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c ?


The first step is to learn the alphabet. Or, at least, the sounds that exist in the Japanese language.
There are absolutely no "tones" like in Chinese, Thai, etc. and there are only 2 exceptions within the
alphabet which will be explained later. The characters listed below are called Hiragana. It is the main
alphabet for Japanese. The Japanese language also consists of Chinese characters (Kanji), which we
will get into later, and another alphabet, Katakana, which is mainly used for foreign words. Katakana
will be covered in ë  .

There are 5 vowels in the Japanese language. (a), pronounced "ahh", (i), pronounced like "e" in "eat",
(u), pronounced like "oo" in "soon", (e), pronounced like "e" in "elk", and (o), pronounced "oh". All
Hiragana characters end with one of these vowels, with the exception of (n). The only "consonant"
that does not resemble that of English is the Japanese "r". It is slightly "rolled" as if it were a
combination of a "d", "r", and "l".

G u Œ £ º î  


aY iY uY eY oY
Ñ è ÿ  - è è è
kaY kiY kuY keY koY kyaY kyuY kyoY

 D [ r ‰ D D D
gaY giY guY geY goY gyaY gyuY gyoY

  · Î å ü · · ·
saY shiY suY seY soY shaY shuY shoY

 A X o † A A A
zaY jiY zuY zeY zoY jaY juY joY

 ´ Ë â ù ´ ´ ´
taY chiY tsuY teY toY chaY chuY choY

 ' > U l ƒ ƒ ƒ
daY jiY zuY deY doY nyaY nyuY nyoY

 ƒ š ± È ? ? ?
naY niY nuY neY noY
Y

hyaY hyuY hyoY

ß ? ö $ R R R
haY hiY fuY heY hoY byaY byuY byoY

; R i € —   
baY biY buY beY boY pyaY pyuY pyoY

®  ] V m 6 6 6
paY piY puY peY poY myaY myuY myoY

 6 M ë w   
maY miY muY meY moY Y
ryaY ryuY ryoY

§ Õ Ú
yaY Y yuY Y yoY
 › Å Ü
raY riY ruY reY roY
ó
!
waY woY n/mY Y Y
Y
0   
1. ß (ha) is pronounced "wa" when it immediately follows the topic of the sentence. It is usually only
pronounced "ha" when it is part of a word.
2. (he) is pronounced "e" when it immediately follows a place or direction. Both of these are very
simple to detect.

Click 9  if you'd like to know why these two exceptions exist.

  You probably noticed that there are 2 "zu" and 2 "ji". > (zu) and ' (ji) are very rarely used. >
(zu) only occurs when there is a Ë (tsu) in front of it like in Ë>ÿ (tsuzuku - to continue) or when a
Kanji (Chinese character) that starts with Ë (tsu) is paired at the end with another character changing
the Ë (tsu) to a > (zu). The same applies for ' (ji). Since they are used so rarely I wouldn't worry
about them too much. I will let you know whenever we come upon a word in which they are used.



















c c
As mentioned in ë  , Katakana is mainly used for foreign words such as names and words that
have been borrowed from other languages such as ¨   (kompyu-ta- = computer). The
Japanese language does not have as many sounds as the English language so, when creating a
name in Katakana for instance, the name must be sound out to the closest Japanese equivalent.
Katakana, Hiragana, and Furigana (when Hiragana is written small next to a Kanji character to show
how that character is read) are collectively known as Kana.

