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How to say "______________" in Japanese (Modern Colloquial Approach)

Updated on March 29, 2012

How to say "-----------" in Japanese - Words, Phrases, Sayings and Other Useful Expressions.

The list of Japanese words, phrases, sayings, and other useful expressions found below are current or colloquial enough so that when you put them to use in your Japanese conversations, you won't sound like a Japanese Grandpa. The list below is up to date and will keep you from sounding like you learned your Japanese from the great US Naval commander, Commodore Perry.

Don't get me wrong, pre-World War II Japanese is certainly considered polite language, but knowing how to say the words of the ancient samurai may be as useful as knowing 'Old' or 'Middle' English in the 21st century.

Most language course material is so old that it is practically useless. My best advice is to get the most current edition of all your language study guides, books, and materials.

Dictionaries of languages are continually being revised; They are updated and modified,and since words, like bread, become stale and occassionally moldy with age, words can and often do fall out of usefulness in colloquial speech. Although an interesting subject for study, ancient Japanese isn't going to be handy if you want to converse in a modern Japan.

For those who want to converse in Japanese now, it may be better to spend your time studying and learning Japanese phrases that are actally used right now in modern Japan. (This Japanese word list is up to date as of 2008 December).

A lot of times, Japanese learning tools like grammar guides, expression books, and dictionaries become outdated and the information contained therein become useless.

In conversing with the world in other languages it is necessary to revise the words of a dictionary. The following Japanese phrases are currently colloquial as of 2009 and can be used in your Japanese language conversations right away.

Learn the following Japanese words, phrases, sayings and other useful expressions to help build a strong Japanese word resevoir that you can draw upon.

Success in a language starts with knowing the words of that language.

Give this Japanese word/phrase/expression list a look over and pick out words that stick out to you first; Words that help you visualize a hint as to how to pronounce them. Something about a word that sticks out can help you remember that word. Making some correlation between your home language words and the second language will help when memorizing.

The correlation you use to remember the words/phrases/sayings/expressions might remind you of something it resembles in English. Any way you can devise to familiarize yourself with the memorization of words will help in their retention. Not only that, but I bet you'll be surprised at how many Japanese phrases you might already know.

How To Say "________" in Japanese

Have fun learning these Japanese expressions

How To Say "___" in Japanese

How do you say "Hi" or "Hello" in Japanese?

(konnichi wa)

How do you say "Bye" or "Goodbye" in Japanese?

(ja mata ne)

How do you say "pink" in Japanese?


How do you say "blue" in Japanese?


How do you say "red" in Japanese?


How do you say "purple" in Japanese?


How do you say "green" in Japanese?


How do you say "yellow" in Japanese?


How do you say "black" in Japanese?


How do you say "white" in Japanese?



How do you say "strawberry" in Japanese?


How do you say "love" in Japanese?


How do you say "I love You" in Japanese?

(ai shite iru)

How to say "bed" in Japanese?


How to say "sexy" in Japanese?

(kakoi, se-kushi, seiteki na, miryoku ga aru)

How do you say "I don't speak Japanese" in Japanese?

(wakarimasen, wakannai)

How do you say bow-wow in Japanese?

Useful Japanese expressions and words - Learn new Japanese and forget grandpa Japanese

Say other cool phrases without sounding like a samurai in Japanese

How do you say "wonderful" in Japanese?


How do you say "love hotel(motel)" in Japanese?

(rabu hoteru, moteru in katakana)

How do you say "Yes" in Japanese?

(Nod your head up and down.)

How do you say "No" in Japanese?*

*Nod your head back and forth like we would in English when our mom would ask if we wanted any broccoli(burokori), spinach(horenso^), or eggplant (nasubi). Shaking your head back and forth from left to right or right to left; also say (iie) or (chigau)

(see Japanese Grammar Lesson #112)

How do you say "I hate it!" in Japanese?

(sukan, suki ja nai, kirai or dai kirai)

How do you say "Happy Birthday" in Japanese?

(O-tanjobi omedeto^ gozaimasu)

How do you say "chrysanthumum" in Japanese?


How do you say "welcome" in Japanese?


How do you say "please" in Japanese?

(O-negai shimasu)

How do you say "Japan" in Japanese?

(Nihon or Nippon)

How do you say "Thank You" in Japanese?

(Just sing that song by Styx - Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto...)

Useful Japanese Expressions

How do you say "Even monkeys fall from trees" in


(Saru mo ki kara ochiru)*

*Please see my two lenses on Kotowaza, or Japanese proverbs.

How do you say "McDonald's" in Japanese?

(Makudonarudo) - try saying it! That is

MA - KU - DO - NA - RU - DO in six(6) syllables. It vaguely resembles the word McDonalds in its pronunciation.

How to say "Merry Christmas" in Japanese?

(Meri- Kurisumasu) That is ME-RI KU-RI-SU-MA-SU in seven(7) English syllables.

How would you say "stray cat" in Japanese?

(hiroi neko, or nora neko)

How do you say "Fool" in Japanese?

(baka) -the only cuss word you need in Japanese

How do you say "how are you?" in Japanese?

(O-genki desu ka?)

How do you say "Spoiled" in Japanese?

(najite iru)

Spotlight on the Sanseido Japanese Dictionary - Japanese Language Learning Made Possible

The trick to memorizing words is to start seeing words as the Japanese see them. The only way to do that is to visit Japan and immerse yourselve in the language,or you must seek the aid of a good dictionary that helps you know which words are actually utilized in real conversation. Retention of all vocabulary isn't practical, nor should it be a goal, but with the aid of the Sanseido Japanese dictionary, the words you don't know, can always looked up!

Sanseidos Daily Concise E/J - J/E Dictionary 5th Edition
Sanseidos Daily Concise E/J - J/E Dictionary 5th Edition

Best Dictionary in the Galaxy. The one dictionary you will need to succeed. Get one through this link thanks!


I am sure there are plenty of other useful modern Japanese phrases, expressions and words that you must tell me to complete this list. Use this to talk with me about Japanese grammar and how you like it. I'll be glad you did.

Please give me some modern Japanese words I missed - Don't be shy.... Talk to me...

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    • profile image

      Thommo01 3 years ago

      Can i have that sticker

    • profile image

      jaykanemitsu 5 years ago

      how do you say "i'm very tired"

    • profile image

      jaykanemitsu 5 years ago

      how do you say "scissors"

    • Vikki w profile image

      Vikki w 5 years ago

      Wow, i learnt some more Japanese words today... simple but useful lense

    • lychic profile image

      lychic 5 years ago

      wondering if squidoo support Japanese kanji or hiragana katakana?

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      May I add something? You missed one important phrase and that would be how to say "How do you say ~~~ in Japanese?". I have this phrase. It's ~~~ wa nihongo de nan to iimasu ka?

    • JennieHarris1 profile image

      JennieHarris1 8 years ago

      Yes is "hai", pronounced like "hi" or "ha-e". Fox is "kitsune", kit-su-nay. Cat is "neko". Dog is "inu", or "ken" (I have started a lens on Japanese dogs!) Beer is "beeru".