocabulary words from this article? Here’s a list of the most important words and phrases for National Foundation Day!

  • 祝日 (しゅくじつ) — “holiday”
  • 建国 (けんこく) — “founding of a nation”
  • 日本書紀 (にほんしょき) — “Chronicles of Japan”
  • 神武天皇 (じんむてんのう) — “Emperor Jimmu”
  • 即位 (そくい) — “coronation”
  • 日本の歴史 (にほんのれきし) — “Japanese history”
  • 初代天皇 (しょだいてんのう) — “first emperor of Japan”
  • 建国記念日 (けんこくきねんび) — “National Foundation Day”
  • 歴史 (れきし) — “history”
  • 紀元節 (きげんせつ) — “Empire Day”
  • 公布 (こうふ) — “promulgation”

To hear each of these vocabulary words pronounced, and to read them alongside relevant images, be sure to check out our Japanese National Foundation Day vocabulary list! You can also watch the video above to learn more essential vocabulary with Risa!

Final Thoughts

As you can see, Foundation Day in Japan is a unique holiday that pays tribute to the country’s history and early beginnings, while simultaneously encouraging people to look ahead to the future. Does your country have a similar holiday? Let us know in the comments section!

If you’re interested in continuing to learn about Japanese culture and holidays, you may find the following pages useful:

Whatever your reasons for wanting to learn more about Japanese culture or the language, know that JapanesePod101.com is the best place to expand your knowledge and improve your language skills. With tons of lessons for beginners, intermediate learners, and more advanced students, there’s something for everyone!

What are you waiting for? Create your free lifetime account today and gain access to everything you could possibly want to know about Japan!

Happy learning! :)

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Japanese Conjunctions: Learn Japanese Linking Words

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If you’re learning Japanese grammar, you may be surprised by how many variations there are of Japanese conjunctions and Japanese connective particles, and how they vary depending on the use of sentences.

When you think about speaking your mother tongue, the flow of your sentences is very natural, without redundancy or lack of words. This is because you can use conjunctions effectively and naturally to connect sentences.

In this way, in Japanese grammar, conjunctions are one of the most essential parts of speech. When you master Japanese conjunctions, you’ll be able to speak Japanese quite fluently!

By the end of this article, you should have a better idea about Japanese conjunctions meaning, how to use Japanese conjunctions, and have an increased Japanese conjunction vocabulary!

Here are some of the most basic and useful Japanese conjunctions and connectives. Let’s enjoy learning here at JapanesePod101.com!

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Table of Contents

  1. What is a Conjunction?
  2. Conjunctions to Correlate Similar Thoughts
  3. Conjunctions to Express Condition
  4. Conjunctions to Express Cause
  5. Conjunctions to Express Opposition
  6. Conjunctions to Express Choices
  7. Other Useful Japanese Conjunctions
  8. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese


1. What is a Conjunction?

Sentence Patterns

Conjunctions are words that connect and conjoin phrases, clauses, or sentences together. A conjunction word doesn’t have a meaning itself, much like prepositions. Conjunctions in Japanese function similarly to how they do in English.

The conjunction in Japanese is usually a particle or postposition that’s usually used at the end of the dependent clause(s), determining the relationship of the conjoined clauses. Examples of these relationships include copulative, disjunctive, adversative, and conclusive.

For example, here are the most common Japanese conjunctions by type:

  • Copulative Conjunctions: The conjunctive relation of units that expresses the addition and/or connection of meanings.

    And:
    と、(to)
    や、 (ya)
    そして (soshite)

    Also:
    も、(mo)
    もまた (mo mata)

    Then:
    そして、 (soshite)
    それから (sorekara)

    Or:
    または、(mata wa)
    また (mata)

  • Disjunctive Conjunctions: The conjunctive relation of units that expresses the disjunction of their meanings.

    -or, -or : -ka, -ka ‥か、‥か
    -and, -and : -ya, -ya ‥や、‥や

  • Adversative Conjunctions: The conjunctive relation of units that expresses the opposition of their meanings.

    But:
    しかし、(shikashi)
    が、(ga)
    けど (kedo)
    けれども (keredomo)
    なのに (nanoni)
    でも (demo)

    However:
    しかしながら、 (shikashinagara)
    ところが (tokoroga)
     
    Despite:
    にもかかわらず (nimokakawarazu)

  • Conclusive Conjunctions

    So:
    それで、(sorede)
    なので (nanode)

    And then:
    それから、(sorekara)
    その後 (sonogo)

    Therefore: 
    それゆえに、(soreyue ni)
    だから、(dakara)
    したがって (shitagatte)

    Thus:
    ゆえに、(yue ni)
    したがって (shitagatte)

There are exceptions where Japanese language conjunctions can’t be used to connect equivalent clauses or sentences. However, we’ll explain the basic and most important Japanese conjunctions in this article.

Japanese Conjunctions

Japanese conjunctions have a wide range of variations


2. Conjunctions to Correlate Similar Thoughts

Here are the commonly used Japanese conjunctions which connect clauses/sentences with a function of addition.

1- と (to)

  • Meaning: This word means “and.” It simply adds one thing to another.
  • Usage:と(to) is used when you list everything that’s applicable. と (to) can only be used to connect nouns.
  • Example:

    テーブルの上にりんごみかんバナナがあります。
    Tēburu no ue ni ringo to mikan to banana ga arimasu.
    There are apples, oranges, and bananas on the table.

    • In this case, there are only apples, oranges, and bananas on the table.

2- や (ya)

  • Meaning: This word means “and.” It adds one thing to another.
  • Usage: や (ya) is similar to と (to), but it’s used when you list only some parts of a whole, which are applicable. や (ya) can only be used to connect nouns.
  • Example:

    テーブルの上にりんごみかんがあります。
    Tēburu no ue ni ringo ya mikan ga arimasu.
    There are apples and oranges on the table.

    • The translation in English is the same as that for the example for と (to). In this case, however, it implies that there are things besides the apple and orange on the table.

3- そして (soshite)

  • Meaning: This word means “and.” It adds things to each other, like the last words. It can also mean “thus” and “and then.”
  • Usage: そして (soshite) is used to add noun(s), or to explain an action that follows.
  • Example:

    テーブルの上にりんごとみかん、そしてバナナがあります。
    Tēburu no ue ni ringo to mikan, soshite banana ga arimasu.
    There are apples, oranges, and bananas on the table.

    私はりんごを食べます。そしてみかんも食べます。
    Watashi wa ringo o tabemasu. Soshite mikan mo tabemasu.
    I’ll eat an apple. And then I’ll eat an orange, too.


3. Conjunctions to Express Condition

Improve Listening

There are several variations of Japanese conjunctions which are used to introduce a conditional clause.

1- もし (moshi)

  • Meaning: It means simply “if,” but it can also mean “in case” and “supposing.”
  • Usage: When using もし (moshi), the end of a sentence should be conjugated to the conditional form, such as: たら (-tara), なら (-nara), ならば (-naraba), or すると (-suruto).

    When the conditional form is emphasized, it’s possible to omit もし (moshi) and the sentence still keeps the expression of condition.

  • Example:

    もし明日雨が降るなら、ピクニックは中止です。
    Moshi ashita ame ga furu nara, pikunikku wa chūshi desu.
    If it rains tomorrow, the picnic will be cancelled.

2- たら (tara)

  • Meaning: This word means “if,” and it denotes a condition.
  • Usage: As mentioned above, たら (-tara) is used at the end of a clause/sentence, along withもし (moshi) at the beginning. It’s usually used to express a relationship of assumption, as well as a specific and one-time consequence.
  • Example:

    もし時間があったら、映画を見たいです。
    Moshi jikan ga attara, eiga o mitai desu.
    If I have time, I want to watch a movie.

3- なら (nara)

  • Meaning: This word means “if,” and it denotes a condition.
  • Usage: なら (-nara) is also used at the end of a clause/sentence, along withもし (moshi) at the beginning.

    Unlike たら (-tara), なら (-nara) is usually used to express a speaker’s decision, order, hope, or opinion of assumption when assuming a certain thing.

  • Example:

    京都へ行くなら、新幹線で行きたいです。
    Kyōto e iku nara, Shinkansen de ikitai desu.
    If I go to Kyoto, I want to go by Shinkansen.

4- すると (suruto)

  • Meaning: This word means “if,” and it denotes a condition.すると (suruto) can also mean “then.”
  • Usage: When using すると (suruto) as a conditional conjunction, と (to) or だと (da to) usually come in front of it. It expresses a relationship of assumption and a consequence.
  • Example:

    彼が間に合わないとすると、私たちは会議を始められません。
    Kare ga maniawanai to suruto, watashi-tachi wa kaigi o hajimeraremasen.
    If he can’t come in time, we can’t start a meeting.

Group Talking Over Drinks

When you use conjunctions effectively, conversations will go smoothly.


4. Conjunctions to Express Cause

There’s also a number of Japanese conjunctions which are used to express cause. Combining two clauses/sentences with the following conjunctions denotes a reason and result. In Japanese grammar, note that the clause/sentence that states the reason comes first.

1- だから (da kara) / から (kara)

  • Meaning: This word can mean “so,” “therefore,” or “thus.”
  • Usage: だから (da kara) and から (kara) are very similar. However, a noun usually comes in front of だから (da kara), and an adjective or verb comes before から (kara).
  • Example:

    明日は日曜日だから 仕事はしません。
    Ashita wa nichi-yōbi da kara shigoto wa shimasen.
    Tomorrow is Sunday, so I don’t work.

    太るからケーキは食べません。
    Futoru kara kēki wa tabemasen.
    I will get fat, so I don’t eat cakes.

When considering the word order in Japanese grammar, it’s easier to remember the meaning as “so” rather than “because,” to match the order in English grammar.

2- ので (node)

  • Meaning: This word means “so” or “thus.”
  • Usage: ので (node) is used the same way as から (kara), but ので (node) is somewhat more polite.
  • Example:

    辛いので食べられません。
    Karai node taberaremasen.
    It is spicy, so I can’t eat it.

3- ため (tame) / のため (no tame)

  • Meaning: This word can mean “because (of) …” or “as a consequence of …”
  • Usage: Both ため (tame) and のため (no tame) have the same meaning, but an adjective or verb usually comes before ため (tame), and a noun comes in front of のため (no tame).
  • Example:

    宝くじが当たったため、私は車を買いました。
    Takarakuji ga atatta tame, watashi wa kuruma o kaimashita.
    I bought a car because I won the lottery.

    のため電車は遅れました。
    Yuki no tame densha wa okuremashita.
    Because of the snow, the train was delayed.

4- なぜなら (nazenara)

  • Meaning: This word means “because.”
  • Usage: When you use なぜなら (nazenara), please remember that a sentence of a particular situation comes before なぜなら (nazenara), and a sentence to explain why follows it. It often comes with だから (da kara) or から (kara) to explain why.
  • Example:

    彼女は怒って帰りました。なぜなら彼氏が浮気したのを知ったからです。
    Kanojo wa okotte kaerimashita. Nazenara kareshi ga uwaki shita no o shitta kara desu.
    She got angry and left, because she came to know her boyfriend had cheated on her.

Two Women Talking

In order to learn which conjunction is appropriate to use and in what situation, try to listen to how Japanese people use Japanese conjunctions in various situations.


5. Conjunctions to Express Opposition

Here are several examples of Japanese conjunctions which are used to denote contrast.

1- しかし (shikashi) / でも (demo)

  • Meaning: This word means “but” or “however.”
  • Usage: Both しかし (shikashi) and でも (demo) are the most commonly used conjunctions to express opposition. They usually come at the beginning of a sentence and refer to the statement which was mentioned before. しかし (shikashi) is often used in formal situations, while でも (demo) is more casual and colloquial.
  • Example:

    気温は低く寒いです。しかし、 花が咲きました。
    Kion wa hikuku samui desu. Shikashi, hana ga sakimashita.
    The temperature is low and it’s cold. However, flowers bloom.

    外は暖かい。でも、風は冷たい。
    Soto wa atatakai. Demo, kaze wa tsumetai.
    It is warm outside. But the wind is cold.

2- が (ga) / だが (daga)

  • Meaning: This word means “but” or “however.”
  • Usage: が (ga) and だが (daga) are almost the same, but が (ga) is used to conjoin separate sentences with a comma, and だが (daga) is often used at the beginning of a sentence.
  • Example:

    お金はある、旅行する時間がない。
    O-kane wa aru ga, ryokō suru jikan ga nai.
    I have money, but I don’t have time to travel.

    春は好きです。だが、夏は好きではないです。
    Haru wa suki desu. Daga, natsu wa suki de wa nai desu.
    I like spring. But I don’t like summer.

3- ところが (tokoroga) / なのに (nanoni)

  • Meaning: This word means “but” or “however.”
  • Usage: ところが (tokoroga) and なのに (nanoni) have similar meanings which express reverse conditions. They have a nuance of surprise, or sometimes complaint, which contrasts the expectation. ところが (tokoroga) is more formal, while なのに (nanoni) is used in a casual way and in colloquial speech.
  • Example:

    彼女は勉強をしなかった。とことろが、試験に受かった。
    Kanojo wa benkyō o shinakatta. Tokoroga, shiken ni ukatta.
    She did not study. But she passed the examination.

    彼は先生だ。なのに、英語を話せない。
    Kare wa sensei da. Nanoni, eigo o hanasenai.
    He is a teacher. But he can’t speak English.

4- けど (kedo) / けれども (keredomo)

  • Meaning: This word can mean “but,” “however,” “though,” and “although.”
  • Usage: While しかし (shikashi) and でも (demo) are often used at the beginning of a sentence with a comma, けど (kedo) and けれども (keredomo) are used to conjoin two separate sentences to express reverse conditions.

    けど (kedo) and けれどもけど (keredomo) are almost the same. However, けれども (keredomo) is slightly more formal and polite, while けど (kedo) is often used in a casual way and in colloquial speech.

  • Example:

    外は暖かいけど、風は冷たい。
    Soto wa atatakai kedo, kaze wa tsumetai.
    It is warm outside, but the wind is cold.

    私は1ヶ月お菓子を食べなかったけれども、痩せなかった。
    Watashi wa ikkagetsu o-kashi o tabenakatta keredomo, yasenakatta.
    Although I didn’t eat snacks for a month, I didn’t lose weight.


6. Conjunctions to Express Choices

Improve Listening Part 2

Here are some basic Japanese conjunctions which are used to express choices and alternatives.

1- または (matawa) / もしくは (moshikuwa)

  • Meaning: This word means “or” or “otherwise.”
  • Usage: These conjunctions are used when you want to show options for something. または (matawa) and もしくは (moshikuwa) are very similar, and there’s not much difference in their meaning and usage. または (matawa) is more common and is used more often than もしくは (moshikuwa).
  • Example:

    電車またはバスで行きます。
    Densha matawa basu de ikimasu.
    I will go by train or bus.

    クレジットカードもしくは、電子決済でお支払いください。
    Kurejitto cādo moshikuwa, denshi kessai de o-shiharai kudasai.
    Please pay by credit card or through an electric payment.

2- か (ka)

  • Meaning: This word means “or,” or “whether…or.”
  • Usage: か (ka) is almost the same in meaning as the English word “or.” With this meaning, か (ka) is usually used twice in a sentence to indicate alternatives.
  • Example:

    今レストランは開いている、 閉まっている、知っていますか。
    Ima resutoran wa aite iru ka, shimatte iru ka, shitte imasu ka.
    Do you know if the restaurant is open or closed now?

3- あるいは (aruiwa)

  • Meaning: This word means “or” or “alternatively.”
  • Usage: あるいは (aruiwa) is another Japanese conjunction to express a choice between A or B. This is often used to show things which are of the same or similar kind. It has a nuance of “alternatively.”
  • Example:

    私は来年大阪あるいは名古屋へ転勤になります。
    Watashi wa rainen Ōsaka aruiwa Nagoya e tenkin ni narimasu.
    I will be transferred to Osaka or Nagoya next year.

Woman Thinking

Some Japanese conjunctions are only used in colloquial speech, and some are mostly used in formal settings.


7. Other Useful Japanese Conjunctions

It is good to know other useful Japanese conjunctions to improve your conversation skills. Here are some commonly used expressions.

1- ところで (tokorode)

  • Meaning: This word means “by the way.”
  • Usage: This phrase is often used when you change the topic in a conversation, and it’s generally used before asking a question.
  • Example:

    ところで、今週末は何か予定ありますか。
    Tokorode, konshūmatsu wa nani ka yotei arimasu ka.
    By the way, do you have any plans for this weekend?

2- 一方で (ippō de)

  • Meaning: This phrase can mean “on the other hand,” “while,” or “meanwhile.”
  • Usage: 一方で (ippō de) is used to indicate that the following sentence will be in a direction different from the previous sentence. The following sentence doesn’t necessarily have to be completely opposite from the previous one. 一方で (ippō de) can be also be used to mean “while” or “meanwhile.”
  • Example:

    彼女は寿司が好きです。一方で彼はピザが好きです。
    Kanojo wa sushi ga suki desu. Ippō de kare wa piza ga suki desu.
    She likes sushi. On the other hand, he likes pizza.

3- 例えば (tatoeba)

  • Meaning: This means “for example.”
  • Usage: This phrase can be used exactly the same as “for example” in English. It’s used when you want to give examples.
  • Example:

    私の趣味はスポーツです。例えば、水泳とテニスが好きです。
    Watashi no shumi wa supōtsu desu. Tatoeba, suiei to tenisu ga suki desu.
    My hobby is sports. For example, I like swimming and tennis.

4- さらに (sarani) / その上 (sonoue)

  • Meaning: These words can mean “in addition” and “moreover.”
  • Usage: Bothさらに (sarani) and その上 (sonoue) are used when you want to add something. その上 (sonoue) has a slightly stronger emphasis thanさらに (sarani).その上 (sonoue) is literally translated as “on top of that.”
  • Example:

    日曜日に買い物へ行き、さらにジムへ行きました。
    Nichi-yōbi ni kaimono e iki, sarani jimu e ikimashita.
    I went shopping, and moreover, I went to the gym on Sunday.

    日曜日に買い物へ行き、さらにジムへ行きました。その上、夜は映画を見に行きました。
    Nichi-yōbi ni kaimono e iki, sarani jimu e ikimashita. Sonoue, yoru wa eiga o mi ni ikimashita.
    I went shopping, and in addition, I went to the gym on Sunday. Moreover, I went to see the movie.

Please see our article on Must-Know Adverbs and Phrases for Connecting Thoughts for more examples with audio.


8. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

I hope this Japanese conjunctions list is helpful for your Japanese language studies. By learning Japanese conjunctions, your conversation skills will improve a lot, and you can enjoy speaking Japanese much more!

Which conjunctions do you plan on using soon? Which ones are you still struggling with? Let us know in the comments!

If you’re keen on learning more about the Japanese language, you’ll find more useful content on JapanesePod101.com. We provide a plethora of free lessons for you to help you boost your Japanese language skills, regardless of your current skill level:

All of your studying and practice will pay off, and soon you’ll be speaking and writing in Japanese like a native! And SpanishPod101 will be here throughout your language-learning journey with support and effective lesson materials!

