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Want to Speak Like Local in Japanese? Learn These Japanese Phrases!

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No matter what foreign language you learn, your final goal is to become fluent in it and be able to speak like a local. The formal language is all about grammar rules and sophisticated expressions. But people don’t normally use it in an everyday life. Just take a look at yourself and your friends and colleagues. You often cut the words short and include common slang expressions into your speech. And isn’t it interesting to find out about what equivalents of those words are there in a foreign language? In this article, we’ll talk about Japanese slang and Japanese phrases you’ll need to have a normal daily conversation.

japanese slang

In the Japanese language, the level of formality is expressed through the means of grammar. The style of your speech depends on how familiar you are with your conversation partner and what social ranks both of you have. There are a lot of rules you should follow to be polite but we are not going to get into details of that. Let’s focus on the informal speech. These Japanese phrases can help you to become a natural part of a casual talk.


How’s it Hanging?)

Imagine you’re at a party and want to say “Hello” to everyone. This is a cool and casual way to do it. It would be strange to say something like: “Greetings to all the respected ladies and gentlemen in the room!”. Formal language is not always the best choice.


What’s up?

This Japanese slang expression is not that common and can really surprise your friends. Some time ago, it was a formal military greeting but now it’s just an unusual way to say “Hi”. But don’t be afraid to experiment with your speech. You are a foreigner trying to use Japanese slang, after all.



One of the best ways of greeting your friends. It’s not appropriate to use when you’re talking to strangers. You may sound rude and nobody wants the thing to go wrong.


So so

A simple and ordinary answer to the questions listed above. If you travel to Tokyo, this is the most common answer you’ll get there.


See you later!

You’ll hear this expression a lot when talking to Japanese native speakers. It’s an easy and common way of saying “Bye-bye”.


My Bad

There are a lot of ways you can say you’re sorry and apologize. This is the way a cool and confident person would say it.


How About a Drink?

It’s not a secret that some of the most interesting and honest conversations happen at a bar. Invite your Japanese friends to join you for a drink and practice your language skills.


You’re a good guy!

After you’ve had a few drinks, some of your new acquaintances might tell you that you’re a good person. It’s a common expression for the situation when a stranger starts pouring out his soul and you just keep listening to him. These are the words of gratitude for your attention.


Say Cheese!

What should you say when taking a picture of someone in Japan?

Well, you can go for a classic “Cheese” but to use a Japanese intonation – チーズ (ちーず). Or you can ask this question: “What one plus one equals to?” (一足す一は?).


I’m hungry

cheese… What is a casual way of saying that you want to eat? This expression translates as “My stomach is empty”. The hospitable Japans will definitely feed you after that.