Can I use these while in Japan?

Hi fellow WK community folks,

I’m currently in Japan and trying each day to learn new words and try them out. Most on WK, but sometimes from other sources. I’ve tripped over いっしょ and was told (by a friend in a teppanyaki) that I should be using いっしょに instead and that いっしょwas a slang that meant something I didn’t intend (maybe I was just mispronouncing, but it seems pretty straightforward).

I get that there are levels of formality (e.g., sometimes using 共に instead of 一緒に), but now I’ve just encountered the potentially-useful expression 一体 (いったい) and my question for you much-more knowledgeable than me is where this expression falls in the spectrum between すごい(sugoi) and やばい (yabai), the former being completely safe and the latter not being in your grandma’s speech.

If it’s on WK, is it safe for general use?


yeah wtf is 一体😭

dio berry bless us w your knowledge


exactly! couldn’t say it any better.

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The thing with WK is that it doesn’t usually give you the forms with grammatical elements beyond transitive/intransitive and suru verbs. The team is working on making usage clearer with the example sentences, but it’s probably better to learn from immersion if possible.

I’ve heard 一体(いったい) at work, but in the context of coworkers complaining. Unless you have a good relationship with your coworkers, it’s probably not something to use. やばい’s level of inappropriateness really depends on who you talk with. There are some older folks who associate it with with the Yakuza, while younger people use it frequently. I’m not sure how comparable it really is. I guess I wouldn’t recommend 一体(いったい) unless using it with friends who you already speak casually to.

一緒(いっしょ)に is really commonly used and safe. I haven’t tried using 一緒(いっしょ)by itself though. Perhaps if I scanned some not family friendly doujin, I’d find it, heh.


Yes :wink:

(一体 can be something like WTF)


To clarify a few things in this thread:

一体 is not an exclamation that can be used by itself. It’s generally used fairly similarly to “what the heck”, but more like “What the heck are you doing?” or “What the heck happened?”, or “What the heck is this?” (一体何してんだよ、一体何なんだよ).

At least where I live, やばい isn’t inherently a “rude” or “dirty” word. It’s just very recent slang and has no place in a formal setting. The original word had 0 good connotation associated with it, and was reserved for things that were truly やばい such as flooding, landslides, earthquakes, etc. It’s similar to how “awesome” in English used to be for things that truly inspired awe, like the Grand Canyon, but now your french fries can be awesome.

一緒 or 一緒に both have their place in everyday speech, and neither are inherently inappropriate, so I imagine it was wording of the whole phrase you used it in that made it imply something less kosher.
一緒に(activity)する? is quite simply “[Do you want to] do (activity) together?”, and if someone has the same birthday, favorite food, hometown, whatever, as you you can say 一緒だ! to mean “Me too!” or “Mine is the same!”.

Japanese is a highly context-dependent language, so there’s a number of factors that can make words/phrases appropriate or inappropriate, and to varying degrees. However, Japanese has essentially no vocabulary that are inherently “bad words” like curse words in English.


At ski resorts it’s often thrown around to describe runs that are difficult and/or dangerous. Usually heard said by teenage boys on the gondola. :grin: That black run is gnarly, dudes!


As you mentioned, it is probably contextual, but when I used やばい to express my appreciation of the work that a building contractor did on our Kyoto machiya, I got a reception that might be as if I’d just farted in church… from both the 60 year old contractor and the 35 year old managing agent who was with him (then followed up with, “this isn’t something that should be used” by the English-speaking managing agent).

I’ve heard that Kyoto is particularly conservative, so maybe that’s it. Still learning… Thankfully, the Japanese are generally kind when I butcher their language.

Thanks, everyone, for your insight and advice!


I had no idea やばい was a slang term that some aren’t cool with, although the other usages make sense. I hear people using it all the time. Certain old people must really hate やべー then :thinking:

I couldn’t possibly imagine using やばい like this. Can it be used in a positive sense? I’ve never heard it used like that.

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Young girls (under 30) use it describe basically anything. Awesome pool, yabai, scary dark alley, yabai, handsome guy, yabai.
Seen on Terrace House


Actually that’s a regional dialect variety of やばい in my area used by many, but I think you’re right about old people not using it (or at least I don’t really hear it used by them).

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For the most part, the words in WK are safe. In your example, you were just using the word grammatically incorrect like If I asked “Would you like to get ahead sometimes?” and left the first ‘a’ out of the sentence. Even the weirdest words are only going to be a slight social faux-pas, but nothing an immediate apology can’t solve in the worse case. I’ve noticed some of the awkward words have notes attached to them too. I often try to use some of my new words, but often, they’re just not a common words and WK included them more to help you memorize the kanji readings. As long as you’re not concerned about getting embarrassed, make those mistakes!


I had no idea you could use it like this :thinking: Still, I couldn’t possibly imagine using it in that way myself.

It may have started out as a regional dialect, but I’ve heard it all over. Same for stuff like すげー, カッケー, or ウメー.

Also I’d say it’s similar for stuff like うまっ, すごっ, or ヤバっ.


is ウメー the sour plum in the liquor?

カッケー is new to me too. Need to take it for a spin!

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At least in Northern Hokkaido, やばい has started to become replaced by えぐい (sometimes えぐっ) by teenagers. Japanese changes so quickly these days (as does English)! Another fast changing phrase has been 本当に?, which I believe became ガチで?, マジで?, マジ?, and finally マ?


Misa Ammo did a whole 20 minutes on やばい


ウメ(and all similar versions) is from うまい. I think there’s just a broad trend in slang of replacing the ending vowel sounds on adjectives with え. It probably happens with a lot more but those are the ones I’ve heard most.

It’s also done with お前 and オメー, although I haven’t really heard that one so it may still be regional.


this is awesome! I hate to admit, though, that in addition to my very junior knowledge of Japanese, I’m feeling increasingly out of touch (I’d previously given up on ever approaching hip again, if I ever was).

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I think I heard えぐい for the first time a couple years ago, but it’s picked up in popularity recently for sure. Same for グロい. Both of these words originally meant something like “gory” or “grotesque”. The ぐろ in グロい originally comes from the English “gross”, グロス, if I’m not mistaken.
ガチで is much more recent, within the last year in my area, and I honestly don’t even know where it came from. The kids have been using マジ(で/か) ever since I came to Japan 4 years ago, though.

It’s definitely not just girls, at least where I live. But it definitely can be used positively, like “awesome” in modern English. Completely interchangeable with すごい, as far as I’m aware, if not a tiny bit stronger.

What type of situation was this? If this was a work/professional situation, which is how I read that, then it makes sense that it wasn’t well received. You’d never use it that way in front of a superior/senior.