Japanese Expressions: Ittekimasu, Itterasshai, Tadaima and Okaerinasai!

The phrases, ittekimasu, itterasshai, tadaima, okaerinasai symbolize so well Japanese spirit that once you grasp the nuance of their meaning you will have a deeper understanding of Japanese culture.

Posted by on July 20, 2016 – Japanese Study
Ittekimasu Tadaima Okaerinasai Itterasshai in Japanese

Ittekimasu and Itterasshai
Tadaima and Okaeri

These Phrases: いってきます (Ittekimasu), いってらっしゃい (Itterasshai), ただいま (Tadaima), おかえりなさい (Okaerinasai) are able to symbolize the Japanese spirit so well that once you grasp the nuance of their meaning, you will definitely have a deeper understanding of the Japanese culture. Although the words can be easily translated into English, the Japanese spirit behind them is somewhat lost during the translation process.

 

Ittekimasu and Itterasshai

The phrase “Ittekimasu”, is typically used by a Japanese when they are about to leave somewhere, mainly from home or the office.  The closest literal translation would be “I’ll go and I’ll come back” but a more natural translation would be “see you later”.

The remaining people at home or in the office then replies the person leaving with an “Itterasshai”. Literally meaning “please go and come back”, the phrase is also close to a “see you later”, “have a good day”, or “take care” but none of those expressions truly express the spirit behind the word.

“Ittekimasu” expresses that “I will be going now but do not worry, I will safely return” while “Itterasshai” indicates that “You will be leaving soon but please do come back safely”.

Example 1:

Toshio-kun: I am going to buy ice cream.
Mika-san: Nice! Thank you!
Toshio-kun: I am going! (“I am going and I come back”)
Mika-san: See you later! (“Please go and come back”)

としおくん:アイスを買いに行きます。
みかさん:ナイス!ありがとう!
としおくん:いってきます!
みかさん:いってらっしゃい!

Example 2:

Mika-san: Mum, I am going out now!
Mum: Mika, where are you going?
Mika-san: Watching a movie with my friend. I am a bit late, so bye bye! I am going!
Mum: See you later, be careful!

みかさん:お母さん、いってきます!
お母さん:みかさん、どこ行くの?
みかさん:友達と映画を見に行く。ちょっと遅れているから、バイバイ!いってきます。
お母さん:はい、いってらしゃい、気をつけてね!

“Ittekimasu” is not a simple goodbye and should not be employed as such. It implies that you will return to the place you are leaving. Hence, the “Itterasshai” as a reply, implies that the other party would be waiting for your return. Although there is no absolute rule, most of the time “Ittekimasu” comes first. Exchanging these two terms emit a strong and warm feeling of returning back safely to the place where one belongs.

 

Tadaima and Okaeri

Similar to the “Ittekimasu” and “Itterasshai”, the two phrases that go hand-in-hand, “Tadaima” and “Okaeri” express one’s safe return.

Example 1:

Toshio has returned with two cones of ice cream…

Toshio: I am back! I have bought Vanilla ice cream.
Mika-san: Welcome back! Thank you Toshio~

としお:ただいま!バニラアイス買った!
みかさん:おかえりなさい!ありがとう。

Example 2:

Mika-san: I am home!
Mum: Welcome home! Was it fun?
Mika-san: Yes!

みかさん:ただいま!
お母さん:おかえり。楽しかったの?
みかさん:はい!

Literally, “Tadaima” means “right now”. However, in this specific context, it is a condensed version of “Tadaima Kaerimashita” which translates to “I came home right now”. “Okaeri”. As for the polite version; “Okaerinasai” means “welcome home” or “welcome back”. These two lovely phrases express the feelings of “I am back, safely” and “You have finally returned, welcome back”. It gives one a warm feeling that someone has been waiting for one’s safe return.

Altogether, “Ittekimasu”, “Itterasshai”, “Tadaima” and “Okaeri” are four beautiful Japanese expressions that are exchanged between the Japanese people on a day-to-day basis. Having now understood the rich meaning behind these four phrases, are you ready to use them? If you want to learn more about daily Japanese, please check out the Japanese Courses offered by Coto Japanese Academy

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Other similar phrases that you could use is “Osaki ni shitsureshimasu” and “Yoroshiku Onegaishimasu“. Find out more by clicking on the individual phrases!

Looking to learn more Fun & Easy Japanese? – please read Nihongo Fun & Easy – written by Teachers from Coto Japanese Academy

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