Trust, respect, and communication are essential in every relationship. These are among the factors that make relationships last a lifetime. When you start living in Japan, you will most likely make friends with other foreigners, as well as Japanese locals you meet at school, at your dormitory, at your workplace, or even at international events that you may be interested in attending.
Guidable lists down below some Japanese expressions you may find useful in making friends and in maintaining good relationships with your new tomodachi.
1. Good morning – おはようございます
We often overlook the simple greetings that we have grown accustomed to, such as good morning, good afternoon, good evening and hello, perhaps because we say them so often that we take them for granted. We must always remember, though, that even a casual おはよう means a lot to people. In Japan, the greeting おはようございます is very common, especially when people greet a friend or a colleague for the first time that the day, regardless of the time shown on the clock. This greeting is also just a good start to the conversation, after which you can proceed by asking your friend how his or her morning is going, and so on.
2. I like it – すきです and It’s good – いいですよ
We all love validation. It is a basic human desire to seek acceptance from others, especially from our loved ones and friends. Next time your Japanese friends treat you to a hearty meal, give you kawaii gifts, or do something for you that they don’t usually, remember to express how much you love them, as well as show appreciation for the time and the effort they have put in. In Japan, you can say すきです if there is something that you really like and enjoy, and いいですよ if you want to express gently that everything’s great. Sometimes, simple expressions like these have the wonderful power to melt someone’s heart.
3. Excuse me – しつれいします, Excuse me, I’m sorry – すみません and Sorry – ごめんなさい
We should know by now that Japanese have several expressions for the same situation. We can use しつれいします when we want to excuse ourselves or leave, like in an office setting or from a room. It could also mean “sorry to have bothered you” in English. Meanwhile, we can use すみません if we need help getting somewhere, or when trying to understand important details. すみません can be used when we are sorry for something we have done accidentally, and of course, we can use ごめんなさい if we have done something to our friends that we are really sorry for.
4. Thank you for your efforts – おつかれさまですand Thank you – ありがとうございます
In Japan, when people leave the workplace, they usually send each other off with おつかれさまです, and it means “thank you for your efforts”. Next time we want to compliment a colleague for all the work they have accomplished, we can use this expression as it also means “thanks for all the hard work today”. Next, in every kind of relationship, another sweet expression that sounds and feels as caring as “I love you” is the expression ありがとうございます. We must never fail to express our gratitude towards our friends. Need I say more?
5. Take care – おげんきで
When we send well-wishes to our friends, we can say おげんきで, which could mean take care, be healthy, or I wish you the best of luck. Next to “thank you”, perhaps, this おげんきで expression is personally one of my most valuable. Whenever we part ways with our friends, we should never forget to wish them well and to be healthy.
We know that it takes more than these expressions alone to sustain a healthy relationship. Friendship is like dancing the tango; it only works if performed by two people. By this I mean that the efforts to maintain the friendship should be multi-way, and supported by everyone involved. Nevertheless, the expressions above are useful, especially if we mean them and express them from the heart.
Harumie / Philippines