おやじギャグ Old Man’s (Flat) Jokes in Japanese

おやじギャグ Old Man’s (Flat) Jokes in Japanese

An oyaji gyagu means a “boring pun” or “an old person’s (flat) joke.”

おやじ means “one’s father” or “an old man.” ギャグ comes from “gag” and while the English word can indicate an act (e.g. a practical joke), ギャグ in Japanese is usually verbal speech.

Here are a few classic and corny おやじギャグ. Use at your own risk!


“I got it! I’ll drink soda.”

Okay, none of these work in English. The word play involves そうだ (casual of そうです) and ソーダ which means “soda.”

そうだ is used when remembering something or deciding on something. “That’s right!”


“I like skiing.”

Another innocent sounding English translation becomes an awful sounding pun in Japanese. ()き, to like, sounds like スキー, to ski.


“The curry is spicy!”

Curry is カレー and (から)~ is a slang form of (から)い meaning spicy hot.


“Is the watermelon cheap?”

スイカ means “watermelon.” (やす)い means “cheap” or “inexpensive.” か is the question ender: suika yasui ka.


“A country with no kanji, Canada.”

The pun comes from the Japanese word for “Canada” which is カナダ. This could also be かな (kana, hiragana and katakana) + だ (plain form copula). The country without kanji is the country with only kana.


“Are there dolphins?”

イルカ is a dolphin. いるか is asking if (dolphins) exist. Useful for your next beach trip.


“There’s nothing here but deer.”

鹿 means deer and しかない means “nothing but (deer).” It kind of works in English as a rhyme.

アリが(とう)さん、 ハエが(かあ)さん

“An ant is my father; a fly is my mother.”

アリが父さん sounds like “thank you” but means “an ant is (my) father.” Use a fly to represent the mother. This is from a Crayon Shinchan manga.

(うめ)()めぇ 。

“The plum is delicious.”

Plum in Japanese is “うめ.” “うめ” is also slang for うまい which means delicious.


“The cat slept.”

寝ね込こむ means to “stay in bed” from exhaustion or sickness.

()(しろ)(いぬ)がいました、()(しろ)い 。

“There was a totally white dog. His tail was also white.”

()(しろ)い」 (tail is also white) sounds like おもしろい which means “interesting” or “amusing.”

和食(わしょく)きらい? わーショック!

“You don’t like Japanese style food? Shock!”

“わしょく” means Japanese food. “わ” is an exclamation like “wow.” ショック is “shock.”

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Good Tastes in Japanese

Good Tastes in Japanese

How do you say sweet, sour, or spicy in Japanese? Let's take a look at a few tastes words.

()っぱい suppai—sour


That pineapple was so sour, I couldn't eat it.

Vocabulary and Grammatical Notes

その sono–that
パイナップル painappuru–pineapple
wa–(topic particle)
酸っぱくて suppakute–sour and… [from 酸っぱい suppai–sour; this is the て form which acts as a conjunction. It is sour and (therefore) I cannot eat it.]
食べられなかった taberarenakatta–unable to eat [from 食べる taberu–to eat]



After the meal, I want something sweet to eat.

Vocabulary and Grammatical Notes

食後に shokugo ni—after eating

何か nanika–something

甘いもの amai mono—sweets; something sweet

ga—marks the object wanted to be eaten

食べたい tabetai—to want to eat [~たい means “want to”]

Here is an idiomatic use of あまい similar to how it is used in English.

He seduced her with sweet words.

Vocabulary and Grammatical Notes

wa—(topic particle)
甘い言葉 amai kotoba—alluring words; sugared words; flattery
彼女 kanojo—she; her [can also mean “girlfriend”]
o—(direct object marker)
誘った sasotta—tempted; seduced


Bitter medicine works better.

Vocabulary and Grammatical Notes

wa—(topic particle)
苦い nigai—bitter
ほうが houga—is more than; is better; (bitter is more effective)
効く kiku—works; has effect

He overcame a bitter experience and became an adult.

Vocabulary and Grammatical Notes

苦い経験 nigai keiken—a bitter experience
乗り越えて nori koete–overcame
大人 otona—adult
になった ni natta—became

(から)karai—spicy hot

Indian curry is spicy.

