Wow! Where has the time gone? I can remember the beginning of this year pretty well and the list of things I wanted to accomplish. But now we have less than two months left until 2017!
Well, in the spirit of the new year that is rapidly approaching, let’s learn how to tell someone happy new year in Japanese!
Anytime prior to midnight, right before the new year begins tell people:
yoi otoshi o
Have a nice year
Then once the clock strikes 12:00 and the fireworks go off, shout out:
akemashite omedetō gozaimasu
Happy new year!
Understanding Each Word
So let’s go into these a little deeper. 良い(yoi) means “good” and 年(toshi) means “year.” The first お (o) is added for politeness and the final を (o) gives it the nuance that we have interpreted as “have”. So this is pretty easy to translate as “have a good year.”
明けまして (Akemashite) means “dawning” as in the dawning of a new year and おめでとうございます (omedetō gozaimasu) means “congratulations.” So if we wanted a more direct translation of it, it would be more like “congratulations on the dawning (of a new year).”
But that would sound way too weird in English. Happy new year basically means the same thing.
By the way, this is the same おめでとうございます(omedetō gozaimasu) that you would use to wish some one a happy birthday.
Interesting since Japanese people used to all celebrate their birthdays together on new year’s day.
A Midnight Snack?
Did you know that it is common for Japanese people to eat toshikoshi udon or toshikoshi soba around midnight on new year’s eve in order to ward off evil spirits before the new year begins? I think I could get used to that 🙂
The word 年越しそば (toshi koshi soba) means “year-crossing noodles” and eating them is a Japanese tradition to finished off the old year and bring good luck into the new one.
Your turn! Have you celebrated new years in Japan or with your Japanese friends before? Or are you planning on doing it at the end of this year? I wanna know! Tell me about it in the comments below!