7 Japanese Slang Words Your Textbook Isn’t Teaching You

Posted on 13. Oct, 2015 by in Culture

Do you know enough basic Japanese to get by? Are you looking to expand your knowledge of the Japanese language beyond the conventional learning methods? Then this post is for you.

First, know that the Japanese language is very contextual and what you say dependson who you are talking to.

For example, you use the honorific and humble forms in the work place with your managers and clients.

But when you hang out with close friends, you can be super casual and use innuendos and slang words. Let’s take a look at 7 common Japanese slang words below.

Disclaimer: These slang words are only meant to be used with close friends. Don’t say any of these words and phrases to someone older than you or to strangers of any age.


  1. おっす (ossu) = What’s up

Originally an extremely formal word used in the military, this word is still commonly used by martial arts practitioners.

Nowadays, it’s a slangy way to say hello among young people. Friends use it to greet each other and it can have many variations.

  1. こんちゃ(koncha) = Hi

This word is a slang variation of konnichiwa and it sounds less stiff. You use it when you meet and greet friends. And this is a tad more conservative than おっす.

Note: If you’re being introduced to someone for the very first time, sorry, you’d have to stick to konnichiwa.

  1. よー (yo) = Hey

This word is the usual way of saying “hey” or “hi” as a friendly greeting to some close friends. Don’t use it with strangers as it’s a bit too much and rather impolite.

  1. お前・おまえ (omae) = You

This means the personal pronoun “you.” If you watch enough Japanese dramas or movies, you’d often hear this uttered by the male characters in the show.

This word is extremely impolite except when used by close friends. Then it becomes more of a friendly insult.

  1. 調子どう・ちょうしどう (choushi dou) = How’s it going

This question can be used at social gatherings with friends and is a safe phrase to ask people how they are doing. It can mean “how have you been,” “what’s new,” or “what’s happening.”

  1. まあまあだよ (maa maa dayo) = So-so

This word means “not too bad,” or “it’s okay.” It can be used to refer to a book you just read or even your job. The underlying message is that it’s not all that good but still tolerable.

  1. ごめんちゃい/ごめんくさい (gomenchai/gomenkusai) = Sorry

These two words are slangy forms of ごめんなさい (gomennasai) and are sort of fun and light-hearted. You can say them if what you did wasn’t that serious or if you want to sound cute.

You can also use them if you are online and chatting with people or casually apologizing to a friend, when you don’t have to be so stiff and formal.

Note: In a more serious situation, if you want to apologize properly, you should say ごめんなさい.

Hope you had fun learning these slang words! Formality is an important aspect of Japanese communication. So make sure that you pick the right context to try out these slang words!

Author Bio

Karen’s love affair with the Japanese language started from the song “Say Yes” by Chage & Aska. She currently runs a Japanese learning website to marry her love of Japanese and flash games. You can learn and listen to other useful Japanese phrases at her website, JapaneseUp.

6 Ways of Saying Sorry in Japanese

Posted on 29. Sep, 2015 by in Culture, Grammar


Photo from Froschmann : かえるおとこ on flickr.com



In your day to day conversation, I am sure there are some occasions or moments where you have to sincerely apologize to someone.  Perhaps you didn’t mean to hurt his/her feelings, but thing happened, and that you need to let him/her know how sorry you are.  Today’s post is all about apologizing in Japanese. I don’t think I have covered this topic yet in my blog. These are some useful expressions when you need to say “sorry” to someone..  I added some explanation to each of them so you know when/how to use it. Read on!


Gomen ne (ごめんね) – I am sorry. or Gomen nasai (ごめんなさい) – I am sorry.


This one is a typical expression when you just want to say, ” I am sorry.


Gomen (ごめん) –  Sorry…


Just like when you use say “sorry” in English, this is a shorter version. Depending on the way you say it, it would sound like, you might not actually mean it…(you know what I mean..)


Honto ni gomen ne (本当にごめんね。ほんとうに ごめんね。) – I am really sorry.


“Really” is “honto ni ” in Japanese. By adding this word, you sound like you mean more.



Suggoku gomen ne. (凄く、ごめんね。 すごく ごめんね。) – I am truly sorry.


This expression is rather between kids or close friends of yours.


Moushi wakenai.  (申し訳ない、もうしわけない。) – I feel terrible. 


This expression is mainly used among adults. You would say this to someone you don’t know to well, or someone who is in higher status than yourself.  This applies also to the next expression.


Moushi wake arimasen deshita. (申し訳ありませんでした。もうしわけ ありませんでした。) – I am really sorry. I feel terrible. 


This expression is used again mainly among adults. It is used also in professional environment, such as at work places.


If you know how to use the above 6 ways of saying “sorry” by differentiating based on the situation you are in, you are good to go. Most of the time, you can get away by using the first expression. Hopefully you don’t have to use these so often!

All about furniture – Vocabulary

Posted on 29. Sep, 2015 by in Culture, Grammar

The other day, I was asking one of my friends what her plan would be for this coming weekend. She was telling me that she would have to wait for her furniture delivery all day on Sunday, and that she wouldn’t be able to go anywhere. That’s no fun! I replied.. then come to think of it, I thought I would do a quick vocabulary lesson on furniture for my next post. So, here it is.  These are collection of Japanese words that are related to “furniture”. Furniture is all around us at home, office, and public places. So, read on and learn and memorize these so you can build more Japanese vocabulary. Enjoy!



Photo from Inhabitat on flickr.com



Tsukue (机、つくえ) – Desk

これは、大きな机ですね。(これは、おおおきな つくえ ですね。)

Korewa ookina tsukue desune.  – This is a big desk, isn’t it?


Isu (椅子、いす) – Chairs

どうぞ、椅子に座ってください。(どうぞ、いすに すわってください。)

Douzo, Isuni suwatte kudasai. -Please sit on a chair.



Te-buru (テーブル) – Table

テーブルにお料理がたくさん、並んでいます。(てーぶるに、おりょうりが たくさん ならんでいます。)

Te-buru ni oryouri ga takusan naran de imasu.- There are many dishes on the table.



Tansu (タンス) – Chest

タンスに服をしまってください。(たんすに ふくを しまって ください。)

Tansu ni fuku o shimatte kudasai. – Please put your clothes in the chest.



Kutsubako (靴箱、くつばこ) – Shoebox (Shoe closet)

あなたの靴は、靴箱の中ですよ。(あなたの くつは くつばこの なかですよ。)

Anata no kutsu wa kutsubako no naka desuyo. – Your shoes is inside the shoe closet.


Betto (ベット) – Bed


Watashi no betto wa King saizu desu. – My bed is a king size bed.


Nidan betto (二段ベット、にだん べっと) – Bunk Bed

わたしは、二弾ベットの上で寝るのが好きです。(わたしは、にだんべっとの うえで ねるのが すきです。)

Watashi wa nidan betto no uede nerunoga suki desu. – I like sleeping on top of our bunk bed.


Sofa-(ソファー) – sofa

テレビを観るならソファーに座って観なさい。(テレビをみるなら、ソファーにすわって みなさい。)

Terebi o mirunara sofa ni suwatte minasai. – If you are going to watch TV, sit on a sofa and watch.



Did you already know these words? The last one is the easiest of course, but these vocabulary is easy enough to memorize. Start using them today!