Category Archives: JAPANESE

How to use Desu and Masu in Japanese?

When to use Desu (です) & Masu (ます) in Japanese?

Photo from chotda on flickr.com

Hi everyone, hope everyone is enjoying the summer. Some of you might be out on vacation, others might be just staying in to relax and enjoy quality time with your friends and family.

Starting this month, I thought I would start a basic Japanese lesson to give you a foundation of Japanese, from the simple ones to a more complex ones. These are must know basic rules in Japanese in my opinion so you can have a good foundation on learning more complex rules later on.

In my first post in this series, I would like to cover “~desu(です), and ~masu(ます)”. Desu & Masu expressions are critical to know so you can speak clean and polite Japanese at all times which you can apply to any situation.

Let’s get started!

~desu. (です)

1.わたしの なまえは さとこ です。(私の 名前は さとこ です。

Watashino namae wa Satoko desu. My name is Satoko.

2. ここが わたしの いえ です。(ここが 私の 家 です。)

Koko ga watashi no ie desu. This is my house.

3. わたしは 25さい です。(私は 25歳 です。)

Watashi wa 25 sai desu. I am 25 years old.

4. わたしの おとうさんは べんごし です。(私の お父さんは 弁護士 です。)

Watashi no otousan wa bengoshi desu. My father is a lawyer.

5.かれは にほんじん です。(彼は 日本人 です。)

Kare wa nihon jin desu. He is Japanese.

~masu. (ます)

1. きょう あには さっかーの れんしゅうに いって います。(今日 兄は サッカーの 練習に 行って います。)

Kyou ani wa sakka- no renshu ni itte imasu. My brother went to soccer practice today.

2. これから かいものへ いきます。(これから 買い物へ 行きます。)

Korekara kaimono e ikimasu. I am going shopping now.

3. いってきます。(行ってきます。)

Itteki masu. I am leaving now.

4. あとで べんきょう します。(後で 勉強 します。)

Ato de benkyo shimasu. I am going to study later.

5. どちらを かおうか まよって います。(どちらを かおうか まよって います。)

Dochira o kaouka mayotte imasu. I am not sure which one to buy.

When you use “desu & masu” at the end of your sentence, it normally softens up the whole expression. It sounds much cleaner and more polite than using “da(だ) & dearu(である)” .

Stay tuned for the next lesson of Basic Japanese series~.

By the way… …continue reading
    

The Shinkansen: Where The Journey Is Just As Thrilling As The Destination

Gran Class Shinkansen

One exciting way to experience Japan is traveling via the bullet train or Shinkansen. You can cut travel time between cities and spend more time enjoying the tourist sites. The original Tokaido Shinkansen linking Tokyo and Osaka was launched in 1964 on the occasion of the Tokyo Olympics. Up to 13 trains per hour run on this line with a seating capacity of more than 1300. It travels at very high speeds of 320 KPH and carries 424,000 passengers a day. To a novice traveler to Japan, the railway network system may seem intimidating and confusing. So, before you even arrive, research the rates, transfers, and timetables of all Shinkansen cars on Hyperdia.

How Safe is the Shinkansen?

Shinkansen has a remarkable safety record. It has now operated for 50 years without a single passenger casualty. The Japanese are uncompromising when it comes to public safety and disaster prevention. Knowing that Japan is in the Pacific ring of fire and often experiences earthquakes, the train has an earthquake warning system that is designed to stop the trains safely. This attention to detail and innovative use of technology allows the trains to run at such very tight, three-minute intervals, without schedule delays.

Why Get a JR Railway Pass?

If you plan to visit various destinations, it would be a good idea to avail of the Japan Railway Pass. You can choose cards with validity periods of 7, 14 or 21 days. The ticket fare starts at $253 per adult and $127 per child (6 -11 years old). It is much cheaper than buying individual tickets on each journey.

The JR Pass can be purchased online or agencies outside Japan. You will receive a voucher via courier if you purchased online. You can also <a target=_blank …continue reading

    

Catchy Japanese Words for Summer

夏 擬態語

The full heat of summer (natsu 夏) has just come to Japan, and, being the weather, it’s often the first thing Japanese people mention when they meet.

Atsui desu ne!” (if it’s your neighbor) or “Atsui da na!” (if you’re talking to a good friend, a child or an underling) is the standard “It’s hot, isn’t it!”

