Main Page
Subscribe to our newsletter now.
 

Explanation:

1.1 Kanji+Kana:初めまして
Kana only: はじめまして
Romaji: hajimemashite
Meaning: Nice to meet you. / How do you do?
The first sentence you say when you meet a person for the first time. No grammar. No pain. Just memorize and use it.
The little circle at the end of a sentence is a Japanese period.
1.2 Kanji+Kana:僕の名前は朗です
Kana only: ぼくのなまえはあきらです
Romaji: boku no namae wa akira desu
Meaning: My name is Akira.
 
ぼく)(boku)
Meaning: I / me (for male only)
This first person pronoun is normally used by male only. In video games, sometimes there are female characters using 'boku' as the first person pronoun. They are called ボク少女 (boku girl) in Japanese. But in reality, boku girl is very uncommon in modern Japanese society. So if you are female, do NOT use it.
Almost all male students at elementary schools call themselves 'boku', and girls use 私 (わたし watashi). So when teachers ask them to write about their dreams, the title will be ぼく/わたしの夢, where ぼく/わたし means that it applies to boys as well as girls. (I know it's strange.)
Some Japanese boys will grow out of 'boku' and begin to call themselves 'watashi' or '俺 (おれ ore)'. Of course, some keep using boku. But learners need to remember that boku should not be used when talking to people of higher social status or people you meet for the first time. You are recommend to use 'watashi'. However, since our protagonist Akira is a first grader, it is normal that he calls himself boku.
 
(no)
Meaning: 's as in the dog's tail
Different from European languages, Japanese does not have possessive pronouns like English my, your, his, etc. Instead, の is put after nouns to form phrases like ぼくの, わたしの. It functions like English 's.

「僕」+「の」=my
 
名前(なまえ) (namae)
Meaning: name
For your information, Japanese is 'family name-given name' while European is 'given name-family name'. 名前 usually refers to given name. But it can also mean family name (苗字 みょうじ) plus given name or just the family name.
I am not sure whether it's a coincidence. But the Romaji spelling of this word is very similar to English 'name'.
 
(wa)
Meaning: a particle to show the topic of a sentence
This Hiragana is normally pronounced as 'ha'. But when it is used as a particle, it is pronounced as 'wa'.
One of the main differences between Japanese sentence and English sentence is that Japanese sentence is topic-statement while English sentence is subject-verb-object. Sentence structures like 'This movie seen' and 'Mr Tanaka home big' are strange in English but very common in Japanese, because 'this movie' and 'Mr Tanaka' are used as topic instead of subject. In many situations, however, the topic of a Japanese sentence is also the subject.
は is a particle that indicates the topic of a sentence. The literal translation into English is "about...". But usually it is not translated.
「僕の名前」+「は」='My name' is the topic
 
(あきら) (akira)
Meaning: a male given name
Japanese given names are very different to read without pronunciation hints, because one Kanji can have more than one pronunciation and one pronunciation usually can be written in Kanji in more than three ways. That's why exchanging name cards is very important in Japan. When filling forms, people are asked to write the 振り仮名 (furigana) for their Kanji names. Furigana serves as pronunciation hints in this situation.
 
です (desu)
Meaning: is/ am/ are/ be
For your reference, the past tense is でした (deshita). This is a special verb in Japanese and is usually put at the end of a sentence.
です is the formal form. Its informal counterpart is だ, whose past tense is だった.

「朗」+「です」=is Akira
「僕の名前は」+「朗です」=My name is Akira

1.3 Kanji+Kana:小学1年生です
Kana only: しょうがくいちねんせいです
Romaji: shougaku ichinensei desu
Meaning: (I) am a first grader.
  小学(しょうがく) (shougaku)
Meaning: elementary school/ primary school
 
1年生(いちねんせい) (ichinensei)
Meaning: Freshman
「小学」+「1年生」=1st grader
Because we can deduce the subject/ topic of this sentence from the previous one, '僕は' is skipped. In Japanese, skipping the subject/ topic is very common, especially when the subject/ topic is 'I' or 'you'.
「小学1年生」+「です」=(I) am a 1st grader.
2.1 Kanji+Kana:この男の人は僕の父です
Kana only: このおとこのひとはぼくのちちです
Romaji: kono otokonohito wa boku no chichi desu
Meaning: This man is my father.
  この (kono)
Meaning: this
  男の人(おとこのひと) (otokonohito)
Meaning: man
男 alone can also mean 'man' or 'male'. 人 means 'human' or 'person'.
「この」+「男の人」=this man
 