 w Ž ¥ ¼ î  


aY iY uY eY oY
c Ó ê  ¨ Ó Ó Ó
kaY kiY kuY keY koY kyaY kyuY kyoY

 / F ] t / / /
gaY giY guY geY goY gyaY gyuY gyoY

‹ ¢ ¹ Ð ç ¢ ¢ ¢
saY shiY suY seY soY shaY shuY shoY

þ  , C Z   
zaY jiY zuY zeY zoY jaY juY joY

q ˆ Ÿ ¶ q q q
taY chiY tsuY teY toY chaY chuY choY

Í ä û  ) @ @ @
daY jiY zuY deY doY nyaY nyuY nyoY

 @ W n … ³ ³ ³
hyaY hyuY hyoY
Y

naY niY nuY neY noY


œ ³ Ê á ø & & &
haY hiY fuY heY hoY byaY byuY byoY

 & = T k   
baY biY buY beY boY pyaY pyuY pyoY

‚  ™ ° Ç õ õ õ
paY piY puY peY poY myaY myuY myoY

Þ õ # : ­ ­ ­
maY miY muY meY moY Y
ryaY ryuY ryoY

Q h 
yaY Y yuY Y yoY
– ­ Ä Û ò
raY riY ruY reY roY

waY woY n/mY Y Y
Y


e  
ow that you've got the Japanese alphabets down, let's learn some vocabulary words and simple
phrases. I will list the Kanji, Hiragana, Romaji (the word sounded out using English letters), and the
English meaning for each word or phrase. Most words have Kanji for them but I will only include the
Kanji if the word is regularly written that way.

Keep in mind that the Japanese language has different levels of politeness that change based on who
you are talking to. I will refer to these as "ultra-formal", "formal" (or "polite form"), "normal" (or "plain
form"), "informal", and "rude" (we won't be covering too much of the rude form, however).

?  | 
0 9   Y
  Y
c  Y 0 9ë  
Y
I (formal for males,
ÁY ó·Y watashiY
normal for females)Y
Y —ÿY bokuY I (normal for males)Y
ØY ÑÅY kareY heY
Ø Y ÑÈAY kanojoY sheY
GY GY anataY you (singular/normal)Y
-ÅY -ÅY koreY this (the object itself)Y
--Y --Y kokoY hereY
-ÈY -ÈY konoY this (ex. this pen)Y
üÅY üÅY soreY that (the object itself)Y
ü-Y ü-Y sokoY thereY
üÈY üÈY sonoY that (ex. that pen)Y
Y ?ùY hitoY personY
Y ušY inuY dogY
4Y ±-Y nekoY catY
KY u£Y ieY houseY
GùŒY GùŒY arigatouY Thank you. (normal)Y
GùŒ GùŒ
arigatou gozaimasuY Thank you. (formal)Y
‰uÎY ‰uÎY
You're welcome.
lŒu··âY lŒu··âY douitashimashiteY
(normal)Y
ohayou Good morning.
ºßڌY ºßڌY
(sounds like "Ohio")Y (informal)Y
Good morning.
ºßڌ‰uÎY ºßڌ‰uÎY ohayou gozaimasuY
(normal and formal)Y
-!ƒ´ßY -!ƒ´ßY konnichiwaY Hello. (normal)Y
Good evening.
-!;!ßY -!;!ßY konbanwaY
(normal)Y

Y
 Ú Y  Ú Y sayonaraY Goodbye. (normal)Y
by 
Japanese grammar is quite simple and straight forward but very different from English grammar so
most English speakers find it rather confusing. For instance, the verb always comes at the end. The
best thing you can do when learning Japanese grammar is to learn it from the bottom up and not
compare it to English grammar.

Japanese grammar uses what we will refer to as particles to mark the various parts of the sentence.
The main particles are: (These particles will be described in more detail below)

wa

ßY
(as mentioned in  , the Hiragana "ha" is
topic markerY
pronounced "wa" when it immediately follows the
topic)Y

Y gaY subject markerY


Y
wo
direct object markerY
(pronounced "o")Y
direction marker, time
ƒY niY marker, indirect object
markerY
e

Y
(as mentioned in  , the Hiragana "he" is
direction markerY
pronounced "e" when it immediately follows a
Y
place or direction)Y

"9      ß


   
 The particle "wa" marks the topic of the sentence and the
particle "ga" marks the subject of the sentence. In the example, "I know where you live"
(watashi wa anata ga doko ni sunde iru ka shitte iru), "I" would be the topic while "you" would be the
subject.

ot all sentences have both a topic and subject and, in many cases, the topic is implied in Japanese
(for example, the "I" (watashi wa) would be left out of this sentence because it is implied that since I
am talking I am the one that knows where you live). Many Japanese books and teachers teach that
"wa" and "ga" are the same thing and it doesn't matter which you use when. This is not the case but I
wouldn't worry too much about keeping them straight at first.

