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Goin’ Japanesque!

To Foreigners Learning Japanese: Teaching You Vocabulary as Versatile as Mayonnaise!

The Japanese language is grouped as one of the more difficult languages in the world (the kanji). There are many cases where the ambiguous nature of the Japanese people makes it even more difficult to understand the language. So, for those of you studying Japanese, here, we teach you practical phrases that are used in conversation and other versatile vocabulary! 


Use it when in doubt! A word with various meanings, “Domo”


The positioning of the word domo is like mayonnaise, a condiment that can be used with any food. If you don’t know how to respond to something, this word will change your situation from a crisis to an opportunity.

If you say it when someone gives you something, it can mean “thank you”. When you meet someone, it’s “nice to meet you”, “hello”. When you’re parting with someone it can mean “good bye”. Depending on the situation, it can have various meanings, so it is one Japanese word that you can’t lose by using. 


Take care when using “Kekko”, which has positive and negative connotations


Domo is a word that has a positive connotation in any case. But the word kekko can also have a negative meaning, so take care. For example… 

1. Meaning “No, thank you”.


<sample sentence>
Iya, kekko desu. (No, it’s fine.)

2. Meaning “Quite”, “Considerable amount”.


<sample sentence>
Kekko na ryo desune… (That’s quite a large quantity…)

3. Meaning “Wonderful”.


<sample sentence>
Kekko na ie da koto. (That’s a wonderful house. )

4. Meaning “all right”.


<sample sentence>

Mr. A: Doreka agemasuyo. (I’ll give you one.)

Mr. B: Doredemo kekko desu. (Whichever one is all right.)


Japanese Favor Ambiguous Expressions

Expressions that have ambiguity are difficult to understand for foreigners. It is rare for a Japanese to clearly refuse something, which may make you think “Which is it you prefer!”. So it may be worthwhile to keep these tips in the back of your mind. 

1. Dekikanemasu. (I find it difficult to do [something].)


So can you(dekiru), of can you not (dekinai)? This means that they cannot. 

2. Ikereba ikimasu. (I’ll go if I can.)


So are they coming or are they not? Most likely, they won’t come. 


“O” to indicate politeness

Placing an “o” in front of a word will generally make the expression more polite. However, be careful because it can sometimes change the meaning. 

original form

1. Fukuro (bag, envelope)



polite form

2. Ofukuro


It changes the word to mean “mother”. An example of usage is “Ofukuro no Aji (the taste of mom’s cooking)”. 

We are hoping to hold Japanese classes in the near future. Check the site regularly if you’re interested! In the mean time, keep checking our twitter and facebook. 


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