Dealing with Jozu Desu ne!

November 11th, 2010By Category: Uncategorized

You know the situation, you have been living in Japan for a few months, mastered chopsticks, have stopped hitting your head on low slung ceilings and have a grasp of a few key phrases. At some point you feel confident to use them, maybe you are at a bar, maybe it is just after you have taught a lesson or maybe while out and about in town.

Then comes the response. Often accompanied by a look of amazement and raised voice:

“Nihongo ga o-jozu desu ne!”

Meaning of course, your Japanese is so good!

This is how many folks in Japan will respond when they hear foreigners speaking a little Japanese, even when you know yourself your language abilities are not that high or you have simply used an oft-heard phrase.

To help you deal with it, we put to together this handy little guide:




Meaning and comments

Results you get



ありがとう ございます。

arigatou gozaimasu

Thank you.

None. You’ve shown you heard what they say and accepted it.


本当に!? ありがとう!

Hontou ni!? arigatou!

Really!? Thank you! (hug the person)

Another Japanese thinking all foreigners are a bit weird.


まだまだ です。

mada-mada desu

Not yet. (I’m still learning).

A happy Japanese. You’ve hit the nail on the head.


失礼 いたしました

shitsurei itashimashita

I’m sorry (to exceed your expectations) (funny)

Confused stares. Your answer is not matching the manual.


Give it a try the next time you get the Jozu desu ne treatment and see what happens >.<

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Jaba is currently offering free trial classes to all those who are interested. Complete the form below and they’ll get back to you with the details.



Author of this article


GaijinPot is an online community for foreigners living in Japan, providing information on everything you need to know about enjoying life here, from finding a job and accommodation to having fun.

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