Five Easy & Useful Japanese Phrases for Convenience Store Shopping in Japan


     Today, we’ll be expanding on my previous article about Japanese for restaurant ordering. In this article, I’ll be talking about some Japanese words and phrases that will come in handy for your jaunts to the convenience store and supermarket; many of the phrases from the restaurant article can also be used in these situations, but there are other phrases that you are more likely to hear while out doing your shopping..

1. Regibukuro (レジ袋)

     “Fukuro” or “Bukuro” is the Japanese word for “bag”, and “regi” is a shortened form of “register.” As you can probably put together, then, “Regibukuro” is the word for the plastic bags they use at the register; these often cost a few extra yen, so it’s important to keep that in mind when you shop.

2. Irimasu/Iranai (いります・いらない)

     “Irimasu” and “iranai” mean “to need” and “to not need”, respectively. These words are very useful for when the cashier is asking you if you need a bag. However, there is also an alternate way to say “I don’t need a bag,” and that is “kono mama de ii desu (このままでいいです), which roughly translates to “It’s fine as-is,” which the cashier would take to mean “I’m fine without a bag.”

3. Atatamemasu/Atatamemasu ka? (あたためます・あたためますか?)

     “Atatameru” is a verb that means “to heat.” At convenience stores, where there are generally a lot of microwaveable bentos for sale, as well as microwaves positioned behind the register, you are likely to hear the cashier ask, at some point, “Atatamemasu ka?” which translates roughly to “Shall I heat this?” to which you can respond with one of our two favorite words, “Hai (はい),” meaning yes, or “Iie (いいえ、pronounced like “E A”)”, meaning no. For added flavour, instead of “Iie,” you can also add “kono mama de ii desu,” as mentioned above.

4. Genkin (げんきん, Kanji 現金)

     “Genkin” roughly translates to printed money, or in other words, cold, hard cash. For the most part, this isn’t a phrase you’ll need to use a whole lot, as cashiers will generally get the idea as long as you’re pulling money out of your wallet. However, some grocery stores want you to pay at a touchscreen terminal, requiring you to input your payment method by button. These buttons often have pictures on them, as well, but it’s also good to know what word you are looking for.

5. Reshiito (レシート)

     While it sounds foreign, this is actually just the Japanese pronunciation of the word “receipt.” This has made it on the list simply because it can be difficult to recognize for those accustomed to more western pronunciations of the word, and oftentimes it can be easier to identify if you’re already aware of the difference in pronunciation. So when the cashier asks “Reshiito wa? (レシートは?) ” they’re asking you whether or not you want a receipt, to which you can respond “Irimasu” or “irimasen.”

      This has been another article going over basic Japanese for daily life. Hopefully, these words and phrases ease the process of shopping and make your trips to the store much more convenient.

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