How to express your feelings + How to use 感じ ( = kanji)

Charlie:  「あ~しあわせ!」

= Ahh, Shiawase!! 

= Ahh, I am so happy!! 

Bess: 「とりあえずビール!」って感じ

= “Toriaezu biiru” tte  kanji! 

= I feel like starting off with beer! 

 Hello, everyone! 

Today’s guest teachers are Charlie and Bess.

They are both my Patrons and volunteered to be the guest teachers for this lesson.

I love their little introduction so let me share it with you.


= Konnichiwa! Charlie to Bess desu.

= Hello, we are Charlie and Bess.


= Boku, Charlie wa rokusai de, kosupure ga daisuki. Itsumo Bess ga boku no oyatsu wo nusumunda yo.

= I, Charlie, is six year’s old and I love wearing costume. You know Bess always steals my snacks.


= Bess wa, oyatsu ga gohoubi ni moraeru kara shashin no pouzu ga kimatte iru desho. Boku niwa itsumo ibatte irunda.

= Bess is good at posing for photos as she gets food as a reward. She is always bossing around me. 

We are going to teach you how to express your feelings in Japanese.

This lesson will be pretty conversational one. 

Basic vocabulary of feelings: 

 :s: Nouns: 

* 気持ち =きもち =  kimochi =  feelings 

* 気分 = きぶん = kibun = feelings / mood 

* 感情 = かんじょう = kanjou = emotions

* 喜び = よろこび = yorokob = joy, delight 

* 幸せ = しあわせ = shiawase =  happiness 

* 怒り = いかり = ikari = anger 

* 悲しみ = かなしみ = kanashimi =  sadness 

* 哀しみ = かなしみ= kanashimi = (more literal/poetic) sorrow, sadness

 :qq: Verbs:

* 喜ぶ= よろこぶ = yorokobu = to be pleased 

* 悲しむ = かなしむ = kanashimu = to feel sad

* 怒る = おこる/ (more literal) いかる = okoru / ikaru  = to get angry 

* 腹を立てる= はらをたてる = hara wo tateru = to get angry

* 頭にくる = あたまにくる= atama ni kuru = to get angry

* 激怒する = げきどする= gekido suru = to be furious

* 憤慨する = ふんがいする= fungai suru= to be furious

You change into ている ( = teiru) form to describe the state 

Ex. 喜んでいる = よろこんでいる= yorokonde iru = to be happy

Ex. 怒っている = おこっている= okotte iru = to be angry

Ex. 腹を立てている = はらをたてている = hara wo tatete iru = to be angry

 :tulip3: Adjectives:

* 嬉しいうれしい = ureshii = happy

* 悲しい = かなしい= kanashii = sad

 :i: Note: When you say “He is happy.” in Japanese,

You might say

X 彼は嬉しいです。

= Kare wa ureshii desu.

It doesn’t sound natural because you don’t know how he really feels.

Instead you say:


= Kare wa yorokonde imasu.

It sounds more natural.

Also when you talk about your own feelings, you don’t say  喜んでいる ( = yorokonde iru). 

 (私は、)喜んでいます。(Not natural) 

 = Watashi wa yorokonde imasu.


= (Watashi wa,) Ureshii desu.

is more natural.

If the subject is “we”, it could be acceptable to use 喜んでいる ( = yorokonde iru) in the letter or formal speech.

* (私達は)喜んでいます。/ (more formal) 喜んでおります。

= (Watashitachi wa)  yorokonde imasu./ yorokonde orimasu.

= We are very happy.

But still it is not that common in conversation. 

You often omit the subject. (私達 = watashi / watashitachi, etc.)

All these feelings can be described in one word

 :rrrr: * 喜怒哀楽 = きどあいらく = kidoairaku = delight, anger, sorrow and pleasure emotions  

Ex. 彼は喜怒哀楽が激しい。

= かれはきどあいらくがはげしい。

= Kare wa kidoairaku ga hageshii. 

= He shows his emotions a lot / He is a very emotional person.

 !onpu! Japanese culture:

We often hear that Japanese people are more reserved, and we don’t show our emotions so much (in public).

It all depends on the person and of course Japanese people do have all these feelings, but maybe the way they express their emotions might be a little different but at their heart they are basically the same as others.

How to express your feelings:

1) The easiest way to express your feelings is to use an adjective form or interjections without saying  私は ( = watashi wa) I am / I feel ~

Joy / Happiness: 

Ex. うれしい!

