Simple Japanese Phrases

Hello! I have been living in Japan for six months now, arrived with almost no knowledge of the language, and now know some basic phrases but feel like overall there are a lot of phrases I should know and don’t… what are some good resources to learn basic phrases to help me get around?


Hi and welcome!

What kind of phrases were you looking for? I can list a few, but I’m not sure if they’ll be helpful…

いいですよ - it’s fine (I use this a lot to refuse plastic bags at the supermarket and convenience stores)
しょうがない - eh, can’t be helped/nothing can be done
自動 (じどう) - automatic (on escalators, bank statements, etc.)

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There are hundreds of YouTube videos about this kind of stuff but for me after two years of living here the easiest way is always to ask around. I often will have a particular phrase that has eluded me and I don’t know so I ask someone or I pay attention when a Japanese person is going through it.

perfect example is how everyone pays together all at once, but in America we always pay separately. I watched one of my co-workers split a check and I learned that to get separate checks all you need to say is べつべつ when paying

so if you want to know a particular phrase just ask or watch others. because studying specific phrases all at once can kind of jumble them in your head. Think of the ones that you would use most regularly but don’t know.


You could also go to any major chain bookstore and go to the Japanese section. They have books specifically for phrases that can be used in various situations.


You may need to be more specific. OP is living in Japan, so the entirety of every major chain bookstore is the Japanese section. :stuck_out_tongue:


? That’s why I said the Japanese section.

There’s a section literally devoted to books that teach Japanese, much like there are German sections, Spanish sections, and so on, in bookstores across the world.

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Well, you said Japanese section, not Japanese language teaching section :stuck_out_tongue:


I think these would improve your listening and speaking while learning key phrases.

Also textbooks like Genki, Minna Nihongo. Take Kim’s grammar guide is also good.
[Edit - The listening/speaking book in second link may be a bit difficult depending on how much prior knowledge you have… a example from the one of the listenings in the 1st chapter:


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Fair enough! The section just says 日本語 which I guess is translated as (Japanese language) but you could just say Japanese and it makes sense.


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