Speakin’ Japanese: Sushi sayings

by Takahiro Takiguchi
Stripes Okinawa

The following Japanese phrases sure will help you fully enjoy some tasty sushi. Don’t be afraid to speak up, it’s part of the fun.

“Maguro to hamachi to saamon wo kudasai.”
= Give me tuna, yellowtail and salmon, please.

(Maguro = tuna, Hamachi = yellowtail, saamon = salmon, aji = horse mackerel, ikura = salmon roe, iwashi = sardine, tamago = egg, kudasai = give me, please?)

“Kyo no osusume wa nan desuka?”
= What is your recommendation today?

(Kyo = today, osusume = recommendation, wa nan desuka? = what is?)

“Ichinin-mae onegai shimasu?
= Make a plate for one person, please.

(ichinin-mae = a portion for a person, ninin-mae = a portion for two people, sannin-mae = a portion of three people, goninmae = a portion of five people)

“Sabi nuki de onegai shimasu!”
= Hold the wasabi, please!

(Sabi (wasabi) = horseradish, nuki de = don’t put)

“Agari wo onegai shimasu.”
= Give me a cup of (refill of) tea, please.

(agari = tea, gari = pickled ginger)

“Totemo oishikatta desu.”
= It was very delicious.

(totemo= very, oishikatta = was delicious)

“Okaikei wo onegai shimasu.”
= Give me the bill, please?

(okaikei = a bill)

 

Pronunciation key: “A” is short (like “ah”); “E” is short (like “get”); “I” is short (like “it”); “O” is long (like “old”); “U” is long (like “tube”); and “AI” is a long “I” (like “hike”). Most words are pronounced with equal emphasis on each syllable, but “OU” is a long “O” with emphasis on that syllable.

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