Lesson 1 - Notes:

Greeting and Introducing

(photo by  paulsynnott used under terms of Creative Commons license.)
Japanese bow



1.  The phrase ohayō gozaimasu literaIIy means “it is early."  This greeting is not generally used after about ten o’clock in the morning.

Konnichiwa literally means “as for today."  It is used from about ten o’clock in the morning until dusk.

Kombanwa  means "good  evening" and is used in the same way as its English translation.

2.  Although Americans customarily  follow  a  greeting  by "how  are  you,"  the  Japanese  equivalent,  o-genki  desu  ka,  is not used by  persons  meeting  for  the  first  time.  The phrase is  used  by  friends  who  have  not  seen  each  other  for  some  time.

3.  The ending -san is added to a person’s name.  It may usually be translated as “Mr.,"  "Mrs.," or "Miss." -san  is  used  after  a  person's  first  name  or  last  name.

Note  that  -san  shows  the  speaker's  respect  for  the  person he  is  speaking  to  or  about.  The speaker, therefore, never uses -san with his own name.  For example, you  would call  your  friend  Tanaka-san,  but  he  would  refer  to  himself simply  as  Tanaka.

4.  The  expression  hajimemashite  literally  means  "meeting you  for  the  first  time."  It  should  be  used  only  when introducing  yourself  or  being  introduced.

5.  Each  time  you  greet  someone  in  Japan  with

ohayō  gozaimasu,



and  each  time  you  say,  in  introductions,


dōzo  yoroshiku,

kochira  koso,

dewa  mata / jā  mata,

you  should  nod  your  head.  Your  Japanese  acquaintance  may bow  to  you  more  ceremoniously,  bending  from  the  waist.

6.  At  a  party  or  on  the  street,  when  you  recognize  at a  distance  someone  you  know,  you  should  first  nod  as  a gesture  of  recognition.  As  you  approach  or  are  approached by  the  person,  you  greet  him.  Generally,  one  does  not shout  and  greet  another  person  at  a  distance  in  Japan, except  in  some  intimate  groups,  such  as  young  students.