Japan is well known for having a high degree of hospitality, and this is expressed in a variety of situations – from restaurants to shops to everyday life. But as with anything, people do make mistakes, and there is always a chance that you might experience poor service.

So what Japanese expressions can be used to complain and deal with a situation with finesse? Here are 38 highly useful Japanese phrases for to help you manage in common situations!

In this article:

Japanese Phrases For Complaining At A Restaurant/Cafe

1. No staff shows up for a long time
– “Sumimasen. Matte masu.” = Excuse me. I’m waiting.
・Note: As a cultural point, it is okay to get staff’s attention by calling or raising your hand in Japan. Some restaurants/cafes tend not to come to take your order until you call them as they want you to take time and feel no rush. In that case, just nicely say the Japanese word “sumimasen (excuse me)” to staff.

2. You are waiting for your meal for so long …
– “Sumimasen, watashi no (e.g. ramen/coffee) mada desuka?” = Excuse me, hasn’t my ramen been ready yet?

3. You received what you didn’t order …
– “Tanonde masen.” = I didn’t order (this).

4. You received the wrong meal …
– “Kore, chigai masu.” = This is not (what I ordered).
・”Kore” means “this”, so you need to point at it to be clear.

5. You received more than you ordered …
– “Ooi desu.” = (They are) too much.
– “Hitotsu shika tanonde masen.” = I only ordered one.
・one = hitotsu
・two = futatsu
・three = mittsu
– “Kore, tanonde masen.” = (I) didn’t order this.

6. Your plate/cutlery/glass/etc. is dirty …
– “Kore, yogorete masu.” = This is dirty.
・Note: If you are enjoying a meal at a very cheap restaurant, you might be required to accept the self-service system. In that case, find a place they provide new glasses/cutleries and help yourself. However, if you feel like to make a friendly report about the dirtiness, you can say “Kore, yogorete mashita.” (= This was dirty.) when you leave.

7. Your dish’s got a bug/a hair/etc. in it …!
– “Mushi haitte masu.” = There is a bug in it.
– “Kami no ke haitte masu.” = There is a hair in it.
– “Nani ka haitte masu.” = There is something in it.
– “Kore haitte mashita.” = This was in (my dish).

8. You want to have new/another one …
– &…

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