Japanese Learning Today – Ru-verbs, U-verb, Irregulars

Jul 01 | Evan | No Comments |

Learn three kinds of verbs in Japanese 

In the previous Japanese learning blog, we learned what to say when you want something and when you want to do something. Furthermore, we also talked about Japanese verbs, ru-verbs in particular. In Japanese, there are two main verb types called “ru-verbs” and ‘u-verbs.” In this article, we are going to learn about how these two verb types behave in casual and polite forms in positive and negative sentences. Additionally, there are also two irregular verbs, which behave differently so we will spend a little time looking at them too. Let’s learn different kinds of Japanese verbs to be ready for your next adventure on a photo tour of Japan! 

Ru-verbs 

In short, “ru-verbs” are the verbs, which end in “ru.” For example, taberu/たべる(to eat), miru/みる(to see/to look/to watch), neru/ねる(to sleep), and akeru/あける(to open) are all ru-verbs. Let’s pick two of these ru-verbs to see how they conjugate. 

taberu/たべる(to eat)

たべる = to eat

Casual FormPolite Form
Positive たべる = taberuたべます = tabemasu
Negative たべない = tabenaiたべません = tabemasen

みる = to see/look/watch

Casual FormPolite Form
Positive みる = miruみます = mimasu
Negative みない = minaiみません = minasen

As you see above, from the casual form to the polite form, “ru” changes to “masu” in a positive tense. For a negative tense, “ru” is replaced by “nai” and “nai” changes to “masen” in a polite form. 

Let’s form a simple sentence using these ru-verbs.

Base: I eat an onigiri.

おにぎり を たべる。

おにぎり を たべない。

おにぎり を たべます。

おにぎり を たべません。

Base: I watch a movie. 

えいが を みる。

えいが を みない。

えいが を みます。

えいが を みません。

U-verbs

As you expect, “u-verbs” are the verbs, which end in “u.” These u-verbs include hanasu/はなす(to speak), kaku/かく(to write), nomu/のむ(to drink), and matsu/まつ(to wait.) Let’s pick two of these verbs to see how they conjugate. 

はなす = to speak

Casual FormPolite Form
Positive はなす = hanasuはなします = hanashimasu
Negative はなさない = hanasanaiはなしません = hanashimasen

かく = to write 

Casual FormPolite Form
Positive かく = kakuかきます = kakimasu
Negative かかない =kakanaiかきません = kakimasen

Let’s form a simple sentence using these u-verbs.

Base: I speak Japanese. 

にほんご を はなす。

にほんご を はなさない。

にほんご を はなします。

にほんご を はなしません。

Base: I write Japanese. 

にほんご を かく。

にほんご を かかない。

にほんご を かきます。

にほんご を かきません。

2 Irregular verbs

There are two exceptions, which do not fit in either ru-verbs or u-verbs. These are kuru/くる(to come) and suru/する(to do). Take a look at how these irregular verbs behave in casual and polite forms. 

くる = to come 

Casual FormPolite Form
Positive くる= kuruきます=kimasu
Negative こない=konaiきません=kimasen

する= to do 

Casual FormPolite Form
Positive する = suruします = shimasu
Negative しない = shinaiしません =shimasen

Let’s form a simple sentence using these irregular verbs.

Base: I come to play tomorrow. 

あした あそび に くる。

あした あそび に こない。

あした あそび に きます。

あした あそび に きません。

Base: I study Japanese. 

にほんご を べんきょう する。

にほんご を べんきょう しない。

にほんご を べんきょう します。

にほんご を べんきょう しません。

Yes, learning verbs and how to conjugate them is not easy. Though the good thing is that there are only two main verb groups in Japanese so once you get a feel for these “ru-verbs” and ‘u-verbs,” it’s not too bad. In addition, there are only two irregular verbs so as long as you remember how “kuru” and “suru” behave, you are a Japanese master! 


