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Learning Japanese for travel or study? Let’s try this term:
To say may I? (point at chair, door) in Japanese: Ii Desuka?
Say it out loud: “Ee Dess Kah?“
You can learn how to say may I? (point at chair, door) and over 220 other travel-friendly words and phrases with our inexpensive, easy-to-use Japanese language cheat sheets. We can help you make your next trip to another country even more fun and immersive. Click below!
Some more helpful words in our Japanese Courtesy/Questions category:
...the bathroom – Toire (Toh Ee Reh)
come with me – Issho Ni Kite Kudasai (Issho Nee Kee Teh Koo Dah Sai)
do you speak english? – Eigo Wo Hanashi Masuka? (Eh Ee Goh Woh Hah Nah Shee Mass Kah?)
excellent – Subarashii (Soo Bah Rah Shee)
excuse me – Sumimasen (Soo Mee Mah Senn)
good / bad – Ii / Warui (Ee /Wah Roo Ee)
how do you say…? – …Ha Dou Iimasuka? (…Wah Dough Ee Mass Kah?)
how much is this? – Ikura Desuka? (Ee Coo Rah Dess Kah?)
may I? (point at chair, door) – Ii Desuka? (Ee Dess Kah?)
maybe – Tabunn (Tah Bunn)
no problem – Mondai Arimasenn (Mohn Dai Ah Ree Mah Senn)
please – Onegai Shimasu (Oh Neh Gai Shee Mass)
sorry – Gomennasai (Goh Men Nah Sai)
thank you – Arigato Gozaimasu (Ah Ree Gah Tow Goh Zai Mass)
thanks – Arigato (Ah Ree Gah Tow)
what is that? – Are Ha Nandesuka? (Ah Reh Wah Nahnn Dess Kah?)
where is… – …Ha Doko Desuka? (…Wah Docco Dess Kah?)
yes / no – Hai / Iie (Hai / Ee-Eh)
you are welcome – Douitashimashite (Dough Ee Tah Shee Mah Shee Teh)
And here’s how to say may I? (point at chair, door) in other languages!
Arabic–Men Fadlek (men fad lek)
Chinese–Kěyǐ Ma? (Kuh Ee Ma?)
Croatian–mogu ja? (moe goo yah?)
Czech–Můžu? (moo zoo?)
Finnish–voinko? (vo in koh?)
French–Puis je? (peej)
German–kann ich… (kahn iH)
Italian–posso (poh sew)
Japanese–Ii Desuka? (Ee Dess Kah?)
Korean–Sillyehapnida. (Shil Le Ham Ni Da.)
Polish–mogę? (mo' geh?)
Portuguese–Posso? (poh soo?)
Russian–mozhno? (moh zhnah?)
Spanish–puedo? (pway doh)
Swahili–naweza (na weh za)
Thai–… Dai Mai? (… DAI mai?)
Turkish–buyurun (booh ya rahn)
Vietnamese–Tôi Có Thể...? (Toy Caw Te…?)
It doesn't matter how tired you are, or how many chairs are available in your host's house or near a group of people in a restaurant. You do not just plop yourself on a chair. It is just not polite. But if you start with the phrase "may I? (point at chair, door)" (Ii Desuka?), then unless the chair is taken, everyone will happily nod and allow you to join their group.
More courtesy questions are available on our instant access to the Japanese Language Set.