皆様、こんにちにゃあー！Are you not sure of a word you just read? Well, then you’re in the right place! Today is the first day of the rest of your life… the rest of your life where you’ll understand some important basic Japanese phrases! While of course, learning Japanese is more than just basic phrases, I think it’s safe to say that at some point in your life, you’re going to run into another human who you might want to greet! And, while standing there silently is an option, it might not be a very good tactic when amalgamating into any society… Unless it’s a society of telepaths, then you probably wouldn’t need us. But, even then, learning a new language expands your mind and prevents cognitive decline in old age! So, do this for future you! Let’s learn how to greet Japanese speakers! Let’s NihonGO!!
Oh, but what would learning vocabulary be without knowing how to pronounce it? We’ll need to enlist the help of our lovely computer friend, QUIZBO™先生！(The ™ is silent) This is a portable version, QUIZBO™ Mini, who lives here on the site. Click on the sound players to ask him to read something for you. Feel free to repeat aloud! Or, if you’re on the train or bus, maybe wait till you’re somewhere more conducive to talking with a virtual robot.
You’ll be able to hear an organic voice in another resource, but for now, he’ll definitely help you learn whilst at least hearing the words and learning to pronounce them. I think he’s at least non-GMO and gluten free…
Not so fast! We’re not just going to tell you the greetings, we’re also going to tell you when you should use these greetings! Unless you’re in Bizarro World, you might not want to use Good Night when you wake up or Good Bye when you’re meeting someone for the first time. But, no worries, we’re here to make sure you seem like you’re from planet Earth. Let’s NihonGO!! …officially!
How do you do? / Nice to meet you! / Hello
Oh, we haven’t met before? Well, はじめまして! hajimemashite! This is an equivocal word to Nice to meet you despite being something closer to Begin! But, you can think of it as something you say as Hello when you meet someone for the very first time. It might get a bit strange if you used this with someone you already know.
Hello/ Good Morning
So, it’s about 5am or at least before 11, you’re walking into school or work, or you’ve woken up at your host family’s house… This would be the perfect time to use these. However, there is a polite form and an informal way of saying Good Morning which is お早うございます, ohayou gozaimasu. You would use this greeting with your superiors or strangers… or even friends. There’s no harm in being polite with people you know. Then, there’s おはよう, ohayou. You would use this with anyone with whom you’re close. It would boil down to your close friends and family, but when in doubt, be extra polite~!
Hello/ Good Day
So, it’s anywhere from lunch hour to before dinner and you want to greet someone. This is where you say こんにちは, konnichiwa– Notice the two Ns by the way. This is important to pronouncing it correctly. Listen closely to QUIZBO™~ This is pretty ubiquitous when anyone thinks of the word hello. It’s not appropriate for every time of day, but if it’s a daylight hour after the morning, you’ll probably be safe using this.
SPELLING NOTE: If you’re just beginning, then don’t feel the need to bog yourself down with this quite yet, but in こんにちは, konnichiwa, the わ, wa, sound is actually spelt は, ha. So, this is a special case because it’s a particle. We’ll teach you more about particles, but for now, just know, は=(╭ರᴥ•́) and わ=（ಠ＿ಠ）
Hello/ Good Evening
It’s about dinner time, the sun has set, it could even be the middle of the night! This is when you’d use your trusty こんばんは, konbanwa.
You might notice these all are translated as hello, and you might think that’s a typo; Nope! While there’s a more ubiquitous hello in English, hello changes by the time of day in Japanese. This is different to the good night used when parting, though!
Pardon me, but…/Excuse me, but…/Sorry, but…
This is a great word to get someone’s attention or start a conversation: Excuse me! / Pardon me! The main word here is: すみません, sumimasen。Usually, in this case, you’ll hear someone say すみませんが•••, sumimasenga… which softens the tone, adding the particle が which is like saying, Pardon me, but… It doesn’t have the same effect in English, but the more indirect, the more polite. Usually, you use this before asking for a stranger favour– Like if you’re lost and need directions or you can’t read something.
Or, maybe you’ll never get a proper face-to-face meeting with someone to say hello, maybe the only impression you’ll make is bumping shoulders with someone in a hall or running into them on the street. But, let’s make that impression a good one using すみません, sumimasen!
It’s been awhile! / Long time, no see!
You haven’t seen your coworker Mr. Nekoyashiki since the good old days, working out of the back of a van, selling sushi tacos… How long has it been? It doesn’t matter unless it’s been a while when you’re using お久しぶりですね。ohisashiburi desu ne. It’s been a long time, hasn’t it! or Long time, no see, eh! or It’s been a while, huh! お久しぶりですohisashiburi desu also works. This can be shortened for people you’re closer to— good friends, relatives, et cetera. お久しぶり, ohisashiburi; 久しぶり, hisashiburi. We end up using this every summer holiday or former classmates. Maybe a long time is a few weeks or a few years. It works either way!
We hope you won’t have to say 久しぶり, hisashiburi, the next time you see us! Come back and visit us often for more new lessons and content created just for you! (That’s right– we didn’t want to tell you and make everyone else jealous, but… this has all been for you. Yep. But, no worries, it’s our pleasure~)
These phrases will definitely assist in your Japanese language studies, and for that, we are proud of you for studying with us! But, perhaps you’d be interested in learning to read? We would be chuffed to bits if you would learn with us! (To everyone across the pond, that’s a good thing) Just go to Kiki+Koko: Let’s NihonGO!! Blog or Kiki+Koko: Let’s NihonGO!! Online. Follow the blog to continue to have Japanese language and other fun stuff thrown right into your inbox! You don’t even have to type in keywords or barely lift a finger, it’s right there.
Thank you for revising with us!