Good Luck

Discussion in '日本語 (Japanese)' started by ThomasK, Jul 14, 2009.

  1. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    How do you wish someone good luck in Japanese ?

    Can you give me different ways of expressing that and please add some kind of translation, and maybe a context ?

  2. lilhelper Member

    America; English
    The closest thing I could think of would be
    Genki de ganbatte ne.
    Which means, Good luck in life or Do your best in Life.
  3. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    That is what I also heard: do your best ! But then that seems to imply that luck must be worked for... ;-) Thanks !
  4. lrosa Senior Member

    English - Ireland
    Indeed you're right, and this seems to be a cultural difference. The Japanese always seem to use がんばって, both where English speakers would use "Do your best!" and where they'd use "Good luck!"
  5. Starfrown

    Starfrown Senior Member

    Columbia, SC
    English - US
    がんばってね (gambatte ne) has a feminine ring to my ears.

    がんばれ (gambare) would be fine for use with your close friends and associates.

    If you need to be polite, then がんばってください (gambatte kudasai).
  6. rukiak Senior Member

    I agree with these comments.
  7. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    So no variation possible as for 'gamb-'.

    Do you have the word happiness in Japanese? I guess you do, but then no expression with happiness (like féliciter in French)? Just exploring the use of 'good luck' here...
  8. kaito Senior Member

    They have an expression and they use it.
    It seems to me that お幸せに can be used as a substitute for good luck but it's mostly (only?) used for marriage.
  9. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    お幸せに : what does it mean precisely, Kaito ?
  10. Starfrown

    Starfrown Senior Member

    Columbia, SC
    English - US
    お幸せに (o-shiawase ni)
    o = honorific prefix
    shiawase = happiness
    ni = in

    "In happiness" = "happily"

    The implication in the case of marriage of course being: "[May you live together] in happiness."
  11. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Just one other note: is ni in or into ? Is there any hint at an ellipse ?

    (I mean: does the prhase imply somehow that the rest must be understood ? For example: Here ! is generally understood as Come here, especially when accompanied by a gesture)

    And maybe one last question: is wishing (good luck) as common as elsewhere in the world ? (It might very well be, just exploring the subject) And/or: is the reference to (good) luck very common ? (Do your best might imply that luck is not to be hoped for, but to be worked for, is the result of one's own work)
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2009
  12. rukiak Senior Member

    Hello everyone.
    I just remember something about this topic.
    That's 'omamori'. If you don't know 'omamori', pls do the 'image search' for the word using search engines like google and then do the 'words search' for it. Then you would know that. But I digress.

    When you wish your important person/persons good luck in Japan, you go to the shrine (; Shinto shrine) and pray to Gods (; there are many Gods ,even at one shrine, in Japan.) and wish someone good luck.
    At shrine, you buy 'omamori' and after going back, you present it to your important person.
    This style is kind of old fashioned, but may be related to the reason why there does not exist any practical direct translation of 'Good luck'.

    I wonder what saying good luck means in your countries. What kind of image, or thought, are there in your mind when you say good luck to someone. And I also wonder when you say good luck to them? Every single time when someone take a test/ have a sport game ?
    Would you pls tell me about that?
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2009
  13. kaito Senior Member

    It does not have to be a game or test but you got the idea right, anytime something can have a more or less favorable outcome.
    You say good luck when you wish the other to succeed at whatever the topic is but it also implies that the thing that will happen or be done is somewhat difficult and the doer may fail at it, so don't use it for trivial things.

    The whole saying is rather positive but it can have a negative nuance, like implying your skills are not good enough to do that so you're gonna need the luck.
  14. rukiak Senior Member

    Thank you for your response, kaito.
    Perhaps. I haven't understood that yet, but the information "don't use it for trivial things" and "but it can have a negative nuance" is a little surprise and helpful for me.
  15. Wishfull Senior Member

    I think there is another translation.
    Maybe literal translation;
    「幸運を祈る」 kou-un wo inoru

    This might not be orthodox, traditional Japanese. This might be translation style. This might be unnatural. Yet, I sometimes hear or read that expression these days.

    If you're requested to translate it into Japanese, you would tend to avoid this expression. But it is a translation and I believe it works.

    I want to mention one thing more. 「幸運を祈る」is not very polite expression.
    The speaker should be a male person, not female. And the speaker's social ranking or aging should be higher than the listener.

    More polite form like 「幸運をお祈りしています」sounds somehow unnatural.
    Just 「幸運を祈る」 sounds natural to me.
  16. lrosa Senior Member

    English - Ireland
    I'm not sure that I have the same view of "Good luck", actually. I wasn't sure what you meant by "trivial things", but I actually think that I would use "Good luck" for the less important things. I think that if I knew someone was going to have to go through a very significant trial/hardship, "Good luck" would sound a bit too trivial to me, and what's more, it would suggest that I was worried that the person would fail, and that they would consequently need "luck" to pull them through.

    For example, if I knew someone who was going to have surgery, I could say "Good luck", but I would have to say it in a different, more serious tone of voice than usual. However, it would be more likely that in such a serious situation, I would try and come up with something more original, perhaps more personal, to say.

    "Good luck" can be said sarcastically, such as in the following example:

    A: "I am not going to go out with you."
    B: "Just you wait and see, one of these days I'm going to convince you."
    A: "Ha! Good luck! (Because it's never going to happen)"

    However, for me, in most situations it does not have a negative nuance.
  17. kaito Senior Member

    Well, everyone draws their own lines regarding the triviality of a matter, I wouldn't use it for too severe stuff either but I would not say it to, for example, someone who's doing a simple job's routine.
  18. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Thanks for the onamori hint, which is mainly cultural information, I guess. I have just read it means : honorary protector. You agree ? Could it be like a fetish or at least an amulet ??? It reminds me of things I know in Catholic tradition.

    The idea of luck is certainly implied. Thanks !

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