"9      

 The particle "wo" (or "o") marks the direct object of the sentence. In the
example, "I'm going to take her home" (watashi wa kanojo wo ie ni okuru), "her" would be the direct
object.

"9    ƒ


 The particle "ni" can be used to mark the direction, time, or the indirect object
of a sentence.

An example of a direction marker can be seen in the previous example "I'm going to take her home"
(watashi wa kanojo wo ie ni okuru). In this case, the "ni" acts like a "to" - "I'm going to take her 'to'
home". The particle "e" ( ) can be used in this way as well but usually implies more of a general
direction as opposed to a specific place.

The particle "ni" is also used to mark time in a sentence. For example, "I'm leaving at 3 o'clock"
(watashi wa sanji ni hanareru).

The final use for the particle "ni" is that of indirect object marker. In the example, "I was taken home
by him" (watashi wa kare ni ie made okurareta), "him" is the indirect object.
  The "watashi wa" in all of the example sentenced used above would normally be left out as it is
implied.

  "    9 

Before we get too much further into grammar and verb conjugation, I thought it would be a good idea
to teach numbers, time, days of the week, etc.

| 
  Y ? c Y 0 9   Y
0 9ë  
Y
ìY u´Y ichiY oneY

Y ƒY niY twoY

Y  !Y sanY threeY

1Y · Ú!Y shi (yon after 10)Y fourY

vY ‰Y goY fiveY
Y ÜÿY rokuY sixY
¤Y ·´ Y shichi (nana after 10)Y sevenY
»Y ß´Y hachiY eightY
ÒY èŒY kyuuY nineY

éY AŒY juuY tenY

Y ? ÿY hyakuY hundredY
Y

umbers after 10 are a piece of cake once you know 1 through 10. 11 is simply ten with a one after it,
éì (AŒu´, juuichi), 12 - juuni, 13 - juusan, 14 - juuyon, etc. 20 is simply é (ƒAŒ, nijuu),
21 - nijuuichi, and so forth.

Put these numbers in front of the character for time  and you've got the time of the day.

| 
  Y ? c Y 0 9   Y
0 9ë  
Y
ìY u´AY ichijiY one o'clockY

Y ƒAY nijiY two o'clockY

Y ƒAß!Y nijihanY two thirty ( means half)Y


1évY ƒAÚ!AŒ‰ö!Y nijiyonjuugofunY 2:45 ( means minute)Y

Y
...etc.Y

ow just put the character for moon s after a number and you've got a month.

| 
  Y ? c Y 0 9   Y
0 9ë  
Y
ìsY u´ËY ichigatsuY JanuaryY
sY ƒËY nigatsuY FebruaryY

sY  !ËY sangatsuY MarchY


1sY ·ËY shigatsuY AprilY

Y
...etc.Y

Days of the week don't follow such an easy pattern but here they are anyway along with some other
time-related words.

| 
  Y? c Y 0 9  Y
0 9ë  
Y
Sunday (Š -
Š ŠY ƒ´ÚŒRY nichiyoubiY
sun/day)Y
Monday (s -
s ŠY rËڌRY getsuyoubiY
moon)Y
¸ ŠY ÑڌRY kayoubiY Tuesday (¸ - fire)Y
Wednesday (Ï -
Ï ŠY ÎuڌRY suiyoubiY
water)Y
Thursday (æ -
æ ŠY wÿڌRY mokuyoubiY
tree/wood)Y
ý ŠY è!ڌRY kinyoubiY Friday (ý - gold)Y
 ŠY lڌRY doyoubiY Saturday ( - dirt)Y
+ŠY èŒY kyouY TodayY
BŠY G·Y ashitaY TomorrowY
YŠY èȌY kinouY YesterdayY
the day before
ìYŠY ºùùuY ototoiY
yesterdayY
the day after
tomorrow (a small
B ŠY G âY asatteY
"tsu" () makes a
double consonant)Y
+Y  Y kesaY this morningY
+Y -!;!Y konbanY this eveningY
Y
+Y uY imaY nowY
Y

Y
be v
ow, before you can start making up sentences of your own, you need to learn how to conjugate
verbs. Verbs are the most important part of the Japanese sentence. Often times Japanese people will
leave out everything but the verb.

