In the background, people can be seen crossing the street with a crosswalk in what appears to be Tokyo, but they are blurry. The foreground as text that reads, "Shitsurei Shimasu Essential Japanese Etiquette."

Understanding Shitsurei Shimasu: Essential Japanese Etiquette

失礼します (shitsurei shimasu) is a staple phrase in Japanese work and school environments. It’s used to excuse oneself for doing something rude. 失 means flawed or defective, and 礼 means etiquette or manners. Put this word 失礼 with します, or to do, and you’ve got 失礼します: “to do something rude.” A good English translation of … Read more

A young Asian boy dressed in a Japanese school uniform and backpack waving to someone.

How to Say Boy in Japanese Naturally

The Japanese word for “boy” is 男子(danshi). There are several other words for boy that depend on the person’s age and life phase in question. In this article, we’ll cover the different ways to say boy in Japanese and when and how to use them. Be sure to check out our free resources to learn … Read more

White butterflies and flowers on tree branches drawn on a blue background with the words "Happy Birthday" on the bottom in white text.

How to Say Happy Birthday in Japanese

Happy birthday in Japanese is 誕生日おめでとう (tanjoubi omedetou). Birthday celebrations in Japan are quieter and more personal than they are in other countries, but Japanese people do extend birthday wishes and cards. Several Japanese birthdays are considered to be extra special. In this article, we’ll cover the two major ways to say happy birthday in … Read more

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The Best FREE Resources for Learning Japanese

Did you know that it’s possible to learn Japanese for free? All you need is an internet connection, some note-taking tools, and the desire to study. In this article, we’ll share the best resources for learning Japanese—completely free of charge! If you want more, check out our complete list of learning Japanese resources. Free Resources … Read more

A woman dressed in traditional Japanese clothes with her hands together as if in prayer or saying please.

How to Say Please in Japanese

There are two ways to say “please” in Japanese: ください(Kudasai)– often used when requesting an action or a specific object. お願いします(Onegai shimasu)– a slightly more polite word used when asking for a service or favor. Both words are acceptable in polite conversation. Depending on the sentence structure and the situation, one might be better than … Read more

Two young Asian woman standing next to each other, looking at the camera and giving the "okay" gesture with their hand.

What Does Daijoubu Mean in Japanese?

The word 大丈夫 (daijoubu) means certainly, undoubtedly, alright, okay, problem-free. If you want learn how to speak Japanese quickly, daijoubu is must-learn word. Daijoubu is one of the most useful words to learn. With this word alone, you’ll be able to politely refuse offers, ask if someone is okay, tell people that you’re feeling okay, and … Read more

A blackboard with the text, "What do you want?" written on it in different colors (pink, yellow, blue, yellow).

Tai Form: Expressing Desire in Japanese

In Japanese, the ~たい(-tai)form is used to express desire. When a verb is conjugated using the -tai form, it means, “I want to [verb].” To conjugate the -tai form, remove -masu from the -masu form of the verb and add -tai in its place. Using the -Tai Form The -tai form is used when you … Read more

An Asian woman dressed in a Japanese kimono standing in front of a Japanese style entrance, with her hands gesturing to the entrance to welcome someone.

Natural Japanese Expressions: Ittekimasu, Itterasshai, Tadaima and Okaerinasai

Whether you’re settling into your Japanese homestay, trying to fit in better at the office, or just wanting to make some new friends, you’ve probably heard these phrases: ittekimasu, itterasshai, tadaima, and okaerinasai. It’s safe to say that people in Japan use them every day! But what do they mean? Let’s take a look at the definitions of these vital Japanese … Read more

What Does Sugoi Mean in Japanese?

The word すごい (sugoi) is very popular, even among people who don’t know a lot of Japanese.  Sugoi has two major definitions: amazing and terrible. That’s pretty sugoi itself, right?  Not only does sugoi have two very different meanings, but it’s also quite flexible within a sentence. Sugoi can be an adverb, adjective, or just an exclamation of delight. You can use it with your friends and your … Read more

A traditional Japanese room with tatami style mats, with the door open that looks out into a green Japanese garden. In the center is an elderly Asian man and woman seated on a cushion on their knees, with a black table between them. The woman is pouring the man a cup of tea.

Itadakimasu and Gochisousama Deshita: Being Polite in Japan

If you’ve watched anime or other Japanese media, you’ve probably heard the phrases いただきます(itadakimasu) and ごちそうさまでした (gochisousama deshita). But what do they mean?  When eating food is involved, Itadakimasu is translated as, “I receive this meal.” Gochisousama deshita means “thank you for the meal.” However, there are deeper meanings to both of these humble Japanese phrases.  In this article, we’ll be … Read more

A young Asian man wearing glasses sitting down with headphones on his head. He also is tangled in a bunch of wires, and is biting down of them to express frustration.

The Many Meanings of Yabai in Japanese

The word ヤバい (yabai) is used so often by young Japanese people that many of them might struggle to explain what it means in English. While this makes it a volatile and useful word, ヤバい (sometimes written as やばい or ヤバイ) is challenging to translate. In this article, we’ll peek into the word’s history and … Read more

An illustration of a green forest with a stream running through it, with the text that says, "21 Cool Japanese Words That Are Hauntingly Beautiful."

21 Cool Japanese Words That Are Hauntingly Beautiful

Some Japanese words are so succinct and deeply ingrained in Japan’s culture that they can’t be easily translated. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t learn them. These are amazingly beautiful and cool Japanese words that often describe concepts that we don’t have in English. It will impress your Japanese friends too! Let’s look at some of … Read more

A cute, young, Asian girl holding a half an orange in her right hand and showing the number one with her pointer finger on her left hand

The Most Useful Japanese Counters You Need to Know

Along with kanji and onomatopoeia, counting is an element of Japanese that seems daunting due to the sheer amount of words involved. There seems to be a counter for everything—in fact, the Japanese language has about 500 – 600 counters! (reference page is in Japanese only) Even native speakers will confess they don’t know all of them. … Read more