When you start working in a Japanese company, one of the phrases you will often hear is `Otsukaresama deshita!`. Otsukaresama deshita is one of those Japanese phrases that don`t translate easily. Directly translated, it would have no meaning.
The root word is “tsukareru”. This means to be or to get tired.
In the expression, however, the meaning is quite different!
When used in the working place, otsukaresama deshita expresses the appreciation of your co-workers’ hard work. By saying it, you are showing your appreciation for a colleague’s work, whether within your group or company.
When should you use otsukaresama deshita? Wel, it can be used several times a day.
When you arrive at work, you may say otsukaresama desu, especially if there are other colleagues who have arrived earlier than you. You can also use it when you want to initiate a conversation with someone.
You can also use it in your place of work. When meetings end, you will very often hear everyone saying otsukaresama deshita. This is a way of saying thanks to everyone for giving up their time to attend the meeting.
When someone finishes a project or task, you will hear everyone saying that expression to them or when people have come back from a meeting outside with clients.
Basically, otsukaresama deshita expresses team work here in Japan.
Everyone should feel part of the team/company and for helping out in a task or process.
The most common time to hear this expression is at the end of the working day. When someone is leaving the office, it is very normal to say out loud otsukaresma deshita and receive the same in return.
This acknowledges the person leaving, for his or her hard work, and to those who are still working in the office.
So, don`t be afraid to use this term many times a day. For your colleagues, it shows your desire to get closer to them and to respect Japanese work culture.