[Indonesia] Cozy Street Corner – Kira Di Dada

October 27, 2010 § Leave a comment

music & lyrics : p.b adi/ c.b takarbessy

kira di dada, lara nian
bila dirasa, rancak nian
lihat di mata, demikian
‘ndak dinyana nyata nian

s’perti sedia, kala ria raba di raga ini
raba di raga raga
senantiasakah kiranya damai di dada ini
oh ya, ya ya ya ya ya

bilakah tiba, bila tiba
rasa di dada, damai nian
tiba di kala, damai yang dirasa
damai kiranya, bahagia

s’perti setia, rasa bila damai di dada ini
rasa di dada dada
senantiasakah rasanya damai di dada ini
oh ya, ya ya ya ya ya


中級日本語ー Shopping (2)

October 25, 2010 § Leave a comment

Shopping For Clothes

When you buy yofuku (yohh-foo-koo; clothes), do you look for quality items that you can wear for ten years or more, or do you buy cheap items that you can wear for just one season? Check out below table for a list of clothes and accessories.

Articles of Clothing and Accessories
Item Pronunciation Translation
jaketto jah-keht-toh jacket
koto kohh-toh coat
kutsu koo-tsoo shoes
kutsushita koo-tsoo-shee-tah socks
seta sehh-tahh sweater
shatsu shah-tsoo shirt
shitagi shee-tah-gee underwear
suetto shatsi soo-eht-toh shah-tsoo sweatshirt
sukato soo-kahh-toh skirt
zubon zoo-bohn pants/slacks

Asking about color

When you buy yofuku (yohh-foo-koo; clothes), check out all the iro (ee-roh; colors) and pick the one that looks best on you.

  • aka (ah-kah; red)
  • ao (ah-oh; blue)
  • chairo (chah-ee-roh; brown)
  • kiro (keee-roh; yellow)
  • kuro (koo-roh; black)
  • midori (mee-doh-ree; green)
  • murasaki (moo-rah-sah-kee; purple)
  • orenji (oh-rehn-jee; orange)
  • pinku (peen-koo; pink) )
  • shiro (shee-roh; white)

If the salesperson shows you a color you’re not crazy about, simply ask Chigau iro wa (chee-gah-oo ee-roh wah; Do you have a different color?)

Finding the right size

If you’re in a store wondering whether an article of clothing is your saizu (sah-ee-zoo; size), ask the clerk Chotto kite mite mo ii desu ka (choht-toh kee-teh mee-teh moh eee deh-soo kah; Can I try it on a little?). If the clerk says okay, go to the shichakushitsu (shee-chah-koo-shee-tsoo; fitting room) and see whether it’s a chodo ii (chohh-doh eee; exact fit). If not, you can use one of the following phrases:

  • Chotto chisai desu. (choht-toh cheee-sah-ee deh-soo; A little small.)
  • Chotto okii kana. (choht-toh ohh-keee kah-nah; Is it a little big for me?)
  • Nagai desu. (nah-gah-ee deh-soo; It’s long.)
  • Sukoshi mijikai desu. (soo-koh-shee mee-jee-kah-ee deh-soo; A little short.)

The verb kiru (kee-roo; to wear) is a ru-verb. Here’s the conjugation:

Form Pronunciaiton
kiru kee-roo
kinai kee-nah-ee
ki kee
kite kee-teh

When you want to try doing something, use the verb in the te-form and add miru. For example, kite miru (kee-teh mee-roo) means “to try wearing” or “to try on.” Trying on clothes is important, but shopping for a T-shatsu (teee-shah-tsoo; T-shirt) is pretty easy. You can often avoid going to the shichakushitsu (shee-chah-koo-shee-tsoo; fitting room) if you know your size:

  • S (eh-soo; small)
  • M (eh-moo; medium)
  • L (eh-roo; large)
  • XL (ehk-koo-soo eh-roo; extra large)

Buying a dress is more complicated. Use the counter -go (gohh) when sizing up your choices.

Women’s dress sizes in Japan are one size less than they are in the United States. Here are the rough equivalents for women’s dress sizes:

American 6 8 10 12 14 16
Japanese 5 7 9 11 13 15

Men’s suit and coat sizes are expressed in letters in Japan. Compare American sizes and Japanese sizes:

American 34 36 38 40 42 44 46
Japanese S M L LL

In Japan, you specify length by using the metric system. If your waist is 30 inchi (sahn-jooo-een chee; 30 inches), it’s 76.2 senchi (nah-nah-jooo-roh-koo tehn nee sehn-chee; 76.2 centimeters). To find your size in centimeters, multiply your size in inches by 2.54 (1 inch = 2.54 centimeters).

Words to Know
chodo ii chohh-doh eee exact fit, just right
mijikai mee-jee-kah-ee short
nagai nah-gah-ee long
chisai cheee-sah-ee small
okii ohh-keee big
saizii sah-ee-zoo size
shichakushitsu shee-chah-koo-shee-tsoo fitting room


中級日本語ーShopping (1)

October 25, 2010 § Leave a comment

Asking for a Particular Item

If you have a particular item in mind, step into a store and say Wa arimasu ka . . . (wah ah-ree-mah-soo kah; Do you have …?). If you really want something, don’t give up – continue to sagasu (sah-gah-soo; look for) what you want. Conjugate the u-verb sagasu (sah-gah-soo; look for).

Form Pronunciation
sagasu sah-gah-soo
sagasanai sah-gah-sah-nah-ee
sagashi sah-gah-shee
sagashite sah-gah-shee-teh

If you see a nice item in a store window, ask the clerk to show it to you. Express your request by using a verb in the te-form (see Chapter 2) and kudasai (koo-dah-sah-ee; please), as in Sore o misete kudasai. (soh-reh oh mee-seh-teh koo-dah-sah-ee; Please show me that.)

How do you specify the item you want to see? You can point at it and say kore (koh-reh; this one), which works most of the time. But what if a yunomi (yoo-noh-mee; teacup) and a kyusu (kyooo-soo; teapot) are right next to each other? If you say kore, the clerk will ask dore (doh-reh; which one?). You’ll have to say kore again, and the clerk will have to say dore again. To end this frustrating conversation, say kono yunomi (koh-noh yoo-noh-mee; this teacup) or kono kyusu (koh-noh kyooo-soo; this teapot). Yes, you can add a common noun to the Japanese word for this, but you must change kore to kono.