They are very big on leaving out the obvious and sometimes not so obvious which can get confusing
at times. There are only 3 types of verbs in the Japanese language and they each follow a pattern
that is very simple and very rarely has any exceptions. Most Japanese verbs fall into the first group,
the Godan (v) verbs. These verbs always conjugate the same way with only one exception. These
verbs have five changes that follow the order of the Japanese vowels, hence the name Godan
(meaning 5 levels or steps), and then the "te" and "ta" forms that are common to all verbs. Here's an
example:

| 
  Y ? c Y
0 9ë  
Y
e  Y

ÎY ßÎY hanasu (to speak)Y


Y
 Y ß Y hanasaY Base 1Y

·Y ß·Y hanashiY Base 2Y

ÎY ßÎY hanasuY Base 3Y

åY ßåY hanaseY Base 4Y

üŒY ßüŒY hanasouY Base 5Y

·âY ß·âY hanashiteY Base "te"Y

·Y ß·Y hanashitaY Base "ta"Y


Y

   Base 1 can not be used by itself but becomes the plain form negative simply by adding -nai.
(ex. hanasanai - I won't say anything.) If the verb ends in Œ (u) then the end for Base 1 becomes ó
(wa). (ex. au (Base 1) -> awa)
(Plain form is what people use when talking to a friend. It would not be proper to use in a business
environment. We will go over the polite form in lesson 8.)

  Base 2 is, in most cases, a noun when used by itself but is primarily used with the polite form
of the verb.

   Base 3 is the main form (the one that would be found in the dictionary) and is also the plain
form present/future tense.

   Base 4 is most often used as "if verb" by adding -ba. (ex. hanaseba - If he'd just say
something.) It can also be used by itself as a command form but it is extremely rude and I recommend
not using it at all.

   Base 5 is used by itself as the "let's" form. (ex. hanasou - Let's talk.) We will get into other
ways it's used in later lessons.

   Base "te" can be used by itself as a plain form command. It is not rude but should only be
used with close friends and children. By adding kudasai it becomes the polite form command. Base
"te" can also be used in other ways that we will get into in later lessons.

   Base "ta" is merely Base "te" with an "a" sound on the end instead of an "e" sound. It is
mainly used by itself as the plain form past tense. (ex. hanashita - I talked.) We will get into other
ways it's used in later lessons.
   There is one thing that you'll need to learn in order to conjugate the "te" and "ta" forms
correctly. Basically, for all Godan verbs ending in Œ (u), Ë (tsu), or › (ru); the Œ (u), Ë (tsu), or ›
(ru) becomes â (tte) in the "te" form and  (tta) in the "ta" form. (ex. katsu (to win) -> katte
(Win!), katta (We won!))

For all Godan verbs ending in i (bu), M (mu), or š (nu); the i (bu), M (mu), or š (nu) becomes !
U (nde) in the "te" form and ! (nda) in the "ta" form. (ex. yomu (to read -> yonde (Read it.), yonda
(I read it.))

For all Godan verbs ending in ÿ (ku), the ÿ (ku) becomes uâ (ite) in the "te" form and u (ita) in
the "ta" form. (ex. aruku (to walk) -> aruite (Walk!), aruita (I walked here.)) The only exception to this
rule is for the verb iku (to go) which becomes u  â , u   (itte/itta).

For all Godan verbs ending in [ (gu), the [ (gu) becomes uU (ide) in the "te" form and u (ida) in
the "ta" form. (ex. oyogu (to swim) -> oyoide (Swim!), oyoida (I swam.))

For all Godan verbs ending in Î (su), the Î (su) becomes ·â (shite) in the "te" form and · (shita)
in the "ta" form. (ex. hanasu (to talk) -> hanashite (Say something!), hanashita (I talked (to him).))

