Japanese - Can You Say Hello?

皆さん、こんにちは!

Today, I want to circle back, because although I’ve taught you how to say “hello”, there are other ways you can say it without actually saying the word “hello”. So, today, we’re going to learn how to say, “good morning”, “good evening”, “I’m home” and “welcome back”.

Why are we learning about it now? We’ve already learned how to say “goodbye”, right? Well, we're doing this backwards because there are more options for saying “goodbye” than “hello”, and I wanted to split it up for you. So, let’s go back and learn how to say “hello” again!


Have A Very Good Day!

Let’s first take a look at how to say, “good morning”. It’s easy enough and can even be shortened to be more casual.


おはようございます


You’ve probably heard both the full version, as outlined above, and the shortened version, おはよう in anime or Japanese dramas. Now, there are two reasons why there’s a full version and a short version, and you can guess why.


The full version is used to speak to people you don’t really know, or whom you respect, or who is an authoritative figure. For example, if you’re working in a hotel, you would use おはようございます, with guests and visitors. If you’re working in an office building, and you’re meeting clients, you’d use it here too. You’d also use it with teachers if you’re still at school.

おはよう would be used in regular conversations with your family and friends. The reason why is that the ございます part is what makes it more formal. While it’s standard to use it, when you start learning Japanese, it’s easier to say おはよう. It’s like saying “morning” in English, instead of saying the full phrase.


Essentially, if it is the morning, and you’re meeting someone important or someone you respect, you wouldn’t say こんにちは, but おはようございます, just like you would say “good morning” in English. And, if you’re speaking to someone you are familiar with, like friends and family, you’d say おはよう.


Ok, so how do we say “good evening” and when do we use it? Well, the phrase is:


こんばんは


So, like おはようございます marks the time of day. Instead, you’d say this phrase around the evening or night-time. So, from around 5 pm onward, you’d start saying こんばんは, to greet people, especially if you’re meeting them for the first time, or you’re making your presence known.


There really isn’t a shorter version of this, since the phrase itself is short already, but you wouldn’t really use it with friends and family. It would mostly be used when speaking to guests, clients, authoritative figures, and anyone you really aren’t acquainted with.


It’s Home Time!

No, I don’t mean it’s homework time! I mean, in Japanese, every time someone goes home, they’ll announce their presence, so anyone inside the building or apartment will know you’ve arrived. Mostly it’s out of habit since children are taught from a very young age to announce their arrival home, but sometimes it’s also out of safety. If you announce your presence, you’ll probably scare off any burglars who’ll attempt to rob your house.


Of course, nowadays that might not work, but it’s a tradition they have in Japan, so the next time you return to your house, you’d be better off saying “I’m home”. So, that phrase is said like this:


ただいま


It’s simple and easy to say, because you’re not speaking to anyone you don’t know, and it’s a very casual phrase. However, I will say that you shouldn’t use it when you’re visiting other people’s homes, the phrase here is different because you’re “intruding on their property”, despite being invited. There are many different other phrases for that, but we’ll learn that in another post.

Now, if you’re the one already at home, you’ll need to reply to the announcement, so that the person who’s arrived knows you’re there. This phrase is:


おかえりなさい

This literally means “welcome home”, and anyone in the house can say it. You can even say it with the other people who live with you, in welcoming someone home. It’s again, to let them know you’re already home, so if they suddenly find a figure in the living room or the kitchen, they’ll know it’s you and won’t be surprised by your presence.


Think about it this way, when you go home from a long day at work or school, and you live with your family, wouldn’t you announce your presence? Would they answer you? That’s essentially what’s happening here, but you don’t have to carry a conversation on the back of these greetings. It’s simply just letting you and everyone else that you’re home and you’re welcomed home.


Ok, Now It’s Homework Time!

There you have it! You have more basic greetings to use, other than こんにちは! Now, I know I didn’t include the Romaji translations, but remember, they’re not always correct, and the sounds that we associate with them aren’t always how they sound like. So, get used to a ひらがな table, a カタカナ table, and some 漢字, to really get the full experience of learning Japanese. Also, listen to Japanese conversations, and Japanese podcasts, or audio Japanese lessons, to really get a feel for the real pronunciations.


Well, that’s it from me today, I’ll see you guys next time. For now, don’t forget to like, subscribe and follow for more updates and the latest posts here on Feather’s Charm and my social media accounts. Oh, and share these posts with family and friends, those who you’d think might enjoy these topics and tips! I’ll see you later!


With love,


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