  • Ano biru wa nan desu ka. (ah-noh bee-roo wah nahn deh-soo kah; What is that building?)
  • Sono nekkuresu wa takai desu ka. (soh-noh nehk-koo-reh-soo wah tah-kah-ee deh-soo kah; Is that necklace expensive?)

Saying cheaper, more expensive, better, or Worse
When you say “Videotapes are cheaper than DVDs,” “Old furniture is better than new furniture,” or “My car is more expensive than your car,” you’re comparing two items. In Japanese, you don’t need to add -er or “more” to make a comparison. You just need the Japanese equivalent of “than,” which is the particle yori (yoh-ree). Place yori right after the second item in the comparison.

Using the first example in this paragraph, “than DVDs” has to be “DVDs than” in Japanese. It’s a mirror-image situation. Take a look at a few examples to see this concept in action:

  • Bideo tepu wa DVD yori yasui desu. (bee-deh-oh tehh-poo wah deee-beee-deee yoh-ree yah-soo-ee deh-soo; Videotapes are cheaper than DVDs.)
  • Furui kagu wa atarashii kagu yori ii desu. (foo-roo-ee kah-goo wah ah-tah-rah-sheee kah-goo yoh-ree eee deh-soo; Old furniture is better than new furniture.)
  • Watashi no kuruma wa anata no kuruma yori takai desu. (wah-tah-shee noh koo-roo-mah wah ah-nah-tah noh koo-roo-mah yoh-ree tah-kah-ee deh-soo; My car is more expensive than your car.)

Comparing two items

Life is full of comparison questions like

  • Which one is better, this one or that one?
  • Who do you like better, Mary or me?
  • Which is more important, money or reputation?

“Which one” in Japanese is dochira (doh-chee-rah). Just keep in mind that dochira is used only when the question is about two items. (To find out how to ask a question about three or more items, see the section “Comparing three or more items” later in this chapter.) Here are the steps for constructing an out-of-two comparison question:

  1. List the two-items you’re comparing at the beginning of the sentence.
  2. Add the particle to (toh; and) after each item to make it look like a list.
  3. Insert the question word dochira followed by the subject-marking particle ga (gah).
  4. Add the adjective with the question particle ka (kah).

Did you get lost? I hope not. If you did, these examples will help clear things up:

  • Kore to, are to, dochira ga ii desu ka. (koh-reh toh, ah-reh toh, doh-chee-rah gah eee deh-soo kah; Which one is better, this one or that one?)
  • Man to, watashi to, dochira ga suki desu ka. (mah-reee toh, wah-tah-shee toh, doh-chee-rah gah soo-kee deh-soo kah; Who do you like better, Mary or me?)
  • O-kane to, meisei to, dochira ga daiji desu ka. (oh-kah-neh toh, mehh-sehh toh, doh-chee-rah gah dah-ee-jee deh-soo kah; Which one is more important, money or reputation?)

Comparing three or more items

To ask which item is best among three or more items, listed one by one, use the question words dare (dah-reh), doko (doh-koh), and dore (doh-reh). Use dare for people, doko for places, and dore for other items, including foods, cars, animals, plants, games, and academic subjects. All three words mean “which one.”
To ask a question comparing three or more items, list the items with the particle to (toh) after each item. Form the question by using the question word dare, doko, or dore. Again, ichiban (ee-chee-bahn; the best/most) is the key, as shown in these examples:

  • Besu to, Mari to, Jon to, dare ga ichiban yasashii desu ka. (beh-soo toh, mah-reee toh, John toh, dah-reh gah ee-chee-bahn yah-sah-sheee deh-soo kah; Among Beth, Mary, and John, who is the kindest?)
  • Bosuton to, Tokyo to, Shikago to, doko ga ichiban samui desu ka. (boh-soo-tohn toh, tohh-kyohh toh, shee-kah-goh toh, doh-koh gah ee-chee-bahn sah-moo-ee deh-soo kah; Among Boston, Tokyo, and Chicago, which one is the coldest?)
  • Hanbaga to, hotto doggu to, piza to, dore ga ichiban suki desu ka. (hahn-bahh-gahh toh, hoht-toh dohg-goo toh, pee-zah toh, doh-reh gah ee-chee-bahn soo-kee deh-soo kah; Among hamburgers, hot dogs, and pizza, which one do you like the best?)

If you want to specify the category of the items you’re comparing, like “of foods” or “among the cities in the country,” specify the category at the beginning of the question and place two particles, de (den) and wa (wah), right after it. And remember that you must use nani (nah-nee; what) instead of dore (doh-reh; which one). So if you’re specifying a category rather than giving a list, use dare (dah-reh; who) for people, doko (doh-koh; where) for locations, and nani (nah-nee; what) for other items. Below table can help you sort things out.

Saying Which One in Japanese
Category Of Two Items Of Three or More Items Of a Category
people dochira dare dare
locations dochira doko doko.
other items dochira dore nami

Going To Different Shops

This lesson gives you how to speak, behave while shopping at different places.This will be great practic for you.

// Going to a Department StoreDepato (deh-pahh-toh; department stores) are very convenient. Which departments interest you?

  • fujinfuku (foo-jeen-foo-koo; women’s clothes)
  • hoseki (hohh-seh-kee; jewelry)
  • kaban (kah-bahn; luggage)
  • kagu (kah-goo; furniture)
  • keshohin (keh-shohh-heen; cosmetics)
  • kodomofuku (koh-doh-moh-foo-koo; children’s clothes
  • kutsu (koo-tsoo; shoes)
  • shinshifuku (sheen-shee-foo-koo; men’s clothes)
  • shoseki (shoh-seh-kee; books)
  • supotsu yohin (soo-pohh-tsoo yohh-heen; sporting goods)


Grocery ShoppingRestaurants are great, but if you want to save time or money, shop for food. If you go to a supamaketto (sooo-pahh-mahh-keht-toh; supermarket), you can get most of the items you need in one trip, including:


  • aisukurimu (ah-ee-soo-koo-reee-moo; ice cream)
  • gyunyti (gyooo-nyooo; milk)
  • jusu (jooo-soo; juice)
  • o-kome (oh-koh-meh; uncooked rice)
  • pan (pahn; bread)
  • tamago (tah-mah-goh; eggs)

