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5 Common Phrases You’ll Hear

Posted By on Nov 11, 2015


Visiting Japan? Not fluent in Japanese? There’s no need to worry. Japan, particularly main cities like Kyoto, Tokyo, Sapporo and Osaka, is becoming increasingly anglophone-friendly. With the 2020 Olympic Games gradually approaching, measures are being taken to improve the English skills of the Japanese population. While maneuvering main cities will be feasible with zero language skills, it doesn’t hurt to familiarize yourself with a few commons words and phrases. The following may not find their way out of your mouth, but you will certainly hear them in everyday conversations many, many times.

The 5 most common young phrases you’ll hear- spoken with such relish and enthusiasm you’ll feel energized (if not mildly annoyed by the frequency):

IMG_2958Kawaii – Not reserved for junior high school girls, the phrase “cute!” Uttered in nearly inaudibly high pitches, is in the lexicon of every Japanese person, young and old (though the former may use it innumerable times more often).

Oishii – This is the most overused and practical word for describing food as “delicious.” Depending on the decibel and length of drawn out vowels, you will be able to determine just how good said foods item is (hint: the louder and longer the word, the more pleasure derived from eating it).IMG_2911

Sugoiii – Somewhere along the lines of amazing, sugoii can be used in many situations – awe, amazement, surprise – and like the previous two, can be emphasized by drawing out the vowels.IMG_2462

Ne! – This version of “ne” is stated in agreement. Perhaps a friend says, “Isn’t this awesome?” and the other replies “ne! (that’s right!)”

Ehhh! – Another expression of surprise, Ehhhhh can be extended to demonstrated the extent of surprise, wonder, amusement, etc.


A bit confused? Don’t worry – everything will make sense as soon as you start to hear these words in play.


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