Carrying on a conversation (in any language) isn’t just about getting your ideas across. It is also about showing the other person, the speaker, you are listening. This is especially important in Japanese since it is used all the time.
In English, we might say, “Oh, really?” or “Is that so?” or “Uh huh” to show the speaker we are interested and understanding what he or she is saying. This video lists several important 相槌 aizuchi for showing you are interested or agree with the speaker.
Aizuchi to show Attention
Let’s first look at 相槌 aizuchi that could be considered positive. None of these fully imply the listener even agrees with the speaker. But the listener is interested, engaged, and understanding what the speaker has to say.
Here are the main words (there are many more):
はい yes hai
While this means “yes,” はい is often used in conversation to show attention and interest.
This is sometimes written as えー. This is a common substitute for はい with generally the same meaning. I’m listening and I’m interested. When said with a rising tone, it can show surpise or disbelief.
うん yep un
This is a less formal but common way to say “yes.” As mentioned above, saying this doesn’t necessarily mean you agree with the speaker, but just that you are showing interest.
なるほど I see naruhodo
When the listener explains something you didn’t previously understand, you can say, “I see” or “I get it” or “indeed.”
さすが As expected… sasuga
This means “as one would expect” and is often used as a compliment. If the speaker says an accomplishment, compliment him or her with “I knew you could do it.”.
すごい！ Amazing! sugoi!
すごい means “amazing” and can be compared to the slang word “cool” or “awesome.” When the speaker says something amazing, use this.
そうですね。 That’s right. sou desu ne.
Also shortened as そうだ, this literally means “That is so.” It shows mild agreement, but it could also just be used to show interest.
うそ (surprise) No way! uso
This literally means “lie.” When said with surprise, it means “Really?” but when said with disbelief, it can mean “I don’t believe that.”
うそ (disbelief) I don’t believe that. uso
Depending on how you say this, it can show agreement (with shock) or disbelief (also with shock).
ほんと (I) swear; really; (I’m) telling the truth honto
This can be used to agree with the listener. I swear. That’s for sure. I’m telling the truth. This literally means “true” or “fact.” In less colloquial circumstances, it really has a う at the end: ほんとう.
ほんとに really; truly honto ni
The adverbial form can be used to confirm what someone said is really true.
まさか It can’t be…; no way; you don’t say masaka
This is usually said when the listener suddenly realizes what the speaker is saying may actually be true despite it sounding absurd. It can’t be…
信じられない I don’t believe it
Literally, this means “I cannot believe.” but this can also be said when believing but not wanting to believe. I can’t believe (he did that).
ありえない impossible; no way arienai!
This means impossible, but again, it may simply show the listener is shocked by what she hears.
おかしい That’s odd; funny; little strange okashii
This means “odd” or “strange.” Something’s funny about that.
なんかへんな Something’s wrong with that; that’s odd nanka henna
Frank introduces Obaasan to his friend, Sushi. He learns Sushi is actually something to eat. Frank is saddened by this unexpected turn of events
Chapter Four: Sushi is Something to Eat – Click here to download – DOWNLOAD AUDIO
Japanese Reader: The Fountain of Youth 若返りの水 – SLOW – Click here to download – DOWNLOAD AUDIO
Japanese Reader: The Fountain of Youth 若返りの水 – NORMAL SPEED – Click here to download – DOWNLOAD AUDIO
IN THIS ISSUE:
NEW READER: Frank and the Obaasan & The Fountain of Youth 33 Pages
Laughs, Jokes, Riddles, and Puns Prefecture Spotlight: Kumamoto Etymology: Mizu ni Nagasou Phrase of the Day: The Pen is Mightier than the Sword Kanji Spotlight: JLPT N5 Kanji Numbers Grammar Time! Plan To: yotei; tsumori Frank and the Obaasan Reader, Grammatical Notes, Kanji Notes, and English Translation The Fountain of Youth
Here are five kakkoii fighting phrases you might hear in anime Japanese or read in manga. Listen for them when you get to the fighting scenes.
Please note, all five of these can be rude–they are, after all, fighting words. Be careful how you use them, but saying them to your close Japanese friends could be fun.
Let’s get started with some Anime Fighting Phrases in Japanese…
Bring it on!
The かかって comes from a word that means “to start,” “to deal with,” “to handle.” こい is a somewhat rude command that means “come on!”
I accept your challenge!
When you are ready to take up the gauntlet, say, 「うけてたつ！」
I’ll never lose!
Said when things are not going well for the bad guy and he is about to lose. もん is an ender used for emphasis. もんか is used for creating rhetorical questions when the speaker actually believes the opposite is true. “Am I about to lose? No way!”
I’ll get you for this!
The bad guy is lost and he knows it. He is in an embarrassing retreat, but to save face, he says to the victorious hero, 「おぼえてろ！」 Literally, this is “I’ll remember this.” It can mean, “You’ll be sorry!” or “You’ll regret this!” or “I’ll get even someday!”
