100 Essential Japanese Phrases and Words You WILL Use

These 100 Japanese phrases are a great starting point for communicating with people from Japan. Knowing these common phrases can help you while traveling, working, or even making friends in Japan. Even advanced students of Japanese may pick up a thing or two from this list!

Self-Introduction Key Phrases

If you work or go to school in Japan, you will 100% be asked to do a self-introduction of yourself at some point. These phrases are great for covering the basics.

 1. はじめまして。 (Hajimemashite.): Nice to meet you.

A standard phrase for meeting someone for the first time. Usually, you’ll say phrases #2 and #3 after saying はじめまして (hajimemashite).

2. 私の名前は (Name) といいます。 (Watashi no namae wa (name) to iimasu.): My name is …

If you are a woman, a girl, or a mature person, 私 (watashi) will sound natural. If you are a boy, 僕 (boku) sounds better: 僕の名前はといいます (boku no namae wa … to ii masu)

3. (Name) と申します。 ( (Name) to mōshimasu.): I am (name).

A humble and polite way to introduce yourself.  

4. どうぞよろしく。 (Dōzo yoroshiku.): Pleased to meet you.

The nuance of this phrase is closer to “Please take care of me.” This is because you are “asking for their favor” (to become friends, for their help, etc.) in the future.  

どうぞよろしく (dōzo yoroshiku) is casual; どうぞよろしくお願いします (dōzo yoroshiku onegai shimasu) is more polite and formal.

よろしく (yoroshiku) is a very commonly used word that means “please” or “please treat me favorably.” A polite version of this, よろしくお願いします (yoroshiku onegai shimasu), is often said when you ask someone for help, work together with someone, or meeting someone for the first time. See #74 on this list for more details. 

5.  (Place) から来ました。  ( (Place) kara kimashita.): I’m from (place).

You can use this to say which country you’re from, your company name, or even an area you previously lived in.  

6.  (Hometown/School) 出身です。( (Hometown/school) shusshin desu.): I’m from …. (hometown/school)

出身 (shusshin) describes your place of origin. This can be the country, city, or town you’re from, or it can be a school you graduated from.

7. お会いできて光栄です。(Oai dekite kōei desu.): I’m honored to meet you.

This phrase is formal and usually used in business situations. Children would never use this phrase. When adults use it, it does sound formal, but elegant.

 8. 今後ともどうぞよろしく。(Kongo tomo dōzo yoroshiku.): I look forward to working with you/getting to know you.

At the end of a conversation, Japanese people often say 今後ともどうぞよろしく(Kongo tomo dōzo yoroshiku) or the more formal 今後ともどうぞよろしくお願いします (Kongo tomo dōzo yoroshiku onegai shimasu) in business settings (to business partners or customers).

The nuance of this statement is something like, “Please treat me favorably from now on.” which implies that you plan on getting to know them more in the future. This makes it a natural way to end your introduction.  

Common Ways to Get Someone’s Attention

Here are some words you can use to gain someone’s attention or to gently break into a conversation with someone.

9. あの。。。 (Ano…): Excuse me…  

When you want to get someone’s attention, you may start with あの (ano). It has a nuance of saying “hello” before asking someone for something (as in, “Hello. I was wondering if you could tell me how to get to the station.”)

 10. ちょっと。 (Chotto): Excuse me./Hey.

ちょっと (chotto) is also a very common term to start a conversation. However, unlike あの (ano) described above, ちょっと is better used when you already have someone’s attention. 

Using ちょっと can also be seen as strong or even rude. Sometimes Japanese people say this word twice: ちょっとちょっと (chotto chotto). This can be a frank and slightly suspicious way of saying, “Excuse me?” Or it can be said when you’re frustrated with someone and want to say, “Give me a break already.”

11. ちょっといいですか? (Chotto ii desu ka?): Can you help me?

This phrase is often used when you want to ask someone for help. ちょっと (chotto) “little” or “just a bit.” So the nuance is similar to “Could I have a second of your time?”

12. すみません。(Sumimasen.): Excuse me./I’m Sorry./Thank You.

You may have heard すみません (sumimasen) means “I apologize.” However, this term is also used to get someone’s attention (Excuse me.). 

