These 7 words are critical to understanding Japanese culture:
1. Genki (元気)In Japan health, enthusiasm and energy are all part of a single concept: genki.
2. Mottainai (もったいない, 勿体無い)Mottainai is the sense of regret you feel when you waste something. Japan is an island nation with few natural resources. Traditionally, Japanese people are careful not to waste food and to care for possessions.
3. Ganbatte (がんばって)Ganbatte can be translated "do your best!". It's the Japanese ethic of giving your all.
3. Kawaii (可愛い)Kawaii is cute. Everything in Japan is ridiculously cute. Kawaii is big business in Japan. It's also one of the the 9 aesthetics of Japanese culture.
4. Otsukare (お疲れ)Otsukare means "fatigue". In Japan, it's highly respected to work yourself to exhaustion.
When people leave the office at night they say — otsukaresama deshita (you're tired). It's the nicest thing you can say in Japanese.
5. Shoganai (しょうがない)Shoganai can be translated "it can't be helped". It's the Japanese philosophy of accepting your fate.
It's used to explain why most Japanese people aren't interested in politics.
6. Yoroshiku (よろしく)Yoroshiku is the most difficult Japanese word to translate. The best translation available is "please be nice to me". It's used when introducing yourself in Japan.
7. Itadakimasu (いただきます)Itadakimasu can be translated "I humbly receive". It's said in Japan before a meal. It thanks all those who played a role in cultivating, hunting and preparing the food. Japan is a Buddhist culture. Itadakimasu also thanks the animals and plants who gave their lives for the meal.