You are on page 1of 5

ASIANLAN 125 First Year Japanese Lesson 1 : Reading and Writing Homework

1

Section ( ) Name:________________________________ /60

1. Japanese writing system.
Take a look at the following passage and think about the differences between the Japanese writing
system and the English writing system. If English is not your mother tongue, you can also try this
exercise with your mother tongue.

はじめまして。私はマット・スミスです。ミシガン大学の学生です。
今、一年生です。十九歳です。専攻は日本語です。よろしくおねがいします。

How many differences did you find? Here are a few differences you might notice between
Japanese and English. In Japanese:
1. There are no spaces between words.
2. There are three different types of letters; Hiragana (learned in Lesson 1), Katakana (to be
learned in Lesson 2), and Kanji (to be learned starting from Lesson 3).
3. The punctuation marks are different.
Japanese period 。
Japanese comma 、
4. Anything else? Write down any other differences you noticed in the blank space below.
______________________________________________________________________

When you see that there are no spaces between words, you might think that it will be difficult to read
sentences written in Japanese. However, it is not that complicated once you learn the different roles of
the Japanese characters!

Hiragana is always used as either particles (like は and のfrom this chapter, among others) or at the
end of a sentence to assign tense and to determine whether the sentence is affirmative or negative. In
contrast, kanji and katakana are used for content words like nouns, verbs and adjectives.

You may also see small hiragana called “Furigana” near kanji. Here is an example:


わたし
はミシガン大
だい

がく
の学
がく

せい
です。専
せん

こう
はアジア研
けん

きゅう
です。

Furigana is used as a “reading aid” for kanji. It is provided to indicate pronunciation for kanji that the
author feels may be unfamiliar to the reader. In horizontal text, it is placed above the line of text (in
Genki textbook, furigana is put under the kanji). In vertical text, it is placed to the right of the line of
text, as illustrated below.


かん










ASIANLAN 125 First Year Japanese Lesson 1 : Reading and Writing Homework

2

Read the following passage again. Notice that Furigana are provided this time.


はじめまして。私
わたし
はマット
ま っ と
・スミス
す み す
です。ミシガン
み し が ん

だい

がく
の学
がく

せい
です。

いま
、一
いち

ねん

せい
です。十
じゅう

きゅう

さい
です。専
せん

こう
は日


ほん


です。よろしくおねがいします。

Try the following exercise:
(1) Circle the topic marker particle は
(2) Underline です(notice that it is found at the end of sentences!)

This is what you should end up with:

¹はじめまして。² 私
わたし
はマット
ま っ と
・スミス
す み す
です。³ミシガン
み し が ん

だい

がく
の学
がく

せい
です。
⁴今
いま
、一
いち

ねん

せい
です。⁵ 十
じゅう

きゅう

さい
です。⁶専
せん

こう
は日


ほん


です。⁷よろしくおねがいします。

Let’s look at sentence 2: Now that you’ve circled the topic marker particle は, you can easily identify
the topic of the sentence. Here you see 私
わたし
は, which means the topic of the sentence is 私
わたし
; the
speaker is going to talk about himself. In sentences 3, 4, and 5 you don’t see another topic marker
particle は. This means that these sentences share the same topic with sentence 2; the speaker keeps
talking about himself.
In other words, the topic 私
わたし
is omitted in sentences 3, 4, and 5 because, from the speaker’s point of
view, it is shared (or old) information. Since the topic was already mentioned in sentence 2, the
speaker feels it does not need to be repeated. In general, Japanese people tend to omit topics when
they think they are mutually understood between the speaker and the listener.
Following this, the speaker will usually use another topic marker sentence when changing topics. An
example of this can be seen in the use of は in sentence 6, where the speaker moves on to talk about
his major (rather than himself).

