Another how to speak Japanese lesson is here!
Today’s how to speak Japanese lesson will concentrate on giving directions.
Imagine arriving in Tokyo or Osaka tomorrow. For someone that’s never been there before, they are confusing cities. One of the most important things you need to know is how to ask for, and listen to, directions.
When I first arrived in Japan I was able to ask for directions but couldn’t understand the directions people gave me! So, today I’m going to take the confusion out of it for you.
First I will give you the Japanese, then the English translation and then we’ll break down the words.
Are you ready?
Japanese thinking cap on?
Today’s conversation is between a man in the street otoko no hito and Sally sari. Remember, I try to write these conversations as you would actually hear them in Japan, not as you would study them in a text book.
sari: chotto, sumi masen. byouin doko ni arimasu ka?
otoko no hito: higashi byouin desu ka?
otoko no hito: massugu itte, ano ooki na hon ya o migi ni magatte kudasai.
sari: wakarimashita. arigatou gozaimashita.
How about in English?
sari: Excuse me, sorry to trouble you. Where is the hospital?
otoko no hito: You mean the east hospital?
otoko no hito: Go straight ahead. At the big book store turn right..
sari: I understand. Thanks very much for that.
Now let’s work through it word by word
chotto sumi masen sumi masen means excuse me, adding chotto to the front gives it the connotation of “sorry to trouble you”. You would add the chotto when asking a stranger for help, but never when you talk to sales clearks.
doko ni arimasu ka where does it exist (can also you doko desu ka which is less formal)
itte -te form of verb (go) (iku)
ano that, over there (not near either of us)
ooki na big
magatte -te form of verb (turn) (magaru)
wakarimashita I understood
arigatou gozaimashita past tense thank you, literally “thank you for what you did.”
Pay particular attention to this line: ano ooki na hon ya o migi ni magatte kudasai
The sentence structure is helpful to remember,