Ready to meet your new Japanese colleagues? Check out our guide to nomikai (drinking party) success, and then master the following words and phrases, which will be sure to help you through the early days and weeks on the job.

Brush Up That Jikoshoukai (Self-Introduction)

Every new hire will be expected to stand up in front of the company and tell a little bit about themselves – ideally in Japanese. You’ll want to be able to tell people your name, where you come from, and an interesting fact about yourself, so practice a bit before Day One!

Dial Up the Politeness

If Japanese grammar weren’t tricky enough, there’s also a different set of words and phrases that you use in formal business situations. This honorific language is known as keigo, and while you’re not expected to know how to use it perfectly, knowing that it exists is a good start.

We’re All Tired

“Otsukare sama desu” literally means “you must be tired,” but in the office, it’s basically a formal way of saying “hi,” and it’s a common greeting you’ll be exchanging more times than you can count. On your way home, use the past tense form: “otsukare sama deshita.”

You’ve Always Got My Back

The direct translation of “osewa ni natte orimasu” is “you always take care of me,” but it’s a basic greeting for people outside of your company. It’s what you say first, before your name, when you make a phone call, or take a phone call. It’s also what you write first in an email.

I Don’t Mean to Intrude

You’ll find yourself apologizing a great deal in business situations, even though you may not always be sorry. “Shitsurei shimasu” is a way to say excuse me, but can be used to enter the room, or when you talk to your boss or colleague.

Want to Learn Japanese?

Would you like to finally be able to speak Japanese? Are cross-cultural misunderstandings holding you back in business and your personal life in Japan? If so, find out how Japan Management & Communication (JM&C) can help you achieve your personal, business and language goals through our personalized training programs. For more information on our courses please visit

Contact Tel: 03-5423-0531 | Email: [email protected]

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