中級日本語ー Talking About Days and Times
October 25, 2010 § Leave a comment
Talking About Days And Times
Both American and Japanese weeks have seven days. The day of a week is called “youbi” (you-bi) in Japanese. An American week starts on nichiyobi (ni-chi-yo-u-bi; Sunday), but a Japanese week starts on getsuyobi (get-tsu-yo-u-bi; Monday). Table below lists the days of the week.
There is one interesting thing about the names of the days in Japanese. All the names when written in kanji are associated with the elements of nature. Getsuyoubi has the kanji of moon, Kayoubi has the kanji of Fire, Suiyoubi has the kanji of water, mokuyoubi has the kanji of wood, Kinyoubi has the kanji of gold, doyoubi has the kanji of soil and Nichiyoubi has the kanji of sun. Here are some useful sentences containing the days of the week which will help you in your communication. Here are some useful phrases containing the days of the week:
- KyO wa nanyobi desu ka. (kyohh wah nahn-yohh-bee deh-soo kah; What day is it today?)
- Kyo wa doyobi desu. (kyohh wah doh-yohh-bee deh-soo; Today is Saturday.)
- Getsuyobi kara kinyobi made hatarakimasu. (geh-tsoo-yohh-bee kah-rah keen-yohh-bee mah-deh hah-tah-rah-kee-mah-soo; 1 work from Monday to Friday.)
- Konsato wa doyobi desu. (kohn-sahh-toh wa doh-yohh-bee deh-soo; The concert is on Saturday.)
- Nichiyobi wa yukkuri shimasu. (nee-chee-yohh-bee wah yook-koo-ree shee-mah-soo; I relax on Sundays.)
Japanese people are very strict about time. They do not like people who reach late for any occasion. They are very punctual about every single activity. Time in Japanese is expressed by using “ji” counter which means “o’clock” or “hours”. The table below enlists the hours from 1 to 12.
When you want to express a.m. and p.m. then use “gozen” (go-zen) and “gogo” (go-go) respectively. Always write gogo or gozen before the time in a sentence. This is a rule for using these words. See the following examples:
- Watashi wa mainichi gozen shichi ji ni okimasu. (Every day I wake up at 7:00 a.m.)
- Kinou gogo kuji ni bangohan o tabemashita. (Yesterday I had my dinner at 9:00 p.m.)
Another set of words which you should have information about are “chyoudo” and “han”. “chyoudo” (cyo-u-do) means exact. This word is used while telling the exact time. “Han” means half. Always remember that han is not used for “30 minutes” only, it is used when we want to say “–– hours and 30 minutes”. Cyoudo always comes before the time in a sentence. Han always comes immediately after the hour word in a sentence. Following is the example where both “chyoudo” and “han” words have been used:
- Gakkou wa chyoudo kuji ni hajimemasu. (The scool begins exactly at 9o’clock.)
- Kaigi wa gozen jyuujihan ni arimasu. (The meeting is at 10:30 a.m.)
Following is the table which gives you the time using the word “han”:
A word “kan” is also used in relation with time. “Kan” is used to show the time duration. “Kan” always comes after the time phrase. E.g.: Uchi kara gakkou made nanjikan gurai khakari masu ka. (How much time do you approximately need to go from home to school?) Ichijikan gurai kakarimasu. (I require approximately one hour.) The word “gurai” (gu-ra-i) means approximately. Another word similar to “gurai” is “goro” (go-ro) which also means approximately. The difference between these two words is that “gurai” is used when we are talking about time duration. Whereas, “goro” is used when we are talking about the time. E.g.
- Ichijikan gurai (Approximately one hour.)
- Ichiji goro (Approximately at 1o’clock.)
Japanese doesn’t have a simple phrase for “quarter-hour” or “15 minutes”. Therefore it makes use of the words ” mae (ma-e) and sugi (su-gi). “Mae” means before and “Sugi” means after. These two words are used to tell the time in minutes. An important thing to remember is that “sugi” is used to tell minutes between 1to 44 minutes whereas; “mae” is used for minutes between 46 and 59. These two words are always used after the time. E.g.:
- Ima san ji jyuu ni fun sugi desu. (It is 12 minutes after 3:00) in other words it is 3:12.
- Ima yo ji jyuu ippun mae desu. (It is 11 minutes before 4:00) in other words it is 3:49.
To ask “What time is it now?” in Japanese, use the sentence “Ima nan-ji desu ka (i-ma nan-ji de-su ka)”. “Nan ji” means what time. Japanese schedules usually follow the 24-hour system. For example, 1-ji (ee-chee-jee) means 1 a.m., and 13-ji Qooo-sahn-jee) means 1 p.m. All you need to do is say the number and add -ji to the end. This system eliminates a.m./p.m. ambiguity, so you don’t need to say gozen or gogo. The particle “ni” is a very important part while talking about time. The “ni” particle is used to specify the exact time. To ask questions related to exact time, always use particle “ni” in the question and also while answering the question particle ni has to be a part of the sentence. Make sure you place the particle after the time phrase. “Kara” (ka-ra) which means from and “made” (ma-de) which means till or until is also used while talking about time. These two words always come after the time in the sentence. Following are the examples which make use of “kara” and “made” :
- Kaigi wa nan-ji kara desu ka. Ni-ji kara desu. (ka-i-gi wa nan-ji ka-ra de-su ka. ni-ji ka-ra de-su; From what time is the meeting? From 2:00.)
- Kaigi wa nan-ji made desu ka. San-ji made desu. (ka-i-gi wa nan-ji ma-de de-su ka. san-ji ma-de de-su; Until what time is the meeting? Until 3:00.)
- Konsato wa nan-ji ni hajimarimasu ka. San-ji ni hajimarimasu.(kon-sa-to wa nan-ji ni ha-ji-ma-ri-ma-su ka. san-ji ni ha-ji-ma-ri-ma-su; What time does the concert start? It starts at 3:00.)
- Eiga wa 11-ji kara 12-ji made desu. (ei-ga wa jyuu-i-chi-ji ka-ra jyuu-ni-ji ma-de de-su; The movie is from 11:00 to 12:00.) If you don’t want to express an exact time, you can estimate the time of day by using the following terms:
- asa (a-sa; morning)
- hiru (hi-ru; noon)
- ban (ban; evening)
- mayonaka (ma-yo-na-ka; midnight)