anibee's Guide to Nifty Japanese Words 101! (Vol. 16)

Making that first impression!

In this wild, crazy & harsh world, often times it's the first impression you make on a person that lasts the longest. This is definitely no exception in Japan, where the first impression sometimes means everything!

From meeting a potential business partner to saying hi to your future mother-in-law, what you say first can often make or break any social encounter. Here are a few phrases that you can always rely on!

初めまして

Hajimemashite
"How do you do?"

There is no phrase simpler, basic, yet as important as the simple first greeting. One of the first things beginners of Japanese learn, this phrase is often, all you need to get the other party all warmed up, smiling, and ready to listen to anything you have to say. Beam with pride from the "YOUR JAPANESE IS REALLY GOOD!" praise you're bound to get right after saying this!

私は___と申します。

Watashi wa ____ to moshimasu.
"I am ____"

Another basic, but ever-useful phrase, it's not just about letting the other party know who you are, but how you go about telling them that's important. Remember to never introduce yourself with a honourific (e.g. Your name-san) as it's impolite - and weird.

いつもお世話になります。

Itsumo osewa ni narimasu.
"Thank you for having taken care of me/looked out for me all this while!"

This phrase is awesome when used with people whom you've been staying with/putting up with you/done business with for a long time, or otherwise might have burdened in some fashion. Sure, you might only see this person once a year, but you can never be too sure!

よろしくお願いします。

Yoroshiku onegaishimasu
"It's a pleasure/Please/Thank you/etc"

The all-purpose, all-occasion, all-situation phrase that almost everyone learns in their first Japanese lesson! Not possessing any one true meaning, this phrase can be used quite liberally in most scenarios, whether acknowledging someone else's greeting, making a request, or just being nice overall!

- Q

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