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New Year greeting 2019/12/10 16:33
From where I live, it's common to say Happy New Year before and after the new year to everyone, e.g. the shop keeper, restaurant owner, to customer, etc.

Is it also common to say "Akemashite omedetou" to people you meet? For example to hotel staff upon checking in, to the shop owner, etc?

Also, if anyone say "Akemashite omedetou", how to respond it with?

Thank you!
by Moccy  

Re: New Year greeting 2019/12/10 18:59
gAkemashite omedetou (gozaimasu)h is something you say on or after January 1st (never before), as it is a phrase for celebrating that the New Year HAS BEGUN. So donft say it before the New Yearfs Day.

(The English gHappy New Yearh in the sense of gHave a happy new yearh or gBest wishes for a happy new year to youh will be understood if they speak decent English. If they donft speak much English, they might equate it with gakemashitech so they might think itfs strange if you say it BEFORE the new year.)


We donft really say it as a greeting upon meeting people you donft know at all, complete strangers; I would say it to the staff/owner of a restaurant that we go often, or to shop owners I know, but not really at places completely new to me.

If they say gakemashite omedetou (gozaimasu)h to you, you say the same thing. They might respond again with gkotoshi mo yoroshiku onegai shimasuh if they know you.

There is a phrase you could use BEFORE the new year starts, as parting words; you might say gyoi otoshi wo,h or gyoi otoshi wo omukae kudasai,h meaning ga good year to you,h gI hope the new year starts off good for you,h gbest wishes for a great new year.h


by AK rate this post as useful

Re: New Year greeting 2019/12/10 19:59
Great advise as always, AK! I always learn something new and very, very helpful when I was in Japan. Appreciate it!

Thank goodness I haven't executed my plan to greet the fellow crowds during Hatsuhinode! It does remind me that I grew up in a society who don't exchange Happy New Years with strangers. A far contrast with the country I live now, where the greeting is as fluid as "have a nice day".

by Moccy rate this post as useful

Re: New Year greeting 2019/12/10 23:37
Just to add, "akemashite omedetou (gozaimasu)" is a phrase you say from Jan 1st 0:00 am to Jan 3rd, and sometimes until the end of the first week of January. It's a greeting you say when you are greeting someone for the first time in that particular year. (And "yoi otoshi o" is the greeting you say when you are greeting someone for the last time in that particular year.)

The thing is that in the Japanese language, you don't commonly say greetings to strangers. If you enter a hotel or shop, you either don't pay attention to anyone or just nod/smile. If you need to say something such as "I'd like to check in," you just start with a "sumimasen" (pardon me). This is unlike the English language in which you say "Good morning" or "Hi" to any shopkeeper you're seeing for the first time.

That said, I personally say "ohayou gozaimasu" or "akemashite omedetougozaimasu" to hotel clerks when I visit their breakfast buffet while doing my annual homecoming. It's my way of saying, "You make me feel at home."

Speaking of hatsuhinode, I was once coming home drunk when the hatsuhinode was rising, and a bunch of strangers on a building roof called out "akemashite omedetou!" to me. I think people, also in Japan, tend to get that festive mood at midnight or at sunrise.
by Uco rate this post as useful

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