How do you say I love you in Japanese? If you're looking for commonly used phrases and interesting cultural tidbits, you can glean a few important pieces of information from this primer on Japanese culture. To best prepare yourself for a trip to Japan, you'll want to take one of the many beginner's language courses offered in community colleges or online classes. This way you'll get to hear the words pronounced properly, and get help with your pronunciation, before you go on your trip.
How Do I Say, "I Love You," in Japanese?
If you want to express great fondness for a person in Japanese, you may want to start with "sukiyo," the phrase that translates best to "I like you." The Japanese do not use the phrase "I love you" lightly. In fact, some Japanese people feel the phrase is so serious and so precious that they only use it in cases such as a goodbye before a death or when moving to the other side of the world. If you feel your love truly matches the amount of responsibility the Japanese place upon this phrase, you will want to say, "Aishiteru." If you're not ready for either of these phrases yet, stick to "Taisetsu." This means, simply, "You're precious!"
How Should I Address new Japanese Acquaintances?
If you want to make sure you are well-received by your new Japanese friends, you will want to make sure you address them with respect. Always apologize if you make a mistake or do something that could possibly be construed as rude, and make sure you add the respectful suffix "-san" to the end of their names until you are told you do not need to do so anymore. Bow when meeting and leaving, following the example of the person with whom you are interacting. Always bow a little bit more than they bow to you, to show respect.
It is considered a major sign of disrespect to address a Japanese person by his or her first name. Always use the last name with the "-san" suffix when you meet someone, even if it is someone you know well. As a rule, only immediate family is allowed to use a person's first name.
How Should I Receive a Japanese Meal?
Before eating, always be sure to use the wet napkin provided to clean your hands thoroughly. After you have cleaned your hands, carefully fold the napkin and place it on the table, but do not touch it again. Do not use it to wipe your face; use your napkin for this purpose. Before you eat, always say, "itadakimasu," which translates to, "I will receive." This is the gracious way to receive any food, even a tidbit from a vendor.
How Should I Enter a Japanese Home?
When you enter a home, make sure you take off your shoes right away. You may want to bring a pair of clean slippers with you, although you will probably be offered a pair of guest slippers to use. Being prepared will show your host that you respect his home.
How Should I Behave?
It is considered rude to make direct eye contact for extended periods of time. Glances will suffice, even during conversation. Never fold your arms across your chest while listening to someone speak, as this is considered rude.
Avoid physical contact. The Japanese seldom shake hands and do not tolerate high-fives, back slapping or men and women having physical contact in public. Don't tell jokes unless you're asked to do so, and choose your material carefully.
Online courses that show you how to learn Japanese aren't all the same. Learn what features a course should offer to help you master this challenging language.
If you need to learn basic Japanese phrases before your trip to Japan, you can start with these useful phrases.