An expression I learned a few weeks after my arrival in Japan is o-tsukare sama desu (お疲れ様です). This literally means “Your honorable tiredness…”, or (a little less literally): “You must be very tired!”. It is a very widely used expression in Japan. Very useful.

This phrase is used for example when drinking with collegues after work, just before starting to drink. Or even after having spent the whole afternoon shopping.

The expression is actually so common that it’s used to greet one’s coworker at the office. Except in the morning, where o-hayoh gozaimasu (おはようございます) is required, people greet each other by saying “you must be very tired!”. Mails exchanged between collegues also usually start with this phrase (Japanese people like this kind of ready-to-use expressions, because then you don’t need thinking to find something to say!).

Well, if you reached the end of this article, let me tell you: o tsukare sama desu!