Learn New Words FAST with this Lesson’s Vocab Review List

Get this lesson’s key vocab, their translations and pronunciations. Sign up for your Free Lifetime Account Now and get 7 Days of Premium Access including this feature.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Notes

Unlock In-Depth Explanations & Exclusive Takeaways with Printable Lesson Notes

Unlock Lesson Notes and Transcripts for every single lesson. Sign Up for a Free Lifetime Account and Get 7 Days of Premium Access.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Transcript


Jessi: Hi, everyone こんにちは! I'm Jessi.
Naomi: こんにちは! And I'm Naomi.
Jessi: Welcome to Absolute Beginner Season 1 , Lesson 1 - Say Hello in Japanese No Matter the Time of Day. Our first lesson of Absolute Beginner.
Naomi: A brand new series!
Jessi: That's right. This is a brand new series at JapanesePod101.com. As you may have guessed, this series is designed for absolute beginners to Japanese. And some people might be thinking, well, how is it different from the newbie series? Well, this Absolute Beginner series is recommended for those who aren't interested in studying grammar and learning the meaning behind every particle and piece of the sentence. Instead, you'll learn Japanese through easy to use sentence patterns and expressions.
Naomi: Right. We aim to make Japanese simple and fun.
Jessi: Exactly.
Naomi: The first 5 lessons are called the Introduction Lessons.
Jessi: Yes. These first 5 lessons will teach you the very basics of Japanese, the essentials.
Naomi: You can't speak Japanese without knowing these.
Jessi: Definitely. After the introduction lessons, you'll follow the story of Taylor Allen, an American who is hosting some Japanese family members at his home.
Naomi: Please stay tuned. You won't want to miss it!
Jessi: For now, let's get started with Introduction Lesson 1! Naomi, what are we going to learn in this lesson?
Naomi: Well, did you catch the phrase we said in the beginning?
Jessi: Ah, こんにちは, which means hello, right?
Naomi: Yes. We'll learn this and many other basic greetings in Japanese.
Jessi: Sounds good. Oh, but before we get into anything, there's something important I want to mention about Japanese.
Naomi: Oh, what's that?
Jessi: The fact that there are different politeness levels. At the beginning stages, we divide them into groups - formal speech and informal speech.
Naomi: Good point! In Japanese, the level of speech you use depends on who you're talking to.
Jessi: Exactly. For example, if you are talking to a stranger, someone older than you or someone you don't know very well, even if they're a family member, you will use formal speech.
Naomi: If you are talking to close friends or family, you will use informal speech.
Jessi: Right, and in this series...
Naomi: We will use mostly formal speech.
Jessi: Yes, and you may wonder why that is. Here is why. If you use formal speech, you're safe in pretty much any situation. Even if the situation calls for informal speech you're not going to offend anyone. On the other hand, if you use informal speech in a situation where you should be using formal speech, you could come off as rude.
Naomi: Right, sticking with formal speech at first is safe!
Jessi: Yes, but we will introduce you to informal words and phrases throughout the series as well. Okay, so let's get started! Please listen closely to the following phrases.

Lesson conversation

Male: おはよう。
Female: おはようございます。
Male: こんにちは。
Female: こんにちは。
Male: こんばんは!
Female: こんばんは。
English Host: Now, let's listen to it with the translation.
Male: おはよう。
Jessi: Morning!
Female: おはようございます。
Jessi: Good morning.
Jessi: Hello!
Female: こんにちは。
Jessi: Hello.
Male: こんばんは!
Jessi: Good evening!
Female: こんばんは。
Jessi: Good evening.

Lesson focus

Jessi: Okay, so we just heard three sets of phrases.
Naomi: Yes, phrases to use in the morning, during the daytime, and at night.
Jessi: These are phrases you use when you first see someone that day. So basically, they're greetings.
Naomi: Right.
Jessi: We aren't going to go in order from morning to night though. We're going to start with the one that you probably already know. Naomi, which one is that?
Naomi: こんにちは!
Jessi: こんにちは!Now, this word is well-known even among people who don't speak Japanese, but those people may not know the correct pronunciation! Can we hear it again, Naomi? Listen carefully.
Naomi: こんにちは
Jessi: こんにちは. You hold the "n" sound for a little bit, don't you?
Naomi: That's right. こ「ん」にちは.
Jessi: Listeners, now you try it! Repeat after Naomi.
Naomi: こんにちは!
Jessi: Great! Now, we can use this word anytime, right?
Naomi: Yes! This is your basic, standard greeting in Japanese. But, there are even better expressions to use in the morning and evening.
Jessi: Yes! Let's hear them again. What do we say in the morning?
Naomi: おはようございます!
Jessi: おはようございます。
Naomi: This means "good morning!"
Jessi: Good morning! おはようございます!
Naomi: おはようございます!
Jessi: Now it's the listeners turn! Repeat after Naomi.
Naomi: おはようございます。
Naomi: Great job!
Jessi: Naomi, I have a question! In the beginning of the lesson, the first person said just おはよう, and the second person said おはようございます。 The first one is shorter, but why is that?
Naomi: Good question! Remember how we talked about the two types of speech?
Jessi: Ah, yes! Formal speech and informal speech?
Naomi: Yes! The longer version, おはようございます, is formal speech. If you take off the last part, ございます, you end up with おはよう. This is informal speech.
Jessi: Ah, so with close friends and family members, we can just say おはよう!
Naomi: Exactly. With all other people, you should use おはようございます。
Jessi: Ah, that's good to know! So, let's show an example of how both are used. Let's say Naomi is my boss, and I'm her subordinate. When we meet each other at work first thing in the morning, we might say something like this.
Naomi: おはよう!
Jessi: おはようございます!
Naomi: Just like that.
Jessi: Okay, and now we have one more phrase to go over - the one we use in the evening. Which is...?
Naomi: こんばんは!
Jessi: こんばんは!
Naomi: This means "good evening".
Jessi: When do you start to use this?
Naomi: Hmm, I'd say when it starts to get dark.
Jessi: Ah. So then you can switch from こんにちは to こんばんは.
Naomi: That's right. こんばんは.
Jessi: こんばんは. Now it's the listener's turn! Please repeat after Naomi.
Naomi: こんばんは!
Jessi: Great! Now we've gone over all three phrases. Let's review them all again.
What do we say in the morning?
Naomi: おはようございます。
Jessi: During the daytime?
Naomi: こんにちは。
Jessi: And how about in the evening?
Naomi: こんばんは。
Jessi: Excellent! Now it's time for you to respond to Naomi. Kind of like a mini roleplay. Imagine Naomi walking up to you and saying the following phrases. How would you respond? Here we go.
Naomi: おはようございます
Jessi: The next one is:
Naomi: こんにちは。
Jessi: And the last one:
Naomi: こんばんは
Jessi: Great! Awesome work, you guys! If you said the exact same thing back to Naomi, you're all set. You're now armed with 3 essential greetings in Japanese.
Naomi: You've taken a big first step! And with that, that's all for this lesson.