(ちち) (chichi)
Meaning: father
I need to tell you that when Japanese people talk, they always take into consideration whether the people they are talking to are inside or outside their circle.
'Chichi' is a humble form for the meaning of father and is used to refer to your own father when you are talking to people outside your circle, e.g. people not in your family. When you are talking to your friend and want to talking about his father, you should use お父さん (otousan) to show respect. It is because when you are talking to your friend, your family is inside your cirlce and your friend is an outsider.
That said, you should call your own father お父さん at home to show respect. Usually, when you are talking to one person only, お父さん refers to that person's father and 父(ちち) refers to your own father. 'Your' and 'my' can be omitted.
2.2 Kanji+Kana:彼は会社員です。
Kana only: かれはかいしゃいんです
Romaji: kare wa kaishain desu
Meaning: He is an employee.
  (かれ) (kare)
Meaning: he
 
会社員(かいしゃいん) (kaishain)
Meaning: employee of a private company
会社 means 'company/ corporation'. 員 means 'personnel'. When combined together, it means a person employed by a private company.
3.1 Kanji+Kana:この女の人は母です。
Kana only: このおんなのひとはははです
Romaji: kono onnanohito wa haha desu
Meaning: This woman is (my) mother.
  女の人(おんなのひと) (onnanohito)
Meaning: woman
 
(はは) (haha)
Meaning: mother
Same as 'chichi', 'haha' is used to refer to your own mother when you are talking to people outside your circle. When you are talking to your own mother or refer to other people's mother, you should use お母さん (okaasan).
3.2 Kanji+Kana:彼女は主婦です。
Kana only: かのじょはしゅふです
Romaji: kanojo wa shufu desu
Meaning: She is a housewife.
  彼女(かのじょ) (kanojo)
Meaning: she
This word can also means 'girlfriend', depending on context.
  主婦(しゅふ) (shufu)
Meaning: housewife
4 Kanji+Kana:私は晴子です。
Kana only: わたしははるこです
Romaji: watashi wa haruko desu
Meaning: I am Haruko.
  (わたし) (watashi)
Meaning: I (both for male and female)
This is the most common form of 'I / me" in Japanese and is thusrecommended to learners.
  晴子(はるこ) (haruko)
Meaning: a female name
For your information, many Japanese female names end with 子(ko).
5 Kanji+Kana:チーズが大好きです。
Kana only: チーズがだいすきです
Romaji: chiizu ga daisuki desu
Meaning: (I) like cheese very much.
  チーズ(chiizu)
Meaning: cheese
 
大好き(だいすき) (daisuki)
Meaning: like something very much
好き means 'like'. 大 means 'very much' in this situation. Different from English, 好き is not a verb. It belongs to a group called adjectival noun.
  (ga)
Meaning: a particle indicating the object of 大好き/ 好き
「チーズ」+「が」=チーズ is the object
「チーズが」+「大好きです」=(I) like cheese very much.
The subject 'I' is omitted.
6 Kanji+Kana:僕もチーズが大好きです。
Kana only: ぼくもチーズがだいすきです
Romaji: boku mo chiizu ga daisuki desu
Meaning: I also like cheese very much.
  (mo)
Meaning: also, too
「僕」+「も」=I also
For your information, も can also mean 'either' as in 'He doesn't know either'.
7 Kanji+Kana:部屋にはチーズがたくさんあります。
Kana only: へやにはチーズがたくさんあります
Romaji: heya niwa chiizu ga takusan arimasu
Meaning: In (my) room, there is a lot of cheese.
  部屋(へや) (heya)
Meaning: room
It means 'my room', but '僕の' is omitted.
  には (niwa)
Meaning: in, at, on
に alone means 'in, at, on'. は indicates that it is a topic.
「部屋」+「には」=In (my) room
  (ga)
Meaning: a particle indicating the subject of a sentence.
「チーズ」+「が」=チーズ is the subject
  たくさん(takusan)
Meaning: a lot of
Also written as 沢山 in Kanji.
 
あります (arimasu)
Meaning: there is/ are (for non-living things)
The informal form, or dictionary form, is ある(aru). The form for living things is います (imasu) and いる (iru)
「たくさん」+「あります」=there is a lot of
「チーズが」+「たくさんあります」=there is a lot of cheese
8. Kanji+Kana:あっ!チーズはどこへ消えました?
Kana only: あっ!チーズはどこへきえました
Romaji: A Chiizu wa doko e kiemashita
Meaning: Oh! Where has the cheese gone?
チーズはどこへ消えた? is the Japanese title of the famous bestseller 'Who moved my cheese?'
  あっ (a)
Meaning: Oh!
  どこ (doko)
Meaning: where
  (e)
Meaning: to
「どこ」+「へ」=to where
  消えました(きえました) (kiemashita)
Meaning: disappeared
The informal form is 消えた. Present tense is 消えます and 消える.
We will discuss Japanese verbs in later lessons.