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Japanese Expressions: Ittekimasu, Itterasshai, Tadaima and …

Haikugirls Japan

A celebration of Japanese culture.

Word of the Week: いってきます & いってらっしゃい

This entry was posted on January 19, 2014, in Learning Japanese , Word of the Week 2014 and tagged everyday phrase , ittekimasu , itterashai , japan , japanese , language , postaday , postaweek2014 , 日本語 . Bookmark the permalink . 8 Comments

It’s time for Word of the Week again! Last week we looked at a Japanese word or phrase beginning with ‘a’ (あ) , and focussed on the phrase 足元にご注意下さい, which is basically the Japanese equivalent of London’s “mind the gap”. This week I’m looking for a word or phrase beginning with ‘i’ (い). A big thank you to those who joined in with suggestions this week:

UK Seikatsu  suggested ‘itterasshai’ ( いってらっしゃい), said to someone leaving the house; ‘ittekimasu’ (いってきます), said when leaving the house; ‘itadakimasu’ (いただきます), said before eating; ‘inoichiban’ (いの一番 / いちばん), meaning ‘first of all’; and ‘imishin’ (意味深 / いみしん), meaning ‘with profound (often hidden) meaning’;  Celia Knox  suggested ‘irasshaimase’ (いらっしゃいませ), a welcoming phrase said to customers upon entering a shop or restaurant;  Japan Australia  suggested ‘ikga desu ka’ (いかがですか), meaning ‘how about this?’; ‘ii yo’ ( いいよ) meaning ‘it’s OK’; ‘ikura desu ka’ ( いくらですか) meaning ‘how much is it?’; and ‘ichiban suki na’ (一番好きな) meaning ‘favourite’;  lovelycomplex22  also suggested ‘irasshaimase’ (いらっしゃいませ); and ‘isshoukenmei’  (一生懸命) which means ‘very hard; with utmost effort’; and  Jay Dee  suggested ‘iranai’ (いらない), ‘I don’t want/need it’; isshoni’ (いっしょに), ‘together’; ‘imi wakanai’ (意味わかんあい / いみわかない), meaning ‘I don’t understand’; and ‘ii ne’ (いいね), meaning ‘sounds good’, or ‘that would be nice’.

There were so many good suggestions this week and I wish I had time to write about them all! I was really tempted to write about ‘irasshaimase’ (いらっしゃいませ) because I love hearing it said when I walk into a shop or restaurant in Japan, and it’s such a very Japanese sound. But, in the end, I chose a pair of phrases to write about…

いってきます & いってらっしゃい

(ittekimasu & itterasshai)

Whenever I watch a Studio Ghibli movie (or in fact any Japanese movie) I find myself waiting for these phrases, which crop up in almost every film. It always makes me smile to hear them, and think about my time in Japan. Even though they’re such plain everyday phrases to the Japanese ear (and are probably usually said automatically without any conscious thought), they are a lovely example of something quite unique about the Japanese language. Phrases such as these exist, and they can’t easily be translated. Part of the reason they don’t work in English, I think, is that they are so deeply connected to Japanese culture.

‘Ittekimasu’ (いってきます) is a phrase said by a person leaving a place (usually a house, but also if you were to pop out of the office at lunchtime, for example) to the people remaining inside. Literally translated, it means ‘I’ll go and come back’. The natural response from the people remaining inside would be ‘itterasshai’ ( いってらっしゃい), which literally translates as ‘please go and come back’.

I suppose the English equivalent for ‘Ittekimasu’ (いってきます) would be ‘I’m off’ or ‘see you later’, and ‘itterasshai’ ( いってらっしゃい) would be ‘have a good day’, ‘take care’, ‘see you later’. But these translations don’t really do justice to the feeling behind the phrases. It’s hard to explain these phrases if you’ve not lived or worked in a Japanese environment, but these phrases are so deeply ingrained in Japanese life, and I imagine most Japanese people couldn’t imagine not saying them.

If you’d like to hear the phrases, check out this video:

You don’t have to use such a squeaky voice when you say them though! 😉

Here’s a clip from The Girl Who Leapt Through Time where you can also hear the phrases being said:

So far in this post I’ve only used romaji and hiragana to write this week’s phrases. ‘Ittekimasu’ (いってきます) and ‘itterasshai’ ( いってらっしゃい) can be written using kanji too, but usually they are just written in kana. If you were to write them with kanji, they would be written like this:

行って来ます (ittekimasu) and 行ってらっしゃい (itterashai)

You can see they both begin with 行 which is the kanji from 行く (iku), meaning ‘to go’. ‘Ittekimasu’ also contains the kanji 来, from 来る (kuru), meaning ‘to come’.

