CONTRIBUTED BY KAHO
Kaho’s Japanese Corner: Irasshaimase
This is a request from my friend’s husband, which I think is a very helpful one to know. I’m sure all of you have heard this word somewhere in Japan. “Irasshaimase” is a polite form of “welcome” in Japanese. When you walk into a convenience store, restaurant, stores, or other public places, you are always greeted with this word. Some say “irasshai!”, which you often hear at a sushi restaurant and is used by men. Sometimes sushi chefs say “Rasshai!” to you as you walk into the restaurant. It’s just the way the word is shortened and pronounced which sounds very manly.
You can say “irasshai” when you have Japanese people over to your house. Bow just a little to add a Japanese mannerism. 🙂
“Irasshai” also means “come here”. This is used to order someone to come to you and in this context it is usually used by adults to tell to a child(ren). If you want a child to come close to you, you can say “irasshai” with a hand gesture that kind of looks like an American way of waving good bye. The hand motion when Japanese people tell others to come near them is to move all four fingers together up and down.
Have you experienced a situation where you waved good-bye to a Japanese child and he/she came close to you? Well, if you did, now you know why!