Best wishes, and happy learning!

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Japanese Etiquette and Manners

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What is Japanese etiquette?

Japanese culture is well-known for its politeness and unique features, and what is thought to be normal in other countries isn’t always common in Japan. Many foreign tourists wonder what exactly the DO’s and DON’Ts in Japan are when traveling to Japan for the first time.

Japanese people are warm and welcoming to travelers, and they understand if foreign travelers don’t know all the Japanese customs. However, it’s always good to know the basic Japanese etiquette and manners in advance to make your trip more smooth and enjoyable. It’s also a part of experiencing and exploring the Japanese culture.

Here’s our guide to Japanese manners and etiquette, especially for travelers. Here, you’ll find all the Japanese etiquette tips, Japanese customs, and other Japanese etiquette for foreigners you need to know!

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Table of Contents

  1. Basic Japanese Etiquette
  2. Japanese Table Etiquette & Manners
  3. Japanese Etiquette for Sightseeing
  4. Japanese Etiquette for Greeting
  5. Japanese House Guest Etiquette
  6. Japanese Business Etiquette
  7. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese


1. Basic Japanese Etiquette

Thanks

The DO’s and DON’Ts in this first section are very basic, and they’re common in most important occasions in Japan.

1- DO’s

  • Be Polite

    Politeness may be the basis for other Japanese etiquette rules. It’s noted that Japanese etiquette is greatly influenced by the concept of collectivism, which is characterized by fairness among people and prioritization of interests of the social group over individuals. It also emphasizes on maximizing the benefits and goodness of the group through each individual’s effort and thoughtfulness. This means that being polite and kind to others is for everyone’s convenience and happiness.

  • Respect

    Respect is another very essential value when it comes to Japanese manners and customs. In order to add to everyone’s happiness, you should respect others’ rights, interests, convenience, and so on. In addition, influenced by Confucianism, respecting elders is also important; please help elders cross the street, walk up stairs with luggage, and so on.

  • Be Punctual, Even Early

    Keeping time is imperative in Japanese culture social etiquette. This is a way of respecting others and not wasting their valuable time. Japanese trains arrive on time, and Japanese people usually arrive five to ten minutes before the meeting time. If it’s an interview at a company, it’s not good enough to arrive just on time; you’re expected to arrive earlier than the appointment time. Definitely keep this in mind if you’re serious about learning Japanese business etiquette.

  • Keep in Order

    To be fair to everyone and respect others, Japanese people naturally queue up even if there’s no instruction to do so. For instance, they may keep from rushing into an activity if they see that there are already too many people doing it. You’ll see Japanese people queuing neatly aside the opening doors of the train on crowded weekday mornings.

Interior of a Metro Car

Keep public places clean and do not litter.

2- DON’Ts

  • Don’t Bother Others

    Prioritization of the group’s interests also means that bothering and annoying others is considered very bad manners in Japan. Even if you’re starving or don’t have enough time, please refrain from eating smelly foods (such as fast food) on the train, or putting on makeup during the ride.

  • Don’t Litter

    Streets are not your own room, so don’t litter on the streets. Usually, you don’t find many trash bins along the streets in Japan, but you’ll notice that the ground is free from rubbish. It’s common courtesy according to modern Japanese etiquette to keep your trash with you until you find a bin or arrive home.

  • Don’t be Loud

    Another important Japanese etiquette rule: In public places, you’re expected not to make loud noises. Especially on a train, keep your conversation voice soft and quiet. Talking loudly or talking on the phone will make surrounding Japanese people feel uncomfortable. Please don’t forget to set your mobile phone to silent when you’re on a public transportation.


2. Japanese Table Etiquette & Manners

Hygiene

There are quite different table manners and etiquette in Japan compared to other countries. Don’t be surprised; when in Japan, do as the Japanese do!

1- Greet Before/After Eating

This is one of the most basic Japanese greeting etiquette rules, and Japanese people do this for every meal.

According to Japanese etiquette table manners, you should say いただきます (Itadakimasu) before eating. The phrase Itadakimasu doesn’t have a direct translation in English, but it means “I’m thankful for this food and I will start eating.”

Also, say ごちそうさまでした (Gochisō-sama deshita) after you’ve finished eating. This phrase means “It was delicious,” and it shows appreciation for the meal.

2- Use Chopsticks Properly: Chopstick Etiquette in Japan

When you’re an adult, you’re expected to know how to use chopsticks properly as this is good Japanese etiquette when eating. So when you’re eating at a Japanese cuisine restaurant, try to use chopsticks. If you don’t have the confidence to use chopsticks well, you can still ask a waiter for forks and knives.

However, don’t play with your chopsticks. It’s considered rude behavior, as well as childish, if you hold one stick with one hand and the other stick with the other hand, poking food around or pointing to something with your chopsticks, etc.

In addition, never stick them vertically in your rice bowl and never use your chopsticks to pass a piece of food to someone else’s chopsticks directly. These actions are associated with funeral rituals and the deceased, and are considered the worst possible chopstick behavior.

3- Make Noise While Eating Soup Noodles

According to Japanese manners and etiquette, making noise while you’re eating is considered bad manners. The only exception is for soup noodles such as ramen, udon, and soba, when it comes to slurping soup and noodles. Slurping shows that you’re enjoying your food. However, making chewing noises isn’t appropriate, and it’s considered rude and is associated with poor education. Close your mouth while you’re chewing food.

Bowl of Noodles

Slurping is ok only for soup noodles in Japan.

4- Do Not Pour Your Own Drink When You’re with Someone

This is another typical Japanese etiquette rule when dining. When you dine out with your friends, colleagues, or your boss, it’s rude to pour your own drink yourself. You pour drinks for everyone else first, and then they will pour your drink in return.

Usually, those who are youngest or in the lowest position of a hierarchy should be the one to pour elders drinks first. This is especially true for work-related occasions.

Even among friends, pouring drinks for each other is considered nice, and it shows your mutual thoughtfulness toward a good friendship.

5- Do Not Pay a Tip

Good news for everyone! According to Japanese etiquette, money shouldn’t be given as a tip. This bit of Japanese etiquette when visiting may surprise you, but don’t leave a tip on the table. Otherwise, the waiter/ess will run after you to let you know that you forgot your money. If you try to hand a tip to them, the staff member will wonder what the money’s for and won’t know what to do with it.

So, just keep your change in your pocket, even if you’re impressed by nice Japanese services. Instead, tell a staff member that you really liked their food or services with a smile.

Group of People Eating Out

Make sure you use chopsticks properly, especially at proper Sushi and Japanese restaurants.


3. Japanese Etiquette for Sightseeing

Bad Phrases

In this section, we’ll go over etiquette in Japan you need to keep in mind while sightseeing! This is just simple Japanese etiquette to ensure you’re polite and respectful wherever you are.

1- At Shrines and Temples

There are numerous 神社 (jinja) or “Shintō shrines” and お寺 (o-tera) or “Buddhist temples” across Japan. Foreign tourists are welcome to visit them, but there are particular manners and etiquette rules for sightseeing.

Shrines and temples are considered sacred places, and you should behave quietly with respect. Smoking is not allowed inside of the precincts. Take off your hat and don’t dress too casually when you enter buildings (for example, don’t wear beach sandals).

When arriving at the main building, throw a coin into an offering box in front of the sacred object. Then, make a short prayer with your palms together in front of your chest.

When entering Shrines, you need to do a purification ritual. There’s a water source usually located near the main 鳥居 (Torii) gate and you need to purify your body before proceeding further into the Shrine.

Take a provided ladle to scoop up water and pour it over both of your hands to rinse them. Then pour a bit of water in your hand and use it to rinse your mouth. Do not swallow the water, but spit it out on the ground. Put the ladle back to where it was.

2- Taxi Doors

More often than not, Japanese taxi doors are automatic! So note this tip on Japanese cultural etiquette for taxis.

When you stop a taxi, the driver will pull the lever and open the door (usually for the back seat) for you. After you get in a taxi, the door will close automatically. So don’t try to open or close the taxi door by yourself.

Taxi Dashboard

Japanese taxi calculates fee by meters.

3- Onsen and Swimming Pools

温泉 (Onsen), or hot springs, is one of the most popular things to do in Japan, especially during the cold seasons. If you have large tattoos on your body, however, you have to be checked to see if you’re allowed to use Onsen or the public swimming pool.

This essential Japanese etiquette rule may seem strange, so let us explain.

Traditionally, most Japanese onsen and public pools ban people with tattoos from using the facilities. This is because they intend to keep out Yakuza and members of crime gangs, who are associated with having body tattoos.

However, due to the growing demand of foreign tourists with tattoos, the number of tattoo-friendly facilities is increasing. Some facilities provide cover-up tape to allow those with tattoos access to the facilities. Be sure to check the availability in advance if you have visible tattoos on your body.

When you use Onsen, Japanese etiquette requires that users wash their bodies before entering a pool. Onsen is shared with others and it must be kept clean and hygienic. Even if you’re very excited to experience Onsen, don’t rush straight into a pool; clean yourself first.

Onsen

Japanese Onsen is usually gender-separated and you can’t wear swimsuits.


4. Japanese Etiquette for Greeting

As you learn Japanese etiquette, knowing how to greet is essential. Greeting is imperative to the Japanese etiquette and manners, as politeness and respect start from the greeting.

1- Bowing

Bowing is one of the most important common Japanese body language gestures for both formal and informal occasions. People bow to greet, nod, thank, and apologize.

There are variations of how to bow, depending on the depth, duration, and seriousness, but foreign tourists aren’t expected to understand all of it. Japanese people won’t be offended if visitors don’t bow correctly.

Bow politely; bend your head and back in a straight line when you meet someone, thank someone, or say goodbye. Bowing can be a bit awkward for you at first if you’re used to shaking hands, but follow and imitate how Japanese people bow. When someone bows to you as a greeting, it’s usually sufficient to do the same in return.

Two Men Bowing to Each Other

Bowing properly and politely is one of the most important business manners.

2- Shaking Hands but No Hugging/Kissing

Japanese people also shake hands when they greet often, such as in a work-related setting. However, the Japanese don’t hug or kiss as a greeting. Japanese people prefer to keep personal space, and traditionally avoid intimate physical body contact in public.

Hugging as a greeting can be done by Japanese people only in special cases, such as meeting someone you know well after quite a long time, or when a person is extremely emotional with joy or in mourning. Ordinary Japanese people never kiss as a greeting. If you try to hug or kiss a Japanese person whom you just met, they will get startled and feel offended.

So, when you greet Japanese people, just bow or shake hands. Do not hug or kiss.


5. Japanese House Guest Etiquette

1- Remove Your Shoes

Japanese people never wear shoes inside of a house. Every house has 玄関 (genkan) or a sunken-foyer entrance inside of the door where you remove your shoes before you actually enter the main section of the home.

You also have to remove your shoes when entering Japanese traditional accommodations which are called 民宿 (minshuku) or 旅館 (ryokan), temple halls, some restaurants, and buildings with 畳 (tatami) areas. Tatami is a type of mat made of grass used as a flooring material in traditional Japanese-style rooms.

It’s very rude and offensive if you enter places with your shoes on where you’re supposed to take them off, so please be aware!

2- Bring a Gift

One of the essential Japanese etiquette rules when visiting someone’s house is to bring a little お土産 (o-miyage), or a gift, for the host in return for their hospitality. It’s common courtesy to give a nicely wrapped gift to the host to show your appreciation for their invitation. Common gifts include sweets or drinks that they can share and enjoy while you’re visiting.

It’s rude to visit without a gift, especially when you know that the host will cook meals for you. So, when you’re invited to your friend’s place, buy cakes or a bottle of wine, and arrive on time.

Two Glasses of Wine Being Poured

A bottle of wine or Champagne would be a good choice to take for a dinner invitation.

3- Slippers

If you’re invited to someone’s home as a guest, you may be offered a pair of slippers at the genkan for walking around inside. Slippers are okay on wooden or smooth flooring, but don’t wear slippers on tatami flooring. Remove your slippers before entering a Japanese tatami room.

In addition, some households have toilet slippers. You should change out of your original slippers into toilet slippers when you enter the restroom, and never step outside the restroom wearing toilet slippers. Some hotels and restaurants also have such separated slippers in the restroom.

To learn more, please watch our YouTube video about How to Visit Someone’s House.


6. Japanese Business Etiquette

Business

Now, it’s time for our Japanese business etiquette guide. Be mindful of all the Japanese business etiquette dos and don’ts here, because they can make or break your first impression.

1- Greeting and Introduction

According to Japanese business etiquette rules, when you meet someone in a business-related occasion, it’s considered good manners to greet them with a decent bow. You should also introduce yourself briefly with your business card.

As for bowing, stand straight first, put your hands in line with the sides of your body, and bend your upper body forward. You shouldn’t bow too quickly, and don’t just bend your head nor arch your back.

Japanese people usually talk about themselves with their name, which company they work for, what job position they’re in, and sometimes how long they’ve worked for their company or industry. Telling or asking for detailed personal information is usually inappropriate.

To learn more about bowing, please see How to Bow in Japan & Manners.

2- Exchanging Business Cards

When you meet someone, exchanging 名刺 (meishi), or business cards, is a must-do business custom in Japan in formal settings. Treat a business card with care, as Japanese people regard it as one’s face.

Make sure you give or receive a business card with both hands when exchanging cards. Handing a card with just one hand is considered very rude. Further, read a card you were given carefully, and ask some questions or offer comments; this is a good way to start a conversation.

Man Giving Woman a Business Card

Japanese businessmen often bow when they exchange business cards.

3- Dining in Business Settings

Whether you’re dining with colleagues, your boss, or your clients, the seating position is important in business settings.

The seat in the deepest part of the room and the furthest place from the door is considered the best seat, and it should be offered to the most respected person (such as the person in the highest job position, or the oldest person). Further, clients are prioritized above your colleagues, even your boss. The seat closest to the door is considered the least important position, and this is usually used by the youngest person.

Also, the youngest person (or the person in the lowest job position) should usually take everyone’s drink order and tell it to the waiter or waitress. The most respected or important person often gives a small speech and gives a Kanpai toast.

Dining in a business setting in Japan is very hierarchical, and roles at the dining table are implicitly allocated and performed according to the participants’ attributes.

To learn more, our video about How to Attend a Japanese Company Drinking Party is useful.


7. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

We hope this article about Japanese etiquette and manners is helpful, and that you’ll have a more enjoyable experience when you visit Japan!

If you’d like to learn about the Japanese language, you’ll find very useful content on JapanesePod101.com. We provide a variety of free lessons for you to improve your Japanese language skills.

We also have a YouTube channel where you can enjoy learning the Japanese language by watching videos and listening to actual Japanese pronunciation. Learning Japanese gestures is also very helpful when it comes to understanding Japanese etiquette and culture.

When you plan to visit Japan, don’t forget to check out the following content: Learn the Top 25 Must-Know Japanese Phrases!, Top 20 Travel Phrases You Should Know in Japanese, Best Traveling Tips and Places to Visit in Japan!, and much more.

Before you go, be sure to let us know in the comments what you thought about our Japanese etiquette guide. Do you feel more confident now, or is there still a situation or topic you need information about? We look forward to hearing from you!

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Japanese Calendar Dates: Reading Dates in Japanese and More

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Learning how to read dates is one of the most basic things when learning a new language, and it’s essential in everyday life. For instance, you use dates when making appointments, buying tickets for a particular day, asking for someone’s birthday, etc.

Expressing the date in Japanese isn’t very complicated. The date in Japanese mostly follows the counter system, with just a few exceptions; English, on the other hand, has different names for the months and days of the week.

You’ll be able to learn dates in Japanese much easier once you know Japanese numbers. If you’re not yet familiar with numbers in Japanese, please visit Japanese Numbers on our website.

Table of Contents

  1. How are Dates Usually Expressed in Japanese?
  2. How to Say the Years in Japanese
  3. How to Say the Months in Japanese
  4. How to Say the Days in Japanese
  5. How to Say the Days of the Week in Japanese
  6. Practical Phrases to Talk about Dates in Japanese
  7. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

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1. How are Dates Usually Expressed in Japanese?

Numbers

How to say dates in Japanese is very simple. Dates in Japanese writing start with the year, then the month, and finally the day. The only exception is when there’s a particular instruction to write it a different way, such as on an entry form.

1- How to Write Dates in Japanese

1. April 30, 2019 is written as follows:

2019年4月30日 or 2019/04/30  

  • 年 (nen) : year
  • 月 (gatsu) : month
  • 日(nichi) : day

2. With the days of the week, Tuesday, April 30th, 2019 is written as follows:

2019年4月30日 (火曜) or 2019年4月30日 (火)

  • The days of the week are usually indicated in a round bracket ( ) and placed after the day.
  • The name of the day is expressed in a short form.

Tuesday is 火曜日(ka-yōbi), but when it’s expressed in a written form, it usually becomes 火曜 (ka-yō) or just 火 (ka).

2- How to Read Dates in Japanese

2019年4月30日 (火曜) is read as follows:

Ni-sen jū-kyū / nen / shi / gatsu / san-jū / nichi / ka-yō

Literally translated as:
Two-thousand ten nine / year / four / month / three ten / day / Tuesday

To listen to the pronunciation of basic Japanese numbers, please visit Numbers on our website.

3- Examples

  • 今日は2019年1月13日です。
    Kyō wa ni-sen jū kyū-nen ichi-gatsu jū-san-nichi desu.
    Today is January 13th, 2019.
  • 私は1990年5月1日生まれです。
    Watashi wa sen kyū-hyaku kyū-jū-nen go-gatsu tsuitachi umare desu.
    I was born on May 1st, 1990.
  • 試験は2019年8月30日です。
    Shiken wa ni-sen jū kyū-nen hachi-gatsu san-jū-nichi desu.
    The examination is on August 30th, 2019.

Man Looking at Schedule

In Japan, keeping the date and time for appointments is very important. Please don’t mix up months and dates!


2. How to Say the Years in Japanese

1- Gregorian Calendar

The Gregorian calendar is very common in Japan to express the years.

Just say the year and then add “nen (年)” which is a year counter meaning ‘year’.

  • 1575年 : sen go-hyaku nana-jū go-nen
  • 1998年:sen kyū-hyaku kyū-jū hachi-nen
  • 2003年:ni-sen san-nen

In some cases, numbers can be expressed with the last two digits as a short version.

For example, 1998 is 98年 (kyū-jū hachi-nen).

2- Japanese Era Calendar

Did you know that there’s also a Japanese calendar?

The Japanese people use 和暦 (Wareki), or the Japanese era calendar, which is based on the reigns of Japanese emperors. The previous era was called 平成 (Heisei), which started on January 8, 1989, when the previous Emperor, Akihito, acceded to the throne following the death of his father. The current era is called 令和 (Reiwa), which started on May 1, 2019, when the current Emperor, Naruhito, acceded to the throne following the abdication of his father.

2019 is the first year of the Reiwa era. It’s written as 令和1年 and read as Reiwa ichi-nen.