Going to a butcherYou can find these niku (nee-koo; meats) at a nikuya-san (nee-koo-yah-sahn; meat store):

  • butaniku (boo-tah-nee-koo; pork)
  • gyuniku (gyooo-nee-koo; beef)
  • shichimencho (shee-chee-mehn-chohh; turkey)
  • toriniku (toh-ree-nee-koo; chicken)
  • hamu (hah-moo; ham)
  • soseji (sohh-sehh-jee; sausage)

Buying Vegetables and fruitYou can buy yasai (yah-seh-ee; vegetables) and kuda-mono (koo-dah-moh-noh; fruits) in supermarkets, but if you go to a farm stand or a yaoya-san (yah-oh-yah-sahn; produce store/greenmarket), you’ll get the freshest produce. Include some of the following healthful items on your shoppingu risuto (shohp-peen-goo ree-soo-toh; shopping list):


  • jagaimo (jah-gah-ee-moh; potatoes)
  • mikan (mee-kahn; oranges)
  • ninjin (neen-jeen; carrots)
  • piman (peee-mahn; green peppers)
  • remon (reh-mohn; lemons)
  • retasu (reh-tah-soo; lettuce)
  • ringo (reen-goh; apples)
  • tamanegi (tah-mah-neh-gee; onions)
  • ichigo (ee-chee-goh; strawberries)

Buying fresh fish

The Japanese are big fish eaters. If you’re a fish lover, too, a fish market is the place for you. Remember the names of your favorite fish when you make the trip:

  • maguro (mah-goo-roh; tuna)
  • masu (mah-soo; trout)
  • sake (sah-keh; salmon)
  • tal (tah-ee; red snapper)
  • tara (tah-rah; cod)

Negotiating Prices

Kaimono (kah-ee-moh-noh; shopping) can be exciting. Visiting different mise (mee-seh; stores), checking out all the items, and comparing nedan (neh-dahn; prices) is my idea of a great afternoon. Are you good at asking for nebiki (neh-bee-kee; discounts)? You can’t just expect a discount – you have to be firm about asking for it. Here are a few phrases for talking about nedan:


  • Ikura desu ka. (ee-koo-rah deh-soo kah; How much is it?)
  • Chotto takai desu. (choht-toh tah-kah-ee deh-soo; It’s a little expensive.)
  • Mo chotto yasuku shite kudasai. (mohh choht-toh yah-soo-koo shee-teh koo-dah-sah-ee; Make it a bit cheaper please.)
  • Mama yasui desu ne. (mahh mahh yah-soo-ee deh-soo neh; It’s relatively cheap.)

Conjugate the u-verb kau (to buy). Watch out for the w sound that appears in the negative form.


Form Pronunciation
kau kah-oo
kawanai kah-wah-nah-ee
kai kah-ee
katte kaht-teh


Words to Know
kaimono kah-ee-moh-noh shopping
Ikura desu ka? ee-koo-rah deh-soo kah How much?
nebiki neh-bee-kee discount
takai tah-kah-ee expensive
yasui yah-soo-ee cheap

Paying for your Purchases

If you’re going shopping, you need a kurejitto kado (koo-reh-jeet-toh kahh-doh; credit card) or some o-satsu (oh-sah-tsoo; bills) and a few koka (kohh-kah; coins). When you harau (hah-rah-oo; pay), don’t forget your o-tsuri (oh-tsoo-ree; change).

Conjugate the u-verb harau (hah-rah-oo; to pay). Watch out for the w sound that shows up in the negative form.


Form Pronunciation
harau hah-rah-oo
harawanai hah-rah-wah-nah-ee
harai hah-rah-ee
haratte har-raht-teh


Words to Know
o-tsuri oh-tsoo-ree change
ryoshusho ryohh-shooo-shoh receipt
shohizei shohh-hee-zehh sales tax
subete soo-beh-teh everything

中級日本語ー Making and Ordering Food

October 25, 2010 § Leave a comment

Making Breakfast And Lunch

How many times a day do you eat a shokuji (shoh-koo-jee; meal)? If you’re lucky, you taberu (tah-beh-roo; eat) three times a day. If you’re too busy, you may eat only once or twice.

If you’re obi .issed with food, you may eat all the time.Japanese doesn’t have one convenient adjective like “hungry.” To express hunger, you say onaka ga suita (oh-nah-kah gah soo-ee-tah) or, with the polite suffix, onaka ga sukimashita (oh-nah-kah gah soo-kee-mah-shee-tah). Onaka means “belly” or “stomach,” and suita and sukimashita mean “became empty.” You’re saying that your stomach became empty. The following are typical shokuji (shoh-koo-jee; meals) and oyatsu (oh-yah-tsoo; snacks): 

  • asagohan/choshoku (ah-sah-goh-hahn/chohh-shoh-koo; breakfast)
  • hirugohan/chushoku (hee-roo-goh-hahn/chooo-shoh-koo; lunch)
  • bangohan/yushoku (bahn-goh-hahn/yooo-shoh-koo; supper)
  • yashoku (yah-shoh-koo; midnight snack)


It’s no accident that shoku appears in several of the words related to eating. This word stem often (though not always) means “eat.”

Here’s how to conjugate the important u- verbs taberu (tah-beh-roo; to eat) and nomu (noh-moo; to drink).

Form Pronunciation
taberu tah-beh-roo
tabenai tah-beh-nah-ee
tabe tah-beh
tabete tah-beh-teh
nomu noh-moo
nomanai noh-mah-nah-ee
nomi noh-mee
nonde nohn-deh

Eating breakfast in Mo cultures

A Japanese asagohan (ah-sah-goh-hahn; breakfast) can be downright exquisite if you have the eyes (and the palate) to see it that way. Before stepping into a Japanese-style shokudO (shoh-koo-dohh; dining room) for breakfast, familiarize yourself with what they serve:

  • gohan (goh-hahn; cooked rice)
  • horenso no ohitashi (hohh-rehn-sohh noh oh-hee-tah-shee; boiled spinach seasoned with soy sauce)
  • misoshiru (mee-soh-shee-roo; soybean-paste soup)
  • nama tamago (nah-mah tah-mah-goh; raw eggs)
  • natto (naht-tohh; fermented soybeans)
  • nori (noh-ree; seaweed)
  • onsen tamago (ohn-sehn tah-mah-goh; hot-spring boiled egg/soft-boiled egg)
  • tsukemono (tsoo-keh-moh-noh; pickled vegetables)
  • yakizakana (yah-kee-zah-kah-nah; grilled/ broiled fish)

You may prefer to experiment later in the day and just enjoy a Western-style breakfast. 1 never miss out on my morning kohi (kohh-heee; coffee), and I haven’t skipped my breakfast beguru (behh-goo-roo; bagel) and kurlmu chlzu (koo-reee-moo cheee-zoo; cream cheese) for ten years. What are your favorite breakfast foods?

