Japanese is a culture of etiquette and rituals. You will have a lot more fun at a Japanese restaurant and get more attention and respect from your host if you can show your appreciation by using a few polite phrases in Japanese.
The following is a short list which you can master in minutes. Use them next time you go out. You are bound to get better service and warm smiles in return!
Say “Hello” when you walk in
A polite, small bow will help a lot!
Call your waiter, waitress or chef politely
Sumimasen (Soo-mee-MAH-sen): Literally, “Excuse me.”
Show your appreciation when served
Itadakimas (ee-tah-DAH-kee-mas): Literally, “I humbly receive.” This is a very polite, invaluable phrase to use just as you are being served, and before you take the first bite (or sip.) It is roughly the equivalent of saying grace in the west before a meal.
Say the food or drink you just tasted was delicious
Oishi! (o-EE-shee): Delicious. Alternatively, you can express your appreciation more by saying “Oishiiiiii…” emphatically!
Say “Cheers” when you drink beer, sake, …
Kampai! : Cheers!
Say “Thank you”
Domo : Thanks.
Arigato: Thank you.
Domo arigato: Thank you much.
Domo arigato gozaimas: Thank you very much.
Say “I enjoyed the food” at the end
Gochiso-sama! (goh-chee-so-sah-mah): Literally, “abundant.”
Gochiso-sama deshita! : More polite “It was abundant.” Say either one at the end of your meal, or to the host, cashier or chef after you have paid your bill and want to leave the restaurant. You can make a better impression by adding a “Thank you” and say:
Gochiso-sama deshita! Arigato!
Sayonara (sah-YO-na-ra): Goodbye.
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