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Ten Favorite Japanese Expressions

yatta (I did it!)

Say yatta (yaht-tah) when you accomplish something big or receive a great opportunity. Passing a difficult test, getting the job you wanted, or winning the lottery all qualify as yatta material.

Honto (Realty)

Say honto (hohn-tohh) to confirm what you just heard. Suppose your colleague tells you that she's marrying your boss. Respond to the news by saying honto. You can use honto in a lot of situations because unbelievable things happen every day.

A, so desu ka (Realty)

Say a, so desu ka (ahh, sohh deh-soo kah) every time your conversational partner provides a new piece of information. Be sure to nod as you say this expression. If you talk casually with a Japanese person, you may use this phrase 200 times in an hour.

Mochiron (Of course!)

Use this adverb when you're 100 percent confident in your opinion. If you were a married man, how would you answer this question from your wife: "Would you marry me if you had a chance to do it all over again?" Don't think about it; just say mochiron (moh-chee-rohn).

A, yokatta (Oh, good)

Say a, yokatta (ahh, yoh-kaht-tah) every time you feel like saying "What a relief" or "Oh, good." If you're a worrier, you may say it ten times a day.

Zenzen (Not at all)

Zenzen (zehn-zehn) is the phrase of denial. Suppose someone asks you, "Am I disturbing you?" If she isn't bothering you, say zenzen and shake your head.

Nani (What?)

Say nani (nah-nee) when you don't hear or understand what the other person said. You can also say nani when you can't believe or don't like what you hear.

Ooshiyo (What shall I do?)

Say doshiyo (dohh-shee-yohh) when you're in a panic and have no idea what to do. You can repeat it over and over while you try to think of a solution.

A, bikkurishita (What a surprise!)

Say a, bikkurishita (ahh, beek-koo-ree-shee-tah) when you're very surprised.

ylappari (I knew it Would happen)

Sometimes you have a vague suspicion that something will happen, and then it actually happens. At times like that, say yappari (yahp-pah-ree).

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