  • bekon (behh-kohn; bacon)
  • hamu (hah-moo; ham)
  • soseji (sohh-sehh-jee; sausage)
  • medamayaki (meh-dah-mah-yah-kee; fried egg)
  • sukuranburu eggu (soo-koo-rahn-boo-roo ehg-goo; scrambled eggs)
  • kurowassan (koo-roh-wahs-sahn; croissant)
  • tosuto (tohh-soo-toh; toast)
  • jamu (jah-moo; jam)
  • bata (bah-tahh; butter)
  • kocha (kohh-chah; black tea)
  • miruku (mee-roo-koo; milk)
  • is orenji jusu (oh-rehn-jee jooo-soo; orange juice)

Munching uour lunch

In Japan, noodles are popular lunchtime (fln meals. The thick, white noodles that you may have seen in soups are udon (oo-dohn); buckwheat noodles are soba (soh-bah). And don’t forget ramen (rahh-mehn) noodles, which the Japanese adopted from China.

Rice dishes in big bowls with different toppings are also popular for lunch. These meals are called donburi (dohn-boo-ree; big bowl).

What do you eat for lunch?

  • hanbaga (hahn-bahh-gahh; hamburger)
  • piza (pee-zah; pizza)
  • sandoicchi (sahn-doh-eet-chee; sandwich)
  • sarada (sah-rah-dah; salad)
  • supagetti (soo-pah-geht-teee; spaghetti)
  • supu (sooo-poo; soup)

1 usually use these tasty items to give my sandoicchi a little kick:

  • chizu (cheee-zoo; cheese)
  • kechappu (keh-chahp-poo; ketchup)
  • masutado (mah-soo-tahh-doh; mustard)
  • mayonezu (mah-yoh-nehh-zoo; mayonnaise)
  • pikurusu (pee-koo-roo-soo; pickle)

Ordering fast food

Whether you’re ordering piza (pee-zah; pizza) with friends or grabbing a sandoicchi (sahn-doh-eet-chee; sandwich) for lunch, you probably spend a fair amount of money enriching fast-food chains. This section tells you how to chumon suru (chooo-mohn soo-roo; order) a hanbaga (hahn-bahh-gahh; hamburger) and furaido poteto (foo-rah-ee-doh poh-teh-toh; fries) in Japanese. Check out some other popular fast-food dishes:

  • chikin baga (chee-keen bahh-gahh; chicken patty)
  • chizu baga (cheee-zoo bahh-gahh; cheeseburger)
  • furaido chikin (foo-rah-ee-doh chee-keen; fried chicken)
  • hotto doggu (hoht-toh dohg-goo; hot dog)
  • miruku sheku (mee-roo-koo shehh-koo; milkshakes)

Now that you have a handle on the menu, practice conjugating the verb chumon suru (chooo-mohn soo-roo; to order). This term is actually a combination of the noun chumon (order) and the verb suru (to do), so you conjugate just the suru part. Yes, it’s an irregular verb.

Form Pronunciation
chumon suru chooo-mohn soo-roo
chumon shinai chooo-mohn shee-nah-ee
chumon shi chooo-mohn shee
chumon shite chooo-mohn shee-teh

You may have to answer a couple of questions when you order at a fast-food joint:

  • Omochi kaeri desu ka (oh-moh-chee kah-eh-ree deh-soo kah) means “Will you take it home?” or “To go?”
  • Kochira de omeshiagari desu ka (koh-chee-rah
  • deh oh-meh-shee-ah-gah-ree deh-soo kah) means “Will you eat here?” or “For here?”

If you hear one of these questions, just answer hai (hah-ee; yes) or ie (eee-eh; no).

Making dinner reservations

The Japanese are gourmets. They often line up in front of popular restaurants, and they don’t mind waiting an hour or more. If you don’t want to wait in line, make a yoyaku (yoh-yah-koo; reservation) over the phone.

The Japanese say “to make a reservation” by saying “to do a reservation,” which is yoyaku o suru (yoh-yah-koo oh soo-roo). Remember that suru (soo-roo; to do) is an irregular verb.

Conjugate yoyaku o suru. Because yoyaku is a noun, all you have to worry about is the suru part.

Form Pronunciation
yoyaku o suru yoh-yah-koo oh soo-roo
yoyaku o shinai yoh-yah-koo oh shee-nah-ee
yoyaku o shi yoh-yah-koo oh shee
yoyaku o shite yoh-yah-koo oh shee-teh

First, tell the restaurant’s host when you want to arrive. (Chapter 3 explains the basics of how to tell time in Japanese, including the concepts of a.m., p.m., and o’clock.) Below table provides the time ranges you’re likely to need when making dinner reservations.

A Timetable
Time Japanese Pronunciation
6:00 roku-ji roh-koo-jee
6:15 roku-ji jugo-fun roh-koo-jee jooo-goh-foon
6:30 roku-ji han roh-koo-jee hahn
6:45 roku-ji yonjugo-fun roh-koo-jee yohn-jooo-goh-foon
7:00 shichi-ji shee-chee-jee
8:00 hachi-ji hah-chee-jee
9:00 ku-ji koo-jee

After you establish a time, let the host know how many people are in your party. Japanese uses a counter (a short suffix that follows a number) to count people. Which counter you use depends on the item you’re counting. For example, you can’t just say go (goh; five) when you have five people in your party. You have to say go-nin (goh-neen), because -nin (neen) is the counter for people. But watch out for the irregular hitori (hee-toh-ree; one person) and futari (foo-tah-ree; two people).

Below table can help you count people.

