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Common phrases in Japanese


21 Jul 2003
Hi all
I'm struggling to learn Japanese while I'm in Japan.
I know a few words and some basic grammar, hiragana is OK but slow, katakana is still shaky.

One of the things I am struggling with is I still don't have an "ear" for the language yet, so I don't catch the words very well.

Is there somewhere I can find a list of common phrase that are used in places like, stations, shops etc. Things like at McDonalds they ask you if you are dining in (I get the kochira bit), what is the full sentence they are saying, and then they ask is there anything else (I think, but I'm just guessing)

This probably sounds silly, but I'm working on function before form, so language for situations is really helpful and will make life that much easier.

Thanks in advance
Are you in a big city? Go to Tower Records, Kinokuniya or other large bookstores and get a guide book or phrase book. There are many out there to choose from. Even all-Japanese bookstores often have a small English language section and travel/phrase books in English.

I may not remember it exactly but they're probably saying something like "kochira de omeshiagare desu ka?" meshiagaru is a polite way to say taberu i.e. "eat". After you order, they may say something like "[gochumon wa] ijou desu ka" to mean "is that all?" You can answer "ijou desu." You can also say this after ordering your last item, before they ask you.
Small bit of trivia for you: in Tokyo they call McDonalds "makku." in Kansai (Osaka region) they call it "makudo."
Thanks for the help mdchachi, domo arigatou

I'm not living in the "big city" but I will visit some big book shops and look for a Common phrase book or something like it. I have some textbooks and a dictionary but they really don't cover these types of phrases. I've been getting some books from the local library, this helps and keeps the costs down as well.

I not a big fan of Makku, but it was bugging me that I didn't know exactly what they were saying. (Along with numerous other things, but one step at a time.)

Does anybody know of any websites which have some common phrases that might be useful to a struggling kiwi?
These two sites may be too basic, but they should at least get you started in the right direction. Although I suppose phrase books are generally considered more useful for speaking than listening since there is so much natural variation and depending if you're in a strongly dialectical region as well.

For instance, I've never seen a phrase book with "ijou desu" for "that's all (literally not less than)" as @mdchachi mentioned. They're usually for sit down restaurants where you can practice set responses like "mou kekkou desu" (I'm already fine) "sore de takusan desu" (that'll be all), "juubun itadakimashita" (I've had plenty), "Sorosoro, owari ni shimasu" (I'm close to the end), "Saigo ni kore wo kudasai" (this is my last order) and if they still don't get it -- "Okaikei wo oneigai shimasu" (may I have the check please). I usually just keep asking until the speaker finally slows down or ask them to write it down. ;).

Japanese Translations..for...everybody...yay!! Um...yeah..

JapanInYourPalm.com - Useful Japanese Language and Hiroshima info
Those websites are helpful, Domo arigatou
I took your advice Mdchachi and got a little phrase book that you can cut up into flashcards.
Next time I go to Makku I'll be ready for them ;-)

When asking for the check which is more commonly used, okanjoo or okaikei?

Hai gambarimasu
Konnichiwa Andy-san!

I usually use "Kaikei Onegaishimasu" for the check. But "Kanjoo Onegaishimasu" is the same.

Konnichiwa Nangi san
Omoshiroidesu! All the books I've got use Okanjo onegaishimasu
I haven't seen kaikei used anywhere, my dictionary has it, but the meaning is accounts/finance, makes sense after seeing you use it.
On this, my dictionary's meaning for Bill is kanjo-gaki, is this more formal or just more precise?

Ja, mata
Konnichiwa Andy-san!

Well, restaurant's check(bill) is "Kanjo-gaki" or "Kanjo-sho" in Japanese. But company's bill of credit is "Seikyuu-sho" in Japanese.

Just a quick note to say どもありがと
I when to マック the other day and understood what they said thanks to you guys
I'm glad McDonalds is less of a mystery to you now. Next step: order a pizza over the phone. ;)
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