This traditional Japanese era calendar is often used for official occasions and in written form, such as in official documents used for public services at a city hall.

3- Vocabulary for Describing Relative Years

  • 今年 ことし (Kotoshi) : This year
  • 去年 きょねん (Kyonen) : Last year
  • 一昨年 おととし (Ototoshi) : The year before last year
  • 来年 らいねん (Rainen) : Next year
  • 再来年 さらいねん (Sarainen) : The year after next year
  • 閏年 うるうどし (Urūdoshi) : Leap year
  • 毎年 まいとし (Maitoshi) : Every year

4- Examples

  • 今年は2019年です。
    Kotoshi wa ni-sen jū kyū-nen desu.
    This year is 2019.
  • 来年の2020年はうるう年です。
    Rainen no ni-sen ni-jū-nen wa urūdoshi desu.
    The next year of 2020 is a leap year.
  • 2005年は平成17年です。
    Ni-sen go-nen wa Heisei jū nana-nen desu.
    2005 was year seventeen of the Heisei era.
  • 私は2012年に結婚しました。
    Watashi wa ni-sen jū ni-nen ni kekkon shimashita. 
    I got married in 2012.


3. How to Say the Months in Japanese

Months

1- Saying the Month in Japanese: Japanese Months

Using months and dates in Japanese is very simple. It follows this simple pattern, without exception:

Name a number (1-12) of the month, and then just add 月 (gatsu), which is a month counter meaning “month.”

 

          English           Kanji           Hiragana           How to read
1           January           一月            いちがつ           ichi-gatsu
2           February            二月           にがつ           ni-gatsu
3           March            三月           さんがつ           san-gatsu
4           April            四月           しがつ           shi-gatsu
5           May           五月           ごがつ           go-gatsu
6           June            六月           ろくがつ           roku-gatsu
7           July            七月           しちがつ           shichi-gatsu
8           August           八月           はちがつ           hachi-gatsu
9           September           九月           くがつ           ku-gatsu
10           October           十月            じゅうがつ           jū-gatsu
11           November           十一月           じゅういちがつ           jū ichi-gatsu
12           December           十二月           じゅうにがつ           jū ni-gatsu

In order to listen to the pronunciation of the months in Japanese, please visit Talking about Months on our website.

2- Relative Vocabulary for the Month in Japanese

  • 今月 こんげつ (Kongetsu) : This month
  • 先月 せんげつ (Sengetsu) : Last month
  • 先々月 せんせんげつ (Sensengetsu) : Month before last month
  • 来月 らいげつ (Raigetsu) : Next month
  • 再来月 さらいげつ (Saraigetsu) : Next next month
  • 毎月 まいつき (Maitsuki) : Every month

3- Examples

  • 私は六月生まれです。
    Watashi wa roku-gatsu umare desu.
    I was born in June.
  • 日本では四月に学校が始まります。
    Nihon de wa shi-gatsu ni gakkō ga hajimarimasu.
    School starts in April in Japan.
  • 私の誕生日は先月でした。
    Watashi no tanjōbi wa sengetsu deshita.
    My birthday was last month.
  • 今月は仕事が忙しいです。
    Kongetsu wa shigoto ga isogashii desu.
    This month is busy with work.


4. How to Say the Days in Japanese

Weekdays

1- Days

How to say the days of the month in Japanese is a bit more complicated.

The basic pattern for days and dates in Japanese is number + 日 (nichi), which is a day counter meaning “day.”

All the dates are written in this pattern. However, when it comes to reading, there are some exceptions and irregularities, indicated in blue in the chart below.

The days, especially those from one to ten, have a unique reading which is very different from ordinary Japanese Numbers. After eleven, it’s basically read with regular numbers and 日 (nichi), except for fourteen, nineteen, twenty, twenty-four, and twenty-nine.

It’s very common to use Arabic numerals to express dates, together with the kanji 日 (nichi). For example: 1日, 24日, 30日, etc.

Dates are also often written in Kanji, especially in official documents and vertical writing scripts. 

English           Kanji           Hiragana           How to read
1st      一日      ついたち      tsuitachi
2nd      二日      ふつ・か      futsuka
3rd      三日      みっ・か      mikka
4th      四日      よっ・か      yokka
5th      五日       いつ・か     vitsuka
6th      六日      むい・か      muika
7th      七日      なの・か      nanoka
8th      八日      よう・か      yōka
9th      九日      ここの・か      kokonoka
10th      十日      とお・か      tōka
11th      十一日       じゅう・いち・にち      jū ichi-nichi
12th      十二日      じゅう・に・にち      jū ni-nichi
13th      十三日      じゅう・さん・にち      jū san-nichi
14th      十四日      じゅう・よっ・か      jū yokka
15th      十五日      じゅう・ご・にち      jū go-nichi
16th      十六日      じゅう・ろく・にち      jū roku-nichi
17th      十七日      じゅう・しち・にち      jū shichi-nichi
18th      十八日      じゅう・はち・にち      jū hachi-nichi
19th      十九日      じゅう・く・にち      jū ku-nichi
20th      二十日      はつ・か      hatsuka
21st      二十一日      に・じゅう・いち・にち      ni-jū ichi-nichi
22nd      二十二日      に・じゅう・に・にち      ni-jū ni-nichi
23rd      二十三日      に・じゅう・さん・にち      ni-jū san-nichi
24th      二十四日      に・じゅう・よっ・か      ni-jū yokka
25th      二十五日      に・じゅう・ご・にち      ni-jū go-nichi
26th      二十六日      に・じゅう・ろく・にち      ni-jū roku-nichi
27th      二十七日      に・じゅう・しち・にち      nijū shichi-nichi
28th      二十八日      に・じゅう・はち・にち      ni-jū hachi-nichi
29th      二十九日      に・じゅう・く・にち      ni-jū ku-nichi
30th      三十日      さん・じゅう・にち      san-jū-nichi
31st      三十一日      さん・じゅう・いち・にち      san-jū ichi-nichi

2- Relative Vocabulary for Days

  • 今日 きょう (Kyō) : Today
  • 昨日 きのう (Kinō) : Yesterday
  • 一昨日 おととい (Ototoi) : The day before yesterday
  • 明日 あした (Ashita) : Tomorrow
  • 明後日 あさって (Asatte) : The day after tomorrow
  • 毎日 まいにち (Mainichi) : Everyday

3- Examples

  • 今日は六月一日です。
    Kyō wa roku-gatsu tsuitachi desu.
    Today is June 1st.
  • 五月五日は子供の日で、祝日です。
    Go-gatsu itsuka wa kodomo no hi de, shukujistu desu.
    May 5th is Children’s Day and it is a national holiday.
  • 私の誕生日は二月二十日です。
    Watashi no tanjōbi wa ni-gatsu hatsuka desu.
    My birthday is February 20th.
  • 4月24日の天気予報は雨です。
    Shi-gatsu ni-jū yokka no tenki yohō wa ame desu.  
    The weather forecast on April 24th is rain.

Flipping Through Pages of a Calendar

The Japanese calendar often starts on Sunday.


5. How to Say the Days of the Week in Japanese

1- Days of the Week

How to say the days of the week in Japanese is simple. All of them are named after elements and nature, and they all end with 曜日(yōbi) which denotes a day of the week.

English      Kanji      Hiragana      How to read      Meaning
Monday      月曜日      げつ ようび      gets-yōbi      月 means “moon”
Tuesday      火曜日      か ようび      ka-yōbi      火 means “fire”
Wednesday      水曜日      すい ようび      su- yōbi      水 means “water”
Thursday      木曜日      もく ようび      moku-yōbi      木 means “wood”
Friday      金曜日      きん ようび      kin-yōbi      金 means “gold”
Saturday      土曜日      ど ようび      do-yōbi      土 means “earth”
Sunday      日曜日      にち ようび      nichi-yōbi      日 means “sun”

In order to listen to the pronunciation of the days of the week in Japanese, please visit Talking about Days on our website.

2- Relative Vocabularies of Week

“Week” in Japanese is 週 (shū).

  • 平日 へいじつ (Heijitsu) : Weekday
  • 週末 しゅうまつ (Shūmatsu) : Weekend
  • 今週 こんしゅう (Konshū) : This week
  • 先週 せんしゅう (Senshū) : Last week
  • 先々週 せんせんしゅう (Sensenshū) : Week before last week
  • 来週 らいしゅう (Raishū) : Next week
  • 再来週 さらいしゅう (Saraishū) : Next next week
  • 毎週 まいしゅう (Maishū) : Every week

3- Examples

  • 今週は金曜日が休みです。
    Konshū wa kin-yōbi ga yasumi desu.
    Friday is off this week.
  • 2月4日は月曜日です。
    Ni-gatsu yokka wa getsu-yōbi desu.
    February 4th is Monday.
  • 来週の土曜日は結婚記念日です。
    Raishū no do-yōbi wa kekkon kinenbi desu.
    Saturday of next week is a marriage anniversary.
  • 月曜日から金曜日まで仕事で忙しいです。
    Getsu-yōbi kara kin-yōbi made shigoto de isogashii desu.
    I am busy with work from Monday to Friday.

Person Writing on a Calendar Planner

Saturdays and Sundays are usually off at work and school in Japan, but some schools have classes on Saturdays and some people work on weekends.


6. Practical Phrases to Talk about Dates in Japanese

1- Appointments / Reservations

  • 2月14日は何か予定ありますか。
    Ni-gatsu jū-yokka wa nani ka yotei arimasu ka.
    Do you have any plans for February 14th?
  • 土曜日と日曜日の週末なら空いています。
    Do-yōbi to nichi-yōbi no shūmatsu nara aite imasu.
    I am free on weekends, Saturday and Sunday.
  • 12月25日に予約は取れますか。
    Jū ni-gatsu ni-jū go-nichi ni yoyaku wa toremasu ka.
    Can I make a reservation for December 25th?
  • 7月13日に予約をお願いします。
    Shichi-gatsu jū san-nichi ni yoyaku o onegai shimasu.
    Please make a reservation for July 13th.

Table with Reserved Sign On It

When you make an appointment or reservation, make sure you mention the date in addition to the day of the week.

2- Asking / Answering Questions

  • 今日は何日の何曜日ですか。
    Kyō wa nan-nichi no nan-yōbi desu ka.
    What day is it today?

    今日は3月10日の日曜日です。
    Kyō wa san-gatsu tōka no nichi-yōbi desu.
    Today is March 10th and Sunday.

  • あなたの誕生日はいつですか。
    Anata no tanjōbi wa itsu desu ka.
    When is your birthday?

    私の誕生日は8月7日です。
    Watashi no tanjōbi wa hachi-gatsu nanoka desu.
    My birthday is August 7th.

  • いつから学校が始まりますか。
    Itsu kara gakkō ga hajimarimasu ka.
    When does your school start?

    私の学校は4月1日に始まります。
    Watashi no gakkō wa shi-gatsu tsuitachi ni hajimarimasu.
    My school starts on April 1st.


7. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

I hope this article about reading dates in Japanese is helpful for you to improve your Japanese. The date is one of the most important counters when it comes to numbers. There are a variety of Japanese counter words for each object, action, or event that you should also learn.

If you’d like to learn more about the Japanese language, you’ll find more useful content on JapanesePod101.com. We provide a variety of free lessons for you to improve your Japanese language skills.

On our YouTube channel, you’ll enjoy learning the Japanese language by watching videos and listening to actual Japanese pronunciation.

Before you go, let us know in the comments how you feel about reading dates in Japanese now! Do you feel like you know your way around Japanese calendar dates and saying dates in Japanese? Why not practice telling dates in Japanese by dropping us a comment with today’s date?

We always look forward to hearing from you!

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Talk About Family in Japanese: Father-in-Law and More!

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Learning a foreign language isn’t only about the language itself, but also about its culture, customs, and society. Family is the minimum unit of a social group, and it’s important to understand its characteristics as this is closely related to culture and customs.

When you learn how to explain your family in Japanese, it helps to expand your vocabulary and improve your communication skills in Japanese.

Compared to English, there are many more words to describe family members in Japanese. These words are according to age and the style (formal and informal). For example, what is a Japanese father-in-law called?

Let’s learn how to describe family in Japanese at JapanesePod101.com. Here’s our list of the most useful Japanese words and family member terms, as well as important information about family in Japan.

Table of Contents

  1. Family in Japan - Cultural Perspective
  2. Basic Family Terms
  3. Terms of Relatives
  4. Family Terms as a Married Person
  5. Endearment Terms
  6. How to Describe Family and Ask Question about Family in Japanese
  7. Conclusion: How Japanesepod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

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1. Family in Japan - Cultural Perspective

Family Quotes

Before we move onto the actual family vocabulary, it’s important that we go over family roles in Japanese culture, family values in Japanese society, and the importance of family in Japanese culture. This will give you a better idea of what to expect from Japanese families, and give more context to the Japanese family vocabulary and phrases you’re going to learn!

1- Traditional and Modern Family in Japan

The traditional Japanese family is characterized by the 家 (Ie) or family system, which is literally translated as “household.” It refers to a home and family’s lineage, which bestows importance of kinship and loyalty to their family.

Each member of a family is expected to serve their family’s interests (rather than the individual’s) as a priority. The Japanese family is traditionally patriarchal and a household usually consists of grandparents, their son, his wife, and their children. The eldest son is expected to inherit the household assets, and he’s responsible for taking care of his parents when they get old.

In the modern Japanese family, however, the influence of the traditional ie system isn’t as strong as it used to be. A 核家族 (kaku kazoku) or “nuclear family” is very common nowadays, and consists of two parents and their children, typically centering on a married couple.

While a married couple is expected to live together with a husband’s parents in the traditional Japanese family, grandparents don’t live with a kaku kazoku in a modern Japanese family (although they are visited often).

2- Becoming a Family in Japan (Marriage)

In Japan, the 戸籍 (Koseki) or “family registration system” is mandatory to all households. It requires that the family records all changes in family composition and identity, such as births, deaths, marriages, divorces, acknowledgements of paternity, adoptions, and disrupted adoptions.

It’s required to register one person as the head of a household, and the rest of the members in a household must have the same surname as that of the head. Once a couple gets married, spouses are obligated to have the same surname, and registration of different surnames is not allowed.

Due to the traditional system and the importance of kinship as custom, marriage isn’t only a matter of the bride and groom, but also of their extended family. It’s expected that extended families from both sides are going to have a “family relationship” once a couple gets married in Japan. As such, relationships with one’s in-laws become important.

3- Expressions of Family in Japan

There are various words to name family members in Japanese.

Japanese vocabulary words to describe family count age difference, and there are particular names related to age. This is because age is regarded as one of the most important attributions in the Japanese society, which is greatly influenced by the concept of Confucianism that states seniority is highly respected.

As relationships with in-laws are also culturally important, there are particular names for them as well.

In addition, there are variations of how to express family members, ranging from very casual to formal. Which ones to use depend on the occasion.

Let’s dive into the details in the following sections, and get you started with common family words in Japanese.


2. Basic Family Terms

Family Words

Now, it’s time to learn some basic Japanese words for family members. These are the words you’ll most often hear and use!

1- Basic Family Vocabularies

The formal terms are usually used for official occasions and in written form, while the informal terms are commonly used in casual situations (orally) as well as when calling a family member.

 

English Formal Informal
I / me 私(わたし -
watashi
father 父(ちち お父さん
chichi o-tō-san
mother 母(はは) お母さん
haha o-kā-san
older sister 姉(あね) お姉さん / お姉ちゃん
ane o-nee-san / o-nee-chan
younger sister 妹(いもうと) -
imōto
older brother 兄(あに) お兄さん / お兄ちゃん
ani o-nii-san / o-nii-chan
younger brother 弟(おとうと) -
otōto
grandfather 祖父(そふ) おじいさん / おじいちゃん
sofu o-jii-san / o-jii-chan
grandmother 祖母(そぼ) おばあさん / おばあちゃん
sobo o-bā-san / o-bā-chan
great grandfather 曽祖父 (そうそふ) ひいおじいさん/ ひいおじいちゃん
sōsofu hii-o-jii-san / hii-o-jii-chan
great grandmother

曽祖母(そうそぼ) ひいおばあさん/ ひいおばあちゃん
sobo hii-o-bā-san / hii-o-bā-chan
grandchild(ren) 孫 (まご)
mago
great grandchild(ren) ひ孫(ひまご)
himago

 

Family Leaving Home

Average modern Japanese families usually have 1 or 2 children.

2- More Vocabulary

  • 家族 かぞく (Kazoku) : family
  • 両親 りょうしん (Ryōshin) : parents (father & mother)
  • 親 おや (Oya) : parent(s)
  • 子供 こども (Kodomo) : child(ren)
  • 兄弟 きょうだい (Kyōdai) : brothers
  • 姉妹しまい (Shimai) : sisters

3- Examples

Here are some examples of Japanese phrases for family, so you have a better idea how to use the vocabulary above.

  • 私の家族は、お母さん、お父さん、私、弟の4人家族です。
    Watashi no kazoku wa, o-kā-san, o-tō-san, watashi, otōto no yo-nin kazoku desu.
    My family has four members: mother, father, me, and my younger brother.
  • 私は姉と妹がいる3姉妹です。
    Watashi wa ane to imōto ga iru san-shimai desu.
    I have an older sister and a younger sister, and we are three sisters.
  • 私は兄と姉がいます。
    Watashi wa ani to ane ga imasu.
    I have an older brother and an older sister.
  • 私は祖父と祖母が大好きです。
    Watashi wa sofu to sobo ga daisuki desu.
    I like my grandfather and grandmother very much.

To listen to the pronunciation of basic family terms, please visit Must-Know Terms for Family Members on our website.

Also, if you would like to know more about Japanese numbers, please visit our Japanese Numbers article.

Mother and Daughter Smiling

The bond between a mother and a daughter is often very strong.


3. Terms of Relatives

1- Vocabulary for Relatives

  • 親戚 しんせき (Shinseki) : relatives
  • 叔父 おじ (Oji) : uncle
  • 叔母 おば (Oba) : aunt
  • 甥 おい (Oi) : nephew
  • 姪 めい (Mei) : niece
  • いとこ (Itoko) : cousin

2- Examples

  • 私の親戚は全員東京に住んでいます。
    Watashi no shinseki wa zen’in Tōkyō ni sunde imasu.
    All my relatives live in Tokyo.
  • 私は5人いとこがいます。
    Watashi wa go-nin itoko ga imasu.
    I have five cousins.
  • 私の叔父と叔母は教師です。
    Watashi no oji to oba wa kyōshi desu.
    My uncle and my aunt are teachers.
  • 私の姪は5歳で、甥は2歳です。
    Watashi no mei wa go-sai de, oi wa ni-sai desu.
    My niece is five years old and my nephew is two years old.


