Topics related to finding a phrase that fits a given context or meaning.

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6
votes
3answers
221 views

Expressing a mild preference

I'm wondering how to express a very mild preference towards an option when being offered several choices in a conversation (e.g. when arranging a meeting time with a colleague). I am familiar with ...
5
votes
1answer
308 views

How to express “X sounds like Y”

How can I express the idea that one word sounds like another? As a concrete example, I wanted to say, 「フライアー」sounds like 「fryer」. Looking in dictionaries (wadoku/jisho) for "sound like" turns up ...
4
votes
2answers
336 views

How would you say “if you don't mind my asking”?

This is something that is often said in English to politely ask a question while avoiding sounding overly intrusive. For example, What do you do for a living, if you don't mind my asking? The ...
4
votes
2answers
248 views

how to say “does not make sense”?

I recently wanted to say "The Japanese counting system does not make sense." However, I could not figure out how to communicate the full meaning of "does not make sense". I don't want to say that it ...
6
votes
1answer
786 views

Is there a Japanese term to express the concept of “Comfort Zone”?

According to Wikipedia, it would be "舒适区" IN CHINESE- I would like to know if this is valid and recognizable in Japanese, too, or if there are more specific/nuanced terms to convey the same idea in ...
10
votes
2answers
761 views

Is there a name for the promotional packs of tissues peculiar to Japan?

Anybody who has visited a Japanese city will have noticed that peculiar type of advertising not common elsewhere. Packets of tissues containing some promotional offer or even quite like a calling ...
3
votes
0answers
111 views

“Automatic Doors Don't Open For Him”

I remember hearing this idiom which meant someone was so lowly, they were not even considered a person. I don't know the source, but remember it was referred to as a 'common Japanese idiom'. ...
7
votes
2answers
174 views

How to correct myself or somebody else when speaking

For example, if I were in a situation where I said something and it was misunderstood (maybe because of bad Japanese), what would be the best way to attempt to correct myself? In English one could ...
6
votes
2answers
170 views

How to write about something in the future where something will have happened

How could I write about something in the future where something will have happened? That is, I'm writing from the perspective of the current time, about a perspective in the future where something has ...
3
votes
2answers
146 views

How do you say “I worked for [X company].”?

The context is you're casually telling a person where you've worked in the past. I was thinking something like: IBMで働いた or IBMで仕事した. But it didn't seem right. In English, the conversation would go ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

How to thank somebody for their hospitality?

Having been on the receiving end of Japanese hospitality quite a bit in the past week, I'd like to know the best way to thank people for it in Japanese. I've found several words for "hospitality" but ...
6
votes
1answer
314 views

Is there a Japanese word for “area with a collection of izakaya stalls or booths”?

I know that the traditional Japanese style pubs that serve food as well as drinks are called "居酒屋". But once a few years ago in Yamagata city, and last night here in Kagoshima city, I ended up in a ...
5
votes
1answer
155 views

Cartel, syndicate, anti-competitive practice

I've heard this story from several foreigners in Japan: I hired Japanese Company A for a service. I didn't like Japanese Company A, so I went to Japanese Company B in the same industry and tried ...
2
votes
2answers
353 views

Enthusiastically accepting an offer or invitation

In English when somebody offers you something or invites you somewhere you can just say "yes" or you can answer more enthusiastically in a pretty standard colloquial manner like this: Would you like ...
2
votes
2answers
188 views

Usual term for the topic of foreigners learning Japanese?

In English we can express in several ways the idea of foreigners learning English, or teaching themselves something. My title isn't totally clear so I'm looking for the name of the topic, not what ...
8
votes
4answers
275 views

Is はじめまして only suitable for the first contact?

When I'm contacting a colleague for the first time and we're communicating online, I can use はじめまして as part of my greeting. Likewise, if I'm meeting someone for the first time and it is an in-person ...
3
votes
3answers
3k views

How to say “no thank you, I don't want / need it”?

Sometimes I am offered something but because I'm just a beginner I don't know what verb they used. I know the proper way to say "no" is to answer with the negative form of the verb the other person ...
4
votes
2answers
307 views

Distinction between “not everyone” and “no-one”

I recently learnt that だれも means "everyone" with an affirmative verb and "no-one" with a negative verb. So, the literal translation of the Japanese "No-one is here" would be "Everyone is not here". ...
10
votes
2answers
322 views

Are we done here?

Today I was getting help from someone behind a counter and when I had handed in my form and shown my ID, I wasn't sure if I needed to do anything else, or if I was free to go. Usually in that ...
6
votes
2answers
488 views

Is there a Japanese phrase equivalent to the English phrase: “Guilty Pleasure”?

