Thursday, November 4, 2010

Meeting Someone New

Meeting Someone New

We are often asked by our students learning Japanese how to introduce oneself to someone new. The interaction is normally very formal and filled with a few bows. Below is a typical Japanese conversation between two people meeting for the first time:
(In Kanji, Hiragana, and Romaji) English Meaning
Person 1: こんにちは。始めまして。こんにちは。はじめまして。
Konnichi wa. Hajimemashite. Hello. Nice to meet you.

Person 2: 始めまして。お元気ですか。はじめまして。おげんきですか。
Hajimemashite. O-genki desu ka? Nice to meet you.
How are you?

Person 1: はい、元気です。はい、げんきです。
Hai, genki desu. I am fine.

Person 1: 私は______と申します。あなたのお名前は?
Watashi wa ______ to moushimasu. Anata no o-namae wa? My name is ______.
What is your name?

Person 2: 私は______と言います。宜しくお願いします。
Watashi wa ______ to iimasu. Yoroshiku o-negai shimasu. My name is ______.
Pleased to make your

Person 1: 宜しくお願いします。よろしくおねがいします。
Yoroshiku o-negai shimasu. Pleased to make your

Explanation: "Hajimemashite" literally means "it is a beginning" but would be the equivalent of "Nice to meet you" in English. It would only be used the first time meeting someone. As learned in Lesson 9, "genki" means "in good spirits". "O-genki desu ka" is literally asking "Are you in good spirits?". This is the most common way of asking "How are you?" in Japanese. The other person responds "Yes, I am in good spirits". "Mousu" is the ultra polite form of the verb "iu" (to say). Both people are literally saying "I am said/called _____". "Namae" is the word for "name". An "o" is added in front of it (and other words throughout this exchange) to show respect. This is not done when talking about yourself. "Yoroshii" means "good/fine" and "negai" is a wish or request. "Yoroshiku o-negai shimasu" literally means "I request/wish kindly of you". It is basically like saying "Please treat me well". It can be used in other situations as well - such as when asking for a favor.

Other Common Phrases

We are often asked how to say "I love you" in Japanese. This would be "Anata o ai shite imasu" BUT be advised that the Japanese typically don't use the word for love(愛 - あい - ai) when talking about their feelings for someone else (not even a boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, child, parent, etc.). They would typically say "Anata no koto ga suki desu" or "Anata ga daisuki desu". "Suki" means "like" and "daisuki" means "favorite". This may seem strange but this is just what they say for "I love you".
漢字 - Kanji ひらがな - Hiragana Romaji
(English Letters) English Meaning
誕生日おめでとうございます たんじょうびおめでとうございます tanjoubi omedetou gozaimasu
Happy Birthday!

明けましておめでとうございます あけましておめでとうございます akemashite omedetou gozaimasu
Happy New Year!

おめでとうございます おめでとうございます omedetou gozaimasu Congratulations!
お休みなさい おやすみなさい oyasuminasai Good night.
(used when someone is going to bed)

御免なさい ごめんなさい gomennasai I'm sorry.
すみません すみません sumimasen Excuse me.

トイレは何処ですか トイレはどこですか toire wa doko desu ka Where is the

お腹が空いています おなかがすいています onaka ga suite imasu I am hungry.
("My stomach is empty.")

Friday, May 21, 2010

Japanese Verb

Japanese verbs are roughly divided into three groups according to their dictionary form (basic form). The basic form of 'Group 1' verbs end with "~ u". The basic form of 'Group 2' verbs end with either "~iru" or "~ eru". 'Group 3' verbs are irregular verbs. There are only two irregular verbs, kuru (to come) and suru (to do).

Group 1

aruku (歩く) --- to walk 

asobu (遊ぶ) --- to play 
au (会う) --- to meet 
hairu (入る) --- to enter 
hajimaru (始まる) --- to begin 
iku (行く) --- to go 
kaeru (帰る) --- to return 
kakaru (かかる) --- to take

kaku (書く) --- to write

kau (買う) --- to buy 
kiku (聞く) --- to listen 
matsu (待つ) --- to wait 
motsu (持つ) --- to have
narau (習う) --- to learn
nomu (飲む) --- to drink
okuru (送る) --- to send
omou (思う) --- to think
oyogu (泳ぐ) --- to swim
shiru (知る) --- to know 
suwaru (座る) --- to sit 
tatsu (立つ) --- to stand 
tomaru (止まる) --- to stop 
tsuku (着く) --- to arrive 
uru (売る) --- to sell
utau (歌う) --- to sing
wakaru (分かる) --- to understand
warau (笑う) --- to laugh 
yomu (読む) --- to read 

Group 2

kangaeru (考える) --- to think
miru (見る) --- to see; to look
neru (寝る) --- to sleep
oshieru (教える) --- to teach
taberu (食べる) --- to eat

Group 3

kuru (来る) --- to come 
suru (する) --- to do

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Introducing People: At a Party

Tanaka: Konnichiwa.
Kimura: Konnichiwa.
Tanaka: Kimura-san, kochira wa watashi no tomodachi desu. Yamada Hiroko-san desu.
Yamada: Hajimemashite. Yamada Hiroko desu. Douzo yoroshiku.
Kimura: Kimura Ichirou desu. Douzo yoroshiku.
Yamada: Gakusei desu ka.
Kimura: Hai, gakusei desu.
Yamada: Go-senmon wa.
Kimura: Keizai desu. Anata mo gakusei desu ka.
Yamada: Iie, hisho desu.
Kimura: Sou desu ka.