Expressing a Number of People
Number of People Japanese Pronunciation
1 hitori hee-toh-ree
2 futari foo-tah-ree
3 san-nin sahn-neen
4 yo-nin yoh-neen
5 go-nin goh-neen
6 roku-nin roh-koo-neen
7 nana-nin nah-nah-neen
8 hachi-nin hah-chee-neen
9 kyu-nin kyooo-neen
10 ju-nin jooo-neen

Here’s how a typical conversation about a restaurant reservation may go:

Host: Maido arigato gozaimasu. (mah-ee-doh ah-ree-gah-tohh goh-zah-ee-mah-soo; Thank you for your patronage. How can I help you?)
Makoto: Ano, konban, yoyaku o shitai-n-desu ga.(ah-nohh, kohn-bahn, yoh-yah-koo oh shee-tah-een-deh-soo gah; I would like to make a reservation for tonight.)
Host: Hai, arigato gozaimasu. Nan-ji goro. (hah-ee, ah-ree-gah-tohh goh-zah-ee-mah-soo. nahn-jee goh-roh; Yes, thank you. About what time?)
Makoto: Shichi-ji desu. (shee-chee-jee deh-soo; 7:00, please.)
Host: Hai. Nan-nin-sama. (hah-ee. nahn-neen-sah-mah; Certainly. How many people?)
Makoto: Go-nin desu. (goh-neen deh-soo; Five people.)

In Japanese, you often form a statement by using -n-desu (n-deh-soo) in conversation. The effect of -n-desu is to encourage your partner to respond. Saying Yoyaku o shitai-n-desu (yoh-yah-koo oh shee-tah-een-deh-soo; I’d like to make a reservation) sounds much more inviting and friendly than saying Yoyaku o shitai desu because it shows your willingness to listen to the other person’s comments.

Use -n-desu in informal conversation but not in writing or public speech.
When you follow a verb with -n-desu, the verb must be in the informal/plain form. Ending your statement with the particle ga (gah; but), as in Yoyaku o shitai-n-desu ga, makes it clear that you’re waiting for the other person to reply.

中級日本語ー Ordering In A Restaurant

October 25, 2010 § Leave a comment

How do you order in a restaurant? Do you carefully go over the menyu (meh-nyooo; menu), or do you look to see what other people are eating? Do you ask the ueta (oo-ehh-tahh; waiter) or uetoresu (oo-ehh-toh-reh-soo; waitress) for direction as to what’s good? Do you routinely order a zensai (zehn-sah-ee; appetizer), an o-nomimono (oh-noh-mee-moh-noh; beverage), and a dezato (deh-zahh-toh; dessert) in addition to your entree? In this section, I provide you with phrases and concepts that you need to order in a restaurant. 

Whether you go to a four-star restaurant or the corner pub, your waiter or waitress will ask you questions like these:

  • Gochuumon wa. (goh-chooo-mohn wah; Your order?)
  • Nani ni nasaimasu ka. (nah-nee nee nah-sah-ee-mah-soo kah; What will you have?)
  • O-nomimono wa. (oh-noh-mee-moh-noh wah; Anything to drink?)

Here are a few phrases that you can use when talking to the waitstaff:

  • Ramen o mittsu onegaishimasu. (rahh-mehn oh meet-tsoo oh-neh-gah-ee-shee-mah-soo; Can we have ramen noodles for three please?)
  • Sushi to sashimi to misoshiru o onegaishimasu.(soo-shee toh sah-shee-mee toh mee-soh-shee-roo oh oh-neh-gah-ee-shee-mah-soo; Can I have sushi, sashimi, and miso soup please?)
  • Wain wa arimasu ka. (wah-een wah ah-ree-mah-soo kah; Do you have wine?)
  • Osusumehin wa? (oh-soo-soo-meh-hin wah; What do you recommend?)

To list several dishes, use to (toh) between dishes to link them. (Think of to as a verbal comma or the word and?) To specify the quantity of each item you want to order, use the counter that applies to food items, -tsu:

  • hito-tsu (hee-toh-tsoo; one food item)
  • futa-tsu (foo-tah-tsoo; two food items)
  • mit-tsu (meet-tsoo; three food items

If you can’t read the menu at a Japanese restaurant, don’t worry. Most restaurants in Japan have colored pictures on the menu or life-sized wax models of the food in their windows. The easiest way to order is to follow this simple formula: Point to the picture of the dish on the menu, say kore o (koh-reh oh; this one), and say onegaishimasu (oh-neh-gah-ee-shee-mah-soo; I’d like to ask you) or kudasai (koo-dah-sah-ee; please give me) at the end.

Do you see any of your favorites on this dinner menu?

  • bifuteki (bee-foo-teh-kee; beef steak)
  • bifu shichu (beee-foo shee-chooo; beef stew)
  • masshu poteto (mas-shoo poh-teh-toh; mashed potato)
  • mito rofu (meee-toh rohh-foo; meatloaf)
  • pan (pahn; bread) y sake (sah-keh; salmon)
  • sarada (sah-rah-dah; salad) lS supu (sooo-poo; soup)

Which of the following Japanese dishes would you like to try?

  • gyudon (gyooo-dohn; a bowl of rice topped with cooked beef and vegetables)
  • oyako donburi (oh-yah-koh dohn-boo-ree; a bowl of rice topped with cooked chicken and eggs)
  • shabushabu (shah-boo-shah-boo; beef and vegetables cooked in a pot of boiling broth)
  • sukiyaki [soo-kee-yah-kee; beef and vegetables cooked in warishita (wah-ree-shee-tah; a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, and liquor)]
  • tempura (tehm-poo-rah; deep-fried vegetables or seafood)
  • unagi (oo-nah-gee; eel)
  • yakiniku (yah-kee-nee-koo; Korean-style barbecue)
  • yosenabe (yoh-seh-nah-beh; Japanese casserole of vegetables, fish, or meat)

Setting your table

If there’s anything missing on your table, ask the waiter for it. below table lists some items that might be missing.

Dining Utensils
Japanese Pronunciation Translation
fo-ku fohh-koo fork
gurasu goo-rah-soo glass
kappu kahp-poo cup
naifu nah-ee-foo knife
napukin nah-poo-keen napkin
o-sara oh-sah-rah plate
supu-n soo-pooon spoon

If you’re having Japanese food, you may need some of these items:

  • hashi (hah-shee; chopsticks)
  • o-chawan (oh-chah-wahn; rice bowl)
  • o-wan (oh-wahn; lacquered soup bowl)

Chatting With The Waiter

// Ask questions of your ueta (oo-ehh-tahh; waiter) or uetoresu (oo-ehh-toh-reh-soo; waitress), or just chat with them about the food they served. 

