Hello, I am a teacher from NILS Japanese language school.
Today’s phrase in Japanese is ‘ごめんください’ (gomenkudasai).
It is quite similar to ‘ごめんなさい’ (gomennasai : means “sorry”), but actually they are different words. Basically, Japanese people use ‘ごめんください’ as a greeting when we visit somebody’s house to let them know you are there. So, we can hear this phrase mostly at the entrance of a house.
[Example 1] At an entrance of B’s house
(gomenkudasai。Yamada desu。 dareka imasu ka?)
Hello. I am Yamada. Is there anyone here?
(Hai, omachi kudasai。)
Yes, could you wait for a moment?
Or, you can use ‘ごめんください‘ in a small diner or shop as well.
[Example 2] At a small diner (like Izakaya)
gomenkudasai, ni mei īdesuka?
Excuse me, do you have seats for 2?
(irasshaimase。 kochira e dōzo。)
Yes, welcome! Please come in.
Note: We usually do not use this word in large-scale public places like a supermarket or a big restaurant.
If you get a chance to visit someone’s house in Japan, please use ‘ごめんください‘.