How To Ask:Getting To Know Each Other in Japanese

Learning_question_in_Japanese

Once you’ve mastered those seven, you are not beginner anymore.

As we reach the end of this article, we hope that you were able to learn how to ask someone that you can use at school, work, online, or for casual interactions.

Let’s go 7 phrases for “How to ask to get to know each other In Japanese”.

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1. What is your name?

namae wa nandesu ka?

I think “あなたの名前なまえはなんですか?” is written by a textbook you have. But we don’t normally say “あなたの名前なまえはなんですか?”, because when we have a conversation with “you”, it’ too clear for Japanese to say the person we talk to is “you(あなた)”.

If you say “あなたの名前なまえはなんですか?”, then we feel a little wired. Instead of this, you should say “名前なまえはなんですか?”.

EXAMPLE

Casual

Bob

What is your name? (名前なまえはなに? namae wa nani?)

yuka

I’m Yuka. (ゆかだよ。 Yuka dayo.)

  • Don’t say that “わたし名前なまえはゆかだよ。” You should be more natural than the textbook.

Polite

kate

What is your name? (名前なまえはなんですか? Namae wa nandesu ka?)

tatsuya

I’m Tatsuya. (たつやです。 Tatsuya desu.)

  • Don’t say that “わたし名前なまえはたつやです。” You should be more natural than the textbook.

Polite/Business

yuka

Could you give me your name, please? (お名前なまえ頂戴ちょうだいしてもよろしいでしょうか? onamae wo chōdai shite mo yoroshī deshou ka?)

Tom

I am Tom from ABC. (ABC会社がいしゃのトムともうします。 ABC gaisha no Tomu to mōshimasu.)

2. How old are you?

nansai desuka?

In general, it is not recommended to ask for someone’s age in Japan because it is not considered a very polite thing to do. However, if you must, and if the situation allows you to do so, such as in this case, you can say “nansai desuka?“.

なん(nan) means “how” in this phrase, and さい(sai) means “years old”. These two words combine and this phrase means “how old”.

EXAMPLE

Casual

kate

How old are you? (何歳なんさいna n sai?)

tatsuya

33. (33さいだよ。 33 sai dayo.)

Polite

Bob

How old are you? (何歳なんさいですか? na n sai desu ka?)

yuka

I’m 28. (28さいです。 28 sai desu.)

Polite/Business

Tom

How old are you? (おいくつですか? o ikutsu desu ka?)

yuka

I am 23 years old. (23さいです。 23 sai desu.)

3. Can you speak English?

eigo wo hanase masuka?

If you are ever visiting Japan and do some sightseeing where you need some help from the locals, it helps to know how to ask them the right questions. “英語えいごはなせますか?(eigo wo hanashi masuka?)” the most critical phrase that you learn how to say is “Can you speak English?” in Japanese.

In the first expression, the word “はなせます(hanasemasu)” comes from “はなす(hanasu)” (to speak). To sound even politer you can add “sumimasen” (すみません) at the beginning of this phrase.

EXAMPLE

Casual

Bob

Can you speak English? (英語話えいごはなせる? eigo hanaseru?)

yuka

A little bti. (すこしだけね。 sukoshi dake ne.)

Polite

kate

Excuse me. Can you speak English? (すいません。英語えいごはなせますか? suimaen eigo wo hanase masu ka?)

tatsuya

Yes, I can. (はい、はなせますよ。 hai, hanase masu yo.)

Polite/Business

Tom

Excuse me. Could you speak English? (すいません。英語えいごはなせますか? suimaen eigo wo hanase masu ka?)

yuka

No, I can’t speak English. (いいえ、はなせません。 īe, hanase masen.)

4. Where are you from?

shusshin wa doko desuka?

Let’s break down this question!

  • shusshin – Origin
  • wa – topic marker (can be translated as “is” here)
  • doko – where
  • ka – question marker

If you say literally “doko kara kimashita ka?“, it sounds like you’re asking where someone just came from.

Now the interesting thing about Japanese is changing the wording to make it more formal or casual.

EXAMPLE

Casual

kate

Where are you from? (出身しゅっしんどこなの? shusshin doko nano?)

tatsuya

Osaka. (大阪おおさかだよ。 Ōsaka dayo.)

Polite

Bob

Where are you from? (出身しゅっしんはどこですか? shusshin wa doko desu ka?)

yuka

I’m from Tokyo. (東京とうきょうですよ。 Tōkyō desu yo.)