Vocabulary and Grammatical Notes

インド indo—India
カレー kare– – curry
インドのカレー indo no kare– – Indian curry
辛い karai–spicy

おいしい oishii—delicious

Japanese food is delicious.

Vocabulary and Grammatical Notes

日本 nihon—Japan
食事 shokuji—food
日本の食事 nihon no shokuji—Japanese food
おいしい oishii—delicious

うまい umai—tasty

This restaurant's sushi is tasty.

Vocabulary and Grammatical Notes

この kono—this [used before nouns]
すし sushi—sushi
この店のすし kono mise no sushi—this restaurant’s sushi
うまい umai—delicious; tasty

And here is another idiomatic use for うまい.


Vocabulary and Grammatical Notes

うまい話 umai hanashi—too-good-to-be-true stories (scams; frauds)
には ni wa—as for (too-good-to-be-true stories)
気を付けた ki o tsuketa—take care [use the た form of verbs before ほうがいい]
ほうがいい hou ga ii—better to

まずい mazui—unsavory; not delicious

This ramen is horrible.

Vocabulary and Grammatical Notes

この kono—this (goes before a noun)
ラーメン ra-men—ramen noodles
まずい mazui—not delicious

Like うまい, まずい can be used idiomatically also.

This is a raw deal.

Vocabulary and Grammatical Notes

これは kore wa—as for this, it is…
まずいこと mazui koto—a bad thing
になった ni natta—became

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いっしょにあそぼ! Let’s Play – Japanese Phrases for Children

いっしょにあそぼ! Let’s Play – Japanese Phrases for Children

You may not have known this, but Japanese children, like any other children, like to play games together. Here are a few phrases to get your inner child a-playing in Japanese.

いっしょにあそぼ! Let’s Play – Japanese Phrases for Children

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issho ni asobo!
Let’s play together.

あそぼ should have a う at the end, but it is often dropped in speech, making it a shorter sound.


nani shite asobu?
What do you want to play?

Literally, “what-do-play,” this is a common way for kids to start play.


nanika shiyou yo
Let’s do something.

When nothing seems to be happening, this is the question to ask the gang. The final よ is for emphasis.


asobi ni ikou
Let’s go play.

When suggesting to go to the park or pool, this is the phrase to use. The に is used to show the reason (to play) for going (ikou)


​Pay attention to me!

From 構う kamau meaning “to mind” “to care about” or “to be concerned for”


  • かくれんぼ kakure​nbo -- hide and go seek
  • 鬼ごっこ oni gokko -- tag
  • フルーツバスケット furu-tsu basuketto -- Fruit basket turnover (game) Learn more here.
  • なわとび nawatobi -- jump rope
  • かけっこ kakkeko -- race; sprint
  • じゃんけん janken -- Rock, paper, scissors
  • けん玉 kendama -- kendama; ball and cup. See here.
Playing in Japanese
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Eating Phrases in Japanese

Eating Phrases in Japanese

How to say I'm hungry, nay, I'm starving! in Japanese

And how to say I'm stuffed too...

Eating. It happens. 

Let’s look at a few phrases to help us when we are starving and when we are stuffed. 

Starving Phrases

  • お腹がすいた onaka ga suita I’m hungry [In conversation, the が can be dropped]
  • はらへった hara hetta I’m hungry [はら is another way to say “stomach.” Literally, “stomach decreased”]
  • お腹へった onaka hetta I’m hungry [The same as above, but with お腹 instead of はら]
  • お腹ペコペコ onaka pekopeko I’m hungry [A cute way to say it.]

Stuffed Phrases

  • お腹いっぱい onaka ippai (I’m) full [Stomach full]
  • 満腹 manpuku (I’m) full. [Also, stomach full; 満 full 腹 stomach]
  • もう食べられない mou taberarenai (I) can’t eat any more [もう any more; 食べられない to be not able to eat]
  • AND 腹八分 harahachibun [This literally means “stomach 80%.” It is used when you are almost full, but not stuffed. It is the proper time to stop eating.]
I'm stuffed in Japanese
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