Ever thought of learning the Japanese language on your own but didn't know where to start? Or you just want to learn additional vocabulary to your kawaii aesthetic? Well, regardless of what you need, I provided here a fifteen (15) kawaii Japanese phrases to add to you vocabulary and that might be helpful to you as well to help you develop your journey to learning the language!
"Arigatou", or in hiragana, ありがとう, actually just means “thank you” in Japanese. And just like the word thank you, it can be simply understood by anybody who wishes to use it. We commonly say the phrase “thank you” for when we are expressing our gratitude, and this phrase, “arigatou,” is no different from its English counterpart. Upon receiving a gift from someone, the word “arigatou” is sufficient enough to use; or for when receiving help from someone and you want to express your thanks, "arigatou" is still sufficient.
Nyan Nyan (ニャン ニャン)“Nyan, nyan, nyan, nyan, ni hao, nyan. Gorgerous, delicious, and deculture!,” if this song does not ring any bells to you then you must be new. This song commercial is actually from an anime called Macross Frontier sang by a character named Ranka Lee. As what the word would imply, “nyan nyan” is an onomatopoeia for the sound that a cat produces. In english, the standard may be “meow,” but for the Japanese, it is “nyan”. This phrase, or just “nyan” itself, is actually pretty famous in the otaku culture. This is because cats are loved by the fans, and I’m not only talking about cats simply as cats. The otaku culture really loves their cat girls and cat boys, or neko, which means cat. The neko people are often associated with cat ears, or neko mimi, and they often say the words “nyan” to make themselves not only sound cute, but also to look and seem cuter.
There’s no actual direct translation to the world "sugoi" in the English lexicon, however it can be understood in a lot of ways especially when referring to something tasty or amazing. You can say "sugoi" when you’re caught in a context that makes you express your feelings in a point where it’s almost exclamatory. In fact, in context, the word "sugoi" can be referred to as like placing an exclamation point on your English texts. You can also say "sugoi" when you are referring to something cute, like “sugoi kaban!” which means “an amazing/a beautiful bag!” There are no limits as to how "sugoi" can be used, that's why it’s a definite staple word mostly used by characters in anime.
Doki doki shiteru (どき どき してる)
"Doki doki" is often to describe a feeling of excitement. It is also an onomatopoeia that is often referred to the fast beating of a heart that is being caused by some sort of exciting stimuli. You say often use the phrase “doki doki shiteru” when you are either nervous or excited for something. For example, you might be on your way to watch a movie that you are really excited for with your friends and your heart starts to beat faster. It’s common to say “doki doki shiteru!” to describe that feeling.
"Tanoshii" is a word that you use when you are having fun at the current moment. It is commonly used for when someone is expressing their delight towards the situation that they are describing. The words “tanoshii” just basically means “I am having fun,” to fully grasp its definition, and to also fully better understand it.
"Oishii" is the word that you use for when describing something that is delicious. It often used when eating delicious food, “oishii desu!” or just literally means “this is delicious” or “this is tasty!”. Using this word is the standard often used on Japanese textbooks, so it’s safe to use it whenever you want to. It’s other synonym, "umai", can also be used, but it’s better not to since it there’s a great possibility that it’ll be taken negatively. That’s why, "oishii" is still the best word to use for when saying that something tastes good.
The use of the word "oniichan" is mostly for people who are younger than the said referring person. While there is no direct translation to the word "oniichan", it can be understood as the word to refer to an older brother, as this word is gender specific. It also has a woman counter part which is in the form of the word "oneechan". In regular cases, the words "onichan" and "oneechan" can be used by anyone that wants to call someone older than them by respect of age. In anime though, "onichan" is more referred to as someone as the pinnacle of a little sister’s love interest (Yes, I agree that it’s kinda twisted), though this only happens on animes such as on the comedy genre as a result of romanitcization of such relationship.
In the Japanese language, there is no really right way to say the words “I love you” to the person you really love. However, there are a lot of variants of ways that these words can be expressed orally. One of which is by uttering the words “daisuki!” or “daisuki desu!”. According to Yabai.com, "daisuki" is composed of two (2) smaller words, “dai” which means large, and “suki” which is a noun that points towards the action of loving or liking. One can also use the word “daisuki” for when they want to express their interest towards a certain thing. Just like when Shoyo said that whenever he gets the chance of successfully spiking a volleyball, he said that he loves it so much and uttered the words “daisuki desu!” to Asahi, expressing his love towards the sport whenever he gets the chance on spiking the ball.
