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Going on a date can be nerve-wracking enough without having to worry about the language barrier as well. If you’re in the dating game in Japan, then chances are you’ll want some Japanese that you can use while on a date.
Even if you’re not fully proficient yet, using Japanese on a date can help immensely in building a connection with the other person while also helping you to develop your Japanese communication skills too.
Small talk & conversation starters
Every date needs some conversation starters. And even if you hate small talk, you might find that some of these phrases come in handy on your date.
今日はどうでしたか？ Kyou wa dou deshitaka? How was your day?
仕事はなんですか？ Shigoto wa nan desuka? What do you do for work?
仕事はどうでしたか？ Shigoto wa dou deshita ka? How was work?
先週末は何をしましたか？ Senshuumatsu wa nani wo shimashitaka? What did you do last weekend?
来週末は何をしますか？ Raishuumatsu wa nani wo shimasuka? What are you going to do next weekend?
趣味はなんですか？ Shumi wa nan desuka? What are your hobbies?
地元はどこですか？ Jimoto wa doko desuka? Where are you from? (As in: where is your hometown?)
地元はどんなところですか Jimoto wa donna tokoro desuka? What kind of place is your hometown?
このレストラン・カフェ・場所はどう思いますか？ Kono restoran/kafe/basho wa dou omoimasuka? What do you think of this restaurant/cafe/place?
What great date doesn’t include some compliments? Here are some in Japanese that you can use on your next date.
優しいですね。 Yasashii desu ne You’re kind. *You can replace the adjective with other words such as: subarashii すばらしい (wonderful), sugoi すごい (amazing, great), jouzu 上手 (you’re good at), kiyou 器用 (skillful), atama ga ii頭がいい (smart) etc.
その服似合ってる。 Sono fuku ni atteru That clothing suits you. *Again, you can replace the noun with other words like: shatsu シャツ (shirt),wanpiisu ワンピース (dress), kutsu 靴 (shoes), etc. You can also say someone’s job – shigoto 仕事 – suits them, too.
If you’re given a compliment, you can return it by saying:
____さんも優しいです。 (Your date’s name) is also kind.
Or you can also say, sochira koso そちらこそ, which means “likewise”.
It’s very common to respond to compliments with humility in Japan, so you would say something like:
そんなことないです！ Sonna koto nai desu! That’s not the case!
Remember: it’s always polite to first thank the other person for the compliment before denying it.
You can also express how happy you are to be complimented by saying:
嬉しいです！ Ureshii desu! I’m glad! (As in: that made me happy)
Again, it’s always more polite to thank the other person first and then follow it up with your expression of gratitude.
Moving things along
If things are going well with your date, you can suggest to move on to another activity or place so you can spend more time together.
You can ask:
どこかほかのレストラン・カフェに行きましょうか？ Doko ka hoka no restoran/kafe ni ikimashouka? Shall we go to another restaurant/cafe?
If you know a place, you can tell your date:
いいレストラン・カフェ知っていますよ！ ii restoran/kafe shitte imasu yo! I know a good restaurant/cafe!
Or you can ask:
いいレストラン・カフェ知っていますか？ ii restoran/kafe wo shitte imasuka? Do you know a good restaurant/cafe?
Ending the date
Hopefully your date has gone well and although you might not want to, it’s time to end the night. Some phrases that might be useful include:
とても楽しかったです！ Totemo tanoshikatta desu! I had a lot of fun!
また会えますか？ Mata aemasuka? Can we meet again?
電話しますね。 Denwa shimasu ne. I’ll call you.
If things progress and start getting serious, make sure to check out our article on how to express love in Japanese to learn some phrases and get some cultural insight into how to tell someone you love them.
Hopefully you’ll learn some useful Japanese to use on your next date through this article and if you’re interested in more language articles, make sure to follow our blog.