  • Kore wa nan desu ka. (koh-reh wah nahn deh-soo kah; What is this?)
  • Watashi wa ebi ga taberaremasen. (wah-tah-shee wah eh-bee gah tah-beh-rah-reh-mah-sehn; I can’t eat shrimp.)
  • Kore wa yakete imasu ka. (koh-reh wah yah-keh-teh ee-mah-soo kah; Is it well done?)
  • Oishii desu ne. (oh-ee-sheee deh-soo neh; This is delicious, isn’t it?)
  • Chotto hen na aji desu. (choh-toh hehn-nah ah-jee-deh-soo; It tastes sort of strange.)
  • Totemo oishikatta desu. (toh-teh-moh oh-ee-shee-kaht-tah deh-soo; That was very delicious!)
  • Omizu o kudasai. (oh-mee-zoo oh koo-dah-sah-ee; Water, please.)
  • Toire wa doko desu ka. (toh-ee-ree wah doh-koh deh-soo kah; Where is the bathroom?)

Paying for your meat

When you eat with your friends, do you warikan ni sum (wah-ree-kahn nee soo-roo; go Dutch), or does one person ogoru (oh-goh-roo; treat) everyone? How about when you eat with your boss? He or she probably pays, but it never hurts to say O-kanjo o onegaishi-masu (oh-kahn-johh oh oh-neh-gah-ee-shee-mah-soo; Check please), especially if you know that your boss won’t let you pay.

The following phrases are handy when you pay for your meal:

  • Betsubetsu ni onegaishimasu. (beh-tsoo-beh-tsoo nee oh-neh-gah-ee-shee-mah-soo; Please give us separate checks.)
  • Isshoni onegaishimasu. (ees-shoh-nee oh-neh-gah-ee-shee-mah-soo); Please give us one check.)
  • O-kanjo o onegaishimasu. (oh-kahn-johh oh oh-neh-gah-ee-shee-mah-soo; Check please.)
  • Ryoshusho o onegaishimasu. (ryohh-shooo-shoh oh oh-neh-gah-ee-shee-mah-soo; Receipt please.)

You don’t have to tip at any restaurant in Japan, but you still get very good service 99 percent of the time. For very expensive meals, the tip is automatically included in your bill as a sabisuryo (sahh-bee-soo-ryohh; service charge).

Most restaurants accept kurejitto kado (koo-reh-jeet-toh kahh-doh; credit cards), but many of them still only accept genkin (gehn-keen; cash). If you’re not sure about a restaurant’s policy, ask before you’re seated.

Words to Know
chuumon chooo-mohn order
okanjo oh-kan-johh check, bill
kurejittokado kop-reh-jeet-toh kahh-doh
genkin gehn-keen cash
o-mizu oh-mee-zoo water
yoyaku yoh-yah-koo reservation

中級日本語ーJapanese At A Meeting (2)

October 25, 2010 § Leave a comment

This chapter gives information on what and how to speak in Japanese at meeting.

The first word you say when introducing yourself to someone for the first time is hajimemashite (hah-jee-meh-mah-shee-teh). This word literally means “beginning,” and it clarifies the fact that you’re meeting the person for the first time. Next, say your name and then say yoroshiku onegaishimasu (yoh-roh-shee-koo oh-neh-gah-ee-she-mah-soo). Yoroshiku is a set phrase that shows your modest attitude and asks the other person to be friendly. No English translation exists for it.

The response to yoroshiku onegaishimasu is usually kochirakoso yoroshiku onegaishimasu (koh-chee-rah-koh-soh yoh-roh-shee-koo oh-neh-gah-ee-she-mah-soo), meaning “It’s I who should say that.” So if you beg someone to be friendly, they beg you right back. After all that begging, you’re friends!

Asking people their names

As in English, telling someone your namae (nah-mah-eh; name) in Japanese is more or less a cue for that person to tell you his or her name. If it doesn’t turn out that way, you can ask Shitsurei desu ga, o-namae wa (shee-tsoo-rehh deh-soo gah, oh-nah-mah-eh wah; I may be rude, but what’s your name?).

Sometimes, using o- is obligatory regardless of whether you’re talking about yourself or about others. For example, the word for money is kane (kah-neh), but people almost always call it okane (oh-kah-neh).

Addressing friends and strangers

In English, you address others by their first names (“Hi, Robert!”), by their nicknames (“Hey, Bobby!”), by their positions (“Excuse me, professor”), or by their family names and appropriate titles (“Hello, Mr. Wright”), depending on your relationship.

In Japanese society, addressing people is something you don’t want to mess up. When you meet someone new at work and you know the person’s occupational title, such as company president, professor, or division manager, use the title along with his or her family name – for example, Sumisu-shacho (soo-mee-soo-shah-chohh; President Smith). Following are some examples of occupational titles:

  • bucho (boo-chohh; department manager)
  • gakucho (gah-koo-chohh; university president)
  • kocho (kohh-chohh; principal)
  • sensei (sehn-sehh; teacher)
  • shacho (shah-chohh; company president)
  • tencho (tehn-chohh; store manager)

If you don’t know the person’s occupational title, the safest way to address him or her is to use his or her family name plus the respectful title -san (sahn), as in – Sumisu-san (soo-mee-soo-sahn; Ms. Smith). -Sama (sah-mah) is even more polite, but it’s too formal and businesslike for most social situations.

Other titles include -chan (chahn) and -kun (koon), but they must be used carefully. Table below shows you which titles are appropriate for friends and acquaintances, with examples of various ways to address Robert and Susan Smith.

Title Function Example
-chan(chahn) For children, used after a boy’s or girl’s given name. Suzan-chan (sooo-zahn-chahn), Robato-chan (roh-bahh-toh-chahn)
-kun (koon) Used after a boy’s given name Also used after a subordinate’s family name, regardless of gender. Robato-kun (roh-bahh-toh-koon) Sumisu-kun(soo-mee-soo-koon)
-sama(sah-mah) Used after a superior’s or customer’s name regardless of gender.Also used when addressing letters (Dear…) Sumisu-sama (soo-mee-soo-sah-mah),Suzan-sama (sooo-zahn-sah-mah), Robato Sumisu-sama (roh-bahh-toh soo-mee-soo-sah-mah)
-san (sahn) The most common title used, especially when the person’s relationship to you is unclear. Sumisu-san (soo-mee-soo-sahn), Suzan-san (sooo-zahn-sahn), Robato Sumisu-san (roh-bahh-toh soo-mee-soo-sahn)

When introducing themselves, the Japanese give their family name first and given name second. Most Japanese people realize that Western names aren’t in the same order, and they don’t expect you to reverse the order of your own name to match the pattern of their names.

