Japanese Expressions

This is a quick guide to some words and expressions which are useful in daily life in Japan. They are written in romaji (roman letters) as many computers are not equipped to read Japanese script.

The Japanese counting system is too complex to explain here in full. Given below are the cardinal numbers, which are combined with various counters to count objects or people. For example, otoko san-nin means three men, hon san-satsu means three books and san-ji means three o'clock. There is also a set of numbers, from one to ten, for counting objects without using counters.

(Spelling note: on this site in general, I have spelled Japanese names and words in a way that I hope is most easily understood by non-Japanese speakers. It is difficult to be consistent to any standard system without having an explanatory note of Japanese pronunciation on every page. I do plan to add one to this section, though. In short, there are inconsistencies so please be understanding. If you have any queries on these things, please feel free to drop me a line and I'll try to help)

Numbers (without counters)
ichi 1 hitotsu
ni 2 futatsu
san 3 mittsu
shi, yon 4 yottsu
go 5 itsutsu
roku 6 mutsu
shichi, nana 7 nanatsu
hachi 8 yatsu
kyu 9 kokonotsu
ju 10 to
ichi-nin mae
= serving for one person
shichi-nin no samurai = The Seven Samurai
Numbers (over 10)
ju-ichi 11
ju-ni 12
ju-san 13
ni-ju 20
yon-ju 40
go-ju-go 55
hyaku 100
san-byaku 300
sen 1,000
man 10,000
go-gatsu ju-san nichi
= May 13th
hyaku-man en = 1 million yen
Food & Drink
gohan cooked rice
miso shiru miso soup
tsukemono pickles
tei-shoku lunch set
bento lunch box
o-cha green tea
kohii coffee
gyunyu milk
o-sake alcohol
mizu water
akai red
aoi blue
kuroi black
shiroi white
kiiroi yellow
midori green
cha-iro brown
hai-iro gray
murasaki purple
orenji-iro orange
byou-in hospital
kouban police box
yubinkyoku post office
toshokan library
ginkou bank
kuukou airport
eki station
kouen park
ie house
mise shop
hai, ee, un yes migi right kyo today
iie no hidari left kino yesterday
chigau wrong ue up ototoi 2 days ago
tadashii correct shita down ashita tomorrow
ikura how much? naka in, inside asatte in 2 days
ikutsu how many? soto outside hi, nichi day
koko here mae in front of shu, shukan week
soko, asoko there ushiro behind tsuki, getsu month
itsu when? aida between toshi, nen year
dare who? muko opposite jikan hour
nani what? toi far fun, pun minute
Greetings Parting
O-hayou gozaimasu Good morning Sayounara Goodbye
Konnichi wa Hello O-tsukare sama desu Goodbye (after work)
Konban wa Good evening O-yasumi nasai Goodnight
Eating At home
Itadakimasu Said before eating Tadaima I'm home!
O-kawari kudasai Same again, please O-kaeri nasai Welcome home!
Go-chisou sama deshita Said after eating Itte kimasu I'm off now
O-kanjou kudasai Check, please Itte rasshai OK. See you later
Sumimasen Excuse me Arigatou gozaimasu Thank you very much
Kore wa ikura desu ka How much is this? Sore wa nan desu ka What is that?
Kore kudasai I'll take this, please Takai desu ne Expensive, isn't it!
Motto yasui no wa arimasu ka Do you have a cheaper one? Kekko desu No, thank you I'm fine, thank you

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