this, the current
today (this day)
ashita no ban
- 飯 (han), which has become synonymous of ‘meal’, refers specifically to cooked rice.
Tonight I’m going to eat dinner at 9:00 o’clock.
kon-ban ku-ji ni ban-go-han wo tabe-masu.
こんばん くじに ばんごはんを たべます。
kon-ban ku-ji ni ban-go-han taberu.
こんばん くじに ばんごはん たべる。
The following comments explain some of the grammar in more detail.
Prefixes and suffixes
kon – こん,今
こん means ‘this’ or ‘the current’; it refers to time only. Its kanji, 今, is pronounced ‘ima’ when it is alone, and (commonly) ‘kon’ when it’s part of a word:
now (this time)
today (this day)
- ‘today’ (今日) looses the ‘kon’ prefix, and instead of being ‘kon-nichi’ (今日) is ‘kyou’.
- ‘kon-ban-wa’ literally is ‘How about this evening?’ but it’s treated just as the ‘good evening’ greeting
This lesson finishes introducing the digits:
These names have a Chinese origin but, unfortunately, the sound of some of them has an ‘unpleasant’ meaning in Japanese, so the Japanese concocted alternative names for such numbers:
In general, it’s a matter of personal preference whether we say 4 as ‘shi’ or ‘yon’; same thing with 7, and 9. In some cases, it isn’t, though, and we have to use either one form or the other. For example, “4:00 o’clock” is always ‘yo-ji’, never ‘shi-ji’; and ‘7:00 o’clock’ is always ‘shichi-ji’, never ‘nana-ji’.
The names of some of the four biggest Japanese islands are based on the number of provinces they used to have:
where ‘shuu’ (州) means ‘province’. Kyushu used to be called ‘kyuu-koku’ (九国, ‘Nine Countries’).
Ashita – 明日
Ashita means ‘tomorrow’. Let’s compare its kanjis together with those for ‘today’, i.e., 今日.
now, the current
bright, the coming
Hence, we would expect ‘today’ to be ‘kon-nichi’, instead of ‘kyou’; still, ‘kon-nichi’ is the base of ‘kon-nichi-wa’, which means ‘(how about) this day?’, or ‘hello’. Likewise, we would expect ‘tomorrow’ to be ‘myou-nichi’ and, indeed, ‘myou-nichi’ is a very formal way to say ‘tomorrow’. In addition, another formal way to say ‘tomorrow’, common in weather forecasting, is ‘asu’. All ‘ashita’, ‘asu’, and ‘myou-nichi’ mean ‘tomorrow’ and are written with the same kanjis, i.e., 明日: