Friday, December 7, 2007

Irashaimasen (Welcome, Please Shop Here!)

["Irashaimasen" is a word used by hired young ladies to tempt you into their store or restaurant or just to say welcome anywhere you shop. The frequency of its use in a popular shopping area is enough to drive a foreigner mad.]

[If you are reading this post because you linked to it through a Google search on 'irashaimasen' (and there are a lot of you), let me take this moment to teach you that the word is actually 'irashaimase'. I wrote this post back in the early days of my Japanese study and have since learned the correct spelling/pronunciation.]

I was happy to accept an offer this morning to attend the Aka yo-chien (pre-school/kindergarten) store and do a little shopping. The students have been spending the last few weeks making jewelry, paper flowers, candy, and desserts. The store had tables, a game, and even a 'cooler' for the paper desserts. It was professionally executed.

I bought myself a murse made of reused bubble wrap and jute twine. I scored a couple balloons by throwing rope rings over wooden pegs. I bought a bracelet and a ring so pretty I kinda wish I had a girl to propose to with it. I purchased a piece of orange chocolate that could be mistaken for an orange paper heart. And I also managed to buy a potted paper flower twice. I set it down after the first purchase and the three-year-old shopkeeper came by, picked it up, and sold it back to me again!


Anonymous said...

business men and women in the making!

Anonymous said...

Konichiwa Dave-Sensei,

Is irashaimase, pronounced as irashaimasen? Is it acceptably interchangeable to say one or the other?

Thank you very much


Anonymous said...

Irasshaimase. If you're going to be so literal about the romaji spelling then you should know that the hiragana characters they use are actually いらっしゃいませ which is i-ra-(tsu)-shi-(ya)-i-ma-se.
Just because this is apparently the "correct" spelling even though Japanese is not an English character language doesn't mean other variations aren't also as correct. After all the 'wa' particle is used with the 'ha' character but in romaji spelling we still spell it wa when it is used as a particle rather than a word.
And technically because of the small 'tsu' character the romaji would be irasshaimase. A double s, but that's nit picking...
Frankly I have heard Japanese use irasshaimasen for some reason or another. Different dialects perhaps.

Dave said...

Dear Anonymous,

Chill out.