Speakin' Japanese: Restaurant Talk

by Tetsuo Nakahara
Stripes Okinawa

Sushi, tempura, savory ‘okonomiyaki’ pancakes – there are so many yummy edibles in Japan that you shouldn’t miss during your stay. Sample some of this lingo the next time you’re at a local restaurant to experience some of these specialties.

“Irraishaimase” = Welcome! (Said by shop owners almost every time you enter store. And it is used in not only restaurants but in any store.)

“______ wo kudasai” = Please give me ______. (For example, you can say “tempura wo kudasai” or “beer wo kudasai.”)

“Okawari kudasai” = Please give me another one.

“Totemo oishii” = Very delicious. 

Amai = Sweet
Karai = Spicy
Nigai = Bitter
Noukou = Rich
“Okaikei onegaishi masu” = Check please.
“Mata kimasu” = I will be back.

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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