It can even mean “Thank you” in certain situations. If you want to learn all about すみません (sumimasen), check out our guide here: What Does Sumimasen Mean?

13. 申し訳ありませんが。。。(Mōshi wake arimasen ga…): I’m sorry, but…

If you have a question or request that will take up someone’s time or effort (i.e., bother or cause trouble to someone) 申し訳ありませんが(mōshi wake arimasen ga…) is a polite way to ease into your request. 

 

Common Ways to Apologize

If you happen to make a mistake or want to express that you are sorry, these phrases will help you out.

14. ごめんなさい。 (Gomennasai.): I’m sorry.

Along with すみません (sumimasen) listed above, ごめんなさい (gomennasai) is a very common way to apologize to someone. You can use it in most situations ranging from accidently bumping into someone while walking or making a mistake a work. A more casual version is ごめん (gomen), which also means “I’m sorry” but should only be used in casual situations.

15. 申し訳ありません。 (Mōshi wake arimasen.) : I am sorry.

Along with すみません (sumimasen) and ごめんなさい (gomennasai), 申し訳ありません (mōshi wake arimasen) also means “I’m sorry.” However, 申し訳ありません is much more formal and apologetic.  It has a nuance of “I’m very sorry.  It’s inexcusable.”  You can use phrases #15 and #16 below after saying 申し訳ありません to expresses more sincerity. 

16. 私のせいです。 (Watashi no sei desu.): It’s my fault.

Boys can use 僕 (boku) instead of 私 (watashi).  This phrase is used to take responsibility for something that you did.  It is often said after saying an apology (sumimasen, gomennasai, or mōshi wake arimasen listed above).  After saying this phrase, you could also follow it up with 反省してます (hansei shitemasu), which means “I regret (realize) my mistake.”

If you make a mistake in Japan, you should do 反省 (hansei). 反省する (hansei suru) means to contemplate or reflect on what you did wrong so that you won’t make that mistake again.   

Common Phrases For Shopping

Japanese has so many cool, delicious, and interesting things to buy, so be sure to remember all of these phrases for your next shopping spree!

17. これをください。 (Kore o kudasai.): Please give it to me.

これをください is the full, grammatical phrase, but it is very common to drop the particle を (o) and just say これください (kore kudasai).  When you’re at a store, you can point to an item you want and say これください (kore kudasai) to buy it.  

18. こちらでよろしいですか? (Kochira de yoroshii desu ka?): Is this item okay?

The sales clerk may ask you this question when paying for an item. This is to confirm that the item you’re buying is the right one or to check if this item is okay with you.  

19. おいくらですか? (Oikura desu ka?): How much is this?

The casual form of this phrase is いくらですか? (Ikura desu ka?). Adding the “o” in front of いくら (ikura) makes it more polite. We recommend using the polite version, as it sounds much nicer when speaking to people you don’t know well.   

20. クレジットカードは使えますか? (Kurejitto kādo wa tsukaemasu ka?): Can I use my credit card?

If the store only accepts cash, there may be signs that say, “現金のみ (genkin nomi), meaning “cash only.” Just to be sure, you can use this phrase to check if they take credit cards.  

If you want to ask the sales clerk about using a credit card from a specific country, you can put use this phrase:  

{Country name} のクレジットカードは使えますか?
{Country name} no kurejitto kādo wa tsukaemasu ka?

Example:

アメリカのクレジットカードは使えますか?
(Amerika no kurejitto kādo wa tsukaemasu ka?)
Can I use an American credit card?

21. レシートください。(Reshīto kudasai.): Please give me a receipt.

In Japan, there are two types of receipts you might come across.  The first, and by far the most common, is a receipt that a cash register or credit card machine prints out as proof of your payment.  You’ll get this type of receipt when you buy things from the store, go to restaurants, or stay at modern hotels.  

The second type of receipt in Japan is called 領収書をください (ryōsyūsho).  This is also proof of payment, but it is much more formal and is often written by hand.  It also has your name or organization on it and is commonly used for claiming expenses.  

If you are casually shopping, eating at restaurants, or paying for services in Japan, you most likely will need a simple レシート (reshīto) and not a 領収書 (ryōsyūsho).