= Ureshii! 

= Yay! / I am so happy! 

Note: In more formal conversations, add です ( = desu) after an adjective.

Ex. うれしいです。

= Ureshii desu.

When you express your feelings, you attach ( = na) or なあ ( = naa) after an adjective:


= Ureshii naa.

= I am so happy…

 :ee: From the picture above: 


= Ahh shiawase!

= I am so happy!! / I feel happy! 

Note: あ~ ( = Ah) / ああ(= Aa) / あー ( = Ah) is an interjection to express one’s feelings. It could be positive or negative.

Ex. やった~!

= Yattaa!

= Yay!

Ex. イェ~イ!

= Ieeei!

= Yaaay! 


Ex. 楽しい!

= Tanoshii!

= How fun!

Ex. 楽しすぎる!

= Tanoshisugiru!

= This is way too fun! 

Ex. ワクワクする。

Wakukwaku suru

= I am getting excited!

Ex. わあ!    ( positive) 

= Waa!

= Wow! 

Ex. すごい!

= Sugoi!

= Wow! / Great! 

Ex. すごーい!

= Sugooi!

= Wow! / Great! 


Ex. 緊張する

= Kinchou suru

= I am nervous

Ex. ドキドキする

= Dokidoki suru.

= I feel nervous


Ex. よかった!

= Yokatta! 

= Whew! 

Ex. あ〜、よかった。

= Ahh yokatta.

= Whew! 

Ex. 安心した。

= Anshin shita.

= I am relieved .

Ex. ほっとした。

= Hotto shita.

= I am relieved.


Ex. どうしよう?

= Doushiyou?

= What am I going to do?

Sad / Hard:

Ex. 悲しい

= Kanashii

= I am sad/ I feel sad.

 :pinkcandy2: Note: i-adjecitve (= ku) + なる ( = naru) / na-adjective ( = ni)+ なる ( = naru) to become / come to ~ 

Ex. そんなこと言われると悲しくなる。

= Sonna koto iwareru to kanashiku naru.

= I will feel sad if you (or someone else) say such a thing. 

Ex. つらい

= Tsurai

= It is hard/ tough/painful 

Ex. きつい

= Kitsui

= It’s hard/ tough 

Ex. 泣きたくなる

= Nakitaku naru

= I feel like crying.

Ex. 泣けてくる

= Nakete kuru

= That makes me cry.  / I feel so sad.

Lonely / missing someone:

Ex. さびしい

= Sabishii

= I am lonely / I miss someone. 

Recalling some good memories in the past

Ex. なつかしい

= Natsukashii

= This brings back memories

Surprise / Showing your disbelief:

Ex. え~

= Ehh! 

= What?

Ex. うそ!

= Uso

= No way! 

Ex. うわ~

= Uwaah


Ex. まさか

= Masaka

= No way! / It can’t be true.

Ex. まじか (slang/ male speech)

= Maji ka

= Really? / No way! / Seriously?/  Are you kidding?

Ex. まじ? (slang)

= Maji?

= Really? / No way! / Seriously? / Are you kidding?

Ex. ありえない 

= Arienai

= No way! /  I can’t believe it!/It can’t be true!

Ex. 信じられない 

= Shinjirarenai.

= I can’t believe it. / No way! 


Ex. ひどい!

= Hidoi!

= That’s awful! / You are horrible! 


Ex. ひど~い!

= Hidoooi! 

Ex. ムカつく/ むかつく (slang)

= Mukatsuku

= That pisses me off.

Ex. イライラする

= Iraira suru

= I feel irritated.

Ex. ウザい (slang)

= Uzai

= Annoying! 

Ex. 腹たつ!

= Hara tatsu! 

= I feel angry! / That pisses me off. / I am so pissed off. / That’s so annoying.

Ex. 頭にきた!

= Atama ni kita!

= I am so pissed off. 


Ex. あ~恥ずかしい

= Ah hazukashii

= I am so embarrassed…


はずい = Hazui  (slang)

はずっ! = Hazuh (slang)


Ex. 怖い 

= Kowai 

= Scary! 



= Kowaai!

= How scary!