If you use the Japanese word for “you” – anata (ah-nah-tah) – you’ll sound boastful or rude. Japanese uses names or titles where English uses “you.” Instead of “you,” you can use age- and gender-sensitive terms when addressing strangers in friendly contexts. For example, ojisan (oh-jee-sahn) literally means “uncle,” but you can use it to address any unfamiliar middle-aged man. The following list shows other general terms you can use to address strangers:

  • Middle-aged man: ojisan (oh-jee-sahn; literally, uncle)
  • Middle-aged woman: obasan (oh-bah-sahn; literally, aunt)
  • Old man: ojiisan (oh-jeee-sahn; literally, grandfather)
  • Old woman: obaasan (oh-bahh-sahn; literally, grandmother)
  • Young boy: boya or obocchan (bohh-yah or oh-boht-chahn; literally, son)
  • Young girl: ojousan (oh-johh-sahn; literally, daughter)
  • Young man: oniisan (oh-neee-sahn; literally, big brother)
  • Young woman: oneesan (oh-nehh-sahn; literally, big sister)
Words to Know
Hajimemashite. hah-jee-meh-mah-shee-teh How do you do?
Yoroshiku. yoh-roh-shee-koo Pleased to meet you.
Onamae wa. oh-nah-mah-eh wah What’s your name?
Watashi no namae wa_______desu. wah-tah-shee noh nah-mah-eh wah_______deh-spo My name is_______

中級日本語ーJapanese At A Meeting (1)

October 25, 2010 § Leave a comment

How To Greet People

In Japanese, as in every other language, what you say and do to greet people depends on the time of the day and the person you’re greeting. See below table.

Japanese Pronunciation Translation
ohayo oh-hah-yohh good morning (informal)
ohayo gozaimasu oh-hah-yohh goh-zah-ee-mah-soo good morning (formal)
konnichiwa kohn-nee-chee-wah good afternoon
konbanwa kohn-bahn-wah good evening

Just saying “hi” is impolite. If you haven’t seen someone for a while, ask O-genki desu ka (oh-gehn-kee deh-soo kah; How are you?) as well.

When others ask you how you are, you can say Hai, genki desu (hah-ee, gehn-kee deh-soo; I’m fine), but if you want to sound a bit more sophisticated, you can say Hai, okagesamade (hah-ee oh-kah-geh-sah-mah-deh; Yes, I’m fine thanks to you and God) or Nantoka (nahn-toh-kah; I’m barely managing things in my life or I’m barely coping). These two expressions sound modest and mature to the Japanese, although they sound pretty negative to American ears.

English speakers make a habit of asking everyone, friends and strangers alike, how they are, even if they know that the person is fine. Asking this question in Japanese is different. O-genki desu ka is a serious question about a person’s mental and physical health.

Paying attention and saying so

When someone says something to you or gives you a piece of information, you can’t just stare back. You must nod. You can also say a, so desu ka (ahh, sohh deh-soo kah), which means “Oh, really?” or “Oh, I see.” Or you can just say a (ahh) as you nod to convey the same message. By doing so, you acknowledge the information given. If you don’t do it, your conversation partner may begin to think that you’re upset or rude.

Saying good-bye

When you leave a friend, say ja, mata (jahh mah-tah; see you again). If you’re parting for a longer period, you can also say sayonara (sah-yohh-nah-rah; goodbye), but don’t use this option if you’ll see the person later the same day.

When you bid farewell to your boss or teacher, say shitsurei shimasu (shee-tsoo-rehh-shee-mah-soo). Shitsurei shunasu literally means “I’ll be rude.” How do you get “good-bye” out of “I’ll be rude”? It’s as if you’re saying “I’m being rude by leaving your presence.”

Expressing Gratitude and Regret

Phrases of gratitude and apology are the most essential phrases in any language. Suppose a stranger holds a door open for you when you’re entering a building. What do you say? Suppose you accidentally step on someone’s foot. How do you say “I’m sorry”?

You may know the word arigato (ah-ree-gah-tohh; thanks), but you may not know that you use it only when speaking to family, friends, coworkers, subordinates, or strangers who appear easygoing and younger than you. When thanking a teacher, boss, stranger who looks older than you, or stranger who looks as if he or she isn’t so easygoing, say one of the following phrases instead:

  • Doumo arigatou gozaimasu. (dohh-moh ah-ree-gah-tohh goh-zah-ee-mah-soo; Thank you, very formal)
  • Arigatou gozaimasu. (ah-ree-gah-tohh-goh-zah-ee-mah-soo; Thank you, formal)
  • Doumo. (dohh-moh; Thank you, informal)

The easiest phrase of gratitude is domo – an adverb that literally means “indeed” or “very much” but can be understood as “thank you.” You can use this short, convenient, yet polite phrase of gratitude in any context. If you want to express a greater-than-normal degree of gratitude, use one of the longer phrases. To reply to a compliment, say Domo (dohh-moh; Thank you) or choose one of the following modest phrases:

  • lie, heta desu. (eee-eh, heh-tah deh-soo; No, I’m bad.)
  • lie, madamada desu. (eee-eh, mah-dah-mah-dah deh-soo; No, not yet, not yet.)
  • lie, zenzen. (eee-eh, zehn-zehn; No, not at all.)

To apologize for something you’ve done or for causing someone pain or inconvenience, say Domo sumimasen (dohh-moh soo-mee-mah-sehn; I’m very sorry). In an informal context, Gomennasai (goh-mehn-nah-sah-ee; Sorry) is just fine.

Small Talk In Japanese

Small talk helps people get to know one another. This section presents some common small-talk topics.

// Breaking the ice and asking questions

Small talk usually starts with sumimasen (soo-mee-mah-sehn; excuse me). You use this word to break the ice. Then you usually need to ask a few questions to strike up a conversation. If you can form a sentence, you can easily form a question in Japanese. Unlike in English, you don’t have to invert the subject and the verb when you ask a question in Japanese.

How you form a question depends on the answer you’re expecting. Are you expecting “yes” or “no,” or are you expecting a specific piece of information, like a name, place, or date?