Common Phrases For Restaurants

Master these phrases so you can use them to try amazing foods in Japan! Check out our “How to Order Food in Japanese” guide to learn how to navigate Japanese restaurants in more detail.

22. 空いてますか? (Aitemasu ka?): Is (this seat) available?

If you’re at a food court or somewhere else with public seating, you can use the phrase, “空いてますか? (aitemasu ka?)” to ask someone if the seat next to them is available.  

Even though the word “seat” (席 – seki) is not in this phrase, its meaning is implied.  

Note: If you want to ask if a restaurant (or store) is open for business, you can use the same phrase (same words and pronunciation). However, the kanji used for this meaning will change to “開いてますか? (aitemasu ka?) = Are you open?”

23. 何名様ですか? (Nanmei sama desu ka?): How many people in your party?

A standard question that you will be asked when you enter a restaurant. If you are unsure how to answer this question, you can use your fingers to show how many people are in your party. If you want to learn more about numbers and how to count in Japanese, check out our “How to Count in Japanese” guide.  

 24. 少々お待ちください。 (Shōshou omachi kudasai.): Please wait a second.

This is a common phrase in any customer service-related business. You may have already heard the expression, “ちょっと待って (chotto matte),” which means “hold on a second.” 

少々お待ちください (Shōshou omachi kudasai) is a much politer way to ask someone to wait. You’ll hear it all the time in stores and restaurants.  

25. お決まりですか? (Okimari desu ka?): Have you decided (on your order)?

A waiter or waitress may use this phrase to ask you if you are ready to order.  

If you need more time to decide, you can say, まだです (mada desu), which means “not yet.”

26. かしこまりました。 (Kashikomarimashita.): Understood.

When you give your order to the server, they often say this. This is a polite way to say, “Understood/Got it.”

27. お待たせしました。 (Omatase shimashita): Thank you for waiting.

お待たせしました (omatase shimashita) literally means, “I’ve kept you waiting.” However, it is said using polite language, so the nuance comes off as “sorry to have kept you waiting” or “thank you for waiting.”

28. いただきます。 (Itadakimasu): I’ll humbly receive this meal.

いただきます is the humble verb that means “to receive.” This word is said before starting every meal to show appreciation for all the work and ingredients that went into making it. It doesn’t matter if you’re eating in a 3-star Michelin restaurant or if you are sharing a bag of potato chips with your friend. 

Check out our guide on Itadakimasu to learn more.  

29. ご馳走様でした。 (Gochisō sama deshita): Thank you very much (for the food).

When you finish eating, you should say, ご馳走様でした (gochisō sama deshita) to show your appreciation to the person who cooked and even to the nature that provided the food for you. This is also used when someone buys or gives you food.  

Note: If someone brings you lunch or food, you can also use this phrase in the present tense to show you appreciation: ご馳走様です (gochisō sama desu).

30. おいしかったです。 (Oishikatta desu): It was delicious.

Using the copula です (desu) shows your politeness. Children or close friends often just say, おいしかった (oishikatta). It’s a very common word to say at the end of a meal.  

31. おかわりしたいです。 (Okawari shitai desu.): I would love seconds/another helping. 

おかわり(okawari) means “refill” or “another helping.” A casual way to say this phrase would be to say, おかわり! (okawari!): I want more!

32.  ~は食べられません。 (~wa taberaremasen): I cannot eat ~

If you have any foods you don’t like or can’t eat, you can use this phrase.

If you have any food allergies, you can say アレルギーがあるので (arerugī ga aru node) before this phrase:  

アレルギーがあるので~は食べられません。
(Arerugī ga aru node ~ wa taberaremasen.)
I have allergies, so I can’t eat ~.

33.  ~ は大好物です。 (~ wa daikōbutsu desu.): ~ is my favorite food.

The most common way to use 大好物 (daikōbutsu) is with food, but this term is also used to describe your favorite things.

34. ~ は苦手です。 (~ wa nigate desu.): I’m not good at ~.

When talking about food, “~は苦手です (~ wa nigate desu)” is an indirect way to say, “好きじゃありません (suki ja arimasen),” I don’t like it.