Feeling blue/ depressed:

Ex. 憂鬱

= ゆううつ

= Yuuutsu

= Feeling blue

Ex. 気が滅入る

= ki ga meiru

= Feeling depressed 

Ex. あ~あ

= Ahha

= Oh well…

Ex. がっかり

= Gakkari

= I am disappointed. 

Ex. 落ち込む!

= Ochikomu!

= I am getting  depressed. 

To envy someone

Ex. うらやましい

= Urayamashii

= I am jealous / I envy (someone) . 

Note: One of the most popular slang words やばい / ヤバい/ ヤバイ = yabai = can be used to express many different emotions.

This is great! / I am happy! / This is tough! / I am in a trouble. / Wow! / That’s horrible!

 :rrrr: やばい / ヤバい/ ヤバイ = yabai 

2) 感じる =かんじる=  kanjiru

I noticed that many English speaking people want to use the verb, 感じる = kanjiru to express one’s emotion because you say

I feel sad/happy/angry, etc in English.

X 私はうれしく感じます。(not natural in conversation) 

= Watashi wa ureshiku kanjimasu.

You might say that in formal writing but in conversation you often just use the adjective or verb form to express your emotions . 


= Ureshii!

When to use 感じる = kanjiru = to feel /  感じ = kanji = feelings

Ex. どう感じ

= Dou kanjita ? 

= How did you feel?

Ex. どう感じましたか?(more formal)

= Dou kanjimashita ka?

= How did you feel?

or using a noun form, 感じ ( = kanji) 

Ex. どんな感じがしましたか?

= Donna kanji ga shimashitaka?

= How did you feel?

This “feelings” could be both physical and emotional to express your feelings towards things / people / happening / events around you.

The cases that you use verb 感じる ( = kanjiru ) noun 感じ( = kanji) 

Ex. 変な感じがする

= Henna kanji ga suru.

= It feels strange. 


Ex. 変な感じ (more conversational)

= Henna kanji

= Strange feelings! 

Ex. 嫌な感じがする

= Iya na kanji ga suru

= It feels unpleasant 

Ex. さっき地震があったみたいだけど何も感じなかった。

= Sakki jishin ga atta mitai dakedo nani mo kanji nakatta.

= There seemed to be an earthquake, but I didn’t feel anything. 

* Looks in certain way / talking about someone’s impression

Ex. 優しい感じの人

= Yasashii kanji no hito.

= A person who looks sweet. 

Ex. 彼はなんか冷たい感じがするね。

= Kare wa nanka tsumetai kanji ga suru ne.

= He seems to be kind of cold, doesn’t he?

(At a hair salon: Showing a picture) 

Ex. こんな感じにカットしてください。

= Konna kanji ni katto shite kudasai.

= Please cut my hair like (the person) in this picture. 

Ex. 彼女、感じがいいね。

= Kanojo, kanji ga iine.

= She seems nice, doesn’t she?

Ex. この店は感じが悪い。

= Kono mise wa kanji ga warui.

=This place is not nice. (Implying they treat the customers badly or in a cold way/ The people are not friendly.)

Colloquial usage:

Young people tend to finish the sentence with って感じ ( = tte kanji) .

From the picture above: 

Bess: 「とりあえずビール!」って感じ

= “Toriaezu biiru”tte  kanji! 

= I feel like “I’ll start off with a beer”. 

I feel like starting off with beer. 

 :ii: Note: 「とりあえずビール!」 ( = Toriaezu biiru) is a cliche which you use at the bar.

It means “I’ll start off with a beer” / A beer for now.” 

You haven’t decided what food you want to order yet, but you’ll have a beer for now. It is such a common phrase, that if you say it people might smile or even laugh. It’s like admitting you don’t know what you want but “What the heck. I’ll get a beer for now!”

 :s: How to use:

You attach って感じ ( = tte kanji) with a noun/ adjective/ verb/ quote and add the nuance of “It’s like ~! / Like ~ “ 

(って感じ ( = tte kanji) is a casual way to say という感じ ( = toiu kanji))

Ex. 今の仕事は、もういいかなって感じ

= Ima no shigoto wa, mou iikanatte kanji.

= I think I had enough with my current job.

Ex. なんか私ばかりが働いているって感じ

= Nanka watashi bakari ga hataraite irutte kanji.

Somehow, I feel like I am the only person who works hard. 

Ex. 彼女はいかにもかわいい女の子って感じの子だよ。

= Kanojo wa ikanimo kawaii onnano ko tte kanji no ko dayo.