Polite/Business

Tom

Where are you from? (ご出身しゅっしんはどちらになりますか? go shusshin wa dochira ni narimasu ka?)

yuka

I am from Fukuoka. (福岡ふくおかになります。 Fukuoka ni narimasu.) 

5. Where do you live?

doko ni sunde imasuka?

I think most of Japanese leaners know this phrase and it is easy to use this, right? But, some beginners use this phrase in the wrong usage, like this below.

Where do you live? (まいはどこだ? sumai wa dokoda?)

  • sounds like, robbery

Where do you live? (どこにんでいるんだ? doko ni sunde irunda?)

  • sounds like, robbery

Where do you live? (きみまいはどこですか。 kimi no sumai wa dokodesu ka.)

  • we don’t use 君 in basic conversation.

Where do you live? (どこみ? doko sumi?)

  • not exist

EXAMPLE

Casual

Bob

Where do you live? (どこにんでるの? doko ni sunderu no?)

yuka

Tokyo. (東京とうきょうだよ。 Tōkyō dayo.)

Polite

kate

Where do you live? (どこにんでますか? doko ni sunde masu ka?)

tatsuya

I live in Hokkaido. (北海道ほっかいどうです。 Hokkaidō desu.)

Polite/Business

Tom

Where do you live? (おまいはどちらですか? o sumai wa dochira desu ka?)

yuka

I live in Osaka. (大阪おおさかになります。 Ōsaka ni narimasu.)

6. What do you do?

shigoto wa nan desuka?

When asking ‘What do you do for living?’ or ‘What is your job?’, you can use this pharase.

Some people use this after meeting someone, it will be rude in Japan. Actually, a job of a person is important but, ask them after becoming friends.

EXAMPLE

Casual

kate

What do you do? (仕事何しごとなにしてるの? shigoto nani shiteru no?)

tatsuya

Programmer. (プログラマーだよ。 puroguramā dayo.)

Polite

Bob

What do you do? (お仕事しごとなんをされていますか? o shigoto wa nani wo sarete imasu ka?)

yuka

I’m an office worker. (OLです。 OL desu.)

Polite/Business

Tom

Could you give me your occupation? (ご職業しょくぎょう頂戴ちょうだいしてもよろしいでしょうか? go shokugyō wo chōdai shite mo yoroshī deshou ka?)

yuka

I am a bank clerk. (銀行員ぎんこういんになります。 ginkōin ni narimasu.)

7. What about you?

dō omou? / ○○(name) wa?

This phrase is used to learn more about the preferences and opinions of others. You will use this pharase a lot how to ask questions.

When Introducing yourself, when someone asks you a question like ‘So, what do you like?’ and you answered something. After that, you will be able to say ‘What about you?’ after replying to the question.

You can put the name into ○○. Such as “yuka wa?/ sensei wa? and etc.” Don’t you use “anata wa?“. Japanese normally don’t use “anata“.

EXAMPLE

Casual 1

Bob

What about you?( どうおもう? dō omoo mō?)

yuka

Perfect! (いいじゃん! ī jan!)

Casual 2

yuka

What animal do you like? (動物どうぶつでなにがきなの? nani ga suki nano!)

Bob

Dog! What about you? (いぬだよ!ゆかは? inu dayo. Yuka wa?)

Polite 1

kate

What about you? (どうおもいますか? dō omoi masuka?)

tatsuya

That’s great! (いいとおもいます! ī to omoi masu.)

Polite 2

kate

What animal do you like? (動物どうぶつでなにがきなんですか? nani ga suki nan desuka!)

tatsuya

Dog! What about you? (いぬです!ケイトさんは? inu desu. Keito san wa?)

Polite/Business

Tom

What about you? (どうおかんがえですか? dō o kangae desu ka?)

yuka

I thikk that’s good. (いいとおもいます。 totemo, ī to omoi masu.)

Review

1. What is your name?
namae wa nandesu ka?

2. How old are you?
nansai desuka?

3. Do you speak English?
eigo wo hanashi masuka?

4. Where are you from?
shusshin wa doko desuka?

5. Where do you live?
doko ni sunde imasuka?

6. What do you do?
shigoto wa nan desuka?

7. What about you?
dō desuka? / ○○(name) wa?

DAISUKE

Try to use these phrases to Native Japanese teachers with italki once not to forget these you’ve just remembered now!

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