Japanese Vocabulary Lesson

Today, let’s look at a large list of time and season related vocabulary words. This lesson is taken from our book, Ninja Penguin.  This book teaches the geography of Japan (learn all about Japan’s prefectures) but it also is full of short language lessons such as this. Check it out at Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com.au, or TheJapanShop.com.


日曜日 nichiyoubi Sunday
月曜日 getsuyoubi Monday
火曜日 kayoubi Tuesday
水曜日 suiyoubi Wednesday
木曜日 mokuyoubi Thursday
金曜日 kinyoubi Friday
土曜日 doyoubi Saturday
shuu a week
先週 sen shuu last week
今週 kon shuu this week
来週 rai shuu next week

Like most languages, the names of the days of the week are based on planetary names or an elemental force of nature:
nichi—the sun
getsu—the moon
水 sui—water
金 kin—gold
土 do—the earth; ground


hi a day
今日 kyou today
昨日 kinou yesterday
明日 ashita tomorrow [also: あす asu]
nen a year [also とし toshi] 去年 kyonen last year
今年 kotoshi this year
来年 rainen next year


haru spring
natsu summer
aki fall; autumn
fuyu winter


There are many helpful prefixes in Japanese that will substantially increase your vocabulary with minimal effort. One such prefix is 今 which by itself means “now.” Its pronunciation is somewhat irregular, but learn these well:

今日 kyou—today
今週 konshuu—this week
今月 kongetsu—this month
今年 kotoshi—this year

Another is 来 rai meaning “to come.”
来週 raishuu—next week
来月 raigetsu—next month
来年 rainen—next year


一日 tsuitachi 1st of the month
二日 futsuka 2nd of the month; 2 days
三日 mikka 3rd of the month; 3 days
四日 yokka 4th of the month; 4 days
五日 itsuka 5th of the month; 5 days
六日 muika 6th of the month; 6 days
七日 nanoka 7th of the month; 7 days
八日 youka 8th of the month; 8 days
九日 kokonoka 9th of the month; 9 days
十日 tooka 10th of the month; 10 days
二十日 hatsuka 20th of the month; 20 days

If you learn the above, you can easily come up with the rest of the days of the month. Simply use the “Chinese” numbers with nichi. For example, the 11th is juuichi nichi.
To say a span of days—two days time, for example—simply add “kan” after the name of the day. EXCEPT—isn’t there always an exception?—one day. To say “one day,” use ichi nichi.

1 day = 一日 ichi nichi
2 days = 二日間 futsuka kan
10 days = 十日間 tooka kan
25 days = 二十五日間 nijuugo nichi kan

If you liked this lesson, Ninja Penguin has many more such lessons, covers interesting facts about Japan’s geography and culture, and includes free MP3s for all the Japanese. Get it today. It is cheap! About $4.49 for the eBook (includes downloadable MP3s) and not much more for the paperback version (also includes downloadable MP3s). Check it out at Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com.au, or TheJapanShop.com.

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