4. Family Terms as a Married Person

1- Vocabulary to Know as a Married Person

  • 結婚 けっこん (Kekkon) : marriage
  • 既婚 きこん (Kikon) : married
  • 未婚 みこん (Mikon) : unmarried
  • 離婚 りこん (Rikon) : divorce
  • 夫 おっと (Otto) : husband
  • 妻 つま (Tsuma) : wife
  • 息子 むすこ (Musuko) : son
  • 娘 むすめ (Musume) : daughter
  • 義理の ぎりの (Giri no) : in-law

In order to express “XXX in-law,” add 義理の (Giri no) in front of XXX (the family member).

For example:

  • 義理の両親 (Giri no ryōshin) : parents-in-law
  • 義理の父 (Giri no chichi) : father-in-law
  • 義理の母 (Giri no haha) : mother-in-law
  • 義理の兄 (Giri no ani) : older brother-in-law
  • 義理の弟 (Giri no otōto) : younger brother-in-law
  • 義理の姉 (Giri no ane) : older sister-in-law
  • 義理の妹 (Giri no imōto) : younger sister-in-law

2- Examples

  • 私は夫と娘が1人います。
    Watashi wa otto to musume ga hitori imasu.
    I have a husband and one daughter.
  • 私の義理の父と母は大阪に住んでいます。
    Watashi no giri no chichi to haha wa Ōsaka ni sunde imasu.
    My father and mother in-law live in Osaka.
  • 私は既婚者で子供が2人います。
    Watashi wa kikonsha de kodomo ga futari imasu.
    I am married and I have two children.
  • 私の義理の両親は、私の息子におもちゃを買いました。
    Watashi no giri no ryōshin wa, watashi no musuko ni omocha o kaimashita.
    My parents-in-law bought a toy for my son.


5. Endearment Terms

Parents Phrases

In addition to the formal and informal terms for family, there are also more casual vocabulary words that you can call family members. It may vary from household to household, or on what kind of relationships there are between family members, but here are some examples. Just note that these are typically used in Japanese family relationships that are close.

1- Father

  • パパ (Papa) : papa

Like in English, “papa” is a common name to call a father in Japan, especially when children are very small. However, most Japanese people don’t use papa as they grow up.

  • 父ちゃん (Tō-chan) : dad

This term includes a nuance of cute and comical affection.

  • おやじ (Oyaji) : dad

This term is usually used by sons who are post-adolescent age. When they become adults, they often feel embarrassed to call their father papa or o-tō-san. This term also indicates a nuance of close affection.

2- Mother

  • ママ (Mama) : mama

Just like papa, mama is used especially when children are still small.

  • 母ちゃん (Kā-chan) : mom

This is the version of tō-chan used for mothers.

  • お袋 (Ofukuro) : mom

This is the mother version of oyaji.

3- Grandfather

  • じじ (Jiji) : grandpa

Grandchildren and their parents usually call a grandfather by this term when the grandchildren are still small. It indicates a nuance of cute affection.

  • じーじ (Jīji) : grandpa

This is very similar to jiji, but the first ji is pronounced longer.

4- Grandmother

  • ばば (Baba) : grandma

This is the grandmother version of jiji.

  • ばーば (Bāba) : grandma

This is the grandmother version of jīji.

Elderly Couple

Grandparents often have endearing nicknames when they have grandchildren.


6. How to Describe Family and Ask Question about Family in Japanese

Most of the time, there’s no problem with talking about family and relatives. When it comes to marital status and children, however, it can be a delicate matter. It can sometimes be inappropriate to ask someone about his/her marital status or if they have children, unless he/she is open and willing to talk. This is especially true for a woman in her 30s.

Here are some example questions and answers related to family.

Q:
何人家族ですか。
Nan-nin kazoku desu ka.
How many family members do you have?

A:
お父さん、お母さん、お姉ちゃん、私の4人家族です。
O-tō-san, o-kā-san, o-nee-chan, watashi no yo-nin kazoku desu.
I have four family members: father, mother, older sister, and me.

—–

Q:
兄弟はいますか。
Kyōdai wa imasu ka.
Do you have brothers and sisters?

*When asking a question, kyōdai can also refer to sisters.

A:
私は姉と弟がいます。
Watashi wa ane to otōto ga imasu.
I have an older sister and a younger brother.

—–

Q:
結婚していますか。
Kekkon shite imasu ka.
Are you married?

A:
はい、妻と子供が2人います。
Hai, tsuma to kodomo ga futari imasu.
Yes, I have a wife and two children.

—–

Q:
孫はいますか。
Mago wa imasu ka.
Do you have grandchildren?

A:
はい、私は孫が6人います。
Hai, watashi wa mago ga roku-nin imasu.
Yes, I have six grandchildren.

—–

Q:
ご両親はお元気ですか。
Go-ryōshin wa o-genki desu ka.
How are your parents?

*It’s polite to put go in front of ryōshin when you talk about someone’s parents.

A:
はい、私の父と母は元気です。
Hai, watashi no chichi to haha wa genki desu.
Yes, my father and mother are doing well.

—–

For more about self-introductions, please visit Introducing Yourself in Japanese on our website.


7. Conclusion: How Japanesepod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

I hope this article about family in Japanese culture is useful and that it helps to improve your Japanese communication skills.

If you would like to learn more about the Japanese language, you’ll find more useful content on JapanesePod101.com. We provide a variety of free lessons for you to improve your Japanese language skills. For example, Must-Know Terms for Family Members is helpful if you want to practice family terms in Japanese with audio.

We also have YouTube channel: JapanesePod101. It’s always fun to learn Japanese by watching videos and listening to actual Japanese pronunciation.

Before you go, let us know in the comments if there are any family terms you still want to know! And to practice, write a short paragraph about your family in basic Japanese. We look forward to hearing from you!

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How To Post In Perfect Japanese on Social Media

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You’re learning to speak Japanese, and it’s going well. Your confidence is growing! So much so that you feel ready to share your experiences on social media—in Japanese.

At Learn Japanese, we make this easy for you to get it right the first time. Post like a boss with these phrases and guidelines, and get to practice your Japanese in the process.

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1. Talking about Your Restaurant Visit in Japanese

Eating out is fun, and often an experience you’d like to share. Take a pic, and start a conversation on social media in Japanese. Your friend will be amazed by your language skills…and perhaps your taste in restaurants!

Mamoru eats at a restaurant with his friends, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

POST

Let’s break down Mamoru’s post.

友だちと、しゃぶしゃぶ食べ放題なう。 (Tomodachi to, shabushabu tabehōdai nau.)
“At all-you-can-eat shabushabu with my friends now.”

1- 友だちと (Tomodachi to)

First is an expression meaning: “With my friends.”
It’s common to include information about who you’re spending time with in a social media post. However, eating or drinking alone is also common in Japan, and a lot of restaurants accommodate single customers.

2- しゃぶしゃぶ食べ放題なう (Shabushabu tabehōdai nau.)

Then comes the phrase - “At all-you-can-eat shabushabu now..”
All-you-can-eat cuisine is very popular in Japan. When you go to Japanese style bars, you’ll often see a menu that says all-you-can-eat or all-you-can-drink. A lot of Japanese people upload a post while they are still at the place, and share the latest status of themselves with others by emphasising that they’re “now” at the place.

COMMENTS

In response, Mamoru’s friends leave some comments.

1- 本当、おいしかったね。 (Hontō, oishikatta ne. )

His girlfriend, Hazuki, uses an expression meaning - “Indeed, it was delicious. ”
This expression shows you are appreciative of the quality of the food.

2- うわー、誘ってくれよ! (Uwā, sasotte kure yo!)

His college friend, Shō, uses an expression meaning - “What, why didn’t you invite me!”
With this expression, Shō is being playful.

3- こんど行くとき私も連れて行って〜。 (Kondo iku toki watashi mo tsurete ittē.)

His high school friend, Yui, uses an expression meaning - “You gotta take me with you next time.”
This phrase expresses a wish.

4- 高そう。。 (Takasō..)

His girlfriend’s nephew, Yamato, uses an expression meaning - “Looks expensive…”
Perhaps Yamato is a bit cynical? But he could also be appreciative of the restaurant or the food’s quality.

VOCABULARY

Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • 友だち (tomodachi): “friend”
  • しゃぶしゃぶ (shabushabu): “shabushabu (thin slices of beef and a variety of vegetables parboiled in hot soup usually eaten with sesame sauce or sour sauce called Ponzu)”
  • 食べ放題 (tabehōdai): “all-you-can-eat”
  • 本当 (hontō): “indeed”
  • おいしい (oishii): “delicious”
  • 誘う (sasou): “to invite”
  • 高い (takai): “expensive”
  • 連れて行く (tsurete iku): “to take someone with someone “
  • So, let’s practice a bit. If a friend posted something about having dinner with friends, which phrase would you use?

    Now go visit a Japanese restaurant, and wow the staff with your language skills!

    2. Post about Your Mall Visit in Japanese

    Another super topic for social media is shopping—everybody does it, most everybody loves it, and your friends on social media are probably curious about your shopping sprees! Share these Japanese phrases in posts when you visit a mall.

    Hazuki shops with her sister at the mall, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment

    POST

    Let’s break down Hazuki’s post.

    新しくできたお店に妹と。ものすごい列。。 (Atarashiku dekita o-mise ni imōto to. Monosugoi retsu̷ ;)
    “With my sis at the store that recently opened. What a super long line..”

    1- 新しくできたお店 (Atarashiku dekita o-mise)

    First is an expression meaning: “Newly opened store.”
    In Japan, sharing hot news and the latest information a common thing to do on social media. When you go to a recently-opened store that’s been mentioned on TV or on social media, it’s a perfect chance to show the world that you already went there before anyone else did!

    2- ものすごい列 (Monosugoi retsu)

    Then comes the phrase - “What a super long line.”
    Passing information by word of mouth is also one of the popular uses of social media in Japan. For example, you could check other people’s posts to calculate a less crowded time to visit the place!

    COMMENTS

    In response, Hazuki’s friends leave some comments.

    1- またショッピング? (Mata shoppingu?)

    Her nephew, Yamato, uses an expression meaning - “Shopping again?”
    Yamato is making conversation with this phrase..

    2- わたしも昨日ここにいた! (Watashi mo kinō koko ni ita!)

    Her high school friend, Manami, uses an expression meaning - “I was here yesterday, too!”
    This shares a detail of your life - good conversation starters!

    3- また服が増えるのか。。 (Mata fuku ga fueru no ka̷ ;)

    Her boyfriend, Mamoru, uses an expression meaning - “Oh, there we have more clothes…

    4- え、本当に妹さん?大人っぽい。 (E, hontō ni imōto-san? Otonappoi.)

    Her college friend, Shō, uses an expression meaning - “No, is that really your younger sister? She looks mature.”
    Use this expression to demonstrate surprise and even appreciation.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • 新しくできた (atarashiku dekita): “newly opened”
  • 妹 (imōto): “younger sister”
  • ものすごい (monosugoi): “incredible, super”
  • また (mata): “again”
  • いる (iru): “to be, to exist”
  • 増える (fueru): “to increase”
  • さん (san): “polite name suffix, similar to Mr. or Mrs.”
  • 大人っぽい (otonappoi): “mature”
  • So, if a friend posted something about going shopping, which phrase would you use?

    3. Talking about a Sport Day in Japanese

    Sport events, whether you’re the spectator or the sports person, offer fantastic opportunity for great social media posts. Learn some handy phrases and vocabulary to start a sport-on-the-beach conversation in Japanese.

    Mamoru plays with his friends at the beach, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Mamoru’s post.

    今年こそ、絶対勝つ! (Kotoshi koso, zettai katsu!)
    “This year, for sure, we must win!”

    1- 今年こそ (Kotoshi koso)

    First is an expression meaning “This year for sure.”
    Japanese people love sports, and often gather to play games after work or school. Watching sports games together with friends at a public space is also a big thing in Japan. Some of the most popular sports are baseball and soccer.

    2- ぜったい勝つ! (Zettai katsu!)

    Then comes the phrase - “we must win!.”
    This expression is used when you’re cheering for a team while watching a sports game. This phrase is also used when going into a match. It shows a strong determination. You can also replace the verb with other verbs.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Mamoru’s friends leave some comments.

    1- がんばれー! (Ganbarē!)

    His high school friend, Yui, uses an expression meaning - “Go for it!”
    Use this expression to show your enthusiastic support for your team.

    2- どこのビーチですか? (Doko no bīchi desu ka?)

    His neighbor, Yūko, uses an expression meaning - “Where’s the beach at?”
    This is a question to determine the location of the game. So, to gather information, use this phrase.

    3- けっきょく結果はどうだったの?笑 (Kekkyoku kekka wa dō datta no?wara)

    His girlfriend’s high school friend, Manami, uses an expression meaning - “So what was the result after all? lol”
    This question shows inquisitiveness.

    4- 大学時代を思い出すなあ。 (Daigaku jidai o omoidasu nā.)

    His supervisor, Norio, uses an expression meaning - “Reminds me of our college life.”
    Somewhat nostalgic, Norio holds a senior position at work, and is perhaps a bit old-fashioned.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • 今年 (kotoshi): “this year”
  • こそ (koso): “for sure”
  • 絶対 (zettai): “unconditional”
  • 勝つ (katsu): “to win”
  • がんばれ (ganbare): “Go for it”
  • けっきょく (kekkyoku): “after all”
  • 結果 (kekka): “result”
  • 思い出す (omoidasu): “to remember, V1″
  • Which phrase would you use if a friend posted something about sports?

    But sport is not the only thing you can play! Play some music, and share it on social media.

    4. Share a Song on Social Media in Japanese

    Music is the language of the soul, they say. So, don’t hold back—share what touches your soul with your friends!

    Hazuki shares a song she just heard at a party, posts an image of the artist, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Hazuki’s post.

    おすすめの1曲! (Osusume no ikkyoku!)
    “The one song I recommend!”

    1- おすすめの (Osusume no __)

    First is an expression meaning “__ to recommend.”
    Among the Japanese, it is pretty common to share something you like or recommend on social media. Add any noun right after this phrase to make a recommendation.

    2- 1曲 (ikkyoku)

    Then comes the phrase - “one song.”
    In Japanese, there are various types of counters you have to add after numbers. This counter is only one of them and is used to count “songs” and “music.”

    COMMENTS

    In response, Hazuki’s friends leave some comments.

    1- うわー、なつかしい。 (Uwā, natsukashii.)

    Her high school friend, Manami, uses an expression meaning - “Wow, how nostalgic.”
    This expresses an opinion about Hazuki’s choice of music.

    2- 名曲ですね。 (Meikyoku desu ne.)

    Her neighbor, Yūko, uses an expression meaning - “Classic, indeed.”
    This warmhearted comment is a response to the previous one about the song.

    3- 古すぎ。。 (Furusugi..)

    Her nephew, Yamato, uses an expression meaning - “Too old..”
    Yamato again doesn’t hold back on expressing his opinion. He finds the song dated.

    4- ぼくも昔このバンドの大ファンだったな。 (Boku mo mukashi kono bando no daifan datta na.)

    Her supervisor, Norio, uses an expression meaning - “I used to be a huge fan of this band. ”
    Again a nostalgic comment, with Norio reminiscing about his earlier taste in music.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • おすすめ (osusume): “recommendation”
  • 曲 (kyoku): “song, piece of music, counter for songs”
  • なつかしい (natsukashii): “missed, desired, nostalgic”
  • 名曲 (meikyoku): “famous song”
  • 古い (furui): “old (not person); Adj(i)”
  • 昔 (mukashi): “long ago”
  • バンド (bando): “band”
  • 大ファン (daifan): “huge fan”
  • Do you have a favorite song you would share? And what would you say to a friend posting a song?

    Now you know how to start a conversation about a song or a video on social media!

    5. Japanese Social Media Comments about a Concert

    Still on the theme of music—visiting live concerts and shows just have to be shared with your friends. Here are some handy phrases and vocab to wow your followers in Japanese!

    Mamoru goes to a concert, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Mamoru’s post.

    毎年恒例の夏フェスです。 (Maitoshi kōrei no natsufesu desu.)
    “Summer music festival like every year.”

    1- 毎年恒例の (Maitoshi kōrei no )

    First is an expression meaning: “Annual, like every year.”
    This expression is commonly used when you want to share a tradition you never fail to honor every year. In this sentence, you can see he’s emphasizing that going to a summer music festival has become a tradition for him.

    2- 夏フェスです (natsufesu desu)

    Then comes the phrase - “summer music festival.”
    It’s become more and more popular to go to summer music festivals in Japan. Then you will see a lot of pictures, videos and status updates on social media about them. You can replace the noun before “festival” with other nouns, for example, “winter”, “beach” or “rock” as well.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Mamoru’s friends leave some comments.

    1- 楽しそう! (Tanoshisō!)

    His high school friend, Yui, uses an expression meaning - “Looks fun!”
    Yui is making conversation and seems pretty positive and optimistic.

    2- すごい人だな。 (Sugoi hito da na.)

    His college friend, Shō, uses an expression meaning - “What a huge crowd of people. ”
    This conveys a sense of surprise.

    3- いっきに3キロやせた気分。。 (Ikki ni san-kiro yaseta kibun..)

    His girlfriend, Hazuki, uses an expression meaning - “I feel like we lost 3 kilos all at once..”
    Hazuki is sharing a feeling.

    4- よく飽きないね〜 (Yoku akinai nē)

    His girlfriend’s nephew, Yamato, uses an expression meaning - “No idea why you don’t get tired of it~”
    Yamato is not the most positive of people, is he? He’s commenting on this post with an opinion.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • 毎年 (maitoshi): “every year”
  • 恒例 (kōrei): “regular, customary”
  • 夏フェス (natsufesu): “summer music festival”
  • すごい (sugoi): “amazing, great, fabulous”
  • 一気に (ikki ni): “at once, in one go”
  • 痩せる (yaseru): “to lose weight”
  • 気分 (kibun): “feeling”
  • 飽きる (akiru): “to get tired of, to lose interest in; V2″
  • If a friend posted something about a concert, which phrase would you use?

    6. Talking about an Unfortunate Accident in Japanese

    Oh dear. You broke something by accident. Tell friends about it by using these Japanese phrases in a thread on social media. Or maybe just to let your friends know why you are not contacting them!

    Hazuki accidentally breaks her mobile phone, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Hazuki’s post.

    ついにやってしまった。。 (Tsui ni yatte shimatta.. )
    “I finally did it.. ”

    1- ついに (Tsui ni )

    First is an expression meaning “Finally.”
    Japanese use this word when something that they expected would happen someday has finally happened.

    2- やってしまった (yatte shimatta)

    Then comes the phrase - “I did it.”
    You can say this expression when you have done something bad. It’s a good opening line to catch people’s attention as well.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Hazuki’s friends leave some comments.

    1- どこで、なんでこんなことに? (Doko de, nande konna koto ni?)

    Her college friend, Shō, uses an expression meaning - “Where and how did that happen?”
    Her friend is curious as to how Hazuki broke her phone, and is also making conversation.

    2- えー!これはショック。 (Ē! Kore wa shokku.)

    Her high school friend, Manami, uses an expression meaning - “Oh no, this is a shock. ”
    This expression shows sympathy with the accident.

    3- この前も壊したばかりなのに!? (Kono mae mo kowashita bakari na noni!?)

