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Lesson Transcript


Risa: Imagine you're working in a Japanese company office in Tokyo. You're going to leave the office after work. What do you say? こんにちは。りさです. Risa here. Anyone can learn the set phrases to use in a Japanese office. In this lesson, you'll learn them. Mark is finishing up a day at work. Let's watch!
Mark: お先に失礼します。
Yoshi: お疲れ様でした。
Mark: 佐野課長、お先に失礼します。
Mr. Sano: お疲れ様。
Risa: Now with English translation.
Mark: I'm leaving, and see you tomorrow.
Yoshi: See you tomorrow.
Mark: Mr. Sano, I'm leaving, and see you tomorrow.
Mr. Sano: See you tomorrow.
Risa: Here are the key words and phrases you need.
Mark: 先
Risa: 先
Alisha: ahead, before
Risa: 先, 先, 先
Mark: 失礼
Risa: 失礼
Alisha: impoliteness, discourtesy
Risa: 失礼, 失礼, 失礼
Mark: 失礼する
Risa: 失礼する
Alisha: to be rude
Risa: 失礼する, 失礼する, 失礼する
Mark: 疲れ
Risa: 疲れ
Alisha: tiredness, fatigue
Risa: 疲れ, 疲れ, 疲れ
Mark: お疲れ様
Risa: お疲れ様
Alisha: thank you, hello (greeting at work), good work
Risa: お疲れ様, お疲れ様, お疲れ様
Mark: 課長
Risa: 課長
Alisha: department chief
Risa: 課長, 課長, 課長
Key Phrases
Risa: Here are the key phrases from the scene.
Alisha: In the scene, what did Mark say to his co-worker when leaving the office before him?
Mark: お先に失礼します。
Risa: お先に。お先に。お先に。
Alisha: This is an adverbial phrase meaning "after you" or "before you" depending on the context. In this case, it's used to mean "before you."
Risa: 先
Alisha: …is a noun which basically means "the tip of something" or "the head of something" and when it's attached to a particle…
Risa: に...
Alisha: …it makes an adverbial phrase meaning "earlier than" or "ahead." So,
Risa: 先に
Alisha: means "before you" in this case.
Alisha: …is added to the beginning as a show of respect.
Risa: お先に
Alisha: The next part is,
Risa: 失礼します。失礼します。失礼します。
Risa: 失礼
Alisha: is a noun meaning "impoliteness" or "discourtesy." When it's used together with...
Risa: します
Alisha: the polite form of a verb,
Risa: する
Alisha: …meaning "to do," it literally means "do something impolite." But when it's used in the form of…
Risa: 失礼します
Alisha: ...it becomes a formal greeting used when you enter or leave a room containing someone superior than you.
Alisha: So, altogether we have,
Risa: お先に失礼します。
Alisha: The expression itself implies that the speaker feels bad about leaving earlier than the other people, but it's regarded as a general goodbye when leaving the office, like "see you tomorrow" in English.
Alisha: Now you try! Say Mark's line.
Mark: お先に失礼します。
Alisha: How did Yoshi respond to Mark as he left the office?
Yoshi: お疲れ様でした。
Risa: お疲れ様。お疲れ様。お疲れ様
Alisha: There are various ways to translate this phrase in English depending on the situation, but it's used to express an appreciation of someone's hard work.
Risa: 疲れ
Alisha: is a noun meaning "tiredness" and
Risa: お
Alisha: an honorific prefix is added at the beginning, and it's followed by an honorific suffix
Risa: 様
Alisha: Altogether...
Risa: お疲れ様
Alisha: …implies that the person must be tired because of their hard work and expresses your appreciation. But it can be used as a general send-off to a person who is leaving the office, like "see you tomorrow" in English.
Alisha: When you want to say it politely, like Yoshi did, you say…
Risa: お疲れ様でした。
Alisha: …adding the past form of copula,
Risa: でした。
Alisha: On the other hand, Mark's boss, Mr. Sano, just said…
Risa: お疲れ様
Alisha: …because he is Mark's boss and so he can speak informally. If you want to say it even more casually to your close co-workers, you can just say…
Risa: お疲れ
Alisha: Now you try! Say Yoshi's line to reply to Mark.
Mark: お先に失礼します。
Yoshi: お疲れ様でした。

Lesson focus

Risa: Now, the lesson focus. Here's how to greet your coworkers.
Alisha: In Japanese companies there is a seniority system based on how long you've worked there. You might hear the words,
Risa: 先輩
Alisha: "seniors," and
Risa: 後輩
Risa: "juniors."
Alisha: For example, if you've been working for a company for two years, any co-worker who has been working there for over two years would be your senior...
Risa: 先輩
Alisha: …and anyone who has been working there less than two years is your junior..
Risa: 後輩
Alisha: Even if their titles and positions are the same,
Risa: 先輩
Alisha: are usually supposed to teach or guide
Risa: 後輩。
Alisha: You need to speak politely to your
Risa: 先輩
Alisha: and you can speak casually to your
Risa: 後輩。
Alisha: Do you remember when Mark and his boss met by the elevator?
Alisha: Mark greeted his boss politely and said…
Mark: お先に失礼します。
Alisha: His boss responded casually, and said…
Yoshi: お疲れ様
Alisha: This might be obvious because Mark is subordinate to his boss.
Alisha: But when Mark meets anybody whose career at the company is longer than his, the same thing would happen. Mark would politely greet his
Risa: 先輩
Alisha: and that person would respond to Mark casually. Let’s take a look at the next phrase.
Risa: お先に失礼します。
Alisha: The general meaning is "I'm sorry for leaving before you."
Alisha: Can you understand why Japanese people use an apologetic expression when they leave earlier than other workers?
Alisha: In traditional Japanese corporate culture, working overtime is very common.
Alisha: It's also considered bad form to leave the office while your co-workers are still working. That's why the expression...
Risa: お先に失礼します。
Alisha: ...is used when you leave the office as an implied apology for leaving earlier than the people still there.
Alisha: The tendency to overwork is still a large part of Japanese culture, but it should be noted that younger generations are less and less likely to do so.
Risa: Now it's time to practice your new ability.
Alisha: You work for a Japanese company and are about to leave the office. Ready? Here we go.
Alisha: Your co-worker is leaving the office and he tells you goodbye. How should you respond?
Risa: お疲れ様でした。
Alisha: Now you've finished your work and are about to leave the office. What should you say to those who are still working?
Risa: お先に失礼します。
Alisha: Great job!
Risa: お疲れ様でした。
Risa: お先に失礼します。


Risa: よくできました! Now, watch the scene one more time. After that, you're ready to work in a Japanese company! Good luck! じゃまたね!