Tsumaranai (詰まらない)“I’m bored.” Yes, literally, just that. The word “tsumaranai” is also acceptable to use on a daily basis since you don’t usually have someone to talk to it directly (unless of course if you are talking to somebody already). But, just like the word bored in English, it can also be used as an adjective for another subject. Like you are bored for the day, like “It’s boring today,” where instead of saying "tsumaranai" this time, you use the phrase “今日はつまらない” which can be read as “Kyo wa tsumaranai.”
"Gomenasai" is usually used for situations where you are apologizing. Basically, "gomenasai" means I’m sorry translated in Japanese. The only difference here though is that "gomenasai" shouldn’t be used as common as I’m sorry is. You see, the Japanese culture embraces their respectful culture so it’s important for someone to be polite always most especially when they are not talking to someone they know, or for when they are talking to complete strangers. When trouble happens and you need to apologize for it, let’s say bumping someone when on the streets, it is important to note that you do not use the word “gomenasai” here, but instead use the word “sumimasen” (すみません). This is because “sumimasen” is a more polite word to use in situations like this. “Sumimasen” can also mean “excuse me” in various cases but then again, it’s mostly used for when apologizing. Just remember, you can only use “gomenasai” if you are talking to the people you are close to, just like your friends or your close family members.
Pyon Pyon (ぴょんぴょん)The Japanese language refers alot of their words from onomatopoeic sounds and the word “pyon pyon” is of no exception. I remember this phrase so well because Kageyama Tobio of Haikyu once described Shoyo’s jumps as this, pyon pyon (in case you haven’t noticed yet, I love Haikyu so much). “Pyon pyon” mostly means hopping or skipping. The word came from the sounds that a rabbit produces when its hopping, that’s why it sound cute when someone tries to say the word. Again, an onomatopoeia.
I live for kageyama says pyon pyon 🤣🤣 pic.twitter.com/d1O6zWhLQe— huda ; moved 📌 (@Iovingkise) February 15, 2020
Itadakimasu (いただきます)There are many ways to say grace whenever people eat their meals, and the Japanese are no exception. It is common courtesy in the Japanese culture to say “Itadakimasu!” before you eat. Taken from the Web Japan.org, basically, “itadakimasu!” just means a polite phrase meaning "I receive this food." This expresses thanks to whoever worked to prepare the food in the meal.
Wakaranai (わからない)Though it is not often used to assert your kawaii personality, it is still a staple word for many. The phrase “wakaranai” basically just means “I do not understand.” It is a phrase that implies that even when you try your hardest to understand something, you can’t still get the idea of knowing what it is. It is also a polite way of saying that you do not understand the topic that you are being forced into. Kawaii characters mostly use this phrase due to their innocent and childish demeanor, so often they do not understand most of the things that they are being imposed, hence they just say “wakaranai” to explain their situation. This video below though is a different one. It shows how the phrase is used in the most extreme ways so go check it out if you want (warning: pretty dramatic).
Daijobu (大丈夫)You say this word when you are affirming someone of your disposition, or just simply said, to say that you are alright. One normally answers “daijobu” when they are asked if they are alright or ok. The word however can also be used in various situations, and it can be even the form of question. “Daijobu desu ka?” is a question often asked to someone to know if they’re doing alright, or they’re fine. And people who are asked would say “daijobu” if they’re fine. The word can also be used for when you are satisfied with your current disposition, just like for when someone is asking to offer you something. You should reply to the one asking with “daijobu desu,” simply meaning to say that you are alright with what you currently have and does not need for more.
Kira Kira (キラキラ)The phrase kira kira may not look like it but it’s another onomatopoeia-like word (suprise!). This phrase is often used to describe any shiny object, mostly stars. "Kira kira" is a phrase that describes something shiny or glittery. It basically means shining, too! Just don’t use the phrase as a single word as that would mean an entire different thing since "kira" if singularly used means killer, so BE CAREFUL!
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Well, then, see you next time! Matta ne~