35. お会計お願いします。 (Okaikei onegai shimasu.): Check, please.

When you’re done with your meal, you say this phrase when you want the check. In most casual restaurants in Japan, the wait staff will leave your check on your table, which you take to the register near the entrance of the restaurant. Some restaurants will not leave the check on the table unless you ask for it.  

You can also use this phrase in stores.  

Common Phrases When Visiting Someone at Their Home

These phrases can generally be used in most situations where you enter someone’s private space. This could include places like someone’s apartment, room, or office.

36. お邪魔します。 (Ojama shimasu.): Pardon my intrusion.

You’ll say this phrase before entering someone’s house, office, or room. It is even used when you need to interrupt someone’s conversation.

Saying お邪魔します is considered polite and something you should say before entering into someone’s personal space.  

37. 素敵な~ですね。 (Suteki na ~ desu ne.): ~ {thing} looks so nice.

Japanese people often compliment something when entering someone’s house or room.  

38. つまらないものですが。 (Tsumaranai mono desu ga.): This is not much, but…

When Japanese people visit someone’s house, they often bring a gift called お土産 (omiyage)When they hand their gift to someone, they often say this phrase. つまらない (tsumaranai) means “boring” or “insignificant” while もの (mono) means “thing.” So this phrase has a nuance of, “This is an insignificant thing, but I hope you’ll like it.”

This is one of the traditional humble ways to show your appreciation in Japan.

39. 楽しかったです。 (Tanoshikatta desu.): It was fun.

This is a very common phrase used at the end of your visit or event (like a date). Just like in English-speaking countries, people sometimes say it even if they were bored, just to be polite.  

40. では、失礼します。 (Dewa shitsurei shimasu.): I’ll be on my way.

This is a polite, business-style way to say goodbye.  

Note: In a business situation, people use 失礼します (shitsurei shimasu) to enter the room. In this case, it means “Sorry for the intrusion/ interrupting/bothering/disturbing you.”

Phrases For Traveling in Japan

These are simple phrases to use when you’re exploring Japan and might need some help with directions.

41. お先にどうぞ。 (Osaki ni dōzo.): Please go ahead.

When you want someone to go ahead of you (when you are waiting in line, boarding the train, etc.), this is the phrase you’ll want to say.  

42.  ~はどこですか? (~ wa doko desu ka?): Where is ~?

This phrase can be used when you want to ask someone where a particular building, store, or train station is (or anything really).  

If you’re asking a random stranger on the street, going up to them and asking, “where is the station?” might be too straightforward. To be more polite, you can use this phrase:

すみません。~はどこにあるかご存知でしょうか?
(Sumimasen. ~ wa doko ni aru ka gozonji deshō ka?)
Excuse me. Would you happen to know where ~ is?

43. ~への行き方を教えてください。 (~ e no ikikata o oshiete kudasai.): Please tell me how to get to ~.

A useful phrase that you can use to ask train station/information booth employees when you’re lost. For example:

USJへの行き方を教えてください。
(USJ e no ikikata o oshiete kudasai.)
Please tell me how to get to USJ (Universal Studios Japan).

Common Japanese Phrases for the Workplace

If you work in Japan, these are some of the phrases you’ll be sure to hear (and use).

44. 今日はバタバタしてます。 (Kyō wa batabata shite imasu.): I have many things to do today.

When someone is very busy, Japanese people use the word バタバタ (bata bata), which is an onomatopoeia for a flapping (like a bird’s wings) sound. When people are extremely busy, it’s like they are flapping their wings wildly like birds.  

45. 行ってきます。 (Itte kimasu): I’m heading out now (and I’ll be back).

When people leave their office, home, or anywhere, they say 行ってきます (itte kimasu). This literally means “I’m going and coming back.” It’s like saying “see you later” in English. In response to this, you can say 行ってらっしゃい (itterasshai), which means “see you” or “have a good day.”  

46. ただいま戻りました。 (Tadaima modorimashita.): I’m back now.

This is a polite way to say, “I’m back.” The more casual (and common) way is to say “ただいま (tadaima),” which means “I’m back.”  

47. 残業します。 (Zangyō shimasu.): I’ll work overtime.  

