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

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17
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2answers
2k 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
2k views

“Strike while the iron is hot” - Japanese equivalent

Is there an equivalent expression in Japanese for "strike while the iron is hot"? I've seen a few questions on here with phrases and their equivalents. Does anybody know of a site where these are ...
12
votes
3answers
8k views

How do you ask for “the bill” at a restaurant?

This is probably a bit of a silly question, but what do you say in Japanese when you're asking for the bill in a restaurant? Or is it unusual to say anything at all? When I was in Japan I could never ...
12
votes
3answers
696 views

How to say to “persuade into doing something”?

I am looking for a Japanese phrase or an idiom which could be used to describe a situation in which a person A persuades person B into doing something, not required for the person B, but beneficial to ...
12
votes
4answers
631 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
2k 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
4answers
939 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
810 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
363 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
354 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
417 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
1answer
542 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
5k 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
214 views

How to express the phrase “overrated” or “over-…”

What is the natural way to express the concept of 'overrated'? For example "this actor is overrated". The nearest I can think of is この役者はこうひょうかすぎる。But I don't know if this is even grammatically ...
8
votes
2answers
353 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
254 views

How would you say “for all I know” in Japanese?

The best I can think of is 僕が知る限り + fact + とは限らない. Does this work, are there better alternatives?
8
votes
2answers
1k 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?
7
votes
4answers
11k views

Question about supposedly a Japanese proverb

I came across to this sentence: The Japanese say you have three faces. The first face, you show to the world. The second face, you show to your close friends, and your family. The third face, ...
7
votes
2answers
5k 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
2k 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? ...
7
votes
2answers
153 views

How to say “100% virus free”?

In English we put the following phrases below software we want customers to download to put their mind at ease (for example, a neat weather app). ✓100% virus free ✓Contains no malware ✓Contains no ...
7
votes
2answers
808 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 say,...
7
votes
1answer
130 views

A phrase for a capable person with a critical view of himself

I am looking for a word, idiom or a phrase to describe an attitude when someone is able to and often publicly makes fun of one's own deficiencies. Having an objective, critical, maybe even cynical ...
7
votes
1answer
598 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". I'...
6
votes
3answers
240 views
6
votes
1answer
811 views

Is there a Japanese word or phrase for the chemistry in a relationship?

Is there a Japanese word or phrase for the chemistry in a relationship? And by "relationship", I don't mean a strictly romantic one. It could be the chemistry between best friends, or even the lack ...
6
votes
1answer
381 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
391 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
355 views

Greetings to use in email enquiries

As a potential customer, how should I start and end an email if I am emailing a business, for example, to ask about a product? How should I introduce myself? Would I need to use 謙譲語 and 尊敬語? ...
5
votes
4answers
4k 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?
5
votes
3answers
643 views

How to say “One day at a time” in romaji

Good Evening, I'm a beginner in Japanese and stack exchange. I'm probably going to ask you all very simple and phrase based questions, so I am happy to give any points or perks of appreciation that I ...
5
votes
2answers
4k 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
2answers
2k 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
5k 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
1k 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 「...
5
votes
2answers
762 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". ...
5
votes
1answer
173 views

Indicating a lack of surprise

How do you indicate a lack of surprise at something? For example, in response to someone noting that Cyprus had given 12 points to Greece at the Eurovision Song Contest. I tried using "本当に?" ...
5
votes
2answers
190 views

How to ask someone to repeat what they said [duplicate]

A recurring problem I have in Japanese dialogue is when I can't quite hear what someone said, attempt to ask them something to the effect of "excuse me?" or "what was that?" only for them to rephrase ...
5
votes
1answer
2k 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
1answer
802 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
173 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
408 views

How do you say “I already can tell (understand) X”?

I want to say the equivalent of I can already tell (understand) that game X is (going to be) harder than game Y. For instance, I've already beat game Y. And even though I've only just started ...
4
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
202 views

In Japanese, how do you say you will skip ahead past one section for time's sake while reading aloud to an audience?

How do you succinctly say that you are going to skip ahead past the next section or paragraph for time's sake and tell the audience which spot you are picking up again when reading a paper aloud at an ...
4
votes
2answers
99 views

How to say “plunge into (studies)”?

Please, could you help me to translate the phrase in bold in the following sentence? I have plunged into my studies.
4
votes
1answer
223 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'. ...
4
votes
2answers
322 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 ...