34 votes
Accepted

Does 左様なら (sayōnara) have Chinese roots?

Let's dive into this etymology. (My reference, unless otherwise stated, is Shogakukan's 国語大辞典. I've got a dead-tree copy, and there's also a decent online version available for free via Kotobank. ...
16 votes
Accepted

Can "yee ka ka desu ka" mean "how are you?"

I think you're referring to いかがですか ikaga desu ka which is the polite version of どうですか dou desu ka How are things? It can be used to ask "How are you?" in a polite way, but only with ...
  • 47.4k
15 votes
Accepted

Meaning of ちはース

This is just "Hi". こんちゃ/こんちわ/ちわ/ちは/etc is a very casual version of こんにちは. Of course this は is pronounced "wa". For "ーす", see: What does っす at the end of a sentence mean? Jisho.org also has an entry ...
  • 273k
12 votes

Does 左様なら (sayōnara) have Chinese roots?

I agree with @MichaelChirico and @Earthliŋ♦. Let me add a different viewpoint. To say goodbye we often use many variant versions of "sayonara" such as: じゃーね それじゃーね それならね さらば These have basically ...
10 votes

Does 左様なら (sayōnara) have Chinese roots?

I also feel that only 様【よう】 could somehow be viewed as "ultimately from Chinese", but the other parts, namely 然【さ】 (now usually written with ateji 左) and なら, are of Japanese origin. Thus it would seem ...
  • 47.4k
9 votes

"fancy meeting you here"

A common word for this is 奇遇【きぐう】 (not to be confused with 奇偶: oddness and evenness (of numbers)). 奇遇ですね is an idiomatic phrase worth memorizing as-is. こんなところで会うとは奇遇ですね。 What a coincidence to ...
  • 273k
9 votes
Accepted

How to reply to 「いま、すごく幸せです?」

I guess he is asking me about my well being. In fact, I don't think so. 幸せ usually doesn't mean normal well-being but only the full-of-joy state, that like whoever has their child. It's not a word ...
8 votes
Accepted

How to situationally respond to 「お元気ですか」?

As a native Japanese speaker, I have never said お元気ですか to someone I meet almost everyday. You can tell, at a glance, if they are 元気 or not today, if you meet them everyday, right? お元気ですか seems to ...
  • 1,395
7 votes
Accepted

Which form is はじめまして?

To break it down, はじめまして is the て form of はじめます, and はじめます is the polite form of はじめる. はじめまして is a fixed expression. You'll see ~~まして in some fixed expressions such as: あけましておめでとうございます。-- ...
  • 61.3k
7 votes
Accepted

Saying goodbye to a store clerk

It isn't common, especially in those mass selling stores. Not I'm highly introvert, but most Japanese don't say anything, or just nod a little (which is a slightest form of bowing). Of course, they ...
7 votes
Accepted

Congratulating someone on the new Era/Emperor

No, there's no such greeting. In the last 150 years or so, a new era has been associated with the previous Emperor's demise, so it's not a happy event in the first place. This time is an exception, ...
  • 273k
6 votes
Accepted

What does うぃーす mean?

"うぃーす" is a ultra-shortened greetings of, maybe おはようございます or something. "おっす" is one of the variations. Although the etymology is not clear, these are used in several ways. A sluggish, slow "うぃーっす" ...
  • 273k
6 votes
Accepted

Arimasu as a parting phrase

I guess you've misheard heavily slurred ありがとうございます. When spoken very quickly, ありがとうございます can be pronounced like ありゃーっす! or ありわーっす! or あざーっす! And ありがとうございました can be more like ありゃーしたぁ! or あーした! ...
  • 273k
6 votes

"お休みなさい" not appropriate between male neighbours?

"お休みなさい" is appropriate for both genders. Maybe your male neighbors are the people who don't greet in that situation. That's it. If they greeted orally when leaving, they might say "お休みなさい", too. ...
  • 627
6 votes

Other than はじめまして, what can we say in our introduction?

はじめまして is a good start. This is how you open the conversation. It's roughly equivalent to "How do you do?" (which people don't really say anymore). You're indicating that it's your first meeting, so ...
  • 1,708
6 votes

"Good day" as "良い一日": Yoi ichi-nichi vs Yoi tsuitachi?

The tsuitachi reading is restricted in meaning, and can only be used to express "the first day of the month". It's spelled 一日 ("one; first" + "day") in kanji, but it ...
5 votes

What is the correct way of saying "see you"?

Actually じゃ、また is the abbreviated form of では[Indicate changing the subject of conversation]、また(again)今{こん}度{ど}(next time)会{あ}いましょう(meet) which, altogether, gives "See (you) again next time".
5 votes
Accepted

Is saying 行ってきます and ただいま appropriate for guests?

The 行ってきます is no problem. As for ただいま, even Japanese people hesitate whether use it or not when they're not returning to their own homes. You can find many questions about using ただいま at in-laws' ...
5 votes
Accepted

Greeting when meeting somebody a second time in the day?

If I were in that situation, I wouldn't repeat こんにちは but instead say... どうも。 先ほどはどうも。 先ほどは(どうも)ありがとうございました。 何度もお世話になります。 (また)お世話になります。 etc...
  • 61.3k
5 votes

Is it appropriate (and friendly) to say こんにちは to random people?

It's ok if: You are hiking, or climbing You know them or the social circle is small enough that you'll see them fairly often (like in a small village, same block, or in an apartment) Otherwise it ...
  • 14.7k
5 votes

Can "mata itsuka" be used in casual conversation?

Whether the exchange is bittersweet or not will depend on them and their relationship. But yes, it is usable, although I never really had the chance to hear it myself. It does show a rather high ...
  • 5,601
5 votes
Accepted

Respect for the Aged Greeting

I don't consider myself an authoritative source, but I did a little searching and found this link that has a bunch of phrases to say on respect for the aged day (敬老の日): http://www.wajyutu.com/?%BD%CB%...
  • 5,972
5 votes
Accepted

Is 「お元気ですか」 an acceptable/common greeting?

It is weird if it's the first phase you open with. First you need an opener. If you're a guy you might say, おい、元気? ("Oi" or オッス "Ossu" is not really a word, it's more like a sound, or like "hey!" ...
5 votes
Accepted

How to say hello and goodbye in shops?

Normally Japanese people ignore the store and restaurant clerks, especially this generic "Irasshaimase" that travels through the whole store every time a customer enters. It depends a lot on ...
  • 2,193
4 votes
Accepted

Regarding どういたしまして usage

どういたしまして is one of the politest phrases you can say in response to Thank you, and it never sounds arrogant to me. Whether you are a boss or you're saying this to your boss, it doesn't matter. That ...
  • 273k
4 votes
Accepted

Is お needed before 誕生日おめでとう (Happy birthday)?

The explanation by YOSUKE gives the right interpretation. The one with お is a little more polite and more respectful, though it can be taken as slightly more distanced, if used for very closed ...
  • 286
4 votes

Email greeting for a teacher I've never met

I guess that you're trying to use 「塚中先生初めまして!」 as a replacement for "Dear 塚中先生," or some other salutation. But I can't say it's a good idea to use the 初めまして sentence in the first line, ...
  • 2,766
4 votes

What's the difference between ようこそ and いらっしゃいませ?

"ようこそ、いらっしゃいませ" and "ようこそ、お越しやす," its popular Kansai version are a set of phrases welcoming the guest. "ようこそ" is a variation of "よくこそ" meaning “true / indeed / rightly.” よくこそ is used in such way as; ...
  • 9,465

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible