How to have an informal conversation in Japanese: Phrases to use

おはようOhayouGood morningKickstart your chat with a friendly morning greeting.
元気?Genki?How are you?A classic way to ask how your friend is doing.
最近、何か面白いことあった?Saikin, nanka omoshiroi koto atta?Anything interesting happening lately?Starting the conversation
いや~Iya~Nah~A casual way to express a laid-back “no” or to start a story.
マジ!Maji!No way!/Seriously?Inject some excitement or disbelief into the conversation.
ウケル~Ukeru~That’s hilarious! / LOLShow appreciation for a funny anecdote.
いいよ!Ii yo!Sure!Express agreement or enthusiasm.
じゃあJaaSo,Transition smoothly into suggesting or planning something.
はいはいHai haiSure, sureA casual agreement to wrap up the conversation.
ありがとうArigatouThank youExpress gratitude.
ごめんねGomen neSorry / My apologiesApologize for something.
なんでNandeWhyAsk the reason behind something.
わかるWakaruI understandConfirming understanding.
すご(い) / すげーSugo(i) / SugeeAmazing / Incredible (Casual)Express awe or admiration.
ねえNeeHey/ Yeah?/ Right?Used to seek agreement or attention.
お疲れOtsukareGood job / Thank you for your hard workAcknowledge someone’s effort or work.
なんでやねんNande yaneWhat’s going on? / What the heck?Express confusion or disbelief.
大丈夫DaijoubuIt’s okay / I’m fineConfirm that everything is fine.
ほんとHontoReally / SeriouslyExpress sincerity or surprise.
うるさいUrusaiShut up / You’re noisyComplain about noise.
やば(い)YabaiRisky / Dangerous / Awesome / WoahExpress amazement, danger, or excitement.
あいつAitsuThat guy / That person (Casual)Refer to someone in a casual or sometimes dismissive way.

Test Your Ability! Japanese Informal Phrases

1. What does “おはよう” (Ohayou) mean in English?

  • A. Hello
  • B. Good morning
  • C. Thank you

2. How would you say “How are you?” in Japanese?

  • A. こんにちは (Konnichiwa)
  • B. ごめんね (Gomen ne)
  • C. 元気? (Genki?)

3. What’s the English translation of “ウケル~” (Ukeru~)?

  • A. Seriously?
  • B. LOL / That’s hilarious!
  • C. Why

4. When might you use the expression “いいよ!” (Ii yo!)?

  • A. To apologize
  • B. To express agreement or enthusiasm
  • C. To say goodbye

5. Which phrase can be used to express disbelief or excitement?

  • A. すごい (Sugoi)
  • B. ありがとう (Arigatou)
  • C. なんで (Nande)

6. What does “やば(い)” (Yabai) mean?

  • A. Okay
  • B. Risky / Dangerous / Awesome / Woah
  • C. Shut up

7. How would you apologize for something in Japanese?

  • A. ありがとう (Arigatou)
  • B. ごめんね (Gomen ne)
  • C. なんでやねん (Nande yane)

8. What’s the romaji for “いや~” (Iya~)?

  • A. Ii yo!
  • B. Nah~
  • C. So,

9. Translate “ほんと” (Honto) to English.

  • A. Seriously
  • B. Good job
  • C. Hello

10. Which phrase is used to acknowledge someone’s effort or work?

  • A. ありがとう (Arigatou)
  • B. お疲れ (Otsukare)
  • C. すごい (Sugoi)

Answers For The Quiz

  1. B. Good morning
  2. C. 元気? (Genki?)
  3. B. LOL / That’s hilarious!
  4. B. To express agreement or enthusiasm
  5. A. すごい (Sugoi)
  6. B. Risky / Dangerous / Awesome / Woah
  7. B. ごめんね (Gomen ne)
  8. B. Nah~
  9. A. Seriously
  10. B. お疲れ (Otsukare)

Remember that the appropriateness of slang and casual phrases depends on the context and your relationship with the person you’re talking to. It’s generally best to use these in informal settings and with friends. Additionally, the pronunciation and nuance of slang can vary by region, so some expressions might be more commonly used in certain areas of Japan.

Now armed with these phrases, go ahead and dive into the world of casual Japanese conversations! Whether you’re navigating karaoke mishaps or planning your next hangout, these expressions will add a touch of authenticity to your language exchange.

Now try out this conversation practice video: 

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