残業 (zangyō), or working overtime, is very common in Japan. If you are working off the clock and not being paid, people call this unpaid overtime サービス残業 (sābisu zangyō).

48. お先に失礼します。 (Osaki ni shitsurei shimasu.): I’m going home (excuse me for leaving early).  

When you’re leaving your workplace to go home, you say this phrase to the other people who are still working. This phrase means, “I’m leaving now, so pardon me for leaving before you.”

49. お疲れ様でした。 (Otsukare sama deshita.): Thank you for your (hard) work.

You say this phrase at work when someone leaves. You can say this in response to お先に失礼します (Osaki ni shitsurei shimasu). This phrase is supposed to be used by someone of higher status (aka your boss) to people of lower status. However, it is usually said by everyone in the workplace, regardless of status. Just keep in mind that some people care about social status/rules more than others. You could also say, また明日 (mata ashita), see you tomorrow.

Common Phrases For Visiting Someone Who Is Not Feeling Well

If someone you know gets sick or has an injury, you may want to visit them at the hospital or at their home. These are common phrases used in this situation.

50. お加減いかがですか?  (Okagen ikaga desu ka?): How are you feeling?

This phrase is typically used to start a conversation with someone who hasn’t been feeling well.  

51. お陰様でなんとか。 (Okage sama de nantoka.): I’m feeling alright, thanks.

One of the common answers to the question above: お加減いかがですか?  (Okagen ikaga desu ka?).  

The nuance of this phrase is similar to “I’m getting by, thanks.”  

52. 痛い。 (Itai): It hurts.

Said when you feel physical pain.  

53. 苦しい。 (Kurushii): It’s tough.

苦しい (kurushii) can mean that your situation is difficult or that something is physically painful or mentally straining/tough.  

54. 気分がよくなりました。 (Kibun ga yoku narimashita.): I feel much better.

This phrase describes how you feel emotionally (mood) more than your physical condition. However, when you recover from an illness, you feel great, making this a common expression to use when you’re feeling better.  

55. すっかり治りました。 (Sukkari naorimashita): I made a complete recovery.

When talking about your physical body being cured or healing, the kanji above is used 治る (naoru): to be cured, to recover. However, the same word is also used to describe fixing things or repairing inanimate objects (like a TV, computer, etc.). To talk about an inanimate object being fixed or repaired, a different kanji is used – 直る (naoru): to be repaired, to be fixed.

56. 早く良くなるといいですね。 (Hayaku yoku naru to ii desu ne.): I hope you feel better soon.

A standard phrase to say to someone who doesn’t feel well.  

Another super common expression is お大事に (odaiji ni), which means “take care of yourself.”

57. 無理しないでください。 (Muri shinai de kudasai): Don’t push yourself too hard.

This is also a common phrase to tell someone to “take it easy.” It is commonly used when people are not feeling well or are working too hard.  

Useful Words To Agree/Disagree 

These are some of the simplest words in Japanese but the most useful. You will hear and use these words multiple times a day, especially if you work or go to school in Japan.

58. はい。 (Hai.): Yes.

The standard and formal way to say “yes.”

59. そうです。 (Sou desu.): That’s right.

A super common phrase to give confirmation to someone. This phrase literally means “It/That is so.”  In conversation, it means “That’s right” or “That’s correct.”

60. ええ。 (Ee.): Yes.

This is another way to say “yes” in Japanese. ええ (ee) is neither formal nor extremely casual (but more casual than はい (hai) listed above). ええ is often used in business circumstances or between people who don’t know each other well.  

61. わかりました。 (Wakarimashita.): I understand.

This is a must-know word used everywhere: at the workplace, in stores, with strangers, etc. It is said when you want to confirm that you understand a situation or information that someone told you.  

62. 了解しました。 (Ryōkai shimashita.): I got it. / Roger

This is more businesslike than わかりました (wakarimashita) listed above.  

63. いいですね。 (Ii desu ne.): Sounds good. / It looks good.

This phrase is typically said when agreeing with someone. For example, if someone comes up with a good idea that you like, you can say いいですね。- Hey, that sounds good!  

64. いいえ。 (Iie.): No.