Topics can be very long as you can see in the following case. Circle the topic marker particle and think
of the meaning of the sentence as a whole.

a. 私
わたし
の友
とも

だち
の明
あきら
さんのお母
かあ
さんの名


まえ
は陽
よう


です。
b. 私
わたし
の住

んでいる町
まち
は東
とう

きょう
です。






ASIANLAN 125 First Year Japanese Lesson 1 : Reading and Writing Homework

3

2. 友
とも

だち



しゅう
:Looking for a friend
In this activity, you are looking for a Japanese pen pal. You visited a web page where prospective pen pals
post their information. Read the messages and answer the following questions.

たんごリスト 数
すう

がく
mathematics 学
がっ

こう
school 学
がく

ねん
years grade




















Comprehension: Complete the following forms with information about the four people above. (Don’t
worry about writing kanji!)
A.
なまえ _______________________________
がっこう______________________________
がくねん______________________________
せんこう______________________________
しゅっしん (if mentioned)
_______________________________

C.
なまえ _______________________________
がっこう______________________________
がくねん______________________________
せんこう______________________________
しゅっしん (if mentioned)
_______________________________
B.
なまえ ____________________________
がっこう____________________________
がくねん____________________________
せんこう____________________________
しゅっしん (if mentioned)
_______________________________

D.
なまえ ____________________________
がっこう___________________________
がくねん___________________________
せんこう___________________________
しゅっしん (if mentioned)
_______________________________

はじめまして、田


なか

ゆう


です。私
わたし
は朝
あさ



だい

がく
の学
がく

せい
です。今
いま




ねん

せい
です。専
せん

こう
は経
けい

ざい
です。出
しゅっ

しん
は東
とう

きょう
です。
どうぞよろしくお願いします。
こんにちは!私
わたし
は原
はら



りょう
です。東
とう



だい

がく
の一
いち

ねん

せい
です。

せん

こう
は歴
れき


です。出
しゅっ

しん
は広
ひろ

しま
です。どうぞよろしく!
はじめまして!私
わたし
は長
なが



だい

がく
の学
がく

せい
です。三
さん

ねん

せい
です。



まえ
は北
きた


ひろみです。21歳
さい
です。専
せん

こう
は数
すう

がく
です。
どうぞよろしく!
はじめまして。私
わたし
は加


とう

やす


です。都
みやこ

だい

がく
の二


ねん

せい
です。

せん

こう
は工
こう

がく
です。どうぞよろしくお願
ねが
いします。
A.



B.



C.



D.

ASIANLAN 125 First Year Japanese Lesson 1 : Reading and Writing Homework

4

*Refer to the grading criteria [ Ac. /6, P.K. /6, Ex. /6, Con. /6, Org. /6: Total ______/30]
on next page Bonus point /1
3. Writing: Now it is time for you to post your own message on the web page to get find a Japanese
pen pal. Use the “Looking for a friend” sample messages in (2.) as a model, but try to express yourself as
much as possible!
Notes on format:
1) Write sentences horizontally. → → →
2) Write hiragana (and English) as neatly as possible.
3) Pay attention to the position of small letters and punctuations.
4) When you do not know how to write English words in Japanese, use English as shown in the
example below. Put two letters in one box.
Ex.








→ →















Draw your
picture!

せん

せい
のコ







(Teacher’s comment)
ASIANLAN 125 First Year Japanese Lesson 1 : Reading and Writing Homework

5

Grading criteria: Writing part worth total 30 points.
6 point Ac. (Accuracy) Write sentences as accurately as possible.
6 point P.K. (Penmanship) Write hiragana as neatly as possible. If you use kanji that have not
introduced in this course yet, write furigana on top of the kanji.
6 point Ex. (Grammar patterns,
expressions and vocabulary)
Use as many new grammar patterns, expressions and vocabulary words
as possible.
6 point Con. (Contents and length) Your passage should (1) be of sufficient length, using most or all of the
space provided, (2) be rich in content.
6 point Org. (Organization, flow of
the passage)
You need to pay attention to the coherence of sentences so that it is easy
for the reader to understand your passage. Hint: Conjunctions are helpful
for improving organization.
1 point Bonus point For creativity, effort, etc.