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How do I refer to a friend....? 2008/7/12 06:12
When I was taking karate he was a higher rank then myself. I stopped taking karate (to have a child, a noble reason I believe), and ran in to him a few times. I wrote my old Sensei an e-mail, and got a reply from my old Sensei, and my friend. My friend is now is a black belt and has his own dojo. I would like to write him an e-mail but am unsure as to how to address him. I want to show respect, but be friendly as well... As of not I am unsure if I will be going to his dojo or my old one.

Thank you in advance.
by onlyangil  

letter 2008/7/13 10:20
Dear ______-san should be adequate.
by Dan rate this post as useful

Sensei 2008/7/13 10:43
_______ Sensei / I would think since he is your senior and has his own Dojo, this would be appropriate. I still address friends with Sensei when they are in similar situations.
by Kiyo rate this post as useful

Sensei 2008/7/13 22:31
I address my seniors and people in respectable positions like your friend with ---- Sensei. They are also my friends. Some might address them with ---- Sama, but Sensei is enough for me.
by Karate Kid rate this post as useful

off-topic 2008/7/14 01:48
"---- Sama, but Sensei is enough for me."

Interesting to know. In Japan, sama is slightly casual than sensei, but you are not in Japan of course.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Japan 2008/7/14 01:54
I'm in Japan, where are you?
by Karate Kid rate this post as useful

Grasshopper 2008/7/14 07:53

Just to add my 2 yen, I would also suggest sticking with "-san" as first suggested by Dan. If the person is not actually your teacher, then it could sound fawning or even condescending to call him "sensei". Once you start to study under him, it would of course be appropriate to call him "XXXX-sensei" or just "Sensei".
by Dave in Saitama rate this post as useful

title 2008/7/14 09:18
You can usually not go wrong by calling someone ____ san if they are not your direct teacher, and often even if they are it's fine. I call my yoga teacher (a Japanese man who teaches here in Tokyo) ____san, as do many of his long term students. I doubt that your friend would consider it to be offensive to be called ____san.
by Sira rate this post as useful

different terms for different situations 2008/7/14 11:17
It's me again and I'm a Japanese living in Japan.

When writing in Japanese, it is most common to address the other party with -sama. Be it your junior, friend or family, or of course your senior, the letter or email or fax should begin with "(name) sama". And then once you start writing the sentences, the body of your letter, you can call the person as you would normally do. If it's a nickname with no -san or -sama, just call him/her that. It's just like how one would always write "Dear" on top of an English letter, while no one really calls you "dear" except your spouse or granny.

But over the years, I've noticed that in English emails, even business partners tend to address the other Japanese party by writng "Dear (name) san". So although it would be odd to use -san when addressing an email in Japanese language, I think it's perfectly safe and quite expected to use the term "Dear (name) san". It sounds nice.

I've also noticed that people who do martial arts in English language seem to use special terms. For example, I had the impression that Japanese karate people use the term "shishou" while English speaking people seem to say "sensei", which is alright with me.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Ask him 2008/7/14 16:20
Why don't you ask your friend how he prefers you address him? We had a friend we addressed with Sensei, and he asked us not to call him Sensei. Maybe he has his personal preference.
by Joni rate this post as useful

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