    Her nephew, Yamato, uses an expression meaning - “You just broke (another) one recently!”
    Don’t you feel you want to slap cynical Yamato?! He seems to be a glass-half-full person.

    4- まさか会社のものではないよな・・・? (Masaka kaisha no mono de wa nai yo na…?)

    Her supervisor, Norio, uses an expression meaning - “It’s not a company phone, is it…?”
    Norio feels anxious about this accident and shows it with this question.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • ついに (tsui ni): “finally”
  • どこ (doko): “where”
  • なんで (nande): “why”
  • ショック (shokku): “shocking”
  • この前 (kono mae): “some time ago, recently”
  • 壊す (kowasu): “to break”
  • まさか (masaka): “by no means, never (used before a negation as an exclamation) “
  • 会社 (kaisha): “company, office”
  • If a friend posted something about having broken something by accident, which phrase would you use?

    So, now you know how to describe an accident in Japanese. Well done!

    7. Chat about Your Boredom on Social Media in Japanese

    Sometimes, we’re just bored with how life goes. And to alleviate the boredom, we write about it on social media. Add some excitement to your posts by addressing your friends and followers in Japanese!

    Mamoru gets bored at home, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Mamoru’s post.

    暇だなあ。つまんない。 (Hima da nā. Tsumannai.)
    “I have nothing to do. I’m so bored. ”

    1- 暇だなあ。 (Hima da nā.)

    First is an expression meaning: “I have nothing to do..”
    You can also use this expression when you want someone to ask you out but are too shy to directly say it.

    2- つまんない。 (Tsumannai.)

    Then comes the phrase - “I’m so bored..”
    This is the most common expression to say you’re bored in Japanese in a casual way. You can often hear teenagers use this phrase at school.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Mamoru’s friends leave some comments.

    1- 花見に行こうよ。 (Hanami ni ikō yo. )

    His high school friend, Yui, uses an expression meaning - “Let’s go to the cherry blossom viewing.”
    Yui makes an optimistic suggestion.

    2- 外で運動したらどうですか? (Soto de undō shitara dō desu ka?)

    His neighbor, Yūko, uses an expression meaning - “Why don’t you exercise outside?”
    And the neighbour makes a friendly suggestion.

    3- 新宿で飲もうぜ! (Shinjuku de nomō ze!)

    His college friend, Shō, uses an expression meaning - “Let’s drink in Shinjuku!”
    Use this expression to show you are feeling frivolous.

    4- 私も。。遊ばない? (Watashi mo.. Asobanai?)

    His girlfriend, Hazuki, uses an expression meaning - “Me too.. Wanna hang out?”
    Use this expression to show you are feeling empathy.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • 暇 (hima): “time to spare, free time”
  • つまんない (tsumannai): “casual expression of “I’m bored”"
  • 花見 (hanami): “cherry blossom viewing, flower viewing”
  • 外 (soto ): “outside”
  • 運動する (undō suru): “to exercise; V3″
  • 新宿 (Shinjuku): “Shinjuku, the prefectural capital of Tokyo “
  • 飲む (nomu): “to drink;V1″
  • 遊ぶ (asobu): “to hang out; V1″
  • If a friend posted something about being bored, which phrase would you use?

    Still bored? Share another feeling and see if you can start a conversation!

    8. Exhausted? Share It on Social Media in Japanese

    Sitting in public transport after work, feeling like chatting online? Well, converse in Japanese about how you feel, and let your friends join in!

    Hazuki feels exhausted after a long day at work, posts an image of herself looking tired, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Hazuki’s post.

    あー疲れた! (Ā tsukareta!)
    “Uh, I’m exhausted!”

    1- あー (Ā)

    First is an expression meaning “Uh.”
    This interjection is often used to express a sigh before you start a sentence. In casual settings like social media, it’s common for Japanese people to write interjections down as well as the actual context.

    2- 疲れた! (tsukareta!)

    Then comes the phrase - “I’m exhausted!.”
    This is one of the most commonly-used phrases in Japanese, both on and offline. You’re going to hear many people saying this phrase after work or school on the way back home.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Hazuki’s friends leave some comments.

    1- 今週は長かったな。。 (Konshū wa nagakatta na..)

    Her supervisor, Norio, uses an expression meaning - “This week felt longer..”
    Use this expression to show you are feeling empathy.

    2- お疲れさま! (Otsukare-sama!)

    Her boyfriend, Mamoru, uses an expression meaning - “Well done! ”
    But Hazuki’s boyfriend chooses to be encouraging in his comment.

    3- やっと花金だね。 (Yatto hanakin da ne.)

    Her college friend, Shō, uses an expression meaning - “Thank God it’s finally Friday!”
    Another post of commiseration and empathy.

    4- たまには休まないと。 (Tamani wa yasumanai to.)

    Her nephew, Yamato, uses an expression meaning - “You gotta get some rest. ”
    Yamato likes to state the obvious.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • 疲れる (tsukareru): “to tire, to get tired”
  • 今週 (konshū): “this week”
  • 長い (nagai): “long”
  • お疲れさま (otsukare-sama): “thank you, that’s enough for today, greeting at workplace”
  • やっと (yatto): “yay, finally, at last”
  • 花金 (hanakin): “Thank God it’s Friday. TGIF.”
  • たまに (tama ni ): “once in a while, occasionally”
  • 休む (yasumu): “to rest, to have a break”
  • If a friend posted something about being exhausted, which phrase would you use?

    Now you know how to say you’re exhausted in Japanese! Well done.

    9. Talking about an Injury in Japanese

    So life happens, and you managed to hurt yourself during a soccer game. Very Tweet-worthy! Here’s how to do it in Japanese.

    Mamoru suffers a painful injury, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Mamoru’s post.

    練習中に骨折。。痛い。 (Renshūchū ni kossetsu.. Itai.)
    “Broke my leg during practice.. It hurts.”

    1- 練習中に骨折。。 (Renshūchū ni kossetsu..)

    First is an expression meaning: “Broke my leg during the practice…”
    This is an example of an expression ending with a noun, which is often used in the headlines of newspaper articles or on TV news.

    2- 痛い。 (Itai.)

    Then comes the phrase - “It hurt.”
    This is a must-know phrase when you go to a dentist or any clinic in Japan. When something hurts, say this phrase out loud.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Mamoru’s friends leave some comments.

    1- 痛そう。お大事に。 (Itasō. O-daiji ni.)

    His neighbor, Yūko, uses an expression meaning - “Ouch. Get well soon.”
    Use this expression to show you are feeling warmhearted.

    2- うわ、グロいな。 (Uwa, guroi na.)

    His college friend, Shō, uses an expression meaning - “Holy smokes, gross.”
    This is an exclamation and an opinion all at once.

    3- すぐ治るといいね。 (Sugu naoru to ii ne.)

    His high school friend, Yui, uses an expression meaning - “Get well soon!”
    Use this expression to wish your injured friend well.

    4- 無理しないで、安静にするんだぞ。 (Muri shinai de, ansei ni suru n da zo.)

    His supervisor, Norio, uses an expression meaning - “Don’t strain yourself. Take a good rest.”
    This expression shows concern and caring.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • 練習中 (renshūchū): “during practice; in the middle of practice”
  • 骨折 (kossetsu): “bone fracture”
  • 痛い (itai): “painful, hurt”
  • お大事に (o-daiji ni): “Bless you, get well soon”
  • うわ (uwa): “Whoa, holy smokes, oh my gosh”
  • 治る (naoru): “to heal, to get cured”
  • 無理する (muri suru): “to take something too far, to overdo something”
  • 安静にする (ansei ni suru): “to rest, to be calm”
  • If a friend posted something about being injured, which phrase would you use?

    We love to share our fortunes and misfortunes; somehow that makes us feel connected to others.

    10. Starting a Conversation Feeling Disappointed in Japanese

    Sometimes things don’t go the way we planned. Share your disappointment about this with your friends!

    Hazuki feels disappointed about today’s weather, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Hazuki’s post.

    暑すぎる。。お願いだから、早く秋になって。 (Atsusugiru.. Onegai da kara, hayaku aki ni natte.)
    “It’s too hot today.. For God’s sake, turn to autumn already, please.”

    1- 暑すぎる。。 (Atsusugiru..)

    First is an expression meaning “It’s too hot…”
    Japanese people are not the biggest fans of sunlight. If you look at trendy Japanese magazines, you will see having light skin is often considered more attractive. Being tanned and brown as a chestnut is not as attractive as it is in many western countries. When you visit Japan in summer, you will see a lot of Japanese ladies with a sunshade and sunblock groves walking down the streets!

    2- お願いだから、早く秋になって。 (Onegai da kara, hayaku aki ni natte.)

    Then comes the phrase - “For God’s sake, turn to autumn already, please..”
    This Japanese expression for “for God’s sake” is frequently used when you are desperately in need of something. By writing this line at the beginning of a sentence, you can emphasize that you really need whatever follows.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Hazuki’s friends leave some comments.

    1- ほんと!湿気もすごい。 (Honto! Shikke mo sugoi.)

    Her neighbor, Yūko, uses an expression meaning - “I know right! Massive humidity, too.”
    This expression shows commiseration and empathy.

    2- 今日はスーツのジャケットは着られないな。 (Kyō wa sūtsu no jaketto wa kirarenai na.)

    Her supervisor, Norio, uses an expression meaning - “Today, I can’t wear a suit (anymore).”
    Norio agrees with the general sentiment that it’s a very hot day, sharing a personal detail about his preferred attire.

    3- これからもっと暑くなるらしいけどね。 (Kore kara motto atsuku naru rashii kedo ne.)

    Her nephew, Yamato, uses an expression meaning - “Looks like it’s going to get even hotter, though.”
    Trust Yamato to be the one who brings even worse news. He doesn’t seem like a very optimistic, positive person!

    4- 汗がとまらない。。 (Ase ga tomaranai..)

    Her boyfriend, Mamoru, uses an expression meaning - “I can’t stop sweating..”
    Hazuki’s boyfriend partakes in the conversation by sharing a personal detail.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • 暑い (atsui): “hot”
  • お願いだから (onegai da kara): “Come on, for God’s sake”
  • 秋 (aki): “fall, autumn”
  • 湿気 (shikke): “humidity”
  • 今日 (kyō): “today”
  • 着る (kiru): “to wear”
  • もっと (motto): “more”
  • とまる (tomaru): “stop”
  • How would you comment in Japanese when a friend is disappointed?

    Not all posts need to be about negative feelings and experiences, though!

    11. Talking about Your Relationship Status in Japanese

    Don’t just change your relationship status in Settings, talk about it!

    Mamoru changes his status to “In a relationship”, posts an image of him and Hazuki, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Mamoru’s post.

    今日で付き合って1ヶ月!ラブラブです。 (Kyō de tsukiatte ikkagetsu! Raburabu desu.)
    “Today is 1 month since we started dating. We’re in love.”

    1- 今日で付き合って1ヶ月! (Kyō de tsukiatte ikkagetsu!)

    First is an expression meaning: “Today is one month since we started dating!.”
    In Japan, you can often see couples counting the number of months they’ve been together for, then making it an anniversary and posting about it on social media.

    2- ラブラブです。 (Raburabu desu.)

    Then comes the phrase - “We’re in love.”
    Although there’s an expression meaning “lovey-dovey”, it’s not very common for Japanese people to show affection such as kissing and hugging in public. Never show too much affection in front of your Japanese girlfriend or boyfriend’s parents! Thismight get a little confusing and embarrassing.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Mamoru’s friends leave some comments.

    1- うそだ!! (Uso da!!)

    His college friend, Shō, uses an expression meaning - “No way!!”
    This is a playful and teasing phrase to make conversation.

    2- おめでとう!彼女かわいいね! (Omedetō! Kanojo kawaii ne!)

    His high school friend, Yui, uses an expression meaning - “Congrats! Your girlfriend is cute!”
    Here, Yui complements his friend on his girlfriend’s appearance.

    3- さて、いつまで続くかな? (Sate, itsu made tsuzuku ka na?)

    His girlfriend’s nephew, Yamato, uses an expression meaning - “Well, let’s see how long it lasts?”
    Don’t be the Yamato in any conversation…! Real wet blanket, hey?

    4- 職場恋愛か。。 (Shokuba ren’ai ka..)

    His supervisor, Norio, uses an expression meaning - “Office romance, huh..”
    Norio is expressing surprise over this relationship.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • 付き合う (tsukiau): “to keep company with, to go out with; V1″
  • ラブラブ (raburabu): “lovey-dovey”
  • おめでとう (omedetō): “Congrats”
  • 彼女 (kanojo): “girl, she, girlfriend”
  • かわいい (kawaii): “pretty, cute, lovely, charming :Adj(i)”
  • さて (sate): “Well, now, anyway”
  • 続く (tsuzuku): “to last, to be continued”
  • 職場恋愛 (shokuba ren’ai): “office romance”
  • What would you say in Japanese when a friend changes their relationship status?

    Being in a good relationship with someone special is good news - don’t be shy to spread it!

    12. Post about Getting Married in Japanese

    Wow, so things got serious, and you’re getting married. Congratulations! Or, your friend is getting married, so talk about this in Japanese.

    Hazuki is getting married today, so she eaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Hazuki’s post.

    いよいよ結婚式です。ドキドキ。 (Iyoiyo kekkonshiki desu. Dokidoki.)
    “Finally getting married. Nervous and excited.”

    1- いよいよ結婚式です。 (Iyoiyo kekkonshiki desu.)

    First is an expression meaning “Finally getting married.”
    In Japan, there are two common types of weddings: one is western style with a church ceremony, and the other is Japanese traditional style where the celebration is proceeded in a shrine. Note that a western style wedding at a church doesn’t necessarily mean the couple is Christian. A lot of non-Christian Japanese people prefer to have a wedding at a church.

    2- ドキドキ。 (Dokidoki.)

    Then comes the phrase - “Nervous and excited.”
    This expression can show both excited and nervous feelings at the same time. It’s commonly used to describe feelings before an important event.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Hazuki’s friends leave some comments.

    1- おめでとうございます。末永くお幸せに! (Omedetō gozaimasu. Suenagaku o-shiawase ni! )

    Her supervisor, Norio, uses an expression meaning - “Congratulations. Have a long and loving life together!”
    What a warm-hearted, positive wish!

    2- おめでとう!あとでブーケは私に投げてね。 (Omedetō! Ato de būke wa watashi ni nagete ne.)

    Her high school friend, Manami, uses an expression meaning - “Congrats! Throw the bouquet to me later, will ya?”
    Manami is being the clown and wants Hazuki to throw her the hand bouquet. In many wedding traditions, when you catch the bride’s hand bouquet, it means you’re getting married next.

    3- 結婚?!全然知らなかった。。 (Kekkon?! Zenzen shiranakatta.. )

    Her college friend, Shō, uses an expression meaning - “Getting married?! I had no idea.. ”
    Use this expression to show you are feeling surprised.

    4- 守は幸せ者だねー! (Mamoru wa shiawasemono da nē!)

    Her husband’s high school friend, Yui, uses an expression meaning - “Mamoru is one lucky guy! ”
    Basically, Yui is giving the bridegroom a compliment with this expression. He thinks Hazuki is a very fine bride, and expresses his appreciation this way.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • いよいよ (iyoiyo): “finally, more and more”
  • 結婚式 (kekkonshiki): “wedding ceremony”
  • ドキドキ (dokidoki): “excited and nervous”
  • おめでとうございます (omedetō gozaimasu): “Congratulations”
  • 末永く (suenagaku): “For many years to come”
  • おめでとう (omedetō): “Congrats”
  • 投げる (nageru): “to throw”
  • 幸せ者 (shiawasemono): “lucky guy, person”
  • How would you respond in Japanese to a friend’s post about getting married?

    For the next topic, fast forward about a year into the future after the marriage…

    13. Announcing Big News in Japanese

    Wow, huge stuff is happening in your life! Announce it in Japanese.

    Mamoru finds out he and his wife are going to have a baby, posts an image of his pregnant wife, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Mamoru’s post.

    来年パパになります。早く会いたいな。 (Rainen papa ni narimasu. Hayaku aitai na.)
    “I’ll be a dad next year. Wanna see the baby sooner.”

    1- 来年パパになります。 (Rainen papa ni narimasu.)

    First is an expression meaning “I’ll be dad next year..”
    This is a common, simple line to use when you just found out you’re becoming a father and want to let the world know. InJapan, it’s tradition to use this only before you have your first child.

    2- 早く会いたいな。 (Hayaku aitai na.)

    Then comes the phrase - “I want to see him sooner.”
    In Japanese, we don’t have an exact translation for “I miss you” or “Can’t wait” that sounds natural. Instead, we say “I want to see (you) sooner” in Japanese. If you’re in a long-distance relationship with a Japanese partner, you could also use this expression as a way to say you miss a person.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Mamoru’s friends leave some comments.

    1- おめでとう!!楽しみだね! (Omedetō!! Tanoshimi da ne!)

    His high school friend, Yui, uses an expression meaning - “Congrats!! Isn’t that exciting!”
    Use this expression to show you are feeling optimistic.

    2- やったー、新しいいとこが増える! (Yattā, atarashii itoko ga fueru!)

    His wife’s nephew, Yamato, uses an expression meaning - “Yay, a new cousin will be added!”
    For a change, Yamato is really happy.

    3- 女の子?男の子? (Onnanoko? Otokonoko?)

    His college friend, Shō, uses an expression meaning - “Girl or boy?”
    Shō wants to know details!

    4- いろいろ準備しないとね。 (Iroiro junbi shinai to ne.)

    His wife, Hazuki, uses an expression meaning - “Gotta prepare a lot of stuff.”
    Hazuki shows a realistic view of the matter, as she knows a lot of work is lying ahead of them.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • 来年 (rainen): “next year”
  • 早く (hayaku): “fast, quickly, soon”
  • 会う (au): “to meet; V1″
  • 楽しみ (tanoshimi): “fun, excitement”
  • 新しい (atarashii): “new ;-i adjective”
  • いとこ (itoko): “cousin”
  • 増える (fueru): “to increase”
  • 準備する (junbi suru): “to prepare”
  • Which phrase would you choose when a friend announces their pregnancy on social media?

    So, talking about a pregnancy will get you a lot of traction on social media. But wait till you see the responses to babies!

    14. Posting Japanese Comments about Your Baby

    Your bundle of joy is here, and you cannot keep quiet about it! Share your thoughts in Japanese.

    Hazuki plays with her baby, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Hazuki’s post.

    新しい家族が増えました。ゆきこと言います。 (Atarashii kazoku ga fuemashita. Yukiko to iimasu.)
    “One new family member is added. She’s named Yukiko.”

    1- 新しい家族が増えました。 (Atarashii kazoku ga fuemashita.)

    First is an expression meaning: “One new family member is added.”
    It’s almost like a must-do thing for Japanese couples to post a baby picture when they first give birth to one. This expression is one of the most common lines to use when you share the news of having a baby on social media. It is simple yet it is cute, and heartwarming.

    2- ゆきこと言います。 (Yukiko to iimasu.)