I am at a loss of words to describing to my host family why I sometimes listen to "bad" or embarrassing music. Is there a japanese phrase that can help me tell them it's a "guilty pleasure" of mine?
3
votes
2answers
299 views

Is there a Japanese phrase equivalent to “crisis of faith”

I am wondering if there is a way to describe this concept in Japanese, or an equivalent phrase. According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crisis_of_faith it is a mostly western concept (if you ...
4
votes
1answer
265 views

Appropriate “wishes” for pregnancy

What is the appropriate way to express your best wishes to a woman who is having a baby? (This is for a colleague, if there are different ways depending on different contexts please explain those, ...
2
votes
1answer
484 views

Fast Food Conversation - Any Practical Guides?

I looked up for fast food conversation but I could not find anything very practical. While most guide always emphasize on how to order, I never found it prepares one to understand what a fast food ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

a natural and short way to say I'm currently learning Japanese, and it isn't very good?

background: I'm playing Shogi 将棋 on a Japanese site since there are no good english ones, and every once in a while someone tries to open a converstaion with me. While I try to participate as much as ...
9
votes
3answers
530 views

How do you say “You have gotten better at X”?

I was just reminded on another site that "being good at something" is expressed as [上手]{じょうず}/[上手]{うま}い, not いい. How do you tell someone they "have gotten better at something"? Xさん, 料理することがもっと上手いですね。 ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

What do you say when giving something to somebody?

In English when you hold out something to someone, sometimes a vocal prompt like "here" or "there" is said to indicate that you are giving it to the person. In Chinese (or at least in Singapore) we ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Expressing “don't work too hard”

I've read at other sites that "don't work too hard" isn't something that's generally said in Japanese. Is there any truth to this? Are there any alternatives if that is the case? In which ...
5
votes
1answer
514 views

Openings and Closings (Salutations and Valedictions) When Writing a Letter/E-mail

This question came to me because I am writing a personal thank-you letter to a friend's family who hosted me in their home over the holidays. What is the proper way to address the entire family? For ...
7
votes
1answer
413 views

translation for “It serves as a good reminder for me”?

After I've say watched a film with some friends (or read a fable or something) and learned something from it, i want to say "It [the teachings of this fable/film] serves as a good reminder for me". ...
2
votes
2answers
393 views

ホワイトデー: use ハッピー or おめでとう?

When wishing a woman a happy White Day, would I say ハッピーホワイトデー, or ホワイトデーおめでとう, or are both ok? If both forms are used, do they have a slightly different nuance, such as "have fun on White Day today ...
9
votes
2answers
249 views

Just so you know

I'm looking for a good way to tell someone that I want to inform them of something, but I don't actually need them to do anything for me. Something like "Just so you know, the printer is broken." As ...
8
votes
4answers
406 views

What is the formula to say “I'm trying to do X regularly”?

I was trying to think of a way to say "I'm trying hard to read a news article every day" (in the sense that I'm trying to find the time to sit down and pay attention long enough to read, not ...
5
votes
1answer
870 views

Expressing “not greater/less than” and “greater/less than or equal to”

I'm having trouble coming up with a way of saying "not greater than 0" and "not less than 0". Would the following sentences be natural/grammatical? If not, in what ways can the following be ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Is there a form for “I have never heard of”?

Some examples of what I'm trying to convey: I have never heard that song before. I have never heard of Miyazawa Kenji I have never heard of that before? I've never heard of that store? ...
5
votes
1answer
365 views

How to invoke God/spirits in Japanese

No, this is not about any Buddhist chant or mantra that can be used to call forth Japanese gods or heavenly spirits, but rather about any specialized words or interjections that attract attention of ...
4
votes
1answer
120 views

前 or 後 when placing an event in temporal reference to “now”

Consider this phrase:  今は(event)二十分前です。 Deconstruction of the above phrase yields: Now is twenty minutes before (event). (Q1) Can I reconstruct the statement using 後 in this manner?:  ...
8
votes
2answers
209 views

Proportion and Rate

How do I form a sentence pattern for: The more/less X happens, the more/less Y happens E.g. The more you stir, the faster the salt dissolves. The colder the weather, the more ...
7
votes
2answers
967 views

Expression equivalent to “as far/long/much as I/you X”

Is there an expression in Japanese that is equivalent to "as far/long as I/you X", for example "as far as I know", "as far as I'm concerned", "as much as you want", "as long as he is still alive" etc? ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

How to say, “things like”

If you want to say "things like" you can use とか、など、and し。 What if you don't want to list out several things. You want to say, "things like A." Then what do you do?
2
votes
2answers
202 views

How to get clarification in Japanese

I sometimes find that when Japanese answer my questions, their answers are too vague. For instance, I asked what つなぎ is in a given context. A Japanese person told me it is 作業着の種類, "a type of work ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

What is usually written at the end of a slides presentation to imply “Thanks for listening”?

I've seen this phrase a couple of times but couldn't read the Kanji so I don't remember it. Otherwise, what phrase would be good to include in the last slide to imply "Thanks for listening!"? For ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

How should I start an email when requesting something from someone I don't know well?

In English, there is a certain etiquette to follow when writing a business letter. From what I've seen so far, the same seems to be true in Japanese as well. If I was making a business-related ...