Dialogue in Japanese

田中: こんにちは。
木村: こんにちは。
田中: 木村さん、こちらは私の友達です。 山田ひろ子さんです。
木村: 木村一郎です。 どうぞよろしく。
山田: 学生ですか。
木村: はい、学生です。
山田: ご専門は。
木村: 経済です。 あなたも学生ですか。
山田: いいえ、秘書です。
木村: そうですか。

Vocabulary and Expressions

Konnichiwa. こんにちは。 Hello, Good afternoon
kochira こちら this person (It is used when introducing someone.)
watashi 私 I (Learn more about personal pronouns.)
tomodachi 友達 friend

Hajimemashite. はじめまして。 How do you do? (It is used when meeting for the first time.)
Douzo yoroshiku. どうぞよろしく。 Nice to meet you.
gakusei 学生 student
hai はい yes (Learn more about "hai.")
go-senmon ご専門 someone else's field of study ("Go" is for politeness.)
keizai 経済 economics
anata あなた you
iie no
hisho 秘書 secretary

Sou desu ka. そうですか。 I see. (It is pronounced with falling intonation. With rising intonation, it becomes a question.)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Japanese Zodiac - TheTwelve Zodiac Signs

Japanese Zodiac - TheTwelve Zodiac Signs
By Namiko Abe, Guide

These are the result of zoning time and direction into twelve blocks, each block being given a name of an animal based on the ancient Chinese concept that all time shifts based on these twelve units. In Japan, zoning of the twelve-year cycle, with a different animal in each zone is fairly common.

Those individuals born during a particular year were said to inherit some of the personalities of that year's animal.

Rat (nezumi)

Born 2008, 1996, 1984, 1972, 1960, 1948, 1936, 1924, 1912. People born in the year of the Rat are charming, honest, ambitious, and have a tremendous capacity for pursing a course to its end. They will work hard for their goals. They are easily angered but maintain an outward show of control.

Ox (ushi)

Born 2009, 1997, 1985, 1973, 1961, 1949, 1937, 1925, 1913. People born in the year of the Ox are patient, mentally alert and when required to speak are skillful. They have a gift for inspiring confidence in others. This allows them to achieve a great deal of success.

Tiger (tora)

Born 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962, 1950, 1938, 1926, 1914. People born in the year of the Tiger are sensitive, stubborn, short-tempered, courageous, selfish and slightly mean ... yet they are deep thinkers and are capable of great sympathy for those they are close to and love.

Rabbit (usagi)

Born 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963, 1951, 1939, 1927, 1915. People born in the year of the Rabbit are the most fortunate. They are smooth talkers, talented, ambitious, virtuous and reserved. They have exceedingly fine taste and regarded with admiration and trust.

Dragon (tatsu)

Born 2000, 1988, 1976, 1964, 1952, 1940, 1928, 1916. People born in the year of the Dragon are healthy, energetic, excitable, short-tempered and stubborn. However, they are honest, sensitive, brave and can inspire trust in most anyone. They are the most peculiar of the 12 signs of the Zodiac cycle.

Snake (hebi)

Born 2001, 1989, 1977, 1965, 1953, 1941, 1929, 1917. People born in the year of the Snake are deep thinkers, speak very little and possess tremendous wisdom. They are fortunate in money matters and will always be able to obtain it. They are determined in what they do and hate to fail.

Horse (uma)

Born 2002, 1990, 1978, 1966, 1954, 1942, 1930, 1918, 1906. People born in the year of the Horse are skillful in paying compliments and talk too much. They are skillful with money and handle finances well. They are quick thinkers, wise and talented. Horse people anger easily and are very impatient.

Sheep (hitsuji)

Born 2003, 1991, 1979, 1967, 1955, 1943, 1931, 1919, 1907. People born in the year of the Sheep are elegant, highly accomplished in the arts, passionate about nature. At first glance, they seem to be better off than the people born in other years. They are deeply religious and passionate in whatever they do and believe in.

Monkey (saru)

Born 2004, 1992, 1980, 1968, 1956, 1944, 1932, 1920, 1908. People born in the year of the Monkey are the erratic geniuses of the Zodiac cycle. They are clever and skillful in grand-scale operations and are smart when making financial deals. They are inventive, original and are able to solve the most difficult problems with ease.

Rooster (tori)

Born 2005, 1981, 1969, 1957, 1945, 1933, 1921, 1909. People born in the year of the Rooster are deep thinkers and are always busy and devoted to their work. They always want to do more than they are able, and if they undertake a task beyond their abilities, they are disappointed. Rooster people have a habit of speaking out directly whenever they have something on their minds.

Dog (inu)

Born 2006, 1982, 1970, 1958, 1946, 1934, 1922, 1910. People born in the year of the Dog have all the fine qualities of human nature. They have a sense of duty and loyalty, they are extremely honest and always do their best in their relationship with other people. Dog people inspire confidence in others and know how to keep secrets.

Boar (inoshishi)

Born 2007, 1983, 1971, 1959, 1947, 1935, 1923, 1911. People born in the year of the Boar are brave. They have tremendous inner strength which no one can overcome. They display great honesty. They are short-tempered, yet hate to quarrel or have arguments. They are affectionate and kind to their loved ones.