Taking Messages in Japanese – 伝言

Continuing with the theme of taking messages, here is a look at another note with a few new expressions. This one is more formal and can also be used to make notes about visitors. Be sure to check out the other post first.

Passing your eyes over the note you’ll notice first at the top the text:


でんわが あったら すぐ メモを


たいおうは やさしく、 しんせつに。

Incomplete sentences are quite popular in Japanese, and are used all the time in newspaper headings. They rely on the reader to fill in the blanks, assuming that even has the same common knowledge. In the first sentence, we are told ‘if there is a phone call, immediately a memo…’ and in the second sentence ‘dealing in a kind and friendly…’

What’s going on here? It should be quite obvious that the first sentence is talking about taking a memo or note when there is a phone call. The implication is to do this as if it were a habit; the すぐに implying speed or immediacy.

The second sentence talks about 対応, a very useful word in business situations. It means ‘dealing with’ or ‘interaction’. We perhaps wouldn’t say these words directly in the equivalent English translations however. I.e. it likely wouldn’t be ‘deal with/interact with the customer in a kind and friendly manner’ but probably just ‘be kind and friendly’. Again the sentence is left unfinished, but we can imagine that is probably しましょう or maybe even the more direct してください。 Hence it would be:


Next up, let’s take a look at some of those phrases. Beginning with the heading: 用件. This means ‘business’ or ‘matter’. Basically, what was the phone call/visit about? This term is also used a lot on recorded phone messages: please state your business after the tone, and so forth.

We looked at the first 3 phrases in the previous note, so we’ll jump past them to the new stuff:


いかの ことを つたえて ください。

Please convey the following message.

The message is written at the foot of the note.

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9 Responses to Gakuu. Studying with Real Japanese

  1. Sabrina September 29, 2010 at 5:48 pm #

    This is pretty cool! Right now I’m studying on Textfugu which is great! I belive Gakuu can be really helpul too. What I like most is that its for pre-intermediate to advanced level students. So you can’t say its the same thing over and over again… students can actually improve their knowledge here. Thank you very much for creating this site. Have a nice day :)

    • Gakuranman September 30, 2010 at 1:09 am #

      Hi Sabrina! Thank you for your comment :).

      That’s definitely our aim. I love Textfugu for beginners and really getting students a solid grounding in the language, but afterwards (and even while) studying the basics, it can really help to encounter raw Japanese material. You don’t have to understand everything at first, but feeling challenged and picking up little bits here and there that are extra to your learning the basics helps expand your mind. Let me know if you have any more questions! More demonstration material will be up soon! We are currently having a special launch sale price for early adopters, so check out the pricing page if interested :).

      • Sabrina September 30, 2010 at 5:14 pm #

        Thanks for your reply. :) Unfortunately I’m even still miles away from the intermediate level. But I’ll definetly return to Gakuu when I get to this point. Anyway, I’m looking forward to the extra demonstration material. :) Keep up the good work.

        • Gakuranman October 1, 2010 at 12:21 am #

          Sure thing :). Let me know if you have any other questions or suggestions for things you’d like to see on Gakuu!

  2. missingno15 October 1, 2010 at 7:31 pm #

    When I looked at this, I first thought to myself, “aw hell no, gakuranman is doing the same thing as koichi…even the website layout is similar”. But then I realized “it’s aimed at pre-intermediate to advanced level students” which is perfect for my situation right now because I now really want to excel way past beginner. So basically, Gakuu really complements Textfugu. Can’t wait for more lessons to see how this is gonna be like so I can decide if its worth getting.

    • Gakuranman October 1, 2010 at 7:37 pm #

      Hey there! Thanks for dropping by :). No way – Koichi and I are buds. I’ve always loved teaching the more advanced stuff so it worked out perfectly. I’ll be adding more stuff in the coming days, so please stay tuned!

      • Lee Aloy October 23, 2016 at 5:20 am #


        I am sorry to ask this silly question. Are you Japanese?
        am hoping to find a Japanese friends here please shot me an email:

  3. DumbOtaku (percent20) October 3, 2010 at 12:58 am #

    This is really cool. I am glad to see more online content going beyond just teaching hirigana and katakana. That is what I try to do on my blog, but with to little consistency. Glad to see an expert do it, btw already a signed-up paid member now. :)

    • Gakuranman October 3, 2010 at 2:24 pm #

      Glad to have you man! Look forward to hearing any suggestions you have for the site and future lessons :)

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