This is the textbook word for “no” in Japanese. You usually learn this word the first day you start studying Japanese. However, due to its formal and direct nature, saying いいえ (iie) is pretty rare. Using いいえ to disagree with someone, or even just to answer a simple yes/no question, sounds too strong. It can even come off as a little rude. いいえ is mainly reserved for very formal settings.

65. 違います。 (Chigaimasu.): That’s not right/incorrect.

違います (chigaimasu) is a much more natural way to tell someone “no” or that something isn’t correct. For example, if you are sitting on the train and someone approaches you to ask, “Excuse me, are you John’s brother?”  

Since you are not John’s brother, you can simply say 違います to mean, “No, I’m not.”  

66. いや。 (Iya): Oh well. / No.

When people point out that something is wrong or disagree with things, they often start the sentence with いや (iya), such as いや、違います (iya, chigaimasu). This reinforces the meaning of “no, that is not correct” without sounding too harsh. 

However, いや can also mean “disagreement.” Little kids often say “いやいや!” when they are throwing a temper tantrum. As an adult, you can say いや when you want to say that you don’t like something directly (see #67 below for more details).

67. 嫌です。 (Iya desu.): I don’t want to do it. / I don’t like it.  

Saying 嫌です (iya desu) directly tells someone that you don’t like (or hate) something. For example, if your friend wants you to go out on a date with someone you really can’t stand, you can tell them, いやだよ (iya dayo)!” to mean, “No way! I don’t want to!”

68. やります。 (Yarimasu.): I’ll do it.

This word can be used when you want to say that you’ll do something. For example, imagine you are at work. Your boss asks for volunteers to help with a new project. If you want to step up and help, you can tell your boss, “やります。” The negative form of this word is やりません (yarimasen), which means “I won’t do.”

69. できます。 (Dekimasu.): I can do it.

It is used when you want to say that you are able to do something.  

For example:

Boss: “Can you finish this report by 5 pm today?”
You: はい、できます。
(Hai, dekimasu.)
Yes, I can.  

The negative form of this word is できません (dekimasen), which means “I can’t do it.” 

70. 大丈夫。 (Daijōbu.): (It’s) okay.

This is another must-know word in Japanese. You can use it to say that you are okay or a situation is under control. If you trip and fall, people might ask you if you are okay. You can tell them “大丈夫 (daijōbu)” to let them know you are okay.  

It can also be used to decline things. For example, if you’re at the supermarket and the cashier asks you if you need a bag, you can say “いや大丈夫です” (iya daijōbu desu) to say that you don’t need one.  

大丈夫 (daijōbu) is used to describe both a situation or your physical condition.

71. 平気です。 (Heiki desu.): I’m okay. / It’s all good.  

This usually describes your mental condition or feeling. For example, if you’re at a theme park and someone asks how you feel about roller coasters, you can say 平気です (heiki desu) if you have no problem riding them.  

Or, if you’re calm in a stressful situation (like evacuating a building that’s on fire), you can tell someone 平気です to say that you are cool as a cucumber.  

72. 無理です。 (Muri desu.): That’s impossible/unreasonable.  

When someone asks you for something that you don’t want or can’t do, you can tell them 無理です (muri desu).  

For example, if a guy goes up to a girl to ask her for her number, she can say “無理です” to reject him. This phrase is not rude if said in a normal, “matter-of-fact” way. Instead, it lets someone know that you cannot accept their request. It would be similar to saying “I can’t” in English.  

Of course, if you said it forcefully, as in “無理です!” this changes the nuance to something like “no way!” in English.  

73. 問題ありません。 (Mondai arimasen.): No problem.

If someone asks you something that you don’t have any problems with, you can tell them 問題ありません (mondai arimasen). This phrase is also used when talking about the status of things. For example, if your boss asks you if you can complete the project by next week, you can tell them 問題ありません to say that it’s no problem at all.  

Requests

Here are some polite phrases when you need to ask someone to do something.

74. お願いします。 (Onegai shimasu.): Please.

Whenever you ask someone to do something, saying お願いします (onegai shimasu) is polite and natural. You’ll also hear this phrase being said between people who will start to work with each other. In this case, お願いします is a shortened version of よろしくお願いします (yoroshiku onegai shimasu – #4 on this list).  