This is just an intro to learn Japanese verbs so we will certainly work more on verb conjugations in the coming Japanese articles. Don’t worry, we still have time till you join the photo tour of Japan!

Let’s eat at a Kaiten Sushi!

Jun 14 | Evan | No Comments |

What you should expect when eating sushi at a kaiten sushi, converter belt sushi. 

Do you like sushi? Who is excited to go to Japan to eat fresh sushi? 

Well, sushi has become an internationally well recognized Japanese food in the 20th century. However, not everyone has been to kaiten sushi, the sushi that comes around on a converter belt! Today, let’s learn about kaiten sushi and what you should know before going to one so that you can prepare yourself for the photo tour of Japan, especially when you have an opportunity to venture out to eat! 

What is “kaiten sushi?” Is it different from regular sushi? 

So what is kaiten sushi? You all know what sushi is so what does “kaiten” mean? Kaiten in Japanese means “rotaining.” Thus, kaiten sushi is a particular sushi that comes on a converter belt, which rotates around the restaurant

Sushi comes in many different forms in Japan, which also varies in prices. In general, you can consider “kaiten sushi” to be a cheap option. In comparison to sushi where you eat at a counter seat, kaiten sushi is much more relaxed, casual, and accessible to everyone. The matter of fact, because of such nature, it is popular among families to go to kanten sushi. Of course it is a sushi restaurant, so you will have a lot of different sushi, but at kaiten sushi, many other options such as sides, soup, and desserts can also be ordered at an accessible cost as well. 

Make sure to pay attention to the colors of the sushi plates! 

One thing you might like to be aware of is the color of plates. Yes, kaiten sushi is much cheaper than other options, but depending on the colors of plates, some are more expensive than others so make sure you are aware of the colors of plates, thus prices. Otherwise, you could be eating all expensive options, thus at the end of the day, you will be paying a lot more than you were originally planning. 

In general, at kaiten sushi, the different colors of plates indicate different prices. It is usually 3,4 different colors of plates that are rotating so it’s not that hard to keep a track of the price. You also keep all your plates at your table where you eat so that staff can count the number of plates at the end to calculate the cost. 

This clear identification of price is so crucial and why kaiten sushi became so popular. For example, some or all of the items are market price so you may not know the price till the end at high-end sushi places like eating at a counter table. Kaiten sushi is created for its accessible/cheap cost and clear identification of price so different colors of plates is one of the key features of this venue. 

History of kaiten sushi 

So how did kaiten sushi come to life? Originally, sushi was an expensive food, which was not for everyone. However, everyone wanted to eat sushi and the idea of kaiten sushi came to life. At the beginning, it was more like “all 100 yen ($1),” but later on, different colors of plates, thus different prices of sushi, automatic tea dispensers, and sushi robots were introduced. 

Interestingly, the idea of kaiten sushi was born in Osaka at a beer factory in 1948. 10 years passed since the idea emerged, the first ever kaiten sushi opened in Osaka in 1958, called “Mawaru Genroku Sushi 1st Store.” Since then, the first franchise opened in Sendai city in Miyagi Prefecture in 1968, followed by the creation and placement of automatic tea dispensers in 1973. From 1975 to 1985, the kaiten sushi boom came to Japan with the introduction of sushi robots, major chains entering the competition of the industry. 

By 2007, kaiten sushi became a 500 billion yen industry and now it is becoming international. If you are around the Los Angeles area, you might have seen “KULA,” Japanese kaiten sushi chains. There are around 10 KULA stores around the LA area and is popular among American people. As well as KULA, another major chain “Sushiro” is focusing its international market expansion in Asia, opening stores in Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, and Hong Kong in recent years. In 2018, there were 12 stores internationally and in 2019, there were 13 more additional stores opened, a total of 25 international stores operating outside of Japan. Currently the international market is expanding more than Japanese market in that each international store produces more revenue per year than a store in Japan. 

close up cuisine delicious dining table

Conclusion

So who is hungry for sushi after reading this article? As you learned, there are different chains of kaiten sushi in Japan so if you are so keen, you can try different chains of kaiten sushi when you are on the photography tour of Japan to see, which one suits you the best. Each kaiten sushi has unique features that are different from one another so try a few and let me know what you like about each kaiten sushi! Of course, with COVID19, kanten sushi is most likely not the same today, but let’s hope that in 2021 when we are on a photo tour of Japan, we can go to a kanten sushi to enjoy fresh fish together!

