Kaho’s Japanese Corner: Where is…?

okihai

Back in 2008 we had a regular contributor, Kaho, whose first language was Japanese.  She wrote many posts with helpful information about commonly used and needed Japanese expressions, often added to the ends of her posts about shoppingWe’re turning her “Japanese Corner” tidbits into posts of their own so that you can hopefully feel more comfortable beginning to use what is likely still a foreign language for many of you. 

ORIGINALLY CONTRIBUTED BY KAHO in February 2008

Kaho’s Japanese Corner – “WHERE IS  ….?”

I’m sure you find yourself in situations where you’re somewhere and looking for something, especially living in a foreign country.  The problem is that you don’t know how to ask this question when you’re in a country whose language you don’t speak!  And even if you learned how to say it, you wouldn’t necessarily be able to understand the response.  Well, maybe you get lucky and find kind people who would lead you to the directions or accompany you all the way to the place you need to go.  So it doesn’t hurt to learn this phrase.

So, here we go…

“Where is ….?” = “…. wa doko desuka?”
Doko = where
Desu ka = is?

“Where is the bathroom?” = “Toire wa doko desuka?
Toire = Bathroom (It is a borrowed word “toilette”.  The sound of ‘r’ is almost between ‘r’ and ‘l’.

“Where is a post office?” = “Yubinkyoku wa doko desuka?
Yubikyoku (you-been-kyo-coo) = post office

“Where is the nearest convenience store?” = “Koko no chikaku no konbini wa doko desuka?
Koko = here
No = of
Chikaku = near
Konbini = convenience store
Konbini is a shortern form of ‘convenience’ pronounced with a Japanese accent.

If you have no clue where you are, but you have a map on you to ask someone where you are.  Make sure that you say this while showing a map to the person you’re asking.  Otherwise, you’re going to sound like a creature from a different planet.  Just kidding.
“Where am I?” = “Koko wa doko desuka?
The direct translation of this Japanese phrase would be “where is here?”

“Where is McDonalds?” = “Makudonarudo wa doko desuka?
I’m sure you figured out yourself that Makudonarudo is McDonalds.  Good job.  In Japanese, every consonant is followed by a vowel except for ‘n’ sound, so McDonalds becomes something like “ma-coo-dough-na-lou-dough”.
Or if you would like to sound like a youngster, you can say “Makku wa doko desuka?
“Makku” is a shortened form of “makudonarudo”.  Have you noticed that Japanese people like to shorten names?

Kentucky Fried Chicken” is “Kenta”.  “Family Mart” is “Fami Ma”.   “Mos Burger” is “Mosu ba” (moh-sue-ba) and “Starbucks” is “Suta ba” (sue-ta-ba).  Interesting…

On a New Year’s day some time ago, I had been away from Japan for a while and I called my family from overseas to greet them on January 1.  My youngest sister said, “Ake Ome!”.  In Japanese “Happy New Year!” is “Akemashite Omedeto!”  (Omedeto means congratulations.)  This Akemashite Omedeto got shortened to Ake Ome!  It was a slang phrase that became very popular for one year.  I don’t think that people say this any more or at least I didn’t hear people use this this year.  It’s so hard to keep up with those young people’s language.  I’m so out of loop!  Sigh…

Want to read more of these helpful Japanese language posts?  Check them all out HERE.


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1 Comments
  • December 4, 2011

    I like your post. It’s more than just a translation guide. Your personality shines through and it gives us additional glimpses into things we might not otherwise know (besides how to say stuff).

    Casey
    Reply