75. お願いできますか?  (Onegai dekimasu ka?): Could you do this for me?

This is a gentle and polite way to ask a favor from someone. A more friendly/casual way to ask this is, “やってくれる? (yatte kureru?).”

76. 頼みます。 (Tanomimasu.): I’ll ask you to do it.

頼みます (tanomimasu) means “to request” or “to rely on.” When you tell someone 頼みます, you are relying on them to do something for you. It’s like saying “I’ll count on you (to do it)” in English.

77. 急いでください。 (Isoide kudasai.): Please hurry up.

This is a polite way to ask someone to hurry up and do something more quickly.  

78. やめてください。 (Yamete kudasai.):  Please stop it.  

This phrase is useful in many situations.  If someone is bothering you, or doing something that you want them to stop, you can say  やめてください (yamete kudasai).  やめて (yamete) comes from the verb やめる (yameru), which can mean “to stop, to quit, to cancel, or to be sick.”  There are different kanji characters for each meaning of やめる as show below: 

  • 止める: To stop, to cancel
  • 辞める: To quit, to resign
  • 病める: Sick, to be ill

You’ll hear this phrase often  in movies, anime, and in conversations with native speakers.

Commonly Used Adjectives

Here are some useful adjectives for describing things and situations you may encounter.

79. うるさい (Urusai): Noisy, loud

うるさい (urusai) describes something that is annoyingly loud or noisy. If you say it forcefully or angrily, it can also mean “shut up!”  

Check out our guide on うるさい to learn more about it:  Urusai: Does It Really Mean Shut Up?

80. 仕方ない。 (Shikata nai.): There is no way. / Can’t be helped.

If something happens that you don’t have control over, you can say this phrase. It has a nuance of, “well, nothing can be done about it, so there’s no sense in crying over spilled milk.”

81. もったいない (Mottainai): Wasteful.

This phrase is similar to the English expression, “what a waste.” It can describe wasting material things like food or money but can also describe abstract things like talent.  

82. 大切 (Taisetsu): Precious

大切 (taisetsu) describes something precious and valuable or something that you cherish.  It can be used to describe people or things you love.

83. 無駄 (Muda): Meaningless

無駄 (muda) is used when you feel that something is pointless, meaningless, or just a waste of your time.  

A common expression using this adjective is “時間の無駄 (jikan no muda).” This translates to “a waste of time” and is used when you spend your time without being productive or taking more time than you should have to do a specific task. 

84. おめでとう (Omedetō): Congratulations

This is a casual way to say congratulations to someone. If you want to be more formal/polite, you can say “おめでとうございます (omedetō gozaimasu) instead.  

85. よかったね。 (Yokatta ne.): I’m happy for you.

The formal form of よかったね (yokatta ne) is よかったですね (yokatta desu ne). These phrases are commonly used when someone tells you good news. 

For example, if someone looks happy and says, “I got accepted to Harvard!” you can tell them, “よかったね (yokatta ne).” The nuance of this phrase is like saying, “That’s great!” or “I’m happy for you!” in English.  

86. 嬉しい (Ureshii.): (I’m) happy

嬉しい (ureshii) usually means that you are happy/delighted that something good happened. For example, if someone brings doughnuts for everyone in your office, you can say うれしい! to show how happy you are about it. Since you are talking about emotions, うれしい is only used to describe human feelings.  

Another word for happy in Japanese is 幸せ (shiawase). This word usually describes the state of being happy (happiness). For example, you finally save up enough money to take a vacation in Hawaii. When you’re on the beach sipping a Mai Tai, you can say “幸せ” to describe how the situation you are in is the definition of happiness.  

幸せ can also be used to describe inanimate things as well. For example, 幸せなライフスタイル (shiawase na raifusutairu): A happy lifestyle (i.e., a lifestyle that makes you happy). 

87. 楽しい (Tanoshii): Fun/enjoyable.  

When you’re having fun, you can say 楽しい (tanoshii) to let other people know you are enjoying yourself! It can also be used to describe fun things, like 楽しいゲーム (tanoshii gēmu): fun games.