    Then comes the phrase - “She’s named Yukiko.”
    A lot of Japanese people include the name of the new born baby in a post. Sometimes they also explain the origin of the name and the meaning of the chosen characters (kanji).

    COMMENTS

    In response, Hazuki’s friends leave some comments.

    1- かわいすぎる〜!手も小さい。。 (Kawaisugirū! Te mo chiisai..)

    Her high school friend, Manami, uses an expression meaning - “Too cute! Her hand is tiny too..”
    Use this expression to show you are feeling excited.

    2- よく頑張ったな。おめでとう。 (Yoku ganbatta na. Omedetō.)

    Her college friend, Shō, uses an expression meaning - “Great job. Congrats. ”
    A warm-hearted compliment and congratulation.

    3- ゆきこに早く会わせて〜! (Yukiko ni hayaku awasetē!)

    Her nephew, Yamato, uses an expression meaning - “Let me see Yukiko soon!”
    Yamato is keen to meet his new cousin.

    4- ご出産おめでとう。元気そうな赤ちゃんで何より。 (Go-shussan omedetō. Genki sō na aka-chan de nani yori.)

    Her supervisor, Norio, uses an expression meaning - “Congratulations on her birth. I can’t be any happier that she looks like a healthy baby.”
    Norio is sharing warmhearted congratulations and feelings about the baby.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • 家族 (kazoku): “family”
  • と言います (to iimasu): “to be named”
  • 手 (te): “hand”
  • 早く (hayaku): “soon”
  • 出産 (shussan): “birth”
  • 元気な (genki na): “healthy, fine, good”
  • 赤ちゃん (aka-chan): “baby”
  • 何より (nani yori): “more than anything”
  • If your friend is the mother or father, which phrase would you use on social media?

    Congratulations, you know the basics of chatting about a baby in Japanese! But we’re not done with families yet…

    15. Japanese Comments about a Family Reunion

    Family reunions - some you love, some you hate. Share about it on your feed.

    Mamoru attends a family gathering, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Mamoru’s post.

    久しぶりに親戚の集まり。甥っ子が大きくなってる。。 (Hisashiburi ni shinseki no atsumari. Oikko ga ōkiku natte ru..)
    “Family gathering for the first time in forever. My nephew has gotten big..”

    1- 久しぶりに親戚の集まり。 (Hisashiburi ni shinseki no atsumari.)

    First is an expression meaning “Family gathering for the first time in forever.”
    This Japanese expression for “for the first time in forever” can be used when you did something that hasn’t been done in ages. Japanese people get together with families usually on New Year’s and Bon Festival holidays in August. When they gather, they usually eat a lot and drink a lot just like many families in other countries do.

    2- 甥っ子が大きくなってる。。 (Oikko ga ōkiku natte ru..)

    Then comes the phrase - “My nephew has gotten (all) big..”
    One of the things you’d often comment at the family gathering is how your nephew or younger family members who were small before grew a lot bigger now. You can replace “nephew” with another word to refer to other family members or guests.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Mamoru’s friends leave some comments.

    1- 次会うときにはもう大人になってるかもね。 (Tsugi au toki ni wa mō otona ni natte ru kamo ne.)

    His wife, Hazuki, uses an expression meaning - “He might be all grown up the next time we see him.”
    Use this expression to show you are feeling sensitive.

    2- 懐かしいな。みなさん元気? (Natsukashii na. Mina-san genki?)

    His high school friend, Yui, uses an expression meaning - “Nostalgic. How are you all?”
    Use this expression to share your feelings of nostalgia.

    3- 大家族ね! (Daikazoku ne!)

    His neighbor, Yūko, uses an expression meaning - “What a big family!”
    Yūko is expressing surprise and, perhaps, appreciation for the size of the family.

    4- お母さん全然変わってないな。 (O-kā-san zenzen kawatte nai na.)

    His college friend, Shō, uses an expression meaning - “Your mom hasn’t changed at all.”
    This is a warm-hearted compliment to Hazuki’s mother and the way she looks.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • 久しぶりに (Hisashiburi ni): “for the first time in forever”
  • 親戚 (shinseki): “relative”
  • 集まり (atsumari): “gathering”
  • 甥っ子 (oikko): “nephew”
  • 大人 (otona): “adult”
  • 大家族 (daikazoku): “big family”
  • お母さん (o-kā-san): “mother”
  • 変わる (kawaru): “to change”
  • Which phrase is your favorite to comment on a friend’s photo about a family reunion?

    16. Post about Your Travel Plans in Japanese

    So, Hazuki is going on holiday. Do you know how to post and leave comments in Japanese about being at the airport, waiting for a flight?

    Hazuki waits at the airport for her flight, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Hazuki’s post.

    これからタイに行ってきまーす! (Kore kara Tai ni ittekimāsu!)
    “Off to Thailand now!”

    1- これから (Kore kara )

    First is an expression meaning “(from) now.”
    Add this expression at the beginning of a sentence when you want to indicate that you’re about to do something.

    2- タイに行ってきまーす! (Tai ni ittekimāsu!)

    Then comes the phrase - “off to Thailand!.”
    This is a common expression to use when you’re on your way to somewhere to do something. Japanese people on social media often write this line before they go on a trip.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Hazuki’s friends leave some comments.

    1- いいなあ。本場のタイ料理楽しんでね。 (Ii nā. Honba no Tai ryōri tanoshinde ne.)

    Her neighbor, Yūko, uses an expression meaning - “Jealous. Enjoy the authentic Thai food.”
    Yūko wishes to be in Hazuki’s shoes - a warmhearted comment.

    2- お土産よろしく! (O-miyage yoroshiku!)

    Her college friend, Shō, uses an expression meaning - “I’m expecting a souvenir!”
    Making conversation, Shō pretends to be a demanding friend.

    3- いつまで?私も来週行くよ。 (Itsu made? Watashi mo raishū iku yo.)

    Her high school friend, Manami, uses an expression meaning - “Until when? I’m going next week.”
    Here, Manami is sharing information about her own travels that could mean a meet-up with Hazuki in Thailand.

    4- 楽しんでね! (Tanoshinde ne!)

    Her husband’s high school friend, Yui, uses an expression meaning - “Have fun!”
    A common well-wish.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • これから (kore kara): “from now”
  • タイ (Tai): “Thailand”
  • に行ってきます (ni ittekimasu): “off to …”
  • 本場 (honba): “home, best place”
  • 料理 (ryōri): “food as in dishes, cuisine”
  • 楽しむ (tanoshimu): “to enjoy oneself; V1″
  • お土産 (o-miyage): “souvenir”
  • 来週 (raishū): “next week”
  • Choose and memorize your best airport phrase in Japanese!

    Hopefully the rest of the trip is better!

    17. Posting about an Interesting Find in Japanese

    So maybe you’re strolling around at your local market, and find something interesting. Here are some handy Japanese phrases!

    Mamoru finds an unusual item at a local market, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Mamoru’s post.

    何だこりゃ。初めて見た。 (Nan da korya. Hajimete mita.)
    “What the –. Never seen this before.”

    1- 何だこりゃ。 (Nan da korya.)

    First is an expression meaning “What the –?.”
    This is a common reaction when you see something confusing or surprising. When you find something completely new and interesting overseas, you’ll probably get to use this comment.

    2- 初めて見た。 (Hajimete mita.)

    Then comes the phrase - “Never seen this before.”
    This is a simple and short expression to use when you find something you have never seen.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Mamoru’s friends leave some comments.

    1- タイ限定だね。 (Tai gentei da ne.)

    His college friend, Shō, uses an expression meaning - “Only in Thailand.”
    This indicates that Thailand has strange customs or people.

    2- ショッキングな外見だね。 (Shokkingu na gaiken da ne.)

    His high school friend, Yui, uses an expression meaning - “What a shocking look.” This phrase refers to something that looks shocking to the observer, and not a “fashion look”!
    Expressing surprise, Yuki shares her opinion to keep the conversation going.

    3- あ、これ流行ってるって聞いた。 (A, kore hayatte ru tte kiita.)

    His wife’s high school friend, Manami, uses an expression meaning - “Oh, I heard it’s a thing now.”
    Manami shows she’s up to date with the latest trends.

    4- 欲しい!! (Hoshii!!)

    His nephew, Yamato, uses an expression meaning - “I want it!!”
    Yamato clearly likes what he sees.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • こりゃ (korya): “term derived from これは meaning “this is”"
  • 初めて (hajimete): “first time”
  • 見る (miru): “to see, to watch, to look ; V2″
  • 限定 (gentei): “limit, restriction”
  • ショッキングな (shokkingu na): “shocking”
  • 外見 (gaiken): “look”
  • 流行る (hayaru): “to be popular”
  • 欲しい (hoshii): “want, to want”
  • Which phrase would you use to comment on a friend’s interesting discovery?

    Perhaps you will even learn the identity of your find! Or perhaps you’re on holiday, and visiting interesting places…

    18. Post about a Sightseeing Trip in Japanese

    Let your friends know what you’re up to in Japanese, especially when visiting a remarkable place! Don’t forget the photo.

    Hazuki visits a famous landmark, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Hazuki’s post.

    世界遺産に到着!観光客だらけだ。。 (Sekai isan ni tōchaku! Kankōkyaku darake da..)
    “Arrived at the World Heritage! So many tourists..”

    1- 世界遺産に到着! (Sekai isan ni tōchaku! )

    First is an expression meaning “Arrived at the world heritage!”
    This is a common expression to use when you arrive somewhere and want to post about it. You can replace the Japanese word for “world heritage” with any other place, for example, schools, meeting place, etc.

    2- 観光客だらけだ。。 (Kankōkyaku darake da..)

    Then comes the phrase - “So many tourists..”
    When you visit Japan, especially in big cities like Tokyo, a lot of places you go to will probably be crowded. To get on a train also, you often have to throw yourself into crowds. When this happens, you can use this expression, replacing the word “tourists” with something else, for example, “students” or “workers”.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Hazuki’s friends leave some comments.

    1- いい景色だね。 (Ii keshiki da ne.)

    Her neighbor, Yūko, uses an expression meaning - “Nice view. ”
    This comment is used to make conversation and showing interest.

    2- わーおれもここ行ったことある! (Wā ore mo koko itta koto aru!)

    Her college friend, Shō, uses an expression meaning - “Oh I’ve been there too!”
    Sharing experiences is a great way to bond on social media.

    3- 夏休みだから、しょうがないよ。 (Natsuyasumi da kara, shōganai yo.)

    Her husband’s nephew, Yamato, uses an expression meaning - “It’s during summer break, so it can’t be helped.”
    Yamato adds a dash of realism again with this explanation, fortunately not too negative or cynical.

    4- もっと写真見たい! (Motto shashin mitai!)

    Her high school friend, Manami, uses an expression meaning - “Show us more photos!”
    Manami shows she is curious and wants more details about Hazuki’s experience.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • 世界遺産 (sekai isan): “World Heritage site”
  • 到着 (tōchaku): “arrive, arrival”
  • 観光客 (kankōkyaku): “tourist”
  • 景色 (keshiki): “scenery, view”
  • 行く (iku): “to go”
  • 夏休み (natsuyasumi): “summer vacation”
  • しょうがない (shōganai): “can’t be helped”
  • 写真 (shashin): “photograph”
  • Which phrase would you prefer when a friend posts about a famous landmark?

    Share your special places with the world. Or simply post about your relaxing experiences.

    19. Post about Relaxing Somewhere in Japanese

    So you’re doing nothing, yet you enjoy that too? Tell your social media friends about it in Japanese!

    Mamoru relaxes at a beautiful place, posts a chilled selfie, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Mamoru’s post.

    波の音、青い海、冷たいカクテル。最高! (Nami no oto, aoi umi, tsumetai kakuteru. Saikō!)
    “The sound of the waves, the blue sea and the cold drinks. The best!”

    1- 波の音、青い海、冷たいカクテル。 (Nami no oto, aoi umi, tsumetai kakuteru.)

    First is an expression meaning “The sound of the waves, the blue sea and the cold cocktails..”
    This is a poetic description of the situation, which is done by paralleling the key factors in short words. This expression method is often used in advertisements as well. It’s a simple and easy way to catch people’s attention.

    2- 最高! (Saikō!)

    Then comes the phrase - “The best!.”
    This literally means “the best,” and Japanese people often use this expression on social media to emphasize that something is great.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Mamoru’s friends leave some comments.

    1- うらやましいぞー。 (Urayamashii zō.)

    His supervisor, Norio, uses an expression meaning - “Jealous.”
    Use this expression to show you are feeling envious.

    2- すごい海きれい! (Sugoi umi kirei!)

    His wife’s high school friend, Manami, uses an expression meaning - “Amazingly beautiful sea!”
    Manami leaves a positive opinion about the setting Hazuki finds herself in.

    3- 飲んでばかりいないで、泳ぎなよ。 (Nonde bakari inaide, oyogina yo.)

    Mamoru’s nephew, Yamato, uses an expression meaning - “Don’t just drink, go swimming.”
    Yamato has his own idea of what Hazuki should be doing.

    4- 焼けて帰ってくるんだろうな。。 (Yakete kaette kuru n darō na..)

    His college friend, Shō, uses an expression meaning - “I bet you guys are coming back all tanned.”
    Shō is making conversation with this comment.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • 波 (nami): “wave”
  • 音 (oto): “sound, noise”
  • 青い (aoi): “blue, green, pale; Adj(i)”
  • 海 (umi): “sea, ocean”
  • 冷たい (tsumetai): “cold;Adj(i)”
  • うらやましい (urayamashii): “envious”
  • 泳ぐ (oyogu): “to swim”
  • 焼ける (yakeru): “to get a suntan;V2″
  • Which phrase would you use to comment a friend’s feed?

    The break was great, but now it’s time to return home.

    20. What to Say in Japanese When You’re Home Again

    And you’re back! What will you share with friends and followers?

    Hazuki returns home after the vacation, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Hazuki’s post.

    あーあ、帰って来ちゃった。 (Āa, kaette kichatta.)
    “Oh well, I’m back again.”

    1- あーあ (Āa)

    First is an expression meaning “Oh well.”
    This is an interjection that describes a sigh of boredom or disappointment.

    2- 帰って来ちゃった (kaette kichatta)

    Then comes the phrase - “I’m back again.”
    Japanese people love to travel, even during the short breaks such as a day off. When they’re back home, this expression is often used to show sadness that the adventure is over.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Hazuki’s friends leave some comments.

    1- おかえりなさい。 (Okaerinasai.)

    Her neighbor, Yūko, uses an expression meaning - “Welcome back. ”
    A friendly, common greeting.

    2- おみやげ楽しみだな。。 (O-miyage tanoshimi da na..)

    Her college friend, Shō, uses an expression meaning - “Can’t wait to see the souvenirs..”
    Sharing a need to see brought back from travels is a good conversation starter.

    3- 焼けた?写真見たい! (Yaketa? Shashin mitai!)

    Her high school friend, Manami, uses an expression meaning - “Sunburnt? Wanna see the photos!”
    Manami is making conversation by asking a question, and also expressing a need.

    4- 東京は寒いでしょ〜。 (Tōkyō wa samui deshō.)

    Her husband’s high school friend, Yui, uses an expression meaning - “Tokyo feels so cold to you.”
    Yui is suggesting that Tokyo’s weather must be a big change from Thailand’s.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • あーあ (āa): “oh well”
  • 帰って来る (kaette kuru): “to return, to come back”
  • おかえりなさい (okaerinasai): “Welcome back, welcome home”
  • おみやげ (o-miyage): “a small gift, a souvenir”
  • 焼ける (yakeru): “to get sunburned”
  • 見る (miru): “to take a look”
  • 東京 (Tōkyō): “Tokyo, the capital of Japan”
  • 寒い (samui): “cold”
  • How would you welcome a friend back from a trip?

    What would you post on social media regarding an event such as Hazuki’s nephew’s Coming of Age Day?

    21. It’s Time to Celebrate in Japanese

    For Yamato and his family, this is an important day and you wish to post something about it on social media. What would you say?

    Hazuki celebrates his nephew’s Coming-of-Age Day, posts an image of the event, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Mamoru’s post.

    甥っ子、成人おめでとう!飲みすぎには注意だぞ。 (Oikko, seijin omedetō! Nomisugi ni wa chūi da zo.)
    “Congrats on the Coming-of-Age day, my nephew! Be careful not to drink too much. ”

    1- 甥っ子、成人おめでとう! (Oikko, seijin omedetō! )

    First is an expression meaning “Congrats on the Coming-of-Age day, my nephew!”
    On Coming-of-Age Day, not only the new adults, but many other people also post a message congratulating “the new adults” on social media. On this day, many new adults, often dressed in Japanese traditional clothes, go to a ceremony in their neighborhood with the friends they grew up with.

    2- 飲みすぎには注意だぞ。 (Nomisugi ni wa chūi da zo.)

    Then comes the phrase - “Be careful not to drink too much.”
    It’s not unusual for young people to drink too much and make mistakes during any big celebration. But especially on Coming-of-Age day in Japan, some new adults go too wild. For this reason, it’s common for older adults to warn them about drinking, as well as congratulate them on their growing up.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Mamoru’s friends leave some comments.

    1- 気をつけまーす! (Ki o tsukemāsu!)

    Hazuki’s nephew, Yamato, uses an expression meaning - “I’ll be careful!”
    Yamato shows good intentions with this comment.

    2- もうハタチ?!この前まで小さかったのに。。 (Mō hatachi?! Kono mae made chiisakatta noni..)

    His high school friend, Yui, uses an expression meaning - “Already the 20th? He was so small not very long ago..”
    A common comment on how fast someone young has grown.

    3- おめでとう!いよいよ大人への仲間入りね。 (Omedetō! Iyoiyo otona e no nakamairi ne.)

    His wife’s high school friend, Manami, uses an expression meaning - “Congrats! He’s finally joined adulthood.”
    An optimistic, positive congratulation on this big day.

    4- 甥っ子さん、成人おめでとう!すっかり大人びて、見違えたな。 (Oikko-san, seijin omedetō! Sukkari otonabite, michigaeta na.)

    His supervisor, Norio, uses an expression meaning - “Congrats to your nephew! He’s so grown up that I could hardly recognize him.”
    In the same vein as the previous comments, people are expressing surprise at how big Yamato has grown.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • 甥っ子 (oikko): “nephew”
  • 成人 (seijin): “adult, coming-of-age”
  • 飲みすぎ (nomisugi): “overdrinking, excessive drinking”
  • 注意 (chūi): “caution, attention”
  • ハタチ (hatachi): “twenty-years old”
  • 仲間入り (nakamairi): “joining a group”
  • 大人びる (otonabiru): “to become grown-up”
  • 見違える (michigaeru): “to be beyond recognition”
  • If a friend posted something about a special day in their lives, which phrase would you use?

    Someone’s Coming of Age Day and public commemoration days are not the only special ones to remember!

    22. Posting about a Birthday on Social Media in Japanese

    Your friend or you are celebrating your birthday in an unexpected way. Be sure to share this on social media!