If you find yourself in Japan, do listen out for these phrases. If you should be lucky enough to do a homestay or live in a Japanese house you’ll hear them every day for sure!

'ittekimasu', 'itterashai' (from the textbook 'Genki')

‘ittekimasu’, ‘itterashai’ (from the textbook ‘Genki’)

☆★☆

Next week’s post will be about a word or phrase beginning with ‘u’ (う), so please leave your suggestions below. The word can be a verb, adjective or expression, but no nouns please! For example, ‘umai’ (行く) meaning ‘skillful’ or ‘delicious’ would be acceptable, but ‘uma’ (うま), meaning ‘horse’, would not. I look forward to reading your ideas! (*^_^)v

Word of the Week 2014

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8 thoughts on “Word of the Week: いってきます & いってらっしゃい

  1. Here are my suggestions:

    うるさい (noisy, be quiet, shut up)
    うきうき (cheerful)
    うんち出た/うんこ出た (I peed, I pooped)

    Sorry about the last one. It’s just that I hear those words all the time now that my daughter is 2 years old.

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    • Haha – great ideas! 🙂

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  2. NIce post, I agree that many everyday Japanese expressions are very to translate and maintain their emotional content. Two more ones that are good to know for living in Japan(ese) are おかえり and ただいま (“welcome home” and “I’m home”).

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    • Ah yes, I was thinking about mentioning those phrases when I look at お and た! 🙂

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  3. My suggestions for next week are:

    動く (うごく) Move
    ウケる Interesting/Funny (used by young people)
    歌う (うたう) Sing
    うまい Delicious/Good at

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    • Excellent – thanks! 🙂

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  4. Hi, I’m afraid I missed the first two but great idea for a new series of posts. Can I suggest the following:

    うそ - a lie/fib but also used as an expression of disbelief.
    うれしい (嬉しい)- happy/I’m pleased
    うち (家)- lit. means “house” or “home” but used as “we”, “us” and “our…”
    ううん and うん – more conversational noises than words but as the first means “no” and the second means “yes” they can lead to misunderstanding!

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    • Thanks for joining in Paul! 🙂

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    Sunday, October 16, 2016

    Ittekimasu, Itterasshai – Meaning in Japanese

    Have you ever heard the Japanese words ittekimasu 行ってきます and itterasshai 行ってらっしゃい? In anime, ittekimasu is spoken by someone who’s leaving home and itterasshai by whoever stays behind at home. But what are the meaning of these expressions in Japanese?

    First off, if you haven’t noticed, you can translate them like this:

    • ittekimasu 行ってきます
      I’m leaving.
      I’m going.
      I’m off.
    • itterasshai 行ってらっしゃい
      Take care.
      Have fun.
      See you later.
    As you can see, ittekimasu expresses that the speaker is leaving home, and itterasshai bids farewell to someone who’s leaving home… but will most likely come back at the same day.
    It’s often used when an anime character will go to school, or to work, or to his friends house, etc. When he comes back, tadaima ただいま and okaeri お帰り are used instead. 

    Itte 行って

    The common thing between these two words is the word itte 行って, which is a conjugation of the verb iku 行く, which means “to go.” It’s usually used in phrases like this:
    • asoko e ikou あそこへ行こう
      Let’s go over there.
    • gakkou ni itta 学校に行った
      I (literally) went to school.
    • ittemiru 行ってみる
      I’ll go see.
    The words ittekimasu and itterasshai clearly have something to do with going, but there’s something amiss here. After all, they don’t mean just “to go.” And the trick behind this is in the last example above.
    The phrase ittemiru 行ってみる, “I’ll go see,” is the combination of the verb iku 行く, “to go,” with the verb miru 見る, “to see.” You go, then you see. A similar thing happens with ittekimasu and itterasshai.

    Ittekimasu 行ってきます

    The word ittekimasu 行ってきます is a polite conjugation of the word ittekuru 行ってくる, which is the combination of the verbs iku 行く, “to go,” with kuru 来る, “to come.”
    That is, ittekuru, and by extension ittekimasu, both mean “to go and come back.” First you go, then you come. So when someone says ittekimasu he’s literally saying “I’ll be going somewhere and I’ll be back sometime,” which is exactly what you do when you leave to school or to work or to whatever.

