Expressions of Daily Life in Japanese

learn the main ones expressions of daily life in japanese!
Expressions of Daily Life in Japanese

Today I am starting a slightly different article, where we will discover and review expressions of daily life in Japanese.

Expressions of Daily Life in Japanese

I intend to present new words or new ways of using familiar expressions. Also, I think it will be interesting for increase our japanese vocabulary, giving more dynamism and fluency in the daily use of the Japanese language.

What have we studied?

As a quick review, I would like to present some expressions that we have already studied and are known by intermediate and advanced students of the Japanese language. Are they:

greetings in japanese

Hover over Japanese letters to see their pronunciation and meaning.


expressions of courtesy

We have already learned many expressions of courtesy, but one of the most basic is: お元気ですか?. It is usually to be answered with the phrase はい、元気です。.

If you want to learn more courtesy expressions and acquire a basic Japanese vocabulary, I suggest you read the article Basic Japanese Vocabulary for Beginners.


For goodbyes, we have さようなら, which is best known by Brazilians, and またね, which is one of the most used by the Japanese.

To learn more about farewells, read the article How to Say Goodbye Properly in Japanese.

Expressions for thanks

We have already learned many expressions, but the main ones are ありがとう and どういたしまして.

Going beyond Konnichiwa

To acquire fluency in Japanese, it is necessary to go beyond konnichiwa. Most expressions used in the daily life of Japanese people can have a simple meaning when they are translated literally, but within a context, they can become an obstacle for those who are learning Japanese.

As I study Japanese, I realize that solving this kind of problem is not such a simple thing. In many cases it is necessary to relearn some words within a new context, that is, to observe the words and learn their meanings within their most common sphere of use.

A good example of this is the expressions we learn about how to say goodbye properly in japanese or even words of more everyday use, such as the expressions used when we arrive and leave the house or some other place.

In and out of our own home

When a Japanese person comes home, the most common word we hear is ただいま, informing everyone inside the house that he has just returned to his residence. お帰りなさい is the answer used for ただいま, said by the people of the family who are inside the house. In addition, there is a contracted form known as お帰り.

When leaving your home, the Japanese usually say 行ってきます. In response, the Japanese family inside the house responds 行ってらっしゃい.

In and out of other places

One of the stumbling blocks for Japanese language learners at the beginning of their careers is knowing the difference between these two cases. The topic above is related to the treatment used in our own home, or the house where we live, but when we are in another place, like the place of work or a friend's house, the whole thing changes context and words as well.

When we enter a friend's house, we should generally use the word お邪魔します, respectfully advising that we are entering the house. In response, it is common to hear いらっしゃい, which is said by the owners of the house to welcome the visitor.

As you leave your Japanese friend's house, it is polite to say 失礼します.

More expressions of daily life in Japanese

It would be very difficult to summarize all expressions of daily life in Japanese in a single article, but I have selected the ones that I believe are essential for a good relationship in Japan. Below is a list of words with explanations on how and when to use them in Japanese language.

The comments on each of the words below were created based on my experience, contact with Japanese anime, movies and series. I can't say if present-day Japan still uses these expressions as they were put, but I believe they will help to better understand everyday situations in Japan.

失礼します – Shitsureishimasu

Shitsureishimasu can be used when we are retreating from anywhere other than our own residence. Generally its translation can have meanings like Excuse meI am going or have to go now or even sorry for interrupting(in case of a request for attention).

行ってきます – Ittekimasu

Despite being used when we are leaving our own home, it can also be used when we are leaving our place of work, taking on a meaning similar to I'm going but I'll be back soon.

お邪魔します – Ojamashimasu

As we learned in the previous topic, ojamashimasu is used when we are going to enter someone else's house. I decided to return to the subject because of something I found curious. The literal translation of ojamashimasu is I'm being rude. I think this is a respectful way of saying that we are entering someone else's house, and because of that, being a little rude for entering others' privacy.

ごめんください – Gomen kudasai

When we arrive at someone else's house and we don't find anyone to welcome us, we usually use gomenkudasai, which can be translated as  Is anyone at home?.

いらっしゃいませ – Irasshaimase

The first time I heard this word was in the anime Ouran High School Host Club (桜蘭高校ホスト部(クラブ), Ōran Kōkō Hosuto Kurabu). It is commonly used by salespeople or store clerks in Japan. Irasshaimase can have the meaning of welcome or I can help you?.

いただきます – Itadakimasu

This is one of the common expressions used before meals. It serves as a way of accepting the food that is offered. A kind of thanks. Usually itadakimasu can be translated as Thanks for the food or enjoy your food.

ごちそう様 – Gochisousama

After meals, gochisousama serves as a thank you for the food you have just eaten. It can be translated as Thanks for the food or I'm full.

お疲れ様 and ご苦労様 – Otsukaresama and Gokurousama

When it comes to the work environment, one of the most desired words by employees is otsukaresama and gokurousama. It stands for good work and is usually a thank you at the end of a completed activity. The difference between the two words is that gokurousama is used by a boss when thanking his subordinates.

おめでとうございます – Omedetou enjoyimasu

It is usually used to congratulate people, not only on birthdays, but on any occasion that deserves it. It can be translated as congratulations.

よろしくお願いします – Yoroshiku onegai shimasu

Usually it is used after asking for something, a favor and meeting someone, in addition to some other situations. It can be translated as pleasenice to meet youI count on you or I leave it in your hands (when asking for a favor). In the next article we will talk a little more about this subject.

Japanese examples only

I couldn't think of anything better than the above cases to demonstrate the use of words for different contexts. But this is just the beginning. In the next article, we will know more expressions and see some of the ones we know today, but this time, contextualizing with the influence of Japanese culture on words.

Kanji calligraphy exercise

Below are the Japanese ideographic symbols used in this article. Selecting the desired kanji, copy and paste them into Worksheet for Kana and Kanji Practice , a new window will open where you can view the printable file and practice Japanese calligraphy by covering the gray symbols and then trying to write yourself. Just print and practice.