If you are around Japanese people for a while, you will notice “Otsukaresama desu” or “Otsukaresama deshita” pops up all the time. I can bet it is one of the most frequent phrases you would hear in Japan.
I’ll tell you what it means and how it’s used so you can understand the context to start using today right away!
Especially if you are at work, you would hear this phrase endlessly. It’s definitely one of the phrases you need to master first if you are living in Japan. But what does it mean?
If you Google translate it, it says “Cheers for good work.”
It’s not exactly that, but I think that’s the closest you can get. There isn’t exact translation, I think.
It would be helpful to know the contexts where the phrase is actually used.
For example, at work, people say it as replacement of “Hello.” When you arrive at work and see someone, you would say “Otsukaresama desu.”
Even if you bump into the same person during the day, you would say that phrase again. “Otsukaresama desu.”
Not just verbally, at work, you use this phrase in emails all the time. You would always start your email like this. (Except for emails to your client! Then you have a different phrase to start with. 😉 )
Then there is a past sentence for this: “Otsukaresama deshita.”
If you can guess, it can be used as replacement of “Bye” at the end of the day at work.
You say this phrase to each other at the end of the meeting or activity. It could mean “Good work, everyone.”
Or if someone worked for you and finished the work, you can also say this phrase to that person. It’s showing the appreciation of hard work that person did.
Here’s a recap.
Otsukaresama desu. (お疲れ様です。／おつかれさまです。)
Otsukaresama deshita. (お疲れ様でした。／おつかれさまでした。)
Hope this was helpful!