What should I know about Japanese greetings?

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One thing to point out, which may not be terribly important except in saving you some confused looks, is when you walk into a store, employees will greet you with a special phrase: “Irashaimase” (E-ra-shai-ma-se). This is the universal greeting that store owners and employees use toward customers to “welcome” them to the store; hence the common translation for this is “welcome”. However the employees will often exclaim this with such enthusiasm, you may be tempted to repeat it back to them. I even do this when I am spacing out and walking into a shop; I’ll unconsciously look over at the employees and respond "Irashaimase"….a bit embarrassing, but I suppose they can’t blame me.

by KurtisW

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