Here are some Godan verbs. Try conjugating them on a piece of paper using what you have just
learned. Click 9  for the answers.

| 
  Y ? c Y 0 9   Y
0 9ë  
Y
?ŒY GŒY auY to meetY

ËY ÑËY katsuY to winY

›Y Œ›Y uruY to sellY

iY GüiY asobuY to playY

MY ÈMY nomuY to drinkY

VšY ·šY shinuY to dieY

ÿY G›ÿY arukuY to walkY

m[Y ºÚ[Y oyoguY to swimY

„ÎY ÎY kesuY to erase, turn offY


to go
›ÿY uÿY ikuY (Remember the exception for
Y
Bases "te"and "ta")Y
Y





J9 e ì
The second group of verbs are called Ichidan (ì) verbs. It is usually an Ichidan verb if it ends with
the sound "iru" or "eru". Some well used verbs which appear to be Ichidan but are really Godan are
listed 9  . Ichidan verbs also follow a simple conjugation pattern that is somewhat similar to that of
the Godan verbs. Here's an example:

| 
  Y ? c Y
0 9ë  
Y
e  Y

²€›Y €›Y taberu (to eat)Y


Y
²€Y €Y tabeY Base 1Y

²€Y €Y tabeY Base 2Y

²€›Y €›Y taberuY Base 3Y

²€ÅY €ÅY tabereY Base 4Y

²€ÚŒY €ÚŒY tabeyouY Base 5Y

²€âY €âY tabeteY Base "te"Y

²€Y €Y tabetaY Base "ta"Y


Y

       As you can see, Base 1 and 2 are the same. Just like with the Godan verbs, a
negative can be made by adding -nai (ex. tabenai - I will not eat.) and this base, or root form, is also
used for the formal form of the verb.

   Base 3 is the same as with Godan verbs.

  Base 4, however, can not be used by itself like with Godan verbs. It is only used for "if verb"
by adding -ba. (ex. tabereba - If I eat it...) It is not the low command form for Ichidan verbs. The low
command form for Ichidan verbs is Base 1 + Ü (ro).

   Base 5 is the same as with Godan verbs.

        The Base "te" and "ta" forms for Ichidan verbs are a lot easier than with
Godan verbs. Simply take off the "ru" and add a "te" for Base "te" and a "ta" for Base "ta". These have
the same functions as with Godan verbs.

Here are some Ichidan verbs. Try conjugating them on a piece of paper using what you have just
learned. Click 9  for the answers.

| 
  Y ? c Y 0 9   Y
0 9ë  
Y
to exist (animate), to be
u›Y u›Y iruY
somewhereY
›Y 6›Y miruY to seeY

à›Y ±›Y neruY to sleepY

÷›Y è›Y kiruY to wear, put onY

 ›Y Uè›Y dekiruY can doY

£›Y º—£›Y oboeruY to rememberY


Y

J  e 
The last type of verbs are the Irregular verbs but there are only 2 of them in the entire language so
just memorize their charts below. The first one is suru (to do something). Many nouns can be used as
a verb simply by putting "suru" right after them. It is probably the most used of all Japanese verbs.
The second Irregular verb is kuru (to come).

| 
  Y ? c Y
0 9ë  
Y
e  Y

ΛY ΛY suru (to do)Y


Y
·Y ·Y shiY Base 1Y

·Y ·Y shiY Base 2Y

ΛY ΛY suruY Base 3Y

ÎÅY ÎÅY sureY Base 4Y

·ÚŒY ·ÚŒY shiyouY Base 5Y

·âY ·âY shiteY Base "te"Y

·Y ·Y shitaY Base "ta"Y


Y

The functions for these bases are the same as for the Godan verbs except that Base 4 can only be
used as the "if verb".
The rude command form is "Shiro".

| 
  Y ? c Y 0 9ë  
Y
e  Y

›Y ÿ›Y kuru (to come)Y


Y
Y -Y koY Base 1Y

Y èY kiY Base 2Y

›Y ÿ›Y kuruY Base 3Y

ÅY ÿÅY kureY Base 4Y

ڌY -ڌY koyouY Base 5Y

âY èâY kiteY Base "te"Y

Y èY kitaY Base "ta"Y


Y

The functions for these bases are the same as for the Godan verbs except that Base 4 can only be
used as the "if verb".
The rude command form is "Koi" and really should only be used on animals.



