Survival Japanese  useful short phrase (Greeting) Beginner's level
Some people will start learning about how to greet Japanese people. When greeting, Japanese generally do not have hugs, shaking hands, nor kissing. But in business occassions, the people sometimes shake hands when a good deal is done. When the people are extremely happy or sad, friends or family members do hug or have a side hug. But we may never have kissing with friends unless they are really in a close relationship like dating or married.
When you meet a person first time, you may say "hello" to him or her. But you can not expect Japanese to shake hands, especially between different genders. If the person knows about your custom, he/she will tend to follow your custom even in Japan.
Generally, people do 会釈 （えしゃく：eshaku）which is a light bow in a formal meeting or just do 頷く（うなずく：unazuku）which means "to nod" in an informal occassion when they say 今日は（こんにちは：konnichiwa), means "hello." Like English, you may use it anytime.
After you listen to this song, you may not forget 「こんにちは」 forever!
So when you meet people particulary in morning or evening, you also say "Good Morning" or "Good Evening". In Japanese, these are お早う （おはよう: Ohayou） in informal and お早うございます (おはようございます：Ohayou-gozaimasu）in formal occassions as "good morning" and 今晩は(こんばんは: konbanwa) in both occassions (but slightly formal) as "good afternoon". Then people say "Good night" especially before/at bed time. It is お休み（おやすみ：oyasumi）in informal お休みなさい （おやすみなさい: Oyasumi-nasai）as in formal.
Here is a Japanese greeting song for kids but it may be a useful learning song for very beginners.
You do not need to understand everything in this song right now but the first lyrics are like this:
... Ohayo, Oyasumi, Konnichiwa, Konbanwa
Ohayo, Oyasumi, Konnichiwa, Konbanwa ...
You can hear these phrases several times in this song.
Review and pronunciation help
Good Morning: "Ohayou" sounds like "Oh! hah? yoh!"
Good night: "Oyasimi" sounds like "Oh yah soo me"
Hello: "Konnichiwa" sounds like "Con knee chihua (as in chihuahua)"
Good evening: "Konbanwa" sounds like "Con Bun wa!"
Uh, silly? But learning should be fun, right?
Well that's enough today.
Let's sing these funny phrases again and again so that you may not forget how to greet in Japanese. :)
Comments? Requests? Questions? Suggestions? Corrections?
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