Learn Japanese easily! When you first visit Japan, people will probably ask you if you’ve been there before. You’ll want to tell them, “It’s my first visit to Japan.” You’ll also want to be able to ask others whether they have visited Japan before. Once you get past this step, it’s critical that you know whether to use formal or informal Japanese. And, you’ve got to use them both correctly. This Beginner Japanese article teaches you how to use hajimete (“for the first time”) and other important words you’ll use when you talk about your first trip to Japan. You’ll also find an indispensable review of Japanese formal and informal speech and an explanation of when to use each one. Don’t miss the awesome chart and practice sentences in this Beginner Japanese article!
Vocabulary: In this article, you’ll learn the following words and phrases:
moo – “already” (adverb)
tsuku – “to arrive at, to reach” (verb 1)
okiru – “to wake up, to get up” (verb 2)
yoku – “well, very”
tsukareru – “to get tired” (verb 2)
sama – (pol) “Mr.” or “Mrs.”
aruku – “to walk” (verb 1)
hajimete – “for the first time”
nikkei – “Japanese descent”
Burajiru – “Brazil”
umareru – “to be born” (verb 2)
sodatsu – “to be raised” (verb 1)
mago – “grandchild”
Jitsu wa – “the truth is, actually”
Grammar: In this article, you’ll learn the following words and phrases:
Useful Vocabulary and Phrases
Yoku is the adverbial form of the adjective yoi or ii (“good”), and it means “well, nicely, properly,” or “often.”
*For more information on adverbial form see Nihongo Doojoo: Beginner Series Season 4 Article 5
- Yoku dekimashita. “Well done!” Literal translation: “Could do well.”
- Yoku tabemashita. “( I ) ate a lot.” Literal translation: “Ate well.”
The first Chinese character means “sun, day,” or “Japan.” The second Chinese character means “lineage, system,” or “group.” When the name of a country follows, it refers descent. However, it is nikkei that describes Japanese descent, not nihon-kei.
- Correct: nikkei Burajiru-jin
- Incorrect: nihonkei Burajiru-jin
- Nikkei peruu-jin “Japanese Peruvian”
- Mekishiko kei amerika-jin “Mexican American”
- Furansu kei kanada-jin “French Canadian”
umareru – “to be born”
sodatsu – “to be raised, to grow up”
The particle de follows the place one was born or raised. Check the usage in the examples.
- “I was born in Mexico.” (Watashi wa) Mekishiko de umaremashita.
- “I grew up in France.” (Watashi wa) Furansu de sodachimashita.
- “I was born and raised in Japan.” (Watashi wa) Nihon de umarete, nihon de sodachimashita. (Watashi wa) Nihon de umarete, sodachimashita.
“for the first time, first time”
Hajimete is an adverb, so we generally use it with a verb. However, to mention that it is one’s first time experiencing something, we use the sentence structure “[ noun ] wa hajimete desu.”
- (Watashi wa) hajimete nihon ni kimashita. “I came to Japan for the first time.”
- Nihon wa hajimete desu. “It’s my first time in Japan.”
- Nihon wa hajimete desu ka. “Is it your first time in Japan?”
In this article, we are going to learn more about formal and informal speech by reviewing the past tense of a verb.
How to create the formal past form of a verb:
- Change the verb into its corresponding –masu form.
- Drop –masu and add –mashita.
For more information see Nihongo Doojoo: Newbie Series Style You and Beyond Article 23
Dictionary Form / –masu Form / Formal Past Form
aruku / arukimasu / arukimashita
neru / nemasu / nemashita
How to create the informal past form of a verb
- Change the verb into its corresponding –te form.
- Drop –te and add –ta.
For more information see Nihongo Doojoo: Beginner Series Article 24
Dictionary Form / -te Form / Informal Past Form (-ta form)
aruku / aruite / aruita
sodatsu / sodatte / sodatta
okiru / okite / okita
neru / nete / neta
umareru / umarete / umareta
suru / shite / shita
kuru / kite / kita
Please rewrite the sentences in informal form.
- Watashi wa Burajiru de umaremashita. ___________________________________________________________________
- Watashi wa Burajiru de sodachimashita. ___________________________________________________________________
- Kyoo wa yoku arukimashita yo. ___________________________________________________________________
- Nihon ni hajimete kimashita. ___________________________________________________________________
Please rewrite the sentences in formal form.
- Kamakura ni itta. ____________________________________________________________________
- Yoku, neta. ____________________________________________________________________
- Kinoo nani shita? ____________________________________________________________________