< e  
ow that you know about 30 verbs and can conjugate them, I'll show you what you can do with those
bases. You may want to regularly refer to ë  and ë  while learning these. The following
chart applies to all verbs unless otherwise noted.

?  | 
0 9   Y
c  Y 0 9ë  
Y
Base 1 + uY Base 1 + naiY plain form negative (will not verb) Y
Base 1 + Ñ
Base 1 + nakattaY plain form past negative (did not verb) Y
Y
Base 2 + ÎY Base 2 + masuY polite form present/future tenseY
Base 2 + ·Y Base 2 + mashitaY polite form past tenseY
Base 2 + å!Y Base 2 + masenY polite form negative (will not verb) Y
Base 2 + å! Base 2 + masen
polite form past negative (did not verb) Y
U·Y deshitaY
Base 2 + uY Base 2 + taiY want to verb (add UÎ (desu) to make it polite)Y
Base 3Y Base 3Y plain form present/future tense Y
Base 4 + ;Y Base 4 + baY if verbY
plain form can verb (Godan verbs only)
Base 4 + ›Y Base 4 + ruY
(verb now becomes an Ichidan verb)Y
polite form can verb (can be changed like
Base 4 + ÎY Base 4 + masuY
above)Y
try to verb
Base 5 + ùΛY Base 5 + to suruY (this suru is the same verb learned in lesson 7
(to do something))Y
want someone else to verb
Base "te" + ·
Base "te" + hoshiiY (hoshii is an adjective which will be covered in
uY the next lesson)Y
Base "te"Y Base "te"Y plain form commandY
Base "te" + O  Base "te" +
polite form commandY
uY kudasaiY
plain form presently verbing
Base "te" + u›Y Base "te" + iruY (this iru is the same verb learned in lesson 7
(to exist (animate))Y
Base "te" + u polite form presently verbing (can be changed
Base "te" + imasuY
ÎY like above)Y
Base "ta"Y Base "ta"Y plain form past tense Y
Base "ta" + Y Base "ta" + raY if and when I verb (similar to Base 4 + ba) Y
do such things as...
Base "ta" + Î Base "ta" + ri
(this suru is also the same verb learned in
›Y suruY
lesson 7 (to do something))Y
Y
    
There are two different types of words that can be used to modify nouns and verbs. One group is
much like what we would call an adjective but they can also modify verbs as well. We will refer to
these as "dv". The other group can, in most cases, stand alone like a noun but can also be used to
modify nouns and verbs. We will refer to these as "dn". All words in the "dv" group always end with u
(i). o exceptions. This is placed in front of a noun in order to modify it. For example:

| 
  Y ? c Y 0 9   Y
0 9ë  
Y
˜uY GÑuÿ›Y akai kurumaY red carY
Y

These words can be conjugated to form different tenses, modify verbs, etc. Here is how that is done:

| 
? c  Y 0 9   Y
0 9ë  
Y
modifies a verb (akaku natta ->
drop the "i" and add
drop the u and add ÿY became red)
"ku"Y
(naru is the verb "to become")Y
drop the u and add ÿ drop the "i" and add present tense negative (akakunai -
uY "kunai"Y > is not red)Y
drop the u and add Ñ drop the "i" and add
past tense (akakatta -> was red)Y
Y "katta"Y
past tense negative (akakunakatta -
drop the u and add ÿ drop the "i" and add > was not red)
ѝY "kunakatta"Y (This one might take a little practice
Y
saying.)Y

