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Directions in Japanese Quick Kanji Lesson

Directions in Japanese Quick Kanji Lesson

Quick Kanji Lesson

Directions in Japanese

A quick kanji lesson.

Here are a few kanji showing various directions in Japanese. Learn these useful characters when asking for directions or looking at a map. Only the most used readings are given.

On: ジョウ
Kun: うえ

Meaning: up; above

上手(じょうず) skilled; good at; clever
上着(うわぎ) coat; outer garment
その上(うえ)  in addition; furthermore


On: ゲ
Kun: した

Meaning: down; below

靴下(くつした) socks [lit. shoes under] 地下(ちか) underground; basement
年下(としした) junior; younger; young


On: サ
Kun: ひだり

Meaning: left

左手(ひだりて) left hand
左足(ひだりあし) left leg
机の左 (つくえ  ひだり )to the left of the desk


On: ユウ
Kun: みぎ

Meaning: right

右目(みぎめ) right eye
右(みぎ)ページ right page (of a book)
右手(みぎて) right hand


On: ゼン
Kun: まえ

Meaning: before; in front; previous

名前(なまえ) name
前書(まえが)き preface [lit. before the writing] 二年前(ふたねんまえ) two years ago


On: ゴ
Kun: うし・ろ

Meaning: behind; after

最後(さいご) the last; the end; conclusion
後(うし)ろ behind
後書(あとが)き postscript; afterword [lit. after the writing]


On: トウ
Kun: ひがし

Meaning: east

中東(ちゅうとう) the Middle East
東(ひがし)アジア East Asia
東京 (とうきょう )Tokyo

You may recognize the kanji for “east” 東 higashi in Tokyo
東京 toukyou. This is because Tokyo means “east capital.”

Nearly all kanji have at least two readings. In this case, 東 can be pronounced higashi or tou. The first, higashi, is the native Japanese pronunciation, or kun reading. Tou is the Chinese or on reading.

In general, when a kanji character is paired with another kanji, you use the on reading as in toukyou.


西

On: セイ
Kun: にし

Meaning: west

西口(にしぐち) west entrance
関西(かんさい) Osaka and surrounding area; Kansai
西(にし)ドイツ (historical) West Germany
大西洋(たいせいよう) the Atlantic


On: ナン
Kun: みなみ

Meaning: south

東南(とうなん)アジア Southeast Asia
南極(なんきょく) the South Pole; Antarctic
南米(なんべい) South America


On: ホク
Kun: きた

Meaning: north

北海道(ほっかいどう) Hokkaido (most northern part of Japan)
北(きた)アメリカ North America
北京(ぺきん) Beijing (China)
南北戦争(なんぼくせんそう) the (US) Civil War

Directions in JapaneseDownload a graphic

 

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Japanese Alexa Commands: Arekusa, Speak Nihongo!

Japanese Alexa Commands: Arekusa, Speak Nihongo!

Alexa! Speak Japanese.

Did you know you can set your Alexa device to answer in Japanese? Same thing with Siri and other AI assistants. While I am certain these commands work for other devices, let’s look at Alexa specifically.
Alexa speaks Japanese

Click to View Bigger

SETTING UP ALEXA IN JAPANESE

If you have a newer Alexa device, you should be able to set it to Japanese using your Alexa App. First generation Echos do not support Japanese, unfortunately.
  1. Open the Alexa App on your phone.
  2. Click on the bar icon to the top left and choose “Settings”
  3. Choose “Device Settings”
  4. Choose “Language”
  5. Choose “日本語”

JAPANESE ALEXA COMMANDS

You don’t need to be overly polite with Alexa. Drop the kudasai and masu/desu. Most of these commands are taken from the Japanese Alexa help page found here. https://www.amazon.co.jp/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=hp_left_v4_sib?ie=UTF8&nodeId=201608460

COMMON ALEXA COMMANDS

アレクサ arekusa Alexa (the wake word; say this before a command)

Shut her up!

TIME

「何時ですか?」 nanji desu ka?  What time is it?

Most commands have a shortcut which usually can be used in casual speech anyway. For example, to ask for the time, you can just say:

WEATHER

Other weather questions

MUSIC


TIMERS AND ALARMS


INFORMATION

Just as you would in English, ask Alexa trivia, like how tall is Mt. Fuji or Who invented the light bulb.