Learn Japanese Today – “I want to go to Mt. Fuji.”

Jun 01 | Evan | No Comments |

Learn how to express when you want something and want to do something. 

When you travel somewhere new, you probably want to express what you want, such as where you want to go and what you want to eat. In this article, let’s learn how to use”want something” and “want to do something” in Japanese so that when you join the photography tour of Japan, you can express what you want and what you want to do! 

“I want this” and “I want that.” 

At this point, you already know how to say “this” and “that” in Japanese. When you are at a store in Japan and you want to point to something you want to get, which you can hold in your hand, you can use below.

Kore ga hoshii desu. 

これ が ほしい です。

これが欲しいです。

Here “hoshii” is “to want” in Japanese and means “I want this” in English. 

As you already know, when you replace kore to sore or are, you can indicate an item, which is far away from you. 

You also know a possessive, “no.” Thus, if you want to say “I want that book.” it looks like this below. 

Ano hon ga hoshii desu.

あの ほん が ほしい です。

あの 本 が 欲しい です。

Let’s learn how to say “I want to go to ~”

Let’s try something a little harder… Are you ready? 

When you visit Japan, I am sure you want to visit everywhere you have long been dreaming of. If you want to indicate where you want to go, you want to say like this below. 

Let’s say “I want to go to Mt. Fuji” first!

Fujisan ni ikitai desu. (In Japanese, the particle “to” is “ni.”) 

ふじさん に いきたい です。

富士山 に 行きたい です。

In Japanese, we indicate where we want to go first. Thus, you simply need to change the location you want to go by replacing “Mt. Fuji” to somewhere else you want to go. Why don’t we replace it with “Tokyo Disneyland?” 

Tokyo Disneyland ni ikitai desu. 

とうきょう ディズニーランド に いきたい です。

東京 ディズニーランド に 行きたい です。

*In Japanese, we do not need to put a subject like “I” all the time. If you decide to include “I” it is not wrong, but we know from the conversation that the subject is “watashi” so we can omit it. 

photo of castle during daytime

Ru-verb using want to

When you want to use an expression “I want to ~” using a verb is a little more complex. It is because depending on the type of verb, it conjugates differently. Let’s look at a possible scenario when you want to eat miso ramen in Japan while being on a photography tour of Japan! 

Miso ramen wo tabetai desu. 

みそラーメン を たべたい です。

味噌ラーメン を 食べたい です。

Here, the verb we are using is “to eat = taberu.” It belongs to a “ru-verb” and when you want to use “want to = ~tai,” you drop off “ru” and add “tai” to the end of a verb. Below are a few examples of ru-verbs and how to conjugate. 

Ru -verb (Drop “ru” add “tai”) 

Taberu Tabetai   たべたい
Shiraberu Shirabetai しらべ  しらべたい 
Tsukuru Tsukuritai つく つくりたい
Oshieru Oshietai おしえ おしえたい
Miru Mitaiたい

It’s a lot to learn how to conjugate verbs in Japanese all at once so let’s just stick to “ru-verb” for now and learn more verbs and how to conjugate in the next lesson. 

Before we conclude, here is another example of ru-verb with “to see = miru.” 

I want to see Mt. Fuji. 

Fujisan ga mitai desu. 

