fbpx What 5 Japanese phrases say about the holidays in Japan | The Memrise Blog

What 5 Japanese phrases say about the holidays in Japan

By Memrise Team

How are the holidays celebrated in Japan? We like bringing real culture to the videos in our app, so we’ve created a new Japanese Holiday Survival Kit course to show you. Here’s a breakdown of 5 phrases from the course and how they’re used in context:

やばい/yabai: OMG!

If you only have time for one phrase to learn, this is it! It literally means “dangerous” but it can be used for any positive or negative occasion as long as it’s extreme; it’s a bit like “lit” in English. You can make it mean “Damn tasty!” “Painfully tacky!“ “Bloody cute!”, what have you.

Learn this phrase and more now on the Memrise app

仕事納めだ/shigoto osame da: This is my last work for this year

“Shigoto osame” is to complete the last work of the year. You’re not working anymore in 2019 and you want the world to know it! If you’re finishing your last drink of the year, you can say “nomi osame da”.

Learn this phrase and more now on the Memrise app

オフレコでお願いします/ofureko de onegai shimasu:  Please keep this off the record

This will be your next favourite Japanglish! ‘OFU-REKO’=’Off the record’. Maybe you have drunk a bit too much and said things you shouldn’t have. It’s a bit wishful to think that you might be able to undo that, but people might buy that cheekiness. 

Learn this phrase and more now on the Memrise app

お手を拝借、ヨーッ!/ote o haishaku, yooooh!: Everybody clap!

This is a little bonding ceremony at parties called ‘(Kanto) ippon-jime’. It’s a way to mark the end of the first part of the party. After this, people are free to leave or up their game and move on to the karaoke phase.

Learn this phrase and more now on the Memrise app

アケオメ/ake-ome: Happy New Year (slang) 

Because it’s too mouthful to say ‘Happy New Year’ in the full formal way: “akemashite omedetoh gozaimasu”. The cool kids use this in texting. Try it out and see if you have the coolness to pull it off!

Learn this phrase and more now on the Memrise app

お正月ぐらいいいじゃん/ o shogatsu gurai ii jan: Cut yourself some slack, it’s New Year’s!

New Year’s is a relaxing time of the year in Japan. You stay-in with your family and quietly listen to the 108 gongs that are rung at temples in the distance as you reflect on the previous year. Each gong dissolves each of your trivial earthly desires. The whole nation is practically meditating in sync. It’s no time for stressing for housework or being worried about your weight. Cut yourself some slack… it’s not important… let them go…

Learn this phrase and more now on the Memrise app


Don’t have an account? just click here to download the app and start one right away!