日常茶飯事 (にちじょう さはんじ, nichijou sahanji) means “a common or daily event/incident”. It is often used with a bit of irony to indicate a negative incident that is not supposed to happen frequently. For instance, “残業は日常茶飯事だ” means “working overtime is quite usual/like an everyday event“. This word is also used to describe something so common that nobody regards it as a special event anymore.
日常茶飯事 consists of the two words “日常” (nichijou) and “茶飯事” (sahanji). The former means “daily life”, e.g. it is included in the title of a famous Japanese anime “男子高校生の日常” (danshi koukousei no nichijou), i.e. “Daily Lives of High School Boys”. When used as “日常的” (nichijou teki), it works as a na-adjecitve meaning “daily”. For instance, “日常的な光景” means “daily scene” and “日常的な場面” means “daily situation”.
The latter word “茶飯事” (sahanji) means “common/ordinary events” and is composed of an interesting combination of the three kanji characters: the first kanji “茶” (sa) means “tea”, “飯” (han) means “rice” or “meal”, and “事” (ji) means “thing”. Therefore, it describes a daily event that is as common or ordinary as drinking tea and eating rice for Japanese people.
How to Read
日常茶飯事 is pronounced as “nichijou sahanji”. Although in general, 茶 is pronounced as “cha” as in “お茶” meaning “tea”, here it is read as “さ (sa)“. This irregular reading is also seen in a few other words such as “喫茶店 (kissaten)” meaning “cafe” and “茶道 (sadou)” meaning “tea ceremony”.
A: Isn’t it great that we can have free BBQ on campus??
B: Well, it is very common (like an everyday event) here in Australia.
It is 日常茶飯事だ(quite usual) that he comes late.
In old-fashioned companies, the boss’s “power harassment” is very common/happens everyday.
(Note) アルハラ is an abbreviation of the Japanese-English term “alcohol harassment”. See “Sekuhara, Pawahara, Aruhara: Meanings of Harassment in Japanese”
Synonyms: 日常的な出来事（a daily event）
Synonyms in English: common, daily, everyday, usual
Related words and phrases: 日常 (daily life)