Jessi: So, everyone, how did it go? Please leave us a comment. There's nothing we love more than hearing from our listeners.
Naomi: Yes, please let us hear from you!
Jessi: Please join us for the next lesson, where you'll learn how to introduce yourself to someone you've just met.
Naomi: Don't miss it! See you then!
Jessi: Until next time.


Please to leave a comment.
😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍
Sorry, please keep your comment under 800 characters. Got a complicated question? Try asking your teacher using My Teacher Messenger.
Sorry, please keep your comment under 800 characters.

Monday at 6:30 pm
Pinned Comment
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hi everyone!
Welcome to the first lesson of our Absolute Beginner series :)

This series is designed for anyone new to Japanese who wants to get started speaking and not worry about the fine details of grammar (If you are interested in a grammar-focused approach to learning Japanese, we recommend our Newbie Season 2 series!). We teach Japanese using easy-to-memorize patterns that you can start using right away. We start with 5 Introduction lessons to show you the basics, and then launch into a regular storyline starting with Lesson 6.

We hope you enjoy this series!

February 14th, 2019 at 7:19 pm
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hi Ben,

Thank you for your message.

As this is an Absolute Beginner series, please check out more advanced level lessons in our Lesson Library:


The above link is for the Intermediate level. You can select the desired level on the menu besides “Show”.👍

Let us know if you have any questions.


Cristiane (クリスチアネ)

Team JapanesePod101.com

February 14th, 2019 at 6:28 am
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

this is great learning japanese and all, but i'm pretty sure it took you guys 8 minutes to teach us 3 words. thanks so much tho! japanese is awesome😁😁😁

February 3rd, 2019 at 6:50 am
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hi Julien,

Thank you for posting.

Regarding reading and writing, are you familiar with hiragana and katakana? If not, please check:


To learn Kanji, go here : http://www.JapanesePod101.com/kanji

And you can study this series to improve your reading skills:


As for speaking, if you need to improve your pronunciation skills, please check:


Hope this helps! Let us know if you have any questions.👍


Cristiane (クリスチアネ)

Team JapanesePod101.com

Julien Alcantara
February 2nd, 2019 at 12:46 am
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hi :)

I am currently struggling with the way of processing. I already know most of the grammar in this série . my need is reading speaking and writing. Is this série ok or should I go to beginner série ?

January 25th, 2019 at 10:02 pm
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hi Chris,

Thank you for joining us!

It's great that you've learned Hiragana well. How about studying Katakana now? Please check out lessons 11 to 20 of our series:


Also, make sure to download our FREE kana practice worksheet here: http://www.JapanesePod101.com/japanese-alphabet/

Keep up studying well and in case of any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.👍


Cristiane (クリスチアネ)

Team JapanesePod101.com

January 25th, 2019 at 11:08 am
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

I've been self studying the hiragana and memorized the 46 characters in 3hrs. I found this site on yuta's yt channel, this is a big help to me as a beginner.😊💞


January 25th, 2019 at 11:06 am
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

I've been self studying the hiragana and memorized the 46 characters in 3hrs. I found this site on yuta's yt channel, this is a big help to me as a beginner.😊💞


January 17th, 2019 at 10:14 pm
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hi Sira,

Thank you for studying with us!

Feel free to let us know if you have any questions.


Cristiane (クリスチアネ)

Team JapanesePod101.com

Sira supradidaporn
January 17th, 2019 at 4:00 pm
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

I have never learned Japanese before so this is first place learning.

January 14th, 2019 at 7:42 pm
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hi Judy,

Thank you for joining us! Great to hear you're enjoying our lessons!

Feel free to let us know if you have any questions.


Cristiane (クリスチアネ)

Team JapanesePod101.com