Small Talk in Japanese

I’m in Japan and I want to talk more with my coworkers, but I’m not sure how to start conversations/small talk. I know the weather is fair game, but what else is ok to ask about?

I’ve gotten the impression that asking about someone’s day or weekend is weird. I know people don’t use お元気ですか like we do “How are you?”

I know of course about talking about whatever once you know someone better, but at this point, I don’t have anything specific to talk about and just want a way to chat.


Sportsball? Current events?

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I know いいお天気ですね from Pimsleur. Maybe you could say that and go with your favorite 季節?

idk i can’t really do small talk in general

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Sadly, I don’t follow any sportsball. Current events is a good one.

There’s only so much weather talk I can take lol. Asking about someone’s favorite season seems more like an icebreaker, but it might work well on a coworker I see rarely.

I’ve found that asking for help, like with recommendations of places to eat or shows to watch or books to read, tends to work pretty well. It also opens the door for any follow-up conversations on later days about if you tried/watched/liked/etc them or not. The tricky part with this is just making sure they’re not super busy, but that’ll probably be easy to pick up on.


Yeah maybe like Oh, i wish it was fall because of fall sports or hobbies or something like that.

All you need to know is how to say “so how about that disgraceful performance last night?” and they’ll fill in the conversation for you. :slightly_smiling_face:


Ahhh, that would be really good. I’ll try that for sure :slight_smile:

Sports don’t have seasons as much over here. It seems like everyone practices year-round with the exception of winter sports. Maybe I’ll be able to find more people into ice skating that way though.

lmao. Unfortunately a lot of my coworkers have kids, so I’d be worried they might think I’m talking about a kids league.


Incorrect because rugby isn’t included nor is shogi nor sumo (all of which regularly show on my tv lol). :stuck_out_tongue:


Maybe if you’re only talking about school sports, but that’s not a typical small talk conversation piece (with the exception of Koshien). The professional sports have off and on stretches.


You’re right, I said that with school sports in mind.

Anybody know if “how was your day off?” is a socially acceptable question? I feel like I see it used as a generic conversation starter in manga about work, but that’s manga so idk.

I tried asking that to the guy who previously sat next to me a few times and he made it seem like it was a weird question, like a “Why would you even ask that?” kind of response. I’m not sure if he just didn’t like foreigners or what though.


Ooh, that sounds rough, I’m sorry.

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Reminded me of this.


With my coworkers I’ll ask about their weekend/vacation, ask for recommendations, share something I did recently and ask if they’ve even eaten that/done that/went there and recommend it, ask what sports they did when they were younger if it ties in, etc etc.
When you get on good terms gossip always works too lol

Good luck! ^^


Aye, I think that’s where my memory got it from in the first place. :slightly_smiling_face:


Is this a regionally acceptable thing or am I just wrong about it being weird to ask here? Although I’m starting to think more and more that my old deskmate was a jerk… He told me there weren’t any communal trash cans at work, even for the vending machines on property. I’ve found like 7 cans since then that everyone seems to use. :confused:


I’ve found they won’t normally bring it up on their own/or ask me about mine but are usually happy to share if I ask.

I’m in Kansai if that makes a difference.

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