    Hazuki attends her own birthday party, posts an image of the event, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Hazuki’s post.

    今までで最高の誕生日だった! (Ima made de saikō no tanjōbi datta! )
    “The best birthday ever! ”

    1- 今までで最高の (Ima made de saikō no)

    First is an expression meaning “The best ever.”
    If you want to say that something is the best you ever had, you can add this expression before the noun you are referring to.

    2- 誕生日だった! (tanjōbi datta!)

    Then comes the phrase - “It was a birthday!”
    It’s common to get together with your friends by renting a space at a restaurant and celebrating your birthday in Japan. You’ll have a lot of good deals on your birthday, so make sure to check if they have any birthday deals before you book somewhere!

    COMMENTS

    In response, Hazuki’s friends leave some comments.

    1- 遅くなったけど、誕生日おめでとう! (Osoku natta kedo, tanjōbi omedetō!)

    Her college friend, Shō, uses an expression meaning - “It’s a bit late, but happy birthday!”
    Use this expression to show you are feeling frivolous.

    2- おめでとう。素敵な1年になりますように。 (Omedetō. Suteki na ichi-nen ni narimasu yō ni.)

    Her supervisor, Norio, uses an expression meaning - “Happy birthday. Hope you have a great year ahead.”
    This is a warmhearted, friendly well-wish.

    3- いい写真だね! (Ii shashin da ne!)

    Her high school friend, Manami, uses an expression meaning - “Nice pic!”
    Manami is complimenting Hazuki’s photographic skills.

    4- 私もお祝いに行きたかったな~。 (Watashi mo o-iwai ni ikitakatta nā.)

    Her husband’s high school friend, Yui, uses an expression meaning - “Wish I could have come to celebrate, too.”
    This friend is cleary feeling disappointed that he couldn’t attend.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • 今までで (ima made de): “so far, ever”
  • 最高 (saikō): “best”
  • 誕生日 (tanjōbi): “birthday”
  • 遅い (osoi): “late, slow”
  • 誕生日おめでとう (tanjōbi omedetō): “Happy birthday (casual expression)”
  • 素敵な (suteki na): “fabulous, excellent, fantastic”
  • 年 (nen): “counter for years”
  • 祝う (iwau): “to celebrate”
  • If a friend posted something about birthday greetings, which phrase would you use?

    23. Talking about New Year on Social Media in Japanese

    Impress your friend with your Japanese New Year’s wishes this year. Learn the phrases easily!

    Mamoru celebrates the New Year, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Mamoru’s post.

    あけましておめでとうございます!今年もよろしくお願いします。 (Akemashite omedetō gozaimasu! Kotoshi mo yoroshiku onegai shimasu.)
    “Happy New Year. May this year be another good one for us.”

    1- あけましておめでとうございます! (Akemashite omedetō gozaimasu! )

    First is an expression meaning “Happy New Year!”
    When you want to use Japanese New Year’s greetings, this phrase must be top of the list. Regardless of age and sex, Japanese speakers usually use this line to say “happy new year”.

    2- 今年もよろしくお願いします。 (Kotoshi mo yoroshiku onegai shimasu.)

    Then comes the phrase - “May this year be another good one for us.”
    It’s also common to use this wish for the new year. It’s a must-know expression when you greet someone in the new year. Even if New Year’s has past and you’re seeing someone for the first time, it’s polite to give this expression.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Mamoru’s friends leave some comments.

    1- あけおめ! (Akeome!)

    Hazuki’s nephew, Yamato, uses an expression meaning - “Happy New Year! ”
    A common wish for New Year.

    2- あけましておめでとう。新年会楽しみにしてるね。 (Akemashite omedetō. Shinnenkai tanoshimi ni shite ru ne.)

    His high school friend, Yui, uses an expression meaning - “Happy New Year. Looking forward to the new year party. ”
    Yui is expressing how he feels about the party.

    3- 明日初詣行こうぜ。 (Ashita hatsumōde ikō ze.)

    His college friend, Shō, uses an expression meaning - “Let’s make the first visit to a shrine tomorrow.”
    Making a suggestion is a good way to keep a conversation flowing.

    4- 去年も早かったなー。 (Kyonen mo hayakatta nā. )

    His supervisor, Norio, uses an expression meaning - “Last year went pretty quick (again).”
    Norio is a bit nostalgic again, commenting on how fast time flies.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • あけましておめでとうございます。 (Akemashite omedetō gozaimasu.): “Happy New Year. (formal)”
  • 今年 (kotoshi): “this year”
  • よろしくお願いします (yoroshiku onegai shimasu): “Best wishes”, “Nice to meet you”
  • あけおめ (akeome): “Shortened version of “happy New Year.” Used between friends.”
  • 新年会 (shinnenkai): “New Year’s party”
  • 楽しみにしている (tanoshimi ni shite iru): “to be looking forward to”
  • 初詣 (hatsumōde): “The first visit to a shrine in the new year, a traditional custom in Japan”
  • 早い (hayai): “early”
  • Which is your favorite phrase to post on social media during New Year?

    But before New Year’s Day comes another important day…

    24. What to Post on Christmas Day in Japanese

    What will you say in Japanese about Christmas?

    Hazuki celebrates Christmas with her family, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Hazuki’s post.

    メリークリスマス!旦那とイルミネーションを見に行ってきます。 (Merī Kurisumasu! Danna to iruminēshon o mi ni itte kimasu.)
    “Merry Christmas! Off to see some illuminations with my husband. ” The “illuminations” refered to here are Christmas lights.

    1- メリークリスマス! (Merī Kurisumasu! )

    First is an expression meaning: “Merry Christmas!”
    Because so few people in Japan are Christians, Christmas is not celebrated as it is in western countries. However, we do give greetings, decorate our houses a bit Christmas-y, exchange gifts and so on. It’s also more common to celebrate the holiday on Christmas Eve rather than Christmas Day. Also, we don’t have any Christmas holidays.

    2- 旦那とイルミネーションを見に行ってきます。 (Danna to iruminēshon o mi ni itte kimasu.)

    Then comes the phrase - “Off to see some illuminations with my husband.”
    Compared to western countries, it is rare to find someone who thinks of Christmas as a family event in Japan. Christmas in Japan is more of a romantic event for couples or a day to get your child a gift than to spend time with your family. For couples, going to see illuminations is a popular thing to do.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Hazuki’s friends leave some comments.

    1- どこもカップルばっかり!! (Doko mo kappuru bakkari!!)

    Her high school friend, Manami, uses an expression meaning - “Couples everywhere!!”
    Post an opinion to keep your social media friends informed.

    2- 今夜はホワイトクリスマスだね。 (Kon’ya wa howaito kurisumasu da ne.)

    Her neighbor, Yūko, uses an expression meaning - “Tonight is the white Christmas.”
    Another comment that will be suitable on a social media feed during this time.

    3- 俺は今年もクリスマスは仕事です。。彼女ほしい。 (Ore wa kotoshi mo kurisumasu wa shigoto desu.. Kanojo hoshii.)

    Her college friend, Shō, uses an expression meaning - “Working this Christmas as usual. I want a girl
    friend. ”
    As said, it’s not common to celebrate Christmas, but Shō seems envious, doesn’t he? He’d have liked to have romantic partner to go out with on this day.

    4- メリクリ!今年も1年早かったわ〜。 (Merikuri! Kotoshi mo ichi-nen hayakatta wā.)

    Her husband’s high school friend, Yui, uses an expression meaning - “Merry Christmas! This year went pretty quick for me.”
    Another comment about time.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • メリークリスマス (Merī Kurisumasu): “Merry Christmas”
  • イルミネーション (iruminēshon): “illuminations, lights”
  • 見に行く (mi ni iku): “go to watch”
  • カップル (kappuru): “couple”
  • ホワイトクリスマス (howaito kurisumasu): “white Christmas”
  • 彼女 (kanojo): “girl, she, girlfriend”
  • 仕事 (shigoto): “work, job”
  • メリクリ (merikuri): “Shortened version of “Merry Christmas.” Used between friends.”
  • If a friend posted something about Christmas greetings, which phrase would you use?

    So, the festive season is over! Yet, there will always be other days, besides a birthday, to wish someone well.

    25. Post about Your Anniversary in Japanese

    Some things deserve to be celebrated, like wedding anniversaries. Learn which Japanese phrases are meaningful and best suited for this purpose!

    Mamoru celebrates his wedding anniversary with his wife, posts an image of them, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Mamoru’s post.

    初めての結婚記念日ディナー! (Hajimete no kekkon kinenbi dinā!)
    “Wedding anniversary dinner for the first time!”

    1- 初めての (Hajimete no )

    First is an expression meaning “for the first time.”
    When you want to post something you’ve done for the first time, you can add this expression at the beginning.

    2- 結婚記念日ディナー! (kekkon kinenbi dinā!)

    Then comes the phrase - “wedding anniversary dinner!”
    Like in many western countries, it’s common for couples to celebrate wedding anniversaries in Japan. The 25th anniversary is also called the “Silver anniversary,” and the 50th anniversary is called the “Golden anniversary.”

    COMMENTS

    In response, Mamoru’s friends leave some comments.

    1- ラブラブ! (Raburabu!)

    His wife’s high school friend, Manami, uses an expression meaning - “Lovey-dovey!”
    Manami posts something humorous and teasing.

    2- 夫婦円満の秘訣は? (Fūfu enman no hiketsu wa?)

    His college friend, Shō, uses an expression meaning - “What’s your secret to maintaining a harmonious marriage?”
    The single guy is curious how they manage to maintain a good marriage.

    3- 理想の夫婦だね。 (Risō no fūfu da ne.)

    His high school friend, Yui, uses an expression meaning - “Ideal couple.”
    Complimenting them, Yui leaves a positive post.

    4- 今日だけは、けんかしないように。 (Kyō dake wa, kenka shinai yō ni.)

    The nephew, Yamato, uses an expression meaning - “Just for today, try not to fight.”
    Yamato is being a bit of a wise-nose again, or he’s trying to be funny!

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • 初めての (hajimete no): “for the first time “
  • 結婚記念日 (kekkon kinenbi): “wedding anniversary”
  • ディナー (dinā): “dinner”
  • 夫婦 (fūfu): “married couple”
  • 夫婦円満 (fūfu enman): “harmonious marriage”
  • 秘訣 (hiketsu): “secret, trick”
  • 理想 (risō): “ideal, dream”
  • けんかする (kenka suru): “to fight”
  • If a friend posted something about Anniversary greetings, which phrase would you use?

    Conclusion

    Learning to speak a new language will always be easier once you know key phrases that everybody uses. These would include commonly-used expressions for congratulations and best wishes, etc.

    Master these in fun ways with Learn Japanese! We offer a variety of tools to individualize your learning experience, including using cell phone apps, audiobooks, iBooks and many more. Never wonder again what to say on social media!

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    Bunka no hi: Celebrating Culture Day in Japan

    Bunka no hi, celebrated each year in November, is a relatively new Japanese cultural holiday that has experienced some adaptations over time. Originating during the reign of Emperor Meiji, and originally called Meijisetsu, this holiday was a day for Japan to celebrate the birth of its emperor until 1948.

    In this article, you’ll learn the most pertinent facts about Culture Day in Japan: activities, meaning, and what role the Constitution of Japan played in evolving the holiday into what it is today.

    At JapanesePod101.com, we hope to make every aspect of your learning journey both fun and informative!

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    1. What is Culture Day in Japan?

    Culture Day is a Japanese national holiday for appreciating peace and freedom, and was originally put in place to celebrate the birthday of Emperor Meiji. The entire week from November 1 to November 7 is designated as Education and Culture Week, with a focus on Culture Day. Various events such as public lectures and hands-on activities are held, and admission to art galleries and museums is free.

    2. When is Culture Day?

    November Holiday

    On November 3, Culture Day in Japan is celebrated. Later in this article, you’ll discover why this date in particular was chosen. ;)

    3. Japan Culture Day Events & Celebrations

    On Culture Day, Japan puts on events with a deep connection to culture. For example, at the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo, a Fall Festival is held which is dedicated to traditional arts such as Bugaku and horseback archery. In Asakusa in Tokyo, and in Shiga Prefecture, parades are held in which people dress in costumes from different eras to demonstrate Japan’s history. In Kanagawa Prefecture, a reenactment of the Daimyo’s Procession from the Edo era is also held. Events such as these provide the opportunity to once again look at the culture that has been passed down through the ages.

    At the Imperial Palace, an Order of Culture Ceremony is held. During this culture award ceremony, people who have made remarkable achievements in the development and improvement of science, technology, culture, and the arts are awarded a medal. In recent years, world-renowned conductor Seiji Ozawa, leading architect Tadao Ando, and famous fashion designer Issey Miyake have all been honored. Images of the emperor personally presenting the awards always appear on the news.

    For National Culture Day, Japanese arts festivals sponsored by the Agency for Cultural Affairs are also held. During this time, those with a proven track record of excellence in the performing arts give performances. In addition to this, from all of the participating performances and works of art, including those approved by the Executive Committee, a grand prize, excellence award, and newcomer award are presented to those who have made great contributions to the promotion of art and culture.

    4. The Japanese Constitution & Culture Day

    Child Doing Crafts

    Do you know which law caused this holiday to be known as Culture Day?

    The answer is the Japanese constitution. The constitution was proclaimed on November 3, 1946. Because of its focus on peace and culture, the anniversary of the proclamation of the constitution was designated Culture Day.

    Incidentally, the Japanese constitution was actually enacted six months later, on May 3. This is also a holiday, known as Constitution Day.

    5. Must-Know Vocabulary for Bunka No Hi in Japan

    Couple Looking at Painting

    • 劇場
      げきじょう
      Theater
    • 十一月
      じゅういちがつ
      November
    • 美術館
      びじゅつかん
      Art museum
    • 美術館
      びじゅつかん
      Museum
    • 文化の日
      ぶんかのひ
      Culture Day
    • 文化
      ぶんか
      Culture
    • 休日
      きゅうじつ
      Day off
    • 文化勲章
      ぶんかくんしょう
      The Order of Culture
    • 明治天皇
      めいじてんのう
      Emperor Meiji
    • 授業参観
      じゅぎょうさんかん
      Class observation day
    • 工作
      こうさく
      Craft
    • 文化祭
      ぶんかさい
      Cultural festival

    To hear each of these vocabulary words pronounced, and see each one accompanied by a relevant image, be sure to check out our Japanese Culture Day vocabulary list!

    Parting Words…

    We hope you enjoyed learning about Bunka no hi with us, and that you took away something valuable from this lesson.

    Does your country have a cultural holiday? If so, how do you celebrate it? Let us know in the comments; we always love to hear from you!

    Learning about a country’s culture may be the most enriching and exciting aspect of trying to master a language. If you want to continue delving into Japanese culture, you may be interested in the following pages:

    We know that learning Japanese isn’t easy, but at JapanesePod101.com, we do everything we can to make it fun! You really can master the language and come to understand Japanese culture, and we’ll be here with help and encouragement on each step of your language-learning journey!

    Happy learning!

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    How to Say Sorry in Japanese

    Greetings are the first thing you learn when you start to learn a new language. “Hello” and “Thank you” are essential, but “Sorry” becomes even more important when it comes to good communication in a foreign culture which often has different customs and values from your original culture. Thus, “sorry” in studying Japanese is one of the most vital things you’ll learn.

    One of the noteworthy features of Japanese apologies is that there are various ways to say sorry. How to say sorry in Japanese has variations, both formal and informal, and in the severity of what you’re apologizing for and who you’re apologizing to. Japanese apologies also have to accompany particular gestures in some situations.

    Let’s take a detailed look at how to say sorry in Japanese words! Start with a bonus, and download your FREE cheat sheet - How to Improve Your Japanese Skills! (Logged-In Member Only)

    1. Japanese Apology from the Cultural Perspective
    2. “I’m Sorry” in Japanese — Formal
    3. “I’m Sorry” in Japanese — Informal
    4. Conclusion: How Japanesepod101.com Can Help You Learn More Japanese

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    1. Japanese Apology from the Cultural Perspective

    Japanese greetings are not only words of greeting, but also reflect the very Japanese culture and values, much more so than in other languages. The same is true of Japanese apologies, which are very important for avoiding conflicts and keeping good harmony with others in the society.

    和 (wa) or “Harmony” is one of the most important values in Japan. It’s the concept that people prefer to maintain a peaceful unity and conformity with others, and it often involves priority to keep a harmonious state within a social group over its members’ personal interests.

    Some Japanese apology words, such as Sumimasen or Gomen (see below), can be often used as a substitution for “thank you” which also contains a nuance of “gratitude.”

    This may be very difficult for foreigners to understand, but in Japan, when other people do a favor for you, you’re thankful for it and also feel sorry for using their time and effort for you. In this case, those Japanese apology words are used to express both “thank you” and “sorry.” This comes from an idea in Japanese culture that an attitude of politeness and caring for others is valued, and troubling others is considered bad.


    2. “I’m Sorry” in Japanese — Formal

    Japanese Woman Bowing in Apology

    1- Possible Situations and to Whom to Apologize

    Formal Japanese apology words are typically used in official circumstances, such as at work, restaurants, shops, or other official office. They often involve people whom you’re not so close with and situations where certain kinds of official relationships exist: staff/manager, client/customer service provider, etc.

    2- Apology Level: General らく

    These are very common words and gestures for saying sorry in Japanese in the formal style. You can use these in most social situations.

    1. Gestures

    When you apologize, you’re supposed to show how sincerely sorry you are for your mistake to the offended person or people (otherwise, it would make them angrier and make the situation even worse!).

    The common gesture is to place both of your arms and hands straight along your body, or place one of your hands in front of your lower belly, covering it with your other hand. With either of these gestures, you make a “sorry” expression with your face and your head, and slightly tilt down like when you bow.

    2. Words and Phrases

    すみません (Sumimasen) — I’m sorry

    This is the most common “sorry” in spoken Japanese. This can be translated as “I’m sorry” or “Excuse me” in Japanese. This word is often used as a light apology and can also be “Thank you” in some situations as mentioned earlier.

    You say Sumimasen when you bump into someone on the street, when you thrust your way through a crowd, when you spill a glass of water and a waitress has to clean it up, etc.

    Example:

    • すみません、水をこぼしてしまいました。
      • Sumimasen, mizu o koboshite shimaimashita.
      • I’m sorry, I spilled the water.
    • すみません、切符はどこで買えますか。
      • Sumimasen, kippu wa doko de kaemasu?
      • Excuse me, where can I buy a ticket?

    (When someone picked up something you dropped)

    • すみません、ポケットから落ちたのに気づきませんでした。
      • Sumimasen, poketto kara ochita no ni kizukimasen deshita.
      • Thank you, I didn’t notice it dropped from a pocket.

    すみませんでした (Sumimasen deshita) — I am very sorry

    This is the past tense of Sumimasen and is more serious. The past tense often sounds more formal and polite in Japanese when it comes to apologies. Unlike Sumimasen, this word doesn’t have the meaning of “Excuse me” or “Thank you.”

