Okawari (おかわり) is a very useful Japanese phrase to learn when visiting Japan. It means “a second helping” or a “refill”, and will be especially handy when eating out at restaurants or visiting bars.
Do not be afraid if a waiter/waitress comes up to you and asks you “Okawari ikaga desuka?” They are simply asking if you would like a drink refill, another serving of rice, or whatever they are referring to. You can also request for a refill by saying “Okawari kudasai”.
A few things noteworthy that may be new to visitors to Japan is that restaurant waiters/waitresses often do not walk around the store refilling water periodically. If you want a refill, you might have to ask. In addition, the bill is often brought to you and left at the side of the table. This is not to rush you, but instead of having the waiter come to you to settle the bill, you can bring the bill up to the front when you are ready to leave.
Let’s remember the following useful sentences before going to Japan!
●Sumimasen! Mizu no okawari kudasai!
> Excuse me! May I have more water please?
●Gohan no okawari ikaga desuka?
> Would you like another serving of rice?
●Okawari wa tada desuyo!
> Refills are free!
Now all that’s left is to go out there and try using them in Japan!
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Kabuki (歌舞伎) Fun! Japan Words vol.138