It’s time for Word of the Week again! Last time we looked at a Japanese word or phrase beginning with ‘yu’ (ゆ), focussing on 指切りする / ゆびきりする (yubikiri suru), which is like a ‘pinkie swear’. This week I’m looking for a word or phrase beginning with ‘yo’ (よ). A big thank you for the suggestions I received this week:
Japan Australia suggested ‘yoroshiku onegaishimasu’ (よろしくお願いします), ‘be Kind to me’ or ‘kind regards’; ‘yokoso’ (ようこそ), ‘welcome’; and ‘yoi’ (良い), ‘good’; and Rockin’ suggested ‘yokoshima’ (よこしま), ‘wicked’ or ‘evil’.
There were some great ideas this week, and in the end I decided to write about…
I love the phrase ‘yoroshiku onegaishimasu’ and I find it hard to imagine what I used to say before I knew this phrase. Much like ‘otsukare sama desu‘ (お疲れ様です) (which sort of means ‘you’ve worked hard, thank you’), ‘yoroshiku onegaishimasu’ is a uniquely Japanese phrase which is hard to translate. It is often translated as ‘please be kind to me (as I will be to you)’ (especially when said as you are meeting someone for the first time) but has a lot of other meanings as usages. For example, it can also mean ‘please’ – when asking a colleague or friend to do something for you, you can finish with ‘yoroshiku onegaishimasu’.
‘Yoroshiku onegaishimasu’ is quite formal, so if you want to be less formal you can just say ‘yoroshiku’ or even ‘yoroshiku ne’ (よろしくね) – the latter would definitely be said to a friend or sibling rather than a colleague.
As I mentioned above, the most common use of ‘yoroshiku onegaishimasu’ is when meeting someone for the first time. A conversation could go something like this:
Hajimemashite. Watashi wa Ali to moushimasu. Yoroshiku onegaishimasu.
Pleased to meet you. My name is Ali. Please be kind to me (as I will be to you).
Another use is to send one’s regards to someone. For example:
Tanaka-san ni yoroshiku onegaishimasu.
Please send my regards to Mr Tanaka.
Around New Year, people often say or write (in new Year’s cards):
Kotoshi mo yoroshiku onegaishimasu.
Please treat me well this year (as you did last year).
As you can see, the translations sound a little odd. The idea of ‘please be kind to me’ or ‘please treat me well’ doesn’t imply that either party thinks the other might not be nice to them, it’s just a saying.
‘Yoroshiku onegaishimasu’ is a core Japanese phrase, and one most students of Japanese will learn in the first lesson or two they take. If you live and work in Japan, or work with Japanese colleagues, this is a phrase you will be using all the time! ‘Yoroshiku onegaishimasu’ often comes with a bow, too, just like in the picture below.
When I was searching for images to illustrate today’s post I came across one of the cutest things I’ve ever found on the Internet, and I couldn’t help but share it with you today as I finish this post…
Next week I will be at HYPER JAPAN and there won’t be time to post, so I’m going to take a week off. Therefore, the next post (the following week) will be about a word or phrase beginning with either ‘ra’ (ら) or ‘ri’ (り), so please leave your suggestions below for either or both. The word can be a verb, adjective or expression, but no nouns please! I have a feeling this could be a tough one, but I look forward to reading your ideas! (*^_^)v