ふじさん が みたい です。

富士山 が 見たい です。

pasta dish

Are you now comfortable to express what you want and what you want to do? This lesson is probably more complex than the previous ones, but don’t worry! Since verb conjugation is challenging, we will continue with how to express when you want to do something with different verbs in the following lessons. Also, there are a lot of verbs to learn so I hope you can play with the ru-verbs I introduced to you today. Let’s pretend as if you are on a photography tour of Japan with your friends and family and use “ru-verbs.” You are now one step closer to travel to Japan with more knowledge of Japanese! 

Learn Japanese Today

May 01 | Evan | No Comments |

 

Learn how to make possessive sentences in Japanese! 

In the last “Learn Japanese Today,” you learned how to say “this” and “that” in Japanese. In this article, let’s expand your Japanese even further to learn how to make a possessive sentence using this and that in Japanese. This will certainly be beneficial on your Japan photo tour next year! Sounds exciting? Let’s begin!! 

This dog is Pochi! 

You all know how to say “This is ….” in Japanese now. What if you want to be more informative in Japanese sentences. Below is an example using possessive, “no

This dog is Pochi. 

Kono inu ha pochi desu. (*In Japanese, you write “ha,” but pronunciate “wa.”)

いぬ は ポチ です。

犬 は ポチ です。

When you want to make a possessive “this,” you add “no” and subtract “re” from kore to make “kono.” Here you are providing the dog’s name. 

Let’s do another example using “This dog is…”: 

This dog is a Shiba inu.

Kono inu ha shiba inu desu. 

いぬ は しばいぬ です。

犬 は 柴犬 です。

As well as explaining the name of this dog, in this example, you can describe a type of dog, which is Shiba Inu. By the way, in Japan, as well as Shiba inu, you will hear Shiba ken for the same dog type.  

shiba inu dogs wearing party hats

Interesting fact

Pochi is a well-recognized dog name in Japan, but in more recent years, following names are gaining popularity as dog names in Japan: Maron, Leon, Coco, and Moka to name a few. As for cats, Tama is an equivalent of Pochi, but in more recent years, following names are gaining popularity as cat names in Japan: Mugi, Momo, Hime, Chachamaru to name a few. So when you are in Japan on your photography tour of Japan, pay attention to dogs and cats names. Maybe you can find a new trend in Japan’s pet names? 

“I am Lisa.” and “My name is Lisa.” 

So using possessive, “no” let’s try another one. To introduce yourself, you can do below. Let’s pretend that you are Lisa. 

I am Lisa. 

Watashi ha Lisa desu. 

わたし は りさ です。

私 は 理紗 です。

AND 

My name is Lisa. 

Watashi no namae ha Lisa desu. 

わたし なまえ は りさ です。

名前 は 理紗 です。

To introduce yourself in Japanese, you can use the “watashi wa… desu” form with your name at the … spot. This is simple and totally makes sense in Japanese, but you can also use the example above with the possessive tense using “no.” Even with simple sentences like these, Japanese would always appreciate it if you try using their language so don’t be shy, but try your best to introduce yourself when you meet new people on Japan Photo Guide’s photo tour of Japan! 

Additionally, when you want to say “That is mine” in Japanese, you can do below using “no.” 

That is mine. 

Are ha watashi no desu.

あれ は わたし です。

あれ は 私 です。

As you know “kore” “sore” and “are” in Japanese, depending on the location of the object you are talking about, make sure you use the right one. Furthermore, if you replace “watashi” to “Lisa” in the above sentence, you can say “That is Lisa’s” in Japanese. 

Are ha Lisa no desu. 

あれ は りさ です。

Finally… 

Learning about the possessive “no” gives you more freedom to play with Japanese. You may not have a lot of Japanese knowledge, but by 3 lessons we have had so far, you can say simple sentences to navigate yourself to have a small conversation with Japanese people on the Japan photo tour. If you also know more variety of Japanese nouns, you can also use the above structures to figure out how to say “That is my dog.,” “This is your cat.,” and “That is Lisa’s horse.” etc. 

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