Otsukaresama-desu / Otsukaresama (casual version of otsukaresama-desu) is one of the most popular greetings in Japan. This is a magic word which can be used in and to a variety of situations and people.
To your friends, co-workers, boss, family, you can use this word.
Otsukaresama-desu is written as お疲れさまです or おつかれさまです. This word is divided into お-疲れ-さま-です. “疲れ” means tiredness so this expression is usually used in situations where tiredness is associated with.
Then, what would you think this actually mean? お疲れさまです has several meanings : “hello”, “thank you for your hard work”, “good job”, “see you”.
When you meet your colleagues at office you can say “お疲れさまです” instead of “hi”.
You can say “お疲れさまでした / Otsukaresama-deshita” to your colleagues at the end of a day instead of “bye”.
“お疲れさまでした” is the past tense of “お疲れです”.
When someone did nice job “お疲れさまでした” could be used as “good job”, to express appreciation.
This expression can be also used in business e-mail at the beginning of writing. In this case “お疲れさまです” means “hi” or “hello” and can be replaced with these words. Usually, you can use “お疲れさま” only to your co-workers. When we write to people to other companies we begin with “お世話になっております (osewa-ni-natte-orimasu)” or “お世話になります (osewa-ni-narimasu)”.
お世話になります is another magical expression which can be used in several situations. I’ll explain this expression in another article but simply put, this is a general greeting like hello.
You can also say “お疲れさまでした” when you leave office at the end of day as “see you”.
お疲れさまでした is the past tense of おつかれさまです but often both are interchangeable and you shouldn’t be too much nervous about tense.
Also, you can say just “お疲れ! / otsukare!”. This is a casual version so you can use this to your friends.
As above, these expressions are really flexible and useful and also Japanese-like so let’s keep these examples!