    Itterasshai 行ってらっしゃい

    Following the same pattern, itterasshai 行ってらっしゃい is just itte 行ってwith the verb rasshai らっしゃい… except it is not. It’s more complicated that.

    Irasshai いらっしゃい

    First off, rasshai らっしゃい is an abbreviation of irasshai いらっしゃい, which comes from the verb irassharu いらっしゃる, which means “to come,” exactly the same meaning as the verb kuru 来る.
    The difference between irassharu and kuru is that irassharu is used to be polite when talking about other peoples’ actions. Meanwhile, kimasu, the polite form of kuru, is used when talking politely about your own actions.

    Irasshaimase いらっしゃいませ

    To make matters more complicated, the irasshai we’re talking about is an abbreviation too. It abbreviates irasshaimase いらっしゃいませ, which is the imperative form, that is, you’re telling someone “to come.”
    So, to recap, all of these are these same:
    • rasshai らっしゃい
    • rasshaimase らっしゃいませ
    • irasshai いっらっしゃい
    • irrasshaimase いらっしゃいませ
    That’s right, all different ways of telling someone “come here.”

    Itteirasshaimase 行っていらっしゃいませ

    After all this we can conclude that itterasshai 行ってらっしゃい is an ultra shortened form of itteirasshaimase 行ってらっしゃいませ.
    This happens because the more polite a phrase is in Japanese the longer it is. However, despite all this irasshaimase いらっしゃいませ stuff being pretty polite, it somehow ended up being a common expression used in everyday life. So the word got a little butchered because nobody likes saying big words.
    Anyway, as you might have noticed, ittekimasu is just a polite way of saying “I’ll come and go” while itterasshai is also just a polite way of telling someone else to “come and go.” That is, it’s like if I said “I’ll go” and you say “go.” That’s just it.

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    Ittekimasu, tadaima, and okaerinasai?

    Dear visitor, if you know the answer to this question, please post it . Thank you!


    Note that this thread has not been updated in a long time, and its content might not be up-to-date anymore.


    Ittekimasu, tadaima, and okaerinasai?

    2010/10/27 01:21
    I am having some trouble with all of this stuff. I think Tadaima is “Im going home” and Ittekimasu is “Im leaving” But Im not really sure. Can somone please help me? And also, does anyone know what this means?

    “Ogenki desuka?”
    “Genki desu”


    by Silenced Echo (guest)

     

    .

    2010/10/28 13:50
    Tadaima is “I am home”
    “Ogenki desuka?” = How are you? or Are you well?
    “Genki desu”=I am fine, I am well.

    by ay (guest)

    rate this post as useful


    more and related

    2010/10/29 11:45
    “Tadaima” more or less translates to “I’m home” but can also mean “now”. Example: Someone comes to your house and asks for you but you’re in the kitchen, so you say “hai, tadaima!” to let them know you’re coming “now”.
    “Ittekimasu” is your usual “Goodbye” with intent on returning sometime in the future – it literally means “I’m going and will come (back)”

    “Okaerinasai” is “welcome home” or “welcome back” (depending on if your at the office or at home). Can be shortened to “Okaeri”.

    “Ogenki desuka” asks “how are you”, and the term “Ogenki” is treated as an adjective, but you may come across “genki” as a noun which means many things, for example “Watashi wa, genki ga nai”, “I’m down” or “Kono machi wa, genki ga nai”, “This town is not lively”

    “Itadakimasu” is often translated as “I humbly receive” and said before eating, but also used when accepting gifts.
    “Gochisousama deshita” is said after a meal and literally means “It was a feast”, but you say it no matter how large the meal. You can shorten to “Gochisousama” and can sub this for “Arigatou (gozaimashita)” when thanking someone for treating/making you a meal.


    by jmarkley

    rate this post as useful


    thanks..

    2010/10/30 01:21
    thanks you guys… but can someone also help me with this??

    se no takai…


    by Silenced Echo (guest)

    rate this post as useful


    se no takai

    2010/10/31 04:37
    Se no takai would simply mean “tall” as in the description of somebody’s height.

    by Zyzzyva

    rate this post as useful

    reply to this thread




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