10 Useful Expressions When You Are Living With a Japanese Partner

Do you have a Japanese boyfriend or girlfriend? Or is your spouse Japanese? Maybe you have plans to find a Japanese boyfriend or girlfriend or even a Japanese spouse in the future. Today, we are going to learn some expressions commonly used in a Japanese family.

1. ただいま。 Tadaima.
I am home.

Try saying this phrase loudly as you open the door upon reaching home after work or school. My mother used to get angry at me when I entered the house quietly upon reaching home.

She would say that I was not supposed to enter quietly. Be sure say this phrase whenever you reach home.
The direct translation is “Right now” but it is a phrase to tell whoever is at home that you have come back.

2. おかえりなさい。 Okaerinasai.
Welcome back.

When you say “Tadaima!” at the entrance, someone at home would surely reply with this phrase to welcome you back. If you are at home and your partner comes back, you can greet him/her in this manner.

Your Japanese partner would surely feel welcomed and be at home.

3. 行(い)ってきます。 Ittekimasu.
I am leaving.

The direct translation of this phrase is “I am going and coming back”. It means “I am going out now but I will return later”. It is an expression said before you leave the house.

Many Japanese people would have had the experience of getting scolded by their mothers if they tried to leave the house without saying this expression. Be sure to say this before you leave the house.

Your Japanese partner would be surprised and pleased to hear you say this.

4. 行っていらっしゃい。 Itteirassyai.
Take care/Have a great day/Enjoy

There is no English equivalent for this expression but it is said to send off the person who is leaving.

The direct translation of this is also “go and come back”. It would be nice if you can say “itteirassyai” automatically when someone says “ittekimasu”.

5. ごめんね。 Gomenne.
I am sorry.

We usually say “sumimasen” to apologise but you can also say “gomenne” to someone who is close to you.

If you are going to be late in going home, try sending “gomenne” to your partner by Line.

It can be used for both males and females.

6. 大丈夫(だいじょうぶ)。 Daijyoobu.
That’s all right.

If you see “gomenne” in your message, try replying with “daijyoobu”.

Your relationship would surely deepen and grow stronger if both of you exchange “gomenne” and “daijyoobu”.

7. いただきます。 Itadakimasu.
Let’s eat.

Again, there is no English equivalent for this expression but it is said before a meal.

Everyone at the table joins their own palms together and says “itadakimasu” before they start eating.

The direct translation is “I humbly receive it”. Your meal is derived from the lives of animals and plants.

You say this expression to humbly receive and give thanks to the “lives” given for your meal.

8. ご馳走(ちそう)様(さま)でした。 Gochisoosamadeshita.
Thank you for the nice meal.

Again, there is no English equivalent for this expression but it is said after a meal. “Chisoo” means “to rush around”.

It is an expression to give thanks to those who have worked hard and were busy rushing around to prepare and put together a meal for you.

9. お疲(つか)れ様(さま)。 Otsukaresama.
Good job.

“Otsukaresama deshita” is often used in the workplace and can also be used at home to give thanks to someone. You can say this to your partner who came home exhausted after working overtime.

I am sure your partner would be comforted and soothed by your thoughtfulness.

10. アイラブユー Ai labu yuu
I love you.

“I love you” is often used as a greeting in English-speaking countries but this is slightly difficult to translate into Japanese.

This is because the Japanese family does not have a custom of saying “I love you” as in an English-speaking family.
The Japanese novelist Natsume Soseki, in his life as an English teacher, supposedly saw his students translate “I love you” word-for-word. He told them that it is not Japanese (too direct) and that “the moon is beautiful” would be an appropriate translation.

We do not know whether this is fact or lore but this story is widely circulated in the social media. Having come from an English-speaking background, you would probably say “I love you” to your partner at least once a day.
Rather than translating it directly to “aishiteiru”, I think it would be nice to keep the English expression as it is.

As you have come from a family that frequently speaks of “I love you”, your Japanese partner has been raised from a family that often uses “okaeri” and “tadaima”.
Peppering your daily conversation with a little of these family greetings would certainly bring you and your Japanese partner closer together.