Top 10 Japanese Words to Learn

Top 10 Japanese Words to LearnEasy Japanese Words and Expressions for Beginners

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Anybody who plans to go to Japan ought to possess a nodding acquaintance using the vocabulary to be able to communicate the locals a bit more bearably. It was discovered out that 75% vacationers who frequent Japan have no understanding of Japanese at all. And if you believe it or not, even the easy words that are utilized daily by the locals. These guests frequently discover it difficult to interact with the native Japanese people, particularly when they are lost or if they want some thing done for them.

These are in my opinion the top 10 Japanese words (categories more so) that can help you while you’re in Japan.

1. Yes and No

These are no brainers when you get down to, you should at least know these words right?

The word for ‘Yes’ is ‘hai‘ (sounds similar to the word ‘high’ but a more pronounced and strong ended)

The word for ‘No’ is ‘iie‘ (which pronounced is ‘E..A’ basically)

It’s better to always answer in a specifics then hand gestures or nodding in Japan.

2. Greetings in Japanese

Japan is a very polite place and it’s known for it’s greetings. Knowing these simple greetings through out the day is a great start to speaking simple Japanese.

• “Ohayou Gozaimasu” is used before about 10:30 am in the morning

• “Kon-nichiwa” — is used after 10:30 am for good afternoon

• “Konbanwa” — is used for Good Evening

• “Oyasuminasai” — this is used for when you or someone is leaving late at night, or going to sleep. For family you can simply say ‘Oyasumi

3. Is it Arigato or Arigato Gozaimasu?

Arigatou” is brief for thank you. The total type is “Arigatou Gozaimasu“. A few of the locals make use of the slang “domo” once they are inside a hurry.

Arigatou (Ah-ri-ga-tou) (R’s are pronounced like an R and L put together) is thank you. But there is a way to make it more polite and by doing so you just have to add ‘Gozaimasu‘ (Go-Zai-Mas). You can also use ‘domo‘ but it’s mostly for in a hurry or for family.

4.Oh Excuse me, “Sumimasen”

If you happen to bump into someone slightly on a train or while walking about you would the word ‘Sumimasen‘ (Sue-Me-Mas-Sen). You can also use this word to get someones attention, which you could then use to ask a question. You would ‘gomenasai‘ if you ran into someone really hard or hurt someone, or did something a bit more abrasive then what you would ‘sumimasen‘ for.

5. Asking for certain things in Japan

Here is a list of commonly asked question statements you can use while traveling in Japan.

• ‘Korewa nan desuka?‘ — asking what a particular object is

• ‘Wa doko desuka?‘ — asking for path or direction

• ‘Nanji desuka?‘ — asking for the present time

• ‘Ikura desuka‘ — just how much will be the item/service? (monetary)

6. Time to say goodbye – “Sayonara”

This is the most ‘Goodbye’ word in Japanese, there are many other words that indicate a fair-well, but ‘Sayonara‘ (saw-yo-na-ra) (remember the r+l pronounciation) is for if you are leaving for a long while (mostly).

You can use ‘jane‘ (Jah-Nay) for friends and for short goodbyes if you will. If you are saying goodbye to a teacher or boss you would use ‘Dewa Mata‘ (Day-Wah Ma-Ta).

7. “Tasukete” — ‘Help’

This word is another way to ask for assistance or to make it simple it’s the word for ‘Help’, similar to ‘Sumimasen’, but it’s mostly used to request for assistance with something in particular you in the present time need assistance with. ‘Tasukete‘ (Tah-Su-Kay-Tay)

8. Pretty Please with Sugar on Top! … okay just please…

There are a few ways you can say please in Japan. One way is by saying ‘Dozo‘ (Doe-Zoh), which is mostly used to request an action from someone, like. Come inside, please drink, please eat.

You can also use ‘Zehi‘ (Zeh-He) to express hope and request. (this is a little advanced, just ‘know it’ for now)

But when in doubt use ‘Onegai shimasu‘ (Oh-nay-guy shi-mas) for please when asking for something.

9. “Wakarimasen”

When beginning to speak Japanese you will be slow to hear words and to speak them, you can say “Wakarimasen” when being talked to and you don’t understand what they are saying. It means basically ‘I don’t know/I don’t understand). (Wa-Ka-ri-Mas-Sen).