This is also pronounced ちきしょう. Literally, this means “livestock” or “beast.” When said when upset, however, it is a light curse. Dammit! Hang it all! Darn!
Learn Japanese through Dialogues: At the Restaurant
DIALOGUE ONE: Making Reservations
In this article, we will look at a typical restaurant reservations scenario. Listen to the dialogue while going through the text, spend some time going through the grammar notes, and then listen to it once more–this time, hopefully, with greater comprehension.
If you like this lesson, check out our Learn Japanese through Dialogues series of eBooks (or paperback) + MP3s. This particular dialogue is from the book “At the Restaurant” as seen to the left. See the bottom of a way to get four of these eBooks, each with eight or more dialogues, for the price of one eBook.
Let’s begin today’s lesson…
Dialogue One: in Japanese
あの、すみませんが、今夜８時に予約をしたいのですが。 ano, sumimasen ga, konya hachi ji ni yoyaku wo shitai no desu ga. Hello. I would like to make a reservation for tonight at eight.
ano—um; “sumimasen ga” would mean “Sorry for the trouble but ~”—it is something you would say to be polite before making a request.
VOCABULARY あの ano umm [said as a polite way to get someone’s attention] すみません sumimasen sorry; excuse me が ga but; however 今夜 konya tonight ８時に hachi jini at 8 o’clock 予約 yoyaku reservation を wo [direct object marker] したい shitai want to のですが no desu ga The “no” + “desu” is a sentence ender which indicates the speaker is explaining something. The “ga,” meaning “but” is added to soften the request.
はい、かしこまりました。何名様ですか？ hai, kashikomarimashita. nanmei sama desu ka? Sure, how many people will be in your party?
“hai, kashikomarimashita” would mean “Yes, I will respectfully obey your request”; this is a standard reply used by servers when they take orders or requests from the customers.
VOCABULARY はい hai yes かしこまりました kashikomarimashita I understand; yes [to obey respectively] 何名様 nanmeisama how many people [Normally, you can say, “nan nin” for “how many people,” but in the context of a restaurant, you will hear the very polite, “nan mei sama.”] です desu copula [a word used to link the subject of a sentence with a predicate; often like the English “to be”] か ka
四人です。 yonin desu. Four.
Notice the pronunciation is “yonin” not “yonnin.”
VOCABULARY 四人 yonin four people
室内のテーブル席になさいますか？それとも、屋外になさいますか？ shitsunai no te-buru seki ni nasaimasu ka? soretomo, okugai ni nasaimasu ka?
Would you like a table inside or would you prefer a seat outside?
“seki” is usually “seat” but in this case it is “table”
VOCABULARY 室内 shitsunai inside (the restaurant) の no [shows possession or relationship between two things] テーブル te-buru table 席 seki seat になさいますか？ ni nasaimasu ka? will be? それとも soretomo or 屋外 okugai outside (the restaurant) になさいますか？ni nasaimasu ka? will be?
天気がいいので、外がいいと思います。 tenki ga ii node, soto ga ii to omoimasu. The weather is nice so outside would be great.
“~ node” is “because ~” but notice its position in the sentence. It connects and shows a relationship between two phrases.
ii—good; tenki ga ii—fine weather; soto ga ii—the outside is good.
VOCABULARY 天気 tenki weather が ga [grammar: usually marks the subject of the sentence.] いい iigood; nice ので node because; therefore 外 soto outside と思います to omoimasu I think
はい、かしこまりました。なにかほかにご希望などはございませんか？ hai, kashikomarimashita. nanika hokani gokibou nado wa gozaimasen ka? Sure. Is there anything else I can get for you?
“gokibou” (“go” + “kibou – hope”) – something you would want; adding the polite “go” shows respect to the customer.
VOCABULARY はい hai yes かしこまりました kashikomarimashita I understand; yes なにか nanika something ほかに hokani in addition ご希望 go kibou your wish; your order [the “go” makes it polite when referring to someone else’s wish.] など nado etc. は wa [particle topic marker—hiragana “ha” but pronounced “wa“] ございません gozaimasen there isn’t か ka question marker [grammatical]
はい、あります。私の妻の誕生日ですので、ケーキをテーブルに持ってきてほしいのですが。 hai, arimasu. watashi no tsuma no tanjoubi desu node, ke-ki wo te-buru ni motte kite hoshii no desu ga. Yes, it is my wife’s birthday and I would like a cake brought to the table.
A sentence which ends with “~ desuga” is a soft way of requesting something instead of making it sound like a direct order.
VOCABULARY はい hai yes あります arimasu have; exist 私 watashi I; me (used by males and females] の no [shows possession or relationship between two things] 妻 tsuma wife 誕生日 tanjoubi birthday ので node because; therefore ケーキ ke-ki cake を wo [direct object marker] テーブル te-buru table に ni to (the table) 持ってきて motte kite brought [literally, “hold and come”] ほしい hoshii want のですが no desu ga The “no” + “desu” is a sentence ender which indicates the speaker is explaining something. The “ga,” meaning “but” is added to soften the request.
