Japanese I-6

Kanjis: 1st grade + JLPT N5; Additional kanjis for lessons 1-8:

わたし – I/me ぼく – I/me きみ – you

Sample Conversation

This is not a transcript of the dialog in the recording.

Mr. Ueda and Mrs. Mori, and Mr. Nakada are about to order drinks at a coffee shop.

1: Mr. Ueda; 2: Mrs. Mori; 3: Mr. Nakada

1: Mr. Nakada, will you drink something?
3: Yes. Mr. Ueda? Mrs. Mori?
    What are you going to drink?
1: I’ll drink orange juice.
2: I’ll also drink juice.
    But I’ll drink tomato juice.
3: I’ll drink juice later.
2: When?
3: Later, at my place.
    Now I’ll drink coffee.

1: ueda shi; 2: mori fujin; 3: nakada shi

1: Nakada san, nani-ka nomi-masu ka?
3: ee. ueda san, mori san.
    nani wo nomi-masu ka?
1: orenji juusu wo nomi-masu.
2: watashi mo juusu wo nomi-masu.
    demo tomato juusu wo nomi-masu.
3: ato de, juusu wo nomi-masu.
2: itsu?
3: ato de, watashi no tokoro de.
    ima kouhii wo nomi-masu.

1: うえだ し; 2: もり ふじん; 3: なかだ し

1: なかだ さん。なにか のみますか。
3: ええ。うえだ さん、もり さん。
    なにを のみますか。
1: オレンジジュースを のみます。
2: わたしも ジュースを のみます。
    でも トマトジュースを のみます。
3: あとで ジュースを のみます。
2: いつ?
3: あとで、わたしの ところで。
    いま コーヒーを のみます。

kanji (show me)
1: 上田氏; 2: 森夫人 3: 中田氏

1: 中田さん。何か飲みますか。
2: ええ。上田さん、森さん。
1: オレンジジュースを飲みます。
2: 私もジュースを飲みます。
3: あとでジュースを飲みます。
2: いつ?
3: あとで、私のところで。


where at?

time; hour; o’clock

after, later

cola, soda

doko de?


ato de










  • Words like ‘koura’ (cola), borrowed from other languages, are called ‘gai-rai-go’ (外来語, lit. outside-coming-language). With few exceptions, gai-rai-go words are written in katakana and don’t have kanjis. An example of an exception is ‘ei’ (Britain) whose kanji is 英.
  • It is correct if we use the kanjis in red, but usually the word is written in kana.

Sample sentences

When are you eating? I’ll eat later.

itsu tabe-masu ka? ato de tabe-masu.

いつ たべますか。あとで たべます。


itsu taberu? ato de.

いつ たべる? あとで。



The following comments explain some of the grammar in more detail.


no – の

In English, we can say that something belongs to someone in two ways: “the car of Mr. Mori” and “Mr. Mori’s car”; Japanese uses only the second form, with the particle ‘no’ (の) playing the role of the apostrophe: “mori san no kuruma”. However, ‘no’ means more like ‘belonging’ than just possession. For example, it might indicate where someone works at (the company that you ‘belong’ to), or a place of origin (where something was produced):

My car. (” Is ” car)
Ms. Tanakas car.

Ms. Tanaka, from SONY (SONYs Mr. Tanaka)
American car (Americas car)

The car of Mr. Tanaka from SONY
The American car of Mr. Tanaka from SONY

watashi no kuruma
tanaka san no kuruma

SONY no tanaka san
america no kuruma

SONY no tanaka san no kuruma
SONY no tanaka san no amerika no kuruma

mo – も

‘mo’ (も) means ‘also’, in both positive and negative contexts.

We can translate it as ‘as well’ or ‘too’ in a positive context:

I am going to drink a cola.
Me too.

koura wo nomi-masu.
watashi mo.

and translate it as ‘neither’ in a negative context:

I am not going to drink a cola.
Me neither.

koura wo nomi-masen.
watashi mo.

de – で

‘de’ (で) is ‘at’ when we refer to time:

ato de
ato de nomi-masu

at a later moment (afterwards, later)
I’ll drink at a later moment (I’ll drink later)

or ‘at’ a location where an action takes place.

resutoran de
resutoran de nomi-masu

at the restaurant (something will happen)
I’ll drink at the restaurant

wo – を

‘wo’ (を) marks the direct object of a verb, i.e., the object on which the verb acts. In spite that it is written as ‘wo’, it is often pronounced ‘o’.

I drink cola
I eat sushi

koura wo nomi-masu
sushi wo tabe-masu

コーラ のみます
すし たべます

When we answer a question, we can replace the ‘question word’ marked with ‘wo’ with our answer. However, when the answer is ‘nanika’, we omit the ‘wo’:

What will you eat?
I will eat sushi.
I will eat something.

nani wo tabe-masu ka?
sushi wo tabe-masu.
nani-ka tabe-masu. (no ‘wo’)

なに たべますか。
すし たべます。
なにか たべあす。

In the example above, ‘nani wo’ is replaced by ‘sushi wo’, because ‘sushi’ is a specific object, but it is replaced by ‘nani-ka’ (‘something’), without the ‘wo’, because ‘nani-ka’ is not a specific object, i.e., there is no ‘object’ for ‘wo’ to mark.

Not every object of a verb is a direct object. For example, ‘sushi’ is the direct object of ‘I eat sushi’, but ‘chopsticks’ is not a direct object in ‘I eat with chopsticks’ (we are not eating the chopsticks), nor ‘resutoran’ is a the direct object of ‘I eat at the restaurant’ (we are not eating the restaurant), so in these cases the verb does not mark the objects with ‘wo’; if we mark them with ‘wo’ we get some strange meanings:

I eat sushi

I eat with chopsticks
I eat chopsticks (I find wood tasty)

I eat at the restaurant
I eat the restaurant (I am Godzilla)

sushi wo tabemasu

hashi de tabemasu
hashi wo tabemasu

resutoran de tabemasu
resutoran wo tabemasu

‘wo’ (を) is rarely used to write anything other than the direct object marker. From time to time it appears in an actual word, though. For example, Kawori Miyazono, the character of ‘My lie in April’, spells her name – Kaori (‘scent’), as かをり, instead of using the normal spelling かおり; still, both お and を are pronounced ‘o’, both spellings sound ‘kaori’:

Miyazono Kawori – snapshot from ‘My lie in April”, Ep. 2

A common expression where を shows up is きをつけて (‘ki-wo-tsukete’, ‘take care of yourself’). Here き is ‘sprit’ and を is working as a direct object marker of the verb ‘tsukeru’ (‘to attach’), so ‘ki-wo-tsukete’ is a gentle order to ‘attach care to your spirit’, i.e., to ‘take care of yourself’.