    Example:

    (When you made some mistakes at work and apologize to your boss)

    • すみませんでした、正しいデータで書類をすぐに修正します。
      • Sumimasen deshita, tadashii dēta de shorui o sugu ni shūsei shimasu.
      • I’m sorry, I will revise the document with correct data immediately.

    (When you broke a glass at a restaurant)

    • グラスを壊してしまい、すみませんでした。
      • Gurasu o kowashite shimai, sumimasen deshita.
      • I’m sorry for breaking a glass.

    Wine Glass Shattering

    失礼しました (Shitsurei shimashita) — I’m sorry (for my mistake).

    This is another formal and general way to say sorry in Japanese. Shitsurei literally translates as “impoliteness, rudeness, or bad manners,” and the phrase means “I was rude” or “I had bad manners.”

    This word can be used the same way as Sumimasen deshita. If you want to say it more politely, use itashimashita instead of shimashita. Itashimashita is the respectful way to say “I did.”

    Example:

    (When a waiter brought you the wrong dish)

    • 失礼しました、すぐに味噌ラーメンをお持ちします。
      • Shitsurei shimashita, sugu ni miso rāmen o o-mochi shimasu.
      • I’m sorry, I will bring Miso Ramen as soon as possible.

    (To your client)

    • 間違った商品の値段をお伝えしまして、失礼いたしました。
      • Machigatta shōhin no nedan o o-tsutae shimashite, shitsurei itashimashita.
      • I’m sorry that I told you the wrong price of the product.

    3- Apology Level: Very Deep Apology

    3 Ways to Say Sorry

    The very deep apology in the formal style is quite serious and is used when the severity of your offense is considered very high. In order to show your serious and sincere apology, adjective words such as Hijō ni (“greatly”), Taihen (“terribly”), or Makoto ni (“truely”) are often added in front of the following apology words.

    1. Gestures

    For a deep and sincere apology, place both of your arms and hands straight along your body and bow 60 degrees forward, with your head and face down. If it’s a more serious situation, bow 90 degrees. (The different degrees of a bow show the level of severity.)

    In the case of an extremely severe situation, you can express your seriousness with Dogeza style. Dogeza involves both of your knees down, your hands placed on the ground, and prostrating yourself with your forehead touching the floor.

    In normal daily life, however, Dogeza is the last gesture to do in apology, unless you run over someone with your car and are going to apologize to the victim’s family!

    2. Words and Phrases

    申し訳ありませんでした (Mōshiwake arimasen deshita) — I am terribly sorry / I sincerely apologize

    This is a polite formal apology and you should use this when you’ve done something very wrong.

    The word Mōshi comes from the honorific word Mōsu which means “to say” in the form of Kenjō-go. While saying it, you humble yourself or lower your rank below that of the person you’re speaking to.

    Wake means “reason,” Arimasen means “there is no,” and Deshita is the past tense. The phrase can be literally translated as: “There was no reason/excuse to say (for what I have done).”

    Example:

    (When something you bought is already broken and you take it to the shop, a staff member will say this)

    • 大変申し訳ありませんでした。新しいものに交換します。
      • Taihen mōshiwake arimasen deshita. Atarashii mono ni kōkan shimasu.
      • I am terribly sorry. I will replace it with a new one.

    (To your boss)

    • 会議に遅刻してしまい、誠に申し訳ありませんでした。
      • Kaigi ni chikoku shite shimai, makoto ni mōshiwake arimasen deshita.
      • I am truly sorry that I came late for the meeting.

    申し訳ございませんでした (Mōshiwake gozaimasen deshita) — I am terribly sorry / I sincerely apologize.

    This is similar to Mōshiwake arimasen deshita, but this phrase is even more polite and respectful.
    Gozaimasen is a negative of Gozaimasu which means “there is/are” in a very polite and respectful way.

    Example:

    (The president of a company that has conducted an accounting fraud)

    • 大変申し訳ございませんでした。詳細を調査してしかるべき対応をします。
      • Taihen mōshiwake gozaimasen deshita. Shōsai o chōsa shite shikarubeki taiō o shimasu.
      • We are terribly sorry. We will investigate the details and take the appropriate actions.

    (When you bumped your car into someone else’s car)

    • 大変申し訳ございませんでした。損害の賠償をします。
      • Taihen mōshiwake gozaimasen deshita. Songai no baishō o shimasu.
      • I am terribly sorry. I will reimburse for the damage.

    お詫び申し上げます (O-wabi mōshiagemasu) — I make a deep apology

    This is another very polite way to say sorry in Japanese. This phrase is usually used after you apologize with mōshiwake arimasen deshita or mōshiwake gozaimasen deshita. The word O-wabi means “apology” in a polite way, and the phrase is translated as “I state apology” in a polite and respectful way.

    Example:

    • 大変申し訳ございませんでした。お詫び申し上げます。
      • Taihen mōshiwake gozaimasen deshita. O-wabi mōshiagemasu.
      • We are terribly sorry. I make a humble apology.

    Man Extending Hand in Apology


    3. “I’m Sorry” in Japanese — Informal

    1- Possible Situations

    Informal apologies are used among very close people, such as family, friends, boyfriend/girlfriend, and people you know very well. Note that informal apologies in Japanese should never be used during official occasions because it sounds very casual and it would make things worse.

    Saying Sorry

    2- Apology Level: Light

    These apology words are used in situations where you did something wrong or unpleasant but not so very bad.

    1. Gestures

    For light apologies, usually you just say sorry without any gestures. In some cases, casually put your palms together in front of your face.

    2. Words and Phrases

    ごめん (Gomen) — Sorry

    The word Gomen originally meant “forgive” or “pardon” in a polite way in Japanese, and it was used to ask for forgiveness or pardon. Nowadays, it has become shorter so that we just use the word meaning “sorry.” When you want to say it in a cuter way or with affection, you add ne to the end: Gomen ne.

    Example:

    (After a couple fought over something)

    • A (male):
      • ごめん。俺が悪かった。
      • Gomen. Ore ga warukatta.
      • Sorry. I was bad.
    • B (female):
      • ごめんね。私も。
      • Gomen ne. Watashi mo.
      • Sorry. Me too.

    (When you are late to meet your friend)

    • 遅れてごめん。
      • Okurete gomen.
      • Sorry for being late.

    失礼 (Shitsurei) — Sorry / Excuse me

    Shitsurei is the short and casual version of Shitsurei shimashita. This can also be used as “Excuse me.”

    Example:

    (After you burp/fart)

    • 失礼!
      • Shitsurei!
      • Sorry / Excuse me!

      
    (When you thrust your way through a crowd of friends)
      

    • 失礼、通るよ。
      • Shitsurei, tōru yo.
      • Sorry, let me pass.

    悪い (Warui) — My bad

    It literally means “bad,” but in this case you can use this phrase as “My bad!” However, it sounds a little rough and this word is used mainly by men. Also note that in the example below, you’ll find a variation of how to say sorry I’m late in Japanese.

    Example:

    (When a boyfriend is late for dinner at a restaurant)

    • A (male):
      • 悪い、ちょっと遅れる。先に行って何か頼んでて。
      • Warui, chotto okureru. Saki ni itte nani ka tanonde te.
      • Sorry, I’ll be a bit late. You can go (to a restaurant) first and order something.
    • B (female):
      • わかった。飲み物頼んでおくね。
      • Wakatta. Nomimono tanonde oku ne.
      • Alright. I will order drinks.

    Man and Woman at Nice Restaurant

    3- Apology Level: General

    The following phrase is the common, informal way to say sorry in Japanese. It’s casual, but still sounds polite. In some cases, this phrase can be used in semi-formal occasions.

    1. Gestures

    There is no particular gesture you should do for informal and general apologies. However, it’s a good idea to show your sincere feelings using facial expressions and through the tone of your voice.

    2. Words and Phrases

    ごめんなさい (Gomennasai) — I am sorry

    Gomennasai is a more polite version of Gomen.

    Example:

    • ごめんなさい。お母さんのパソコン壊しちゃった。
      • Gomennasai. O-kā-san no pasokon kowashichatta.
      • I’m sorry. I broke mom’s computer.

     (At a restaurant)
       

    • ごめんなさい。やっぱり注文はカルボナーラに変更したいです。
      • Gomennasai. Yappari chūmon wa carubonāra ni henkō shitai desu.
      • I’m sorry. I want to change my order to Carbonara.

    4- Apology Level: Deep Apology

    When you want to express your deep apology in informal occasions, you can add Hontō ni (“truly”) in front of Gomennasai. It looks more polite and sincere when you hold your hands in front of your lower belly, or put your palms together in front of your face.

    Example:

    • 本当にごめんなさい。お父さんの車で事故おこしちゃった。
      • Hontō ni gomennasai. O-tō-san no kuruma de jiko okoshichatta.
      • I’m very sorry. I made a car accident with the father’s car.
    • 本当にごめんなさい。君に借りた本を失くした。
      • Hontō ni gomennasai. Kimi ni karita hon o nakushita.
      • I’m very sorry. I lost your book that I borrowed.


    Conclusion: How Japanesepod101.com Can Help You Learn More Japanese

    We hope this article on how to say sorry in Japanese is helpful and that you have a better understanding of the Japanese language and Japanese culture. You should now know many Japanese ways to say sorry, as “sorry” in learning Japanese is vital.

    If you’d like to learn more about the Japanese language, you’ll find more useful content on JapanesePod101.com. We provide a variety of free lessons for you to improve your Japanese language skills.

    We also have a YouTube channel where you can enjoy learning the Japanese language by watching videos and listening to actual Japanese pronunciation. If you’re keen on how to read and write Japanese, which consists of three alphabets (hiragana, katakana, and kanji), you can learn more about Japanese gestures, basic Japanese, daily Japanese conversations, 100 Japanese phrases for beginners, and much more.

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    Taiiku No Hi: Health and Sports Day in Japan

    From time to time, we all need to reevaluate our health—our dietary habits, our exercise patterns (or lack thereof), and our ability to live each day well. On Health and Sports Day, the people of Japan do just this. This holiday encourages and inspires good health and more exercise at every level of society, but most especially for children and young adults.

    In this article, you’ll learn about Health-Sports Day in Japan and how it affects the health and lives of people all over the country.

    At JapanesePod101.com, we hope to make every aspect of your language-learning journey both fun and informative!

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    1. What is Health and Sports Day in Japan?

    Health and Sports Day is a national Japanese holiday dedicated to inspiring a love of sports, exercise, and good health. Further, people are encouraged to think about the role of exercise and health in their daily lives.

    Do you know what event inspired the creation of Health-Sports Day?

    The correct answer is the Tokyo Olympics. On October 10, 1964, the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympic Games was held in great fanfare.

    To commemorate this event, two years later, from 1966, October 10 became a national holiday to mark Sports Day. After this, since 2000, and in line with the Happy Monday System, Sports Day was moved to the second Monday of October. This means that every year, many people get to enjoy the feeling of playing sports under a fine autumn sky.

    2. When is Japanese Health Sports Day?

    Many Sports Items

    Each year, Japan celebrates Health-Sports Day on the second Monday of October. For your convenience, here’s a list of this holiday’s date for the next ten years.

    • 2019: October 14
    • 2020: October 12
    • 2021: October 11
    • 2022: October 10
    • 2023: October 9
    • 2024: October 14
    • 2025: October 13
    • 2026: October 12
    • 2027: October 11
    • 2028: October 9

    3. Celebrating Sports Day in Japan

    On National Health and Sports Day, Japanese kindergartens, schools, companies, and regional organizations across the country hold events such as track meets. On top of relays and races, other more game-like events such as toss-ball, tug of war, and scavenger hunts, are also held.

    There are also events such as sports festivals, physical fitness tests, and marathons, which the entire family can participate in. On Health and Sports Day, Japanese people can enjoy the autumn season, which is known in Japan as the season for sports.

    At kindergarten and elementary school sports events, families also run in order to support their running child. A common sight on Health Sports Day in Japan is that of fathers holding video cameras, lined up in the best position for taking a video while cheering loudly through the viewfinder. The sight of children running with all their might is very cute and is sure to make anyone cheer excitedly. At lunchtime, the children eat lunch with their families.

    Each municipality also organizes a sports event for Health and Sports Day in Japan. These include events where parents and children can enjoy Frisbee, bowling, and marathons. Some places also offer health assessments for adults to raise awareness of their own lack of exercise.

    On Health-Sports Day, Japanese amateur teams in sports such as soccer and baseball form inter-league games and have fun while breaking a sweat.

    4. Fine Weather, Indeed

    Two People Jogging

    Statistically, this day has a high likelihood of having good weather. According to the statistics, in the thirty-four years since Sports Day was first held on October 10, there has been a more than eighty-five percent chance of no rain in Tokyo.

    5. Essential Vocabulary for Health-Sports Day in Japan

    Taking Care of Health

    Here’s some essential vocabulary you should know to talk about Health and Sports Day in Japanese!

    • スポーツ (スポーツ) — sports
    • ジョギング (ジョギング) — jogging
    • 体育の日 (たいいくのひ) — Health-Sports Day
    • 運動 (うんどう) — exercise
    • 健康 (けんこう) — health
    • 運動会 (うんどうかい) — sports festival
    • 体力測定 (たいりょく そくてい) — measurement of physical fitness
    • 運動不足 (うんどうぶそく) — lack of exercise
    • スポーツに親しむ (スポーツにしたしむ) — familiar with sports
    • スポーツの秋 (スポーツのあき) — Autumn is the season for sports.
    • 1964年夏季オリンピック (1964ねん かきオリンピック) — 1964 Summer Olympics

    To hear each of these vocabulary words pronounced, alongside relevant images, check out our Japanese Health-Sports Day vocabulary list!

    How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

    We hope you enjoyed learning about Health-Sports Day in Japan with us, and learned something new.

    Are there any holidays or special events in your country to encourage better health? Tell us about it in the comments; we love hearing from you!

    To continue learning about Japanese culture and the language, explore JapanesePod101.com. We provide an array of fun and effective learning tools for every learner, at every level:

    • Insightful blog posts on a range of cultural and language-related topics
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    At JapanesePod101, we know that you can master the language and culture of beautiful Japan. We care about your learning experience, and will be here with help and guidance every step of the way!

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    Tanabata: The Star Festival in Japan - Vega and Altair’s Love Story

    Do you know why the Japanese focus on the Altair and Vega stars one night a year? This has to do with the Tanabata story, which tells about the love between a cow-herder and a weaver (we’ll give you the full story later in this article!).

    During the Star Festival, Japan sets its eyes to the night sky and the Milky Way, hoping that the two constellations, which represent the cow-herder and weaver, will meet.

    The Star Festival Japan celebrates offers a fun and unique glance at Japanese culture and thought. Learning about the Tanabata Festival is a wonderful way to improve your language skills, too, as knowing a country’s culture is key to mastering its language!

    At JapanesePod101.com, we want to make this learning journey both fun and informative for you!

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    1. What is the Japanese Star Festival?

    According to the legend, this is the one day a year that 織姫 (Orihime), meaning “the weaving princess,” and 彦星 (Hikoboshi), meaning “the cow herder,” can spend together. On this night, the Japanese people are more concerned about the weather than on any other night, as the weather dictates whether or not the two can see each other.

    2. When is the Tanabata Festival?

    July 7 is the Star Festival

    The Star Festival, or 七夕 (Tanabata), means “the evening of the seventh,” and is celebrated on July 7th each year. This day has been celebrated in Japan since the Edo Period (1603 - 1867), and because of differences between the Lunar and Gregorian calendars, Tanabata festivals are actually held on both July 7th and August 7th.

    3. How is Tanabata Celebrated?

    China, Vietnam, and Korea have their own versions of the Star Festival, but in Japan, people write wishes on strips of paper and hang them up on bamboo leaves along with decorations shaped like stars and such. Among the wishes written by the children at preschools and elementary schools, there are sometimes those that say, in shaky, just-learned letters, “I wish that Orihime and Hikoboshi can meet each other.” Isn’t that cute?

    The most famous festival is held in Sendai from the fifth to the eight of August. Near Tokyo, in Hiratsuka, Kanagawa, the largest festival in the Kanto area is held for a few days around July 7th.

    At these festivals, people gather on the main street where there are decorations, food stalls, and sometimes entertainment, including music and dancing. The common traditional food of Tanabata includes たこ焼き (takoyaki), 焼きそば (yakisoba), and cold beer.

    There is also a well-known song that is sung during Tanabata, 笹の葉・ささのは・sasa no ha, which means “bamboo leaves.”

    4. The Tanabata Story

    Star Festival Event

    So, what is the Japanese Star Festival story? Well…

    A long time ago, Orihime, the daughter of the King of Heaven, and Hikoboshi, a cattle herd, fell in love. Orihime’s work was to weave at the loom, while Hikoboshi’s job was to take care of the cattle. Both were extremely hard-working, so the King of Heaven gave them permission to be married.

    However, both Orihime and Hikoboshi enjoyed married life so much that as soon as they were married, they stopped working. Angered, the King of Heaven put the Milky Way between Orihime and Hikoboshi, separating them. But, feeling some pity for the two, the King of Heaven permitted them to meet just once a year, at the Star Festival.

    The Milky Way has no bridge, but when the Star Festival comes around, birds called European magpies suddenly come flying out of nowhere, and build a bridge for the two of them…

    And this is the story of the Star Festival.

    So why do people care about the weather on the night of the Star Festival, you ask? Because if it rains, the volume of water in the Milky Way rises, so the European magpies can’t build a bridge, meaning that Orihime and Hikoboshi can’t meet each other.

    5. Vocab You Need to Know for the Star Festival

    Orihime

    Here’s some vocabulary you should know for the Japanese Star Festival!

    • アルタイル (アルタイル) — Altair
    • ベガ (ベガ) — Vega
    • 天の川 (あまのがわ) — Milky Way
    • 七夕 (たなばた) — Star Festival
    • 浴衣 (ゆかた) — Yukata
    • 装飾 (そうしょく) — Decoration
    • 織姫 (おりひめ) — Orihime
    • 願い事 (ねがいごと) — Wish
    • 短冊 (たんざく) — Small piece of paper
    • 7月7日 (しちがつ なのか) — July 7th
    • 彦星 (ひこぼし) — Hikoboshi
    • 笹 (ささ) — Bamboo leaf
    • 笹飾り (ささかざり) — Bamboo decoration

    To hear each vocabulary word pronounced, check out our Japanese Star Festival vocabulary list!

    Conclusion

    What do you think about the Japanese Star Festival and its story? Did you learn anything new today? Let us know in the comments; we always love to hear from you!

    To continue learning about Japanese culture and the language, visit us at JapanesePod101.com! We provide fun and practical learning tools for every learner, including free Japanese vocabulary lists and more insightful blog posts like this one! You can also take advantage of our online community forums to chat with fellow students or ask for help! By upgrading to a Premium Plus account, you can start relishing in the benefits of our MyTeacher program, which allows you to learn Japanese one-on-one with your own teacher!

    Continue studying and practicing, and you’ll be speaking, reading, and writing Japanese like a native before you know it. And JapanesePod101 will be here with you on each step of this journey!

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