See #39 on this list, 楽しかったです (tanoshikatta desu), to see how this adjective is used in the past tense.  

 88. 大好き。 (Daisuki.): I love (it).

You may have learned that 好き (suki) means “like” and that 大 (dai) means “large.” Put these two words together, and you have “a large like,” or in other words, “love.”  

You can use 大好き (daisuki) to talk about both things or people that you love.  

Basic Japanese Greetings 

Last, but not least, here are basic Japanese grettings that you’ll use over and over in Japan.

89. おはよう。 (Ohayō): Good morning.

おはよう (ohayō) is the casual way to say good morning in Japanese. If you want to be more formal (like greeting people in a business environment or talking to someone with a higher social status than you), saying おはようございます (ohayō gozaimasu) is more appropriate.  

90. こんにちは。 (Konnichiwa.): Good afternoon.

 こんにちは (konnichiwa) is used to say “hello” to people from the late morning until the early evening. This word is “socially friendly,” meaning that you can use it with anyone. It doesn’t matter if someone has a lower or higher social status than you.  

91. こんばんは。 (Konbanwa.): Good evening.  

 こんばんは (konbanwa) is used as a greeting during the nighttime. This word can also be used with anyone in any social situation (although it is a bit formal to say it to close friends).  

If you want to say “good night,” as in, “I’m going to bed,” you use the word おやすみなさい (oyasuminasai) or the more casual おやすみ (oyasumi).  

92. 元気? (Genki?): How are you?

This is the casual version of asking someone how they are doing. This is commonly used with people you are close to or those with an equal or lower social status than you.  

The more polite phrase, お元気ですか? (ogenki desu ka?) should be used when speaking to people with a higher social status than you.  

93. お久しぶりです。 (Ohisashiburi desu.): Long time no see.

 Between close friends, you can omit お (o) and say, 久しぶり (hisashiburi).

It is a set phrase that everyone uses when they meet someone they have seen in a long time.  

94. お変わりありませんか? (Okawari arimasen ka?): How have you been?

 While お変わりありませんか (okawari arimasen ka?) translates to “Have there been any changes (with you),” the nuance when using this phrase is “How have you been. I hope you are still doing well.”

95. ご無沙汰してます。 (Gobusata shite imasu.): It’s been a long time.

This phrase is used when you haven’t been in contact with someone for a long time. It usually refers to a lack of contact by letter, email, or phone.  

96. 元気でね。 (Genki de ne.): Take care.

元気でね (genki de ne) is mainly used when people say goodbye to friends or family who they will not see again for a while. So the meaning of “take care” in this case means “take care until we (if) meet again.”

Another phrase, 気を付けて (ki o tsukete), can also be translated to “take care.” However, the nuance of this phrase means to “be careful” and take care of yourself. 気を付けて is often used when someone is going on a trip or telling kids to be careful when walking home from school. 

97. またね。 (Mata ne.): See you later.

 This is a very casual way to say goodbye to someone. A similar expression in English would be, “see ya.” Because this phrase is so casual, you would never say it to someone of higher social status (your boss, business partners, etc.)  

98. じゃあね。 (Jā ne.): See ya.

This is another very casual way to say bye to some. It shares the same nuance as またね (mata ne) explained above. You would not use this in formal situations or with people who have a higher social status than you.  

99. バイバイ。 (Bai bai.): Bye-bye.

 This is yet another very casual way to say bye in Japanese. Just like with またね (mata ne) and じゃあね (Jā ne) explained above, you would not use this in formal situations or with people of high social status.  

バイバイ (bai bai) does have a cute right to it, which makes it more popular among young people.  

100. さようなら。 (Sayōnara.): Good bye.

さようなら (sayōnara) is the textbook word for “goodbye” in Japanese.  Sayōnara can work in many situations, but it can be too formal or strong in casual situations.  

The nuance of saying さようなら is either formal or serious.  

It is formal because you would not use it with close friends or family. It is used at schools in Japan, where students and teachers say さようなら when they part ways.  

さようなら can also be used to say “farewell,” as in “I’m leaving and not sure if I’ll come back.” You might see characters in movies saying さようなら to each other as a final goodbye.  

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