Let’s say you’re in Japan and want to take a bus to Tokyo station. Do you know what to ask? What about if you’re planning a tour of Japan? Will you be able to ask where the tour is going and when it is leaving? These obviously very important questions will be a big part of your Japanese experience. This Newbie Japanese article introduces indispensable concepts such as how to ask about a destination. If you might need to ask where a bus is heading in Japanese, this article is for you. Save time and enjoy Japan a whole lot more by reading this Japanese article. In addition, learn a plethora of vocabulary words, and casual and polite phrases.
Vocabulary: In this article, you’ll learn the following words and phrases:
Fuji-san – “Mt. Fuji”
kirei (na) – “beautiful” (-na ending adjective)
watashi-tachi – “we, us”
ikimasu – “to go” (masu form)
densha – “train”
kyoo – “today, this day”
Grammar: In this article, you’ll learn the following words and phrases:
Useful Vocabulary and Phrases:
We can read the Kanji for kyoo in two ways: kyoo and konnichi. We use kyoo most commonly in daily conversations. Please review the definitions below.
- kinoo – “yesterday”
- kyoo – “today”
- ashita – “tomorrow”
*Kinoo, ashita, and kyoo have irregular readings. We call this jukujikun or “idiomatic reading.” It means that the Kanji we use in jukujikun were chosen based on the meaning of the characters, not the Chinese readings of individual characters.
watashi-tachi “we, us”
Tachi is a suffix that we attach to personal pronouns or human proper nouns that makes the preceding noun plural.
Singular (“English”) / Plural (“English”)
watashi (“I”) / watashi-tachi ( “we”)
anata (“you”) (singular) / anata-tachi (“you”) (plural)
kodomo (“kid, child”) / kodomo-tachi (“children”)
Today’s Target Phrase
Kyoo watashi-tachi wa Fuji-san e ikimasu ka.
Are we going to Mt. Fuji today?
Please, review the following definitions:
- kyoo “today”
- watashi-tachi “we”
- wa “topic marker”
- Fuji-san “Mt. Fuji”
- e “particle marker”
- ikimasu “to go” (masu form)
The particle e marks the place or goal towards which the action moves along with the particle ni. Notice that we pronounce the particle e as [e], not he.
Affirmative Sentences: See Japanese Newbie Article, Let’s Talk Tickets: Getting Around in Japan, for more details.
- Subject / wa / Place or Direction / ni or e / ikimasu. Watashi-tachi / wa / Fuji-san / ni / ikimasu. Kono basu / wa / Tookyoo-eki / e / ikimasu.
Simple Question Sentences: The sentence-ending particle ka makes the sentence a question.
- Subject / wa / Place or Direction / ni or e / ikimasu / ka. Watashitachi / wa / Fuji-san / ni / ikimasu / ka. Kono basu / wa / Tookyoo-eki / e / ikimasu / ka. Kono densha / wa / Nagano-eki / ni / ikimasu / ka.
Negative Sentences: You can get the negative form of a verb’s masu form by simply dropping masu and adding masen. See the examples below:
- “English” / masu form of the verb / polite negative “to understand” / wakarimasu / wakarimasen “to go” / ikimasu / ikimasen “to come” / kimasu / kimasen “to return” / kaerimasu / kaerimasen
- Subject / wa / Place or Direction / ni / ikimasen. Watashitachi / wa / Fuji-san / ni / ikimasen. Kono basu / wa / Tookyoo-eki / ni / ikimasen. Kono densha / wa / Nagano-eki / ni / ikimasen
Interrogative Question Sentences: As you can see above, the sentence, watashitachi wa Fuji-san ni ikimasu ka, means “are we going to Mt. Fuji?” When you want to say, “where are we going,” put doko (“where”) into the section for “place” for the actual place.
- Subject / wa / doko (“where”) / ni or e / ikimasu / ka. Watashitachi / wa / doko / ni / ikimasu / ka. Kono basu / wa / doko / e / ikimasu / ka. Kono densha / wa / doko / ni / ikimasu / ka.
- Sumimasen. Kono basu wa Tookyoo-eki ni ikimasu ka. “Excuse me. Does this bus go to Tokyo station?”
- Iie, ikimasen. “No, it doesn’t.”
- Sumimasen. Kore wa Narita e ikimasu ka. “Excuse me. Does this go to Narita?”
- Hai, ikimasu. “Yes, it does.”
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