Common Nihongo (Japanese language) Phrases

“​Are wa nan desu ka,​ which means “what are those?”

This is the only Japanese phrase that I remember from trying to learn it during my childhood. Now that I’m a working adult I get to meet a lot of people from around the globe, and among them are the friendly Japanese people, who do a lot of business here in the Philippines. Without consistency, I couldn’t even remember how to greet them in Nihongo!

Sometimes I have this scenario in mind of meeting my favorite Japanese author, Haruki Murakami. It’s exciting to imagine seeing him and having this chance to talk to him until I don’t know how to speak to him, so I would stop imagining.
Apart from meeting Japanese people, particularly Murakami, I find learning Nihongo useful when I get to travel to Japan whether to witness the wonderful Cherry Blossom or to land on a job there.

I have been thinking of acquiring more skills other than writing and singing. (Yes, I’m good at singing. Ehem!) Fluency in other international languages are among them. When I learn that Rizal Memorial Colleges in its Palayan City campus is offering Nihongo class, I feel it’s a good opportunity for Palayanos to add a new skill in their portfolio.

To start off, I’ve tried to recap some basic Nihongo phrases you can practise which I can also use to kick off a gleeful conversation when I meet my Japanese friends. I think talking to them in their language makes them feel more received into a presence or companionship.

Here are some of common Nihongo phrases that I think are essentials for surviving a light and friendly talk that I can incorporate with English for meeting and greeting:

Hai​ – Yes
Lie​ – No
Arigato​ – Thank you
Sumimasen​ – Excuse me
Ohayo gozaimasu-​ Good morning
Konbawa​ – Good evening
Oyasumi nasai​- Goodnight
Eigo o hanasemasu ka?​ – Do you speak English?
Watashi wa Nihongo ga sukoshi shika hanamasen.​ – I only speak a little Japanese. O namae wa nan desu ka?​ – What is your name?
Watashi no namae wa Catherine desu​.- My name is Catherine.
O genki desu ka?​ – How are you?
Genki desu​.- I’m fine, thank you.
Oadikete ureshi desu​.- I’m very glad to meet you.
Motto yukkuri hanashite kudasai.​ – Can you speak more slowly?

How fun was that?! Did you try to speak out these basic Nihongo phrases that I listed down? Did you enjoy it? It already fired me up to learn more and be a skilled Nihongo conversationalist. As I said in my previous blog, learning another language is a form of brain exercise and starting off a few Nihongo phrases already builds up an excitement and yearning within me.

Rizal Memorial Colleges offers basic Nihongo (Japanese language) class. You may visit them at 4/F Government Building.


Kath Borja
Content Writer

Kath Borja is a fanatic of Logic, Science, Arts and Literature. An advocate of peace and feminism. Moon worshipper. Writer, performance artist and master of ceremonies.

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