Tag Archives: greetings

Japan Word of the Day #114 – Ochugen


Today’s Word is: Ochugen (お中元)

Around this time of a year in Japan, many stores start taking orders for ochugen gifts.
What is ochugen (お中元)?
It’s a Japanese tradition in summer where you send gifts to people whom you’d like to show gratitude to. It’s a custom of saying thanks to the recipients and also showing your intent of keeping good relationship with them in future. It’s basically the summer equivalent of oseibo gifts given at the end of every year.

Ochugen gifts are usually sent to recipients by July 15th in Kanto area and August 15th in Kansai area. Gifts are typically given to their business partners, clients, relatives, special friends, people you owe favors, etc. In many cases, people order presents at retail stores and have the stores ship them to recipients on behalf of the senders. This way, when gifts are fresh food or perishables, you don’t have to worry about them going bad in transit.


Beer is also a popular ochugen gift. It comes in a pretty packaging.

Like oseibo, ochugen gifts are wrapped in special paper called noshi.


Image sources: Okinaya, Kirin,

Japan Word of the Day #100 – Omedetou

It’s our 100th posts of Japan Word of the Day!
Thanks for your support and readership, I hope you all enjoy it. Also, if you want us to cover words from certain fields, genres, categories… feel free to send us requests through comment section!

To celebrate our 100th posts, we picked an appropriate word for today.

Today’s Word is: Omedetou (おめでとう)


Omedetou (おめでとう) is a phrase used to congratulate, celebrate, and show blessing to someone. For example, at graduations, wedding, birthdays, you can use it in combination with the occasions.

  • 誕生日おめでとう/Tanjoubi omedetou (Happy birthday)
  • 卒業おめでとう/Sotsugyou omedetou (Congratulations on your graduation)
  • 結婚おめでとう/Kekkon omedetou (Congratulations on your wedding)
  • あけましておめでとう/Akemashite omedetou (Happy New Year)

Using omedetou by itself gives a rather informal impression. You can use it fine when talking to friends, but to show more politeness and respect, as you’d do toward your bosses and people older than you, you’d want to add ございます/gozaimasu at the end. For instance, congrats on your wedding would be ご結婚おめでとうございます/gokekkon omedetou gozaimasu. Depending on the words, Go- and O- are also added in front of nouns as an honorary prefix.

Image source: Andersen


Japan Word of the Day #26 – Akeome, Kotoyoro (New Year Greeting)


Today’s Words are: Akeome and Kotoyoro (あけおめ、ことよろ)

Happy New Year!
I hope everyone had great holidays.
I have two words for today. These are casual New Year greetings you can use in an informal conversation.
The correct phrases goes like this, “akemashite omedetou gozaimasu. Kotoshi mo yoroshiku onegaishimaru (あけましておめでとうございます、今年もよろしくお願いします).” It basically means “Happy New Year. Thank you for all the support, and I’m looking forward to continuing good relationship with you.”
Between close friends, sometimes Japanese people shorten the entire phrase into two shorter words “akeome, kotoyoro!” combining the first parts of “akemashite omedetou” into “akeome,” and “kotoshi” and “yoroshiku” into “kotoyoro.”
If you can master this phrase and use it naturally with friends, you’ll sound like an expert in Japanese!

With that in mind, Rinkya would like to say “kotoshi mo yoroshiku onegaishimasu” to everyone! ^_^


Word of the Day #26 – Yoiotoshiwo! (End of the Year Greeting)



Today’s Word is: Yoiotoshiwo (良いお年を)

2013 is almost over. In Japanese, there are many kinds of end-of-the-year greetings. Some of them are really long and difficult to remember, but this is an easy and casual greeting you can memorize and use for friends!

“Yoiotoshiwo” is a short form of “Yoi otoshi wo omukae kudasai (良いお年をお迎えください).” It means “I wish you have a great New Year.”

The literal translation of the first part of the sentence is simply “good year,” so sometimes people get confused (even Japanese people do) whether it means to wish you have a great rest of the year, or wish you have a great new coming year. The correct answer is the latter. If you are in an informal conversation, it’s perfect to say “yoiotoshiwo,” but when in a more formal situation, make sure to use the complete sentence.