「空はどうして青いの?」 sora wa doushite aoi no? Why is the sky blue?


MATH

Plus: 「1たす1は?」 ichi tasu ichi wa? What is 1 + 1?

Minus: 「1ひく1は?」 ichi hiku ichi wa? What is 1 – 1?

Multiplication: 「1かける1は?」 ichi kakeru ichi wa? What is 1 x 1?

Division: 「1わる1は?」 ichi waru ichi wa? What is 1 / 1?


NEWS

「今日のニュースは?」 kyou no nyu-su wa? What is today’s news?

To get Japanese news, you’ll need to find and enable the country/ language specific skill in the app and then add it to your briefing.

FUN


Learn More:
Alexa commands in Japanese: (most of the above was taken from this page)
Alexa commands in English:
A site with a great overview of Japanese commands (in Japanese):
https://yuki-no-yabo.com/what-is-amazon-echo/
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Beginner Japanese Sentences: Asking Questions

Beginner Japanese Sentences: Asking Questions

Building upon the first podcast, this episode covers adding a か ka at the end to change a statement into a question.

何か食べたいです。 I want something to eat. – nanika tabetai desu.

[Note: the ‘I’ is assumed, but it just as easily be ‘you’ in the right context.]

To make that into a question, just add か

[Notice I didn’t say ‘Would I like something to eat?’ since it is obvious ‘you’ would be more appropriate]

何か飲みたいです。 I want something to drink. – nanika nomitai desu.

何か飲みたいですか? Would you like something to drink – nanika nomitai desu ka?

Pimsleur Language Programs


 

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Countries and Language Names in Japanese

Countries and Language Names in Japanese

In English we say “Japanese” and “Spanish,” but not “Germanese” or “Americanish.” In Japanese, saying language names is, in some ways, easier. Just add a 語 go after the country mainly associated with the language.

Regular Examples

日本 nihon Japan
日本語 nihongo Japanese

スペイン supein Spain
スペイン語 supeingo Spainish

フランス furansu France
フランス語 furansugo French

ドイツ doitsu Germany
ドイツ語 doitsugo German (language)

ロシア roshia Russia
ロシア語 roshiago Russian (language)

イタリア itaria Italy
イタリア語 itariago Italian

韓国 kankoku (South) Korea
韓国語 kankokugo Korean

中国 chuugoku China
中国語 chuugokugo Chinese (language)

 

Irregular Examples

イギリス igirisu England
アメリカ amerika America
オーストラリア o-sutoraria Australia
ニュージーランド nyu- ji-rando New Zealand
etc.
英語 eigo English

イスラエル israeru Israel
ヘブライ語 heburaigo Hebrew
or ヘブル語 heburugo Hebrew

インド indo India
ヒンディー語 hindi- Hindi

Language Names in Japanese Chart
This, of course, is not a full list. Feel free to add other countries in the comments below.

 

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I Want to… I Really Do, But How Do I Say I Want to in Japanese?

I Want to… I Really Do, But How Do I Say I Want to in Japanese?

Basic Japanese grammar lesson: Using ~たい ~tai–to want to…

  • Adding ~tai adds the “want to” meaning.
  • This is formed by finding the ~masu form and adding ~tai.
  • For example:
    To eat → to want to eat:
    食べる → 食べます → 食べ+たい → 食べたい
    taberu → tabemasu → tabe+tai  →  tabetai
    To Drink → to want to drink:
    飲む → 飲みます → 飲み+たい → 飲みたい
    nomu → nomimasu → nomi+tai  → nomitai

なにか飲みたいです。

nanika nomitai desu.
I want to drink something.

なにか nanika–something
飲みたい nomitai–want to drink [This is formed with the ~masu form of 飲む nomu–to drink + たい tai–(want to…)] です desu–copula (usually like to be)

Next, let’s turn this into a question.

Notice in the above example, we didn’t use a pronoun. The “I” was understood. In this next example, we still won’t use a pronoun, but by adding the question marker か ka, the “you” is implied.

なにか食べたいですか。

nanika tabetai desu ka.
Do you want to eat something?

なにか nanika–something
食べたい tabetai–want to eat [This is formed with the ~masu form of 食べる taberu–to eat + たい tai–(want to…)] です desu–copula (usually like to be)

Pimsleur Language Programs


 

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