However, more nuanced talk about hot weather often involves those ever useful gitaigo or Japanese onomatopoeia.

My commute starts with a train ride which, in spite of the in-car air-conditioning, still manages to get fun-fun ふんふん (pronounced “whoon-whoon,” i.e., with the “f” sounding as much like an “h” as an “f”) i.e., close and steamy once enough people have gotten on.
Takusan no hitobito ga norikonde, shanai ga funfun shite iru. たくさんの人が乗り込んで、車内がふんふんしている。
The carriage got all hot and steamy with so many people getting on.

I then walk the 10 minutes from the station to the office.
Even the morning sun is gira-gira ぎらぎら, i.e., shining fiercely, and the walk suddenly seems twice as long as usual as I teku-teku to てくてくと (i.e., plod) go to work.
Taiyo ga gira-gira to teritsukete, teku-teku to shigotoba made arukimashita. 太陽がぎりぎらと照り付けて、てくてくと仕事まで歩きました。

I’m pota-pota ぽたぽた sweating (i.e., it’s pouring off me) and my shirt is bettari べったり stuck to my back.
Potapota to ase ga ochite, shatsu ga senaka ni bettari kuttsuku. ぽたぽたと汗が落ちて、シャツが背中にべったりくっつく。

Hot enough for you? Stay tuned – more to come!

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Soutou - "quite" or "rather" in Japanese

相当

soutou (with both o’s lengthened: soh-toh) is a word you regularly hear in Japanese conversation that is usually used much like “rather” or “pretty” (e.g., “rather big,” pretty fast,” etc.)” in English.

There are actually more meanings than that to soutou, which appear in most dictionaries before the “pretty” meaning.

One meaning of soutou is “equivalent to,” or “much like” such as in “Shouting “Banzai!” in Japanese is much like shouting “Hurray!” in English.” Banzai o sakebu koto ha eigo de Hurray o sekebu koto ni soutou suru.” 万歳を叫ぶことは英語でホゥレイを叫ぶことに相当する。

Another meaning is “commensurate with,” or “fitting,” such as “A punishment that fits the crime” Hanzai ni soutou suru batsu. 犯罪に相当する罰

Or it can mean “suitable” in the sense of “A role suitable to someone with her level of experience” Kanojo no keiken ni soutou suru yakuwari 彼女の経験に相当する役割。

And if you look at the kanji, these “commensurate” and “fitting” meanings are clearly the original meanings, as the sou (相) is for “mutual” and the tou (当) for “appropriate.”

However, as I wrote above, in casual conversation you are much more likely to hear soutou with the meaning of “rather,” “quite,” or “pretty.”

While this is by no means a rule, I have observed that soutou tends to have a somewhat stronger meaning when used in regard to something the speaker considers undesirable, e.g., 相当寒い soutou samui, “Pretty cold,” and a weaker meaning when used with something the speaker considers desirable, e.g., 相当きれい soutou kirei, or “Quite nice looking.”

Finally, soutou doesn’t have to be used with an adjective, either. You can also use it with a noun, such as 相当の努力 soto no doryoku, or “quite an effort.”

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Learning Negative Imperative Sentences in Japanese

neim

When you want to just tell someone, “Don’t talk so loud, please”, how would you say that in Japanese? As a mom, I feel like I use the negative imperative forms all the time with my kids. I know it’s not good to talk to them so negatively, but some days, I just can’t help it! So, in my blog post today, I would like to cover some of the examples of negative imperatives in Japanese.

photo from subtle_3106 on flickr.com

Don’t come here!

1) Kocchini konaide! こっちに来ないで!こっちに こないで!

2) Kocchini kuruna! こっちに来るな! こっちにくるな!

Just like the way I explained the imperative sentences the other day in my post (here), there are two ways of saying in negative imperative sentences as well.

The first one is pretty standard way of saying it. The second expression is much more manly and more authoritative. Most of the ladies will not use the second expression as they would be using the first expression.

Don’t be so loud!

1) Urusaku shinaide! うるさくしないで!

2) Urusaku suruna! うるさくするな!

Don’t run!

1) Hashiranai de! 走らないで!はしらないで!Hashiranai! はしらない!

2) Hashiruna!  走るな!

Moms will often tell children, “Don’t run!”, but this one will be translated as Hashiranai de! 走らないで!はしらないで! in Japanese. …continue reading