I’ve heard that Japanese language has most varieties for greeting of all language.
When you meet people in the morning, you would say “ohayoogozaimasu”.
When you start eating, you would say “itadakimasu”.
When you leave home, when someone complimented the meal you cooked, when you meet your child’s teacher, when you enter someone’s house…
You would choose and use “the best” greeting for each situation.
In most of Japanese elementary school,
there are posters “Let’s greet with loud voice!”.
Yes, greeting is very important in Japan.
I think, people sometimes use greetings too much, especially in business or formal situation.
If they use their own word instead of routine greeting, it would sound more friendly and interesting.
But in my opinion, basically greeting is convenient and good way to communicate with people.
Recently, some greetings have some different meanings.
Have you ever heard “otsukaresama”?
“otsukaresama” is a very interesting greeting…
Basically, this greeting is used in office.
“o” expresses “polite”, “tsukare” means “tired” and “sama” is “Mr. / Ms.”.
“otsukaresama” is like “I understand you worked a lot.
You must be tired! Please don’t work too hard!”.
What a thoughtful greeting!
When you meet your co-workers or boss in office, when you start talking with your co-workers or boss on the phone…
you would use “otsukaresama”.
Recently, “otsukaresama” is also used between friends, couple and family.
When you meet, talk on the phone or send an e-mail during or after work, most of people say “otsukaresama”, even if they don’t work together.
In my opinion, there are two reasons for that.
First, there isn’t common greeting to use for casual situation (close friends, boyfriend / girlfriend, family etc.) even though we have so many kinds of greetings!
There are greetings “konnichiwa” (hello) and “konbanwa” (good evening).
But we usually don’t use them for casual situation.
Especially for young people, the greetings sound like formal.
So, we became using the convenient and thoughtful greeting “otsukaresama” out of office, too.
For another reason, I guess most of people know that their friends, boyfriend / girlfriend and family are tired.
“Of course I understand that you worked a lot.
Of course you must be tired.
I’m tired, too!
Let’s try not to work too hard!!
Let’s try not to do overtime too much!!!”