= She is like a typical cute girl. 

3) 気がする = きがする =  ki ga suru = to feel or sense or be under the impression that

You use 気がする ( = ki ga suru) when you sense something / you don’t necessary know the reason why but you feel that way. 

For example, you are talking about whether some store is still open or not: 


= Mou shimatte iru you na ki ga suru.

= I feel like they are closed now. 

The speaker is not sure if the place is closed but  for some reason, he/she thinks the place is closed.

So the speaker doesn’t have to be in front of the store. 

You can’t say:

X  もう閉まっている感じがする。(wrong) 

= Mou shimatte iru kanji ga suru. 

You don’t use 感じがする ( = kanji ga suru) 

(talking about one’s relationship)

Ex. 私たち、もう終わりのような気がする。(sounds feminine )

= Watashitachi, mou owari no you na ki ga suru.

= I feel like we are over now.

Ex. なんか面白いことが起きるような気がする。

= Nanka omoshiroi koto ga okiru youna ki ga suru.

= I feel like something fun will happen.

Ex. それは違うような気がする。

= Sore wa chigau you na ki ga suru.

= I think it’s different. / I think that’s wrong. 

4) 思う = おもう = omou  = to think / to feel

思う ( = omou)  means “to think” but you can also use it when you go through some emotions.

Ex. 褒められるとうれしいと思う

= Homerareru to ureshii to omou. 

= When someone compliments me, I feel happy.

Ex. もう会えないことを悲しく思います。formal)

= Mou aenai koto wo kanashiku omoimasu.

= I feel sad for not being able to see you again.

Ex. 友達と離れるのは辛いと思った。

= Tomodachi to hanareru no wa tsurai to omotta.

= I felt it was hard to be away from my friends.


マギー先生より = Maggie Sensei yori = From Maggie Sensei


= Arigatou, Bess Sensei, Charlie Sensei! 

= Thank you, Bess-Sensei and Charlie Sensei.


= Kawaii shashin wo mite iru dake de watashi mo shiawase na kibun ni narimashitayo.

= By just looking at your pictures makes me feel happy, too!


 !heart3! Thank you for being my Patreon. 

I REALLY appreciate your support!  サポートありがとう! !CHECKHEART! 

My supporters can access an audio file for this lesson on my Pateron page and some mini lessons and quiz.

Audio File for this lesson.

Become a Patron!


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  1. I watched a video by Miku Real Japanese, but i am still a bit confused on the difference between “Mitaina” and “ttekanji” (and “mitainakanji”). She Said they are interchangeable, except you can use “ttekanji” to quotes what you just said, similar to “she was like…”in English. Could you maybe simply the differences and nuances of “mitaina”, “ttekanji”, and “Mitainakanji”?

    1. Are you talking about the usage when you finish the sentence with みたいな/ って感じ/みたいな感じ?
      They are all very conversational and not much difference.
      But let me give you one super conversational example.

      For example when you express your opinion, 「それは違うな」That is not true, That is wrong

      A) それは違うなって感じ
      B) それは違うなみたいな…
      C) それは違うなみたいな感じ

      They are all ambiguous expressions but the level of ambiguousness is

      That means みたいな is a softer way to express one’s opinion because you leave the sentence unfinished.
      C is a kind of combination of A and B

      But over all, it depends on the context and the speaker’s conversational habit.

  2. Hi sensei, i want to know what is the difference between そう and 感じ in the sense of looks like and seems like and i which situation we will use
    優しそう both translate as looks kind

    1. Hi Hritesh

      I wouldn’t say there is much difference between 優しい感じの人 and 優しそうな人. You can both translate them “ a person who looks sweet”.
      感じ: It is based on one’s feelings/impressions that one gets from that person./ sweetish person
      そう:how the person looks / how one sees that person.

      FYI You can even combine them そう and 感じ

  3. Hello Maggie. Your lessons are always very helpful, thank you very much
    I feel that I am missing something about this lesson on 感じ.
    I see in many occasions that the word 感じ is used also to say something like “how is it going” or something like that,
    for example i found sentences like:
    私が教えたギターは 今どんな感じ? (this is a song by Aimyon called Futari no sekai)

    is here どんな感じ used to say ‘how did it go’ or ‘how are you going along’ ?
    maybe i can understand if i read a japanese sentence, but i am not sure how to use it,

    For example asking a friend that has just moved in a new home, “how are you doing in your new home?” can i say: 新しい家はどんな感じ?
    or if a friend tried to pass the JLPT N3 exam can i ask
    日本語能力試験どんな感じ? to say “how did it go ?”

