It’s the holiday season and amid the lessons on festive vocabulary is one word that’s not often on the list: 義父母 (gifubo), which refers to your in-laws. Or, if you’re not married to your partner, お付き合いしている方のご両親 (o-tsukiai shite-iru kata no go-ryōshin, the parents of the person you’re seeing).

クリスマスやお正月は、自分だけでなくパートナーの実家を訪れる機会も増えます (Kurisumasu ya o-shōgatsu wa, jibun dake de naku pātonā no jikka o otozureru kikai mo fuemasu, During Christmas and New Year’s, there will be increased opportunities to visit your partner’s parents’ home as well as your own).

If this is your first time spending the holidays at your partner’s 実家 (jikka, parents’ home), you may be nervous about your 食事のマナー (shokuji no manā, table manners). Even though you may want to prove you’re courageous enough to eat whatever they serve, you’re not always going to be able to swallow what’s on the menu. In that case, it’s good to have a few phrases on hand to help you communicate.