To form a yes/no question, just add the question particle ka (kah) at the end of the statement and use a rising intonation, as you do in English. (See Chapter 2 for more on particles.) For example:

  • Jon wa kimasu (John wah kee-mah-soo) means “John will come.”
  • Jon wa kimasu ka (john wah kee-mah-soo kah) means “Will John come?”

To ask a question that expects specific information in response, use a question word in addition to the particle ka at the end of the sentence. Just like in English, different question words are used depending on what’s being asked, as shown in below table.

Question Words
Question Word Pronunciation Translation
dare dah-ree who (informal)
doko doh-koh where
donata doh-nah-tah who (formal)
dore doh-reh which one
do dohh how
ikura ee-koo-rah how much
itsu ee-tsoo when
nani nah-nee what

You can use these simple ice-breaking questions to make small talk:

  • Doko ni ikimasu ka. (doh-koh nee ee-kee-mah-soo kah; Where are you going?)
  • Ima, nan-ji desu ka. (ee-mah, nahn-jee deh-soo kah; What time is it now?)
  • Mein Sutorito wa doko desu ka. (meh-een soo-toh-reee-toh wah doh-koh deh-soo kah; Where is Main Street?)

Talking about the Weather

The tenki (tehn-kee; weather) is a universally neutral topic. On a clear day, try starting a conversation with Ii tenki desu ne (eee tehn-kee deh-soo neh; It’s nice today, isn’t it?). The following adjectives describe temperature and humidity:

  • atatakai (ah-tah-tah-kah-ee; warm)
  • atsui (ah-tsoo-ee; hot)
  • mushi-atsui (moo-shee-ah-tsoo-ee; humid)
  • samui (sah-moo-ee; cold)
  • suzushii (soo-zoo-sheee; cool)

In a polite/neutral or formal context, add desu (deh-soo; to be) to the end of the adjective. Adjectives always sound polite when they end in desu. For example, you can say Atsui desu (ah-tsoo-ee deh-soo; It’s hot) or Atsui desu ne (ah-tsoo-ee deh-soo neh; It’s hot, isn’t it?).

You can also work these nouns into weather-related conversations:

  • ame (ah-meh; rain)
  • arashi (ah-rah-shee; storm)
  • hare (hah-reh; clear sky)
  • kumori (koo-moh-ree; cloudy sky)
  • yuki (yoo-kee; snow)

Other Topics In Japanese

To ask “Where are you from?” say Dochira kara desu ka (doh-chee-rah kah-rah deh-soo kah). Dochira is the polite form of doko (doh-koh; where), and the particle kara means “from.

// To answer this question, replace dochira with a place name and eliminate the question particle ka. Take a look at these examples:

  • Watashi wa San Furanshisuko kara desu. (wah-I tah-shee wah sahn-foo-rahn-shee-soo-koh kah-rah deh-soo; I’m from San Francisco.)
  • Boku wa Tokyo kara desu. (boh-koo wah tohh- kyohh kah-rah deh-soo; I am from Tokyo.)

The second speaker uses boku (boh-koo) instead of watashi (wah-tah-shee) when referring to himself. Men and boys often substitute boku for watashi to make the sentence less formal

To say that you live somewhere, use the te-form of the u-verb sumu (soo-moo; to live/reside) and add the verb iru (ee-roo; to exist) right after it. For example, Tokyo ni sunde iru (tohh-kyohh nee soon-deh ee-roo) and its polite version, Tokyo ni sunde imasu (tohh-kyohh nee soon-deh ee-mah-soo), both mean “I live in Tokyo.”

Form Pronunciation
sumu soo-moo
sumanai soo-mah-nah-ee
sumi soo-mee
sunde soon-deh

Talking about Where you’re going: When you strike up a conversation while traveling, talking about where you’re from is usually followed by questions about where you’re going. Asking someone where he or she is going is easy. Just replace the particle kara (kah-rah; from) in Dochira kara desu ka (doh-chee-rah kah-rah deh-soo kah; Where are you from?) with made (mah-deh; up to), and you get Dochira made desu ka, which means “Where are you heading to?” When someone asks you where you’re going, you could say Sapporo made desu. (sahp-poh-roh mah-deh deh-soo; To Sapporo.)

Talking about your family

below table contains terms for family members. For each English term, two Japanese terms correspond – a polite term and a plain one. Which term you use depends on the context.

  • When you refer to someone else’s family, use the polite term.
  • To talk about your own family members to people outside the family, use the plain term.
  • When you talk to older family members (other than your spouse) or when you talk about them in an informal way, use a polite term.

For example, you can call your mother by saying Okasan! Doko (oh-kahh-sahn doh-koh; Mom! Where are you?). Or you can ask your mom Okasan, otosan wa doko (oh-kahh-sahn, oh-tohh-sahn wah doh-koh; Mom, where is Dad?).

Family Terms
English Polite Term Plain Term
family gokazoku(goh-kah-zoh-koo) kazoku (kah-zoh-koo)
siblings gokyodai (goh-kyohh-dah-ee) kyodai (kyohh-dah-ee)
parents goryoshin (goh-ryohh-sheen) ryoshin (ryohh-sheen)
father otosan (oh-tohh-sahn) chichi (chee-chee)
mother okasan (oh-kahh-sahn) haha(hah-hah)
older brother onisan (oh-neee-sahn) ani (ah-nee)
older sister onesan (oh-nehh-sahn) ane(ah-neh)
younger brother ototo-san (oh-tohh-toh-sahn) ototo (oh-tohh-toh)
younger sister imoto-san (ee-mohh-toh-sahn) imoto (ee-mohh-toh)
husband goshujin (goh-shoo-jeen) shujin (shoo-jeen)
wife okusan(oh-koo-sahn) kanai (kah-nah-ee)
child kodomo-san (koh-doh-moh-sahn) kodomo (koh-doh-moh)
son musuko-san (moo-soo-koh-sahn) musuko (moo-soo-koh)
daughter musume-san (moo-soo-meh-sahn) musume (moo-soo-meh)
grandfather ojisan (oh-jeee-sahn) sofu (soh-foo)
grandmother obasan(oh-bahh-sahn) sobo(soh-boh)
uncle ojisan (oh-jee-sahn) oji (oh-jee)
aunt obasan(oh-bah-sahn) oba (oh-bah)