    I don’t understrand if there is a rule or a particular nuance.

    Thank you Maggie, you’re always very helpful

    1. Hello Daniele

      OK, I was going to add the information eventually but let me answer your question here for now.

      私が教えたギターは 今どんな感じ?

      You also use 感じ ( = kanji) when you talk about the progress/status
      As you said the translation will be “How did it go”or “How are you going along”
      Or “How is it going? “ but it might be easier to think this 感じ means “like”

      How is/was ~ like?
      What is ~ like?

      How are you doing in your new home?
      But I guess you can say
      But the listeners might interpret your question →What’s it like your new house?
      If you want to ask this question with 感じ, you can say for example

      how did it go
      I would say 日本語能力試験はどうだった? is more common and natural but in conversation, yeah but sure. You can say

  4. Hello Maggie sensei !
    In a light novel, I came across this.
    I don’t really understand the パッと見た感じ part, could you please explain ?

  5. Hi Maggie,

    It’s been probably 2 years since I’ve been visiting your websites for reviewing my Japanese. I just have 1 slight question that’s a bit off-topic from the lesson. Could you differentiate つらい・きつい・苦しい and would you mind giving some concrete examples?

    Also, if I were to say something like “wearing this mask is such a bothersome, like im having a hard time because it’s hot”, which of those words would best fit in this situation?

    Thank you in advance!

    1. Hello,
      They are sometimes interchangeable but you tend to use
      つらい for something mental
      きつい for something physical / It also means “tight”
      苦しい for something physical and mental

      仕事がきつくて辛い = It’s painful because the work is hard.
      スケジュールがきつい = the schedule is tight.

      wearing this mask is such a bothersome = マスクをつけるのはめんどくさい
      but if it’s hard to breathe with a mask on, マスクは息苦しい ( = マスクをして息をするのは苦しい)

  6. Thank you for the lesson! But I’m wondering, if I wanted to express my feelings in a pondering way, like in a journal and to myself, like “Today I feel/I’m feeling weird… ” would it be the same as this lesson or different?

    1. Hi Yongbok,

      There are many ways to express one’s feelings but you can use many of them in this lesson when you write a journal or talking to yourself.
      Today I feel/I’m feeling weird…  will be for example

  7. Hi,

    I’ve visited this site specifically this webpage many times and found it very useful in my studies. I’m just curious, is there a difference in nuance in the following sentences:


    Just added 「」 so that it’s easier to see what I added from the first sentence.

    1. Hi JP Arcilla

      1) のどが渇いた感じだ。
      2) のどが渇いた「って」感じだ。
      3) のどが渇いた感じ「がする」。

      First when you simply want to say I am thirsty, you just say のどが乾いた。You don’t say 1) 2) 3) They are not natural.
      When you describe the state of your body, health condition, etc., “My throat feels dry ” ” you use 3)
      1) and 2) are used when you mention something first and “It is like being thirsty” and the difference between 1) and 2) is 2) is more casual than 1)

  8. Hi Maggie sensei!
    I hope you don’t mind me asking a question on an old lesson! But I was wondering can you say 気がする without the ような in front of it? I’ve been watching a lesson on youtube and they are giving examples without it.
    Thanks for all your great lessons! You are an awesome sensei!

    1. Hello iluvfuzz,
      Yes you can say both
      The difference is ような adds more “vagueness”/”uncertainty”

  9. Hi Maggie! thanks for the lesson, great as always! I have a question, Can you tell me why in this sentence “もう閉まっている感じがする” can’t use 感じがする?

    1. Hi Emao

      もう閉まっている感じがする” ,感じ actually means “sense/impression” so the literal mean is ” I get the sense / impression from the store that it is closed.” which you don’t say.
      If the speaker is not in front of the store you can’t get the impression. You use 気がする instead when you “feel”

      Also if you are in front of the store and you are guessing the store is closed, It seems like it’s closed, you say

  10. Hey, just a slight correction, you wrote ‘喜び = よろこび = yorokobijoy’, and the ‘joy’ probably shouldn’t be there
    Thanks for the lesson though, I really appreciate you doing this <3

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