10. Bathroom

To avoid leaving a mess in your pants, the best way to ask for a bathroom in Japan is to say “Toire wa doko desuka?

To-e-ray wa do-ko des-ka

Toire‘ is toilet
Wa‘ is a particle for is in this case
Doko‘ is where
and ‘desu‘ indicates that the ‘wa‘ is used as an ‘is’
and ‘ka‘ is a statement of a question.

Toilet where is?


If you are ready to learn more basic Japanese I highly suggest checking out my favorite free learning source ‘Nihongo Master’ or you can check out my article on all my favorite learning sites for Japanese online.

Ever See a Albino Sea Cucumber?

The newest addition to the Fukuoka Aquarium Albino Sea CucumberFukuoka Aquarium’s Albino Sea Cucumber

A rare white namako (sea cucumber) has wowed visitors to an aquarium in the city of Fukuoka recently, prompting many to make their wish for good luck on the marine creature.

Better Ways to Learn Japanese Fluently

The white sea cucumber is thought to be an albino, with its pigments mutated for unexpected reasons. The rare marine life recently debuted at the Marine World at Uminonakamichi aquarium in Fukuoka.

Aquarium official Takumi Orii pitched the new exhibit, saying: “It may bring good luck. We’d like people to come and see it.”

The namako is about 15 cm long and weighs 75 grams. A local fisherman found it in January and offered it to the aquarium.

With the assistance of aquarium staff, visitors can even “feel” the namako by touching it, the aquarium said.

What Do Hikikomori’s Have to do With Birth Decline in Japan?

Why is Japan's Birth rate declining?Japan: Population Crisis 2016

Recluses and Overworked Husbands…

So what is all this talk about Japan and their population declining? Some say that they have enough people crammed over there already so whats the big deal? Well lets go through this and really analyze the situation so we can both better understand the decrease in birth rate in Japan.

Better Ways to Learn Japanese Fluently

Hikikomori in Japan Book

I recommend Shutting out the Sun for those wishing to learn more about the social implications of Hikikomori in Japan.

Right now the Japanese population has one of the lowest birth rates in the entire world. But at the very same time we see that they have the longest living populace. So Japan is leaning more towards the elderly. So if you are looking to learn Japanese, it’s best to start speaking the elderly language (which you can begin learning here).

But to continue on, just a few years ago Japan peaked 128 million people living in the bounds of Japan. The population is set to decline by around 1,000,000 people every single year from now on. It’s said that by the year 2060 it’s estimated that there will only around 80-85 million people living inside Japan. More then half will be 60-65 years of age.

At this pace Japan will not have enough people to take care and support all of the elderly that have retired. This will create huge problem in the long run. But maybe Japan’s robot city will come to the rescue?

But Why is the Japanese Birth Rate So Low?

Well if you checked out my post about how to properly say the word sake (Sah-Kay) you’ll also remember an anime called ‘Welcome to the NHK’ where a hikikomori name Sato locks himself in his apartment, playing games, watching porn and basically just not mingling with the outside world. This syndrome is a real condition in Japan. Most of these hikikomori’s end up shutting themselves in their apartments or at their parents house with absolutely NO human contact beyond those who take care of them.

In fact there are a few government out reach programs whose sole job is to help them come back into society. There is even a program where female outreach therapists known commonly as ‘rental sisters’ come to push the hikikomori out into the world again. Many times these hikikomori’s will become recluse’s because of a rejection by a woman or by general embarrassment in society.

But this can’t be the only reason why the society as a whole is dropping the birth-rate ball? Well, it’s a huge part but it’s also because many people in Japan are no longer getting married, and it comes down to a woman being tied down strictly to raising kids while their husband works 50 hours a week, hoping that karoshi (death from over work) doesn’t sneak in and steal away their husband in the dead of night.

A Japanese husband on average will help with the children and housework 1 hour a day, compare that with western men who help 3 hours a day. It’s a huge difference, and because of this many woman are not looking forward to getting with anyone and starting a family. The Japanese government is looking to push further incentives for house wives to have children and be able to work to pay for their family by offering more government assisted programs for day-care so they no longer have to choose between being able to survive, have children and a husband and not jump in front of a train.

So there you have it, over worked husbands, higher costs of living and hikikomori’s…

As you can already see I attached the first episode of “Welcome to the NHK” above. I’ll be adding this series in the Anime and Manga section soon!