Thursday, 29 November 2012


Today I'm learning some useful phrases for my trip to Japan. One of the first useful things I learnt was how to say where is ___?

This is an easy phrase to learn!

どこです?Simply means 'where is?' or 'where is it?'

どこ this means 'where.'
です 'to be.'
か question marker.

You will probably want to ask where something is, though, so let's run through that.

トイレはどこですか?Where is the toilet?

All you need to do is add Place + は to the start of どこですか。

Also, another thing to note; written Japanese doesn't need an actual question mark. Usually, you wouldn't see どこですか? you would see どこですか。

Also, in Japan, people often asked me どこですか to ask me where I was from. As an English speaker it's hard to figure out what they mean because you expect a place name or maybe something else in the sentence, but Japanese seems to be shortened a lot and relies on context a lot more.

I guess what we really need to know now, is places. It's all very well asking the question, but you need to know the answer too!

Simply, people may say あそこ、そこ、or ここ while pointing. (Over there, right near you, right here.)

But, things can get more complicated.

So, let's go through this.

First we need to know all the location words, so:

ひだり: Left
みぎ: Right
まえ: Front
うしろ: Back
なか: Inside
うえ: On
した: Under
ちかく: Near; Nearby
となり: Next to
あいだ: Between

Now, we just need to form a sentence with the particle の。

ぎんこうはとしょかんのとなりです。The library is next to the bank.

かさはテーブルのしたです。The umbrella is under the table.

So this is how you can understand an answer you may get :)


Wednesday, 28 November 2012


です can be used in a lot of different ways. We can also make it into a negative, past tense, and past negative.

From there, we can make many different sentences!

So let's start with a sentence we know.

これりんごです。This is an apple.

If we want to say 'This was an apple,' all we have to do is change です to でした。

これはりんごでした。This was an apple. 

Now how about the negative? What happens if it's not an apple? Then we use ではありません。

これはりんごありませんThis is not an apple. 

Finally, if we want to say 'This wasn't an apple.' (Don't know why you'd need it but...) 


Awesome. :)

If you are ever looking at a strange object, red or green, and apple shaped, but you are still questioning they authenticity of it, then you can say これはりんごでしょう。This would probably be an apple. 

So this is what I know about です. There is a lot you can do with this knowledge :) If you add か to these then you can turn them into questions. 

これはりんごでしたか?Was this an apple?



Now that we know how to introduce ourselves, and we know about です、we can talk about ourselves a little more. Let's have a simple conversation with someone new.


So let's break this down.


はじめまして。The polite greeting, nice to meet you.
わたしは 'I am.'
サリー Sally
です。polite sentence ending. 
よろしくおねがいします。Let's be kind to each other. 

And then the same again for Kai, カイ:はじめまして、サリーさん。わたしはカイです。よろしくおねがいします。

さん is a polite way to say Miss/Mr/Mrs/Ms. You must use it when meeting strangers, but you'd never use it on yourself!


イギリス means English. 
じん is something you add to a place, to make it 'English person.' So 'じん’ means person.
です polite sentence ending. 
か is basically the japanese version of a question mark. Add it to the end of a sentence to make it a question. 

カイ then agrees, by saying 'yes, I am english.'

So now, you can say that you are English! Yay!~


Tuesday, 27 November 2012


The next step after basic introductions is basic sentence structure. We need to know how to say what something is. This is a pretty simple sentence.

これりんごです。This is an apple. 

それりんごです。That is an apple. 

あれりんごです。That over there is an apple.

これ means 'this.' You use これ if the item you are referring to is near you. 

それ means 'that.' You use it when the item is near the person you are speaking to.

あれ also means 'that.' But more specifically, 'that over there.' It is used when the item is a distance from you and the person you are speaking to. 

は is the topic particle, again.
りんご means 'apple.' 
で す makes the sentence polite (to be.)

____ ___   ___
This    apple   is.

Now, you can say what things are in Japanese.

これはほんです。This is a book.
それはかさです。That is an umbrella.
あれはぎんこうです。That (over there) is a bank.



This blog assumes you already know katakana and hiragana. Romaji is often unhelpful for learning so I suggest kana is one of the first things you learn in Japanese. Since we are studying together, feel free to correct me; I'm learning too! Check my resources page for learning katakana and hiragana.

The first thing you probably want to do in Japanese is to introduce yourself, so let's start with that.

はじめまして。This means, pleased to meet you. It is a typical Japanese greeting you will use when meeting someone for the first time.

The next thing you will want to do is tell someone your name. So this is the first basic sentence we will learn. わたしサリーです。

わたし means 'I' or 'me.' 
は is a 'particle.' This shows the audience what the topic of the sentence is. It is called the 'topic marker.' 
サリー this is my name in Japanese! All foreign names will be spelt with katakana. 
です。This means 'to be.' It makes the sentence polite. You will hear it often in Japanese sentences. 

わたしはサリーです。I am Sally.

And finally, we will add.

よろしくおねがいしますThis doesn't have a literal english meaning, but it's a polite phrase that means 'let's be kind to one another from now on.'

So now, you can introduce yourself in Japanese. Great!