それは素敵なお考えですね。お食事のあと、ケーキをお持ちいたします。 sore wa suteki na okangae desu ne. o shokuji no ato, ke-ki wo omochi itashimasu. How nice! Yes, we can have it brought out at the end of your meal.
“suteki” means “nice,” “lovely,” or “cool” and is very commonly used.
VOCABULARY それは sore wa as for that 素敵な suteki na nice; good お考え o kangae thought ね ne isn’t it? [a very common and versatile sentence ender] お食事 o shokuji food の no [shows possession or relationship between two things] あと ato after ケーキ ke-ki cake を wo [direct object marker] お持ちいたします o mochi itashimasu will carry out
いいですね、それと、食後にワインもお願いしたいのですが ii desu ne, soreto, shokugo ni wain mo onegai shitai no desu ga. Great! I would also like a bottle of wine after the meal.
VOCABULARY いい ii good; nice ね ne isn’t it? [a very common and versatile sentence ender] それと sore to that and 食後に shokugo ni after eating ワイン wain wine も mo also お願いしたい onegai shitai want to ask a favor [The “shitai” adds the meaning of “to want to…”] のですが no desu ga The “no” + “desu” is a sentence ender which indicates the speaker is explaining something. The “ga,” meaning “but” is added to soften the request.
はい、屋外のお席、８時にご予約承りました。 hai, okugai no oseki, hachi ji ni goyoyaku uketamawarimashita. Okay, your table for four outside will be ready for you at eight o’clock.
“uketamawarimashita” is usually used by a restaurant receptionist when confirming an appointment. It means “I have respectfully received (your appointment).”
VOCABULARY はい hai yes 屋外 okugai outside (the restaurant) の no [shows possession or relationship between two things] お席oseki seat [polite] ８時に hachi ji ni at 8 o’clock ご予約 goyoyaku reservation [polite] 承りました uketamawarimashita received
ありがとうございます。ワインとケーキは、ウエイトレスが持ってきてくれますね？ arigatou gozaimasu. wain to ke-ki wa, ueitoresu ga motte kite kuremasu ne? Thank you, and our server will bring out the wine and cake?
Adding “ne?” at the end can make the sentence a question by asking for a confirmation.
VOCABULARY ありがとうございます arigatou gozaimasu thank you ワイン wain wine と to and ケーキ ke-ki cake ウエイトレス ueitoresu waitress が ga [grammar: usually marks the subject of the sentence.] 持ってきてくれます motte kite kuremasu will bring ね ne [sentence ender asking for confirmation]
はい、お食事のあと、お持ちいたします。そのほかになにかございますか？ hai, o shokuji no ato, omochi itashimasu. sono hokani nanika gozaimasu ka? Yes, at the end of your meal. May I help you with anything else?
“omochi itashimasu” means “(The server) will bring (them)”
VOCABULARY はい hai yes お食事oshokuji food; meal [polite] の no possession [grammatical] あと ato after お持ちいたします omochi itashimasu will bring (to you) そのほかに sono hoka ni something else なにか nanika something ございます gozaimasu is; exists [polite form of desu] か ka question marker [grammatical]
いえ、ありません。以上です。 ie, arimasen. ijou desu. No, thank you. That will be all.
“ijou desu“—that will be all; that is all; that’s it
VOCABULARY いえ ie no ありません arimasen isn’t; doesn’t exist 以上 ijou that is all
ありがとうございました。 arigatou gozaimashita. Thank you.
“arigatou gozaimashita” is more polite than “arigatou” which would not be appropriate here.
VOCABULARY ありがとう arigatou thank you ございました gozaimashita past of “gozaimasu” [use the past form to thank for what was done already.]
Did you enjoy this lesson? This is the first dialogue from the At the Restaurant eBook. Get that eBook plus Beginning Conversations, Greetings and Meetings, and Asking Directionsfor only $5.
Sometimes I find a kanji or jukugo and I want to do a quick check of popularity or I want to see examples of usage. Google is excellent for doing this–at least for ‘Internet Japanese.’
The problem is my default English Google setup tends to favor Chinese over Japanese websites when doing Japanese searches without kana. I don’t know if this happens with everyone outside Japan, but it happens all the time for me. I could change the default setting to Japanese, but that would skew English searches.
Anyway, when I want to search for a Japanese text that is all kanji, I type the Japanese I want to search for and then add a 「は」. Since the particle 「は」 is (almost) invariably in every Japanese web page and it wouldn’t be on a Chinese website, the results are almost all from Japanese websites.
I’m sure adding the 「は」 does affect the search in more ways than that, though. It would be best for ‘important’ searches* to go into Google settings and change it temporarily to ‘Japanese.’
You know, the kind of searches where life and death are at stake.