It's not as easy to recognize a "dn" but I will point them out in the vocabulary lists. Sometimes you'll
even find a "dn" that ends in u (i) (ex. kirei - pretty). As mentioned before, these words can, in most
cases, be used by themselves like a noun (ex. shizen - nature). By adding a  (na) to the end of
these words they can be used to modify a noun (ex. shizen na kankyou -> a natural environment).
And by adding a ƒ (ni) to the end of these words they can be used to modify a verb as an adverb (ex.
shizen ni aruku -> to walk naturally).
Here's a list of some commonly used "dv" and "dn":

| 
 ? 
0 9 0 9  Y
 Y c Y
ë  
Y
˜uY GÑuY akai (dv)Y redY
¯ uY èuÜuY kiiroi (dv)Y yellowY
ÝuY GºuY aoi (dv)Y blueY
uY ÿÜuY kuroi (dv)Y blackY
ôuY ·ÜuY shiroi (dv)Y whiteY
ôuY ºw·ÜuY omoshiroi (dv)Y interesting, funnyY
"uY GËuY atsui (dv)Y hotY
9uY  MuY samui (dv)Y coldY
PèuY ººèuY ookii (dv)Y bigY
g uY ´u uY chiisai (dv)Y smallY
~ Y ·o!Y shizen (dn)Y natureY
Y èÅuY kirei (dn)Y pretty, cleanY
¬ Y ·ËÅuY shitsurei (dn)Y rudeY
ÚÑY ·XÑY shizuka (dn)Y quietY
ñY ùÿ€ËY tokubetsu (dn)Y specialY
Y r!èY genki (dn)Y in good spiritsY
Y !Y hen (dn)Y weird, strangeY
 Y AŒXY jouzu (dn)Y skillfulY
Y ·!åËY shinsetsu (dn)Y kind, niceY
"cool", good
dY ÎâèY suteki (dn)Y
Y
lookingY





     
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:

’ 
0 9   Y
Y (In Kanji, Hiragana, and Romaji) Y
-!ƒ´ßë·â
   -!ƒ´ßßAë·â Hello. ice to meet you.
Konnichi wa. Hajimemashite.
ë·âºUÎÑ
ice to meet you.
  ßAë·âºr!èUÎÑ
How are you?
Hajimemashite. O-genki desu ka?
ßuUÎ
   ßur!èUÎ I am fine.
Hai, genki desu.
ÁßÀÀÀÀÀÀ ù·ÎGÈº ß
ó·ßÀÀÀÀÀÀ ùwŒ·ÎGÈº
My name is ÀÀÀÀÀÀ.
   £ß
What is your name?
Watashi wa ÀÀÀÀÀÀ to moushimasu. Anata no
o-namae wa?
ÁßÀÀÀÀÀÀ ùuηÿºu·
Î
My name is ÀÀÀÀÀÀ.
  ó·ßÀÀÀÀÀÀ ùuuÎÚÜ·ÿº±u Pleased to make your
·Î acquaintance.
Watashi wa ÀÀÀÀÀÀ to iimasu. Yoroshiku o -
negai shimasu.
·ÿºu·Î
Pleased to make your
   ÚÜ·ÿº±u·Î
acquaintance.
Y
Yoroshiku o-negai shimasu.

0    "Hajimemashite" literally means "it is a beginning" but would be the equivalent of "ice
to meet you" in English. It would only be used the first time meeting someone. As learned in ë ,
"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 ÀÀÀÀÀ". "amae" 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.



9 î9 
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 ( - Gu - 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".

?  | 
  Y 0 9  Y
c Y 0 9ë  
Y
Šºë !AŒRº
tanjoubi omedetou
UùŒ‰ ëUùŒ‰u Happy Birthday!Y
gozaimasuY
uÎY ÎY
B·â G·âºë akemashite
ºëUùŒ UùŒ‰u omedetou Happy ew Year!Y
‰uÎY ÎY gozaimasuY
ºëUùŒ ºëUùŒ‰ omedetou
Congratulations!Y
‰uÎY uÎY gozaimasuY

º6 
Good night.
º§Î6 uY oyasuminasaiY (used when someone
uY
is going to bed)Y
¦  uY ‰ë! uY gomennasaiY I'm sorry.Y
Î6å!Y Î6å!Y sumimasenY Excuse me.Y
¶wÛß ¶wÛßl-U toire wa doko desu Where is the
UÎÑY ÎÑY kaY bathroom?Y
I am hungry.
ºu ºÑÎuâ onaka ga suite
("My stomach is
âuÎY uÎY imasuY
empty.")Y
Y

See ë  for other common phrases.