Japanese business phrases

Let´s be honest for a minute here, Japanese is a difficult language to learn and to feel comfortable with when you first start to use it, especially if you come from a Western country. However, if you need a few words or phrases that will make you feel that you are being understood you should keep reading this post. Many Japanese people really appreciate foreigners who make the effort to learn at least a few Japanese words and business phrases. These are the most common ones (and the ones you should definitely start practicing right away):

  • When handing out your business card:
    • Watashi no namae wa Brown desu – means ‘My name is Brown’ (very formal.)
    • Brown desu.’ – means the same as ‘Watashi no name wa Brown desu’ but is more colloquial, way less formal, much easier to remember.
    • Hajimemashite‘ – means ‘Hello, I am pleased to make your acquaintance’ and you only use it the very first time you meet.
  • General greetings:
    • Ohayogozaimasu – means ‘Good morning’ and is generally used before 10:00am.
    • Konnichiwa – means ‘Good day’ (when meeting) and is used from 10:00am ~ 6:00pm.
    • Kombanwa – means ‘Good evening’ (when meeting) and is generally used after 6:00pm.
  • Upon parting:
    • Domo arigato gozaimashita – pronounced ‘domo aligatogozaimashita’ means ‘Thank you’ (in this case for the event that just occurred) and can be used when parting morning, afternoon or night. Do not use ‘Sayonara’ (pronounced ‘Sayonala’) which is more of a final (or long-term) ‘farewell’.
  • Please and thank you:
    • Onegaishimasu means ‘If you please’ and can be used for example if you are at dinner with a customer and he/she offers you wine.
    • Domo arigato gozaimasu – pronounced ‘domo aligato gozaimasu’ means ‘Thank you’ (in this case for the event that is just occurring!) and can be used when thanking a customer for an order or for a meal.
    • Gochisosama deshita – means ‘Thank you’ but only to your host when leaving a restaurant or bar (it literally means ‘I was spoiled’ as in having received food and drink).
    • Doitashimashite – means ‘It’s my pleasure.’ and if a you bought lunch/dinner for a customer and he/she says “Gochisosama deshita’.
  • Sorry and excuse me:
    • Gomen nasai.’ means ‘Sorry’ and can be used when you stand on your customers foot as you both get into an over-crowded late-night train!
    • Sumimasen.’ – means ‘Excuse me.’ and can be used when excusing yourself from the table or room or when calling a waiter/waitress.

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