It’s almost lunchtime.
Michael: Ohiru wa obentou desu ka? Do you have Bento for lunch?
Honda: Ie, gaishoku desu. No, I eat out.
Michael and Ms. Honda are deciding on a restaurant.
Honda: Nani ga suki desu ka? What do you like?
Michael: Boku wa raamen ga tabetai desu kedo… I want to eat ramen, but….
Honda: Ii, raamen-ya-san ga arimasu yo.There is a good ramen shop.
At a Ramen shop
Honda: Ohashi, daijoubu desu ka?Are you okay with chopsticks?
Michael: Mochiron desu.Of course.
hiru ひる昼 noon, lunch
(o)bentou おべんとうお弁当 boxed lunch
gaishoku がいしょく外食 eating out
nani なに何 what
ga が particle
suki(na) すき（な）好き like, be fond of
raamen ラーメン ramen
tabetai たべたい食べたい want to eat
~ya〜 や屋 shop
~ya refers to the business establishment that sells the item to which ~ya is attached. (pan-ya, obentou-ya, hon-ya, etc.)
raamen-ya ラーメンやラーメン屋 ramen shop
raamen-ya-san ラーメンやさんラーメン屋さん ramen shop (polite)
ohashi おはしお箸 chopsticks
＋gohan ごはんご飯 cooked rice, a meal
＋hirugohan ひるごはん昼ご飯 lunch
＋asa あさ朝 morning
＋asagohan あさごはん朝ご飯 breakfast
＋ban ばん晩 evening
＋bangohan ばんごはん晩ご飯 dinner
＋washoku わしょく和食 Japanese food
＋youshoku ようしょく洋食 Western food
＋chuuka ちゅうか中華 Chinese food
＋furenchi ふれんちフレンチ French food
＋itarian いたりあんイタリアン Italian
＋kirai(na) きらい（な) dislike, hate
＋daisuki(na) だいすき（な）大好き like very much
＋daikirai(na) だいきらい（な）dislike very much, detest
teishou ていしょく定食 set meal
udon うどん udon
soba そば soba, buckwheat noodles
onigiri おにぎり onigiri
hanbaagaa ハンバーガー hamburger
sarada サラダ salad
sando サンド sandwich
supuun すぷうんスプーン spoon
fooku ふぉおくフォーク fork
naifu ないふナイフ knife
osara おさらお皿 plate, dish
chawan ちゃわん茶碗 rice bowl, tea cup
owan おわんお椀 small bowl
donburi どんぶり丼 bowl, bowl of rice with food on top
koppu こっぷコップ glass
kappu かっぷカップ cup
A Japanese sentence can have more than one subject phrase. This is called a double-subject sentence.
Maikeru-san wa [ohashi daijoubu desu.] Michael is fine with chopsticks.
In the sentence above, ohashi is the subject of the bracketed sentence, and Maikeru-san is the subject of the entire sentence. In other words, the bracketed sentence ‘chopsticks are fine’ is an attribute of or a description about Michael. Similarly, in the examples below, the bracketed sentences are facts about the preceding nouns.
Furansu wa [keeki ga oisii desu]. France has good cake.
Honda-san wa [eigo wa jouzu desu] kedo… Honda-san is good at English, but….
Dare ga [eigo ga dekimasu] ka. Who can speak English?
Watashi mo [sushi ga suki desu] kedo. I like sushi, too.
As shown above, both of the subject nouns (inside and outside of the brackets) can take the particles ga, wa, mo, or no particle. Depending on which particle is used, there is a shift in meaning (ga=new information, wa=contrast, mo=addition, or no particle= neutral).
Special note should be taken of nouns such as suki ‘like’, and kirai ‘dislike’, and the verbs such as wakarimasu ‘understand’, dekimasu ‘can do’, arimasu ‘have’, and irimasu ‘need.’ These all indicate a state rather than an action in Japanese. Therefore, unlike their English translations, they do not take an object. What you like, what you understand, etc., can be marked by the particles ga, wa, or mo, or no particle, but not by the particle o.
Honda-san wa sushi ga suki desu. Ms. Honda likes sushi. Watashi wa terebi wa irimasen. I don’t need a TV.
Kono daigaku wa arabiago no jyugyou mo arimasu.
This university has an Arabic class, too.
By the way, there is no such thing as a double-object structure in Japanese. Whew!
Tabetai desu means ‘I want to eat’. To make the tai form of a verb, replace
~masu with ~tai desu.
Tabemasu →Tabetai desuI want to eat it.
Mimasu → Mitai desuI want to see it.
A ~tai form is an adjective. All of its forms follow the adjective patterns.
Table 14. Affirmative, negative, past and non-past forms of the verb tabemasu.
Tabetaku nai desu Tabetaku arimasen
Tabetaku nakatta desu
Tabetaku arimasen deshita
X-tai desu is typically used to express the speaker’s desire (‘I want to …’) and to ask the addressee’s desire (‘Do you want to…?’) but not a third person’s desire (‘He wants to ….’) Describing other people’s wants will be discussed later.
With the ~tai form, the object of the verb can be marked either by the particle ga or o (ga/o conversion). Both of the following sentences are possible and mean ‘I want to study Japanese.’
Nihongo o benkyou-shitai desu.What I want to do is to study Japanese.
Nihongo ga benkyou-shitai desu. What I want to study is Japanese.
Unlike the English forms such as ‘do you want to’ or ‘would you like to’, which can be used to invite someone to do something, the ~tai forms are not generally used as invitations or suggestions in Japanese. For invitations and suggestions, negative questions are more commonly used.
Tabemasen ka? Would you like to eat it? (Invitation)
Tabetai desu ka? Do you want to eat it?(Question)
The verbs that do not occur in the ~mashou form also do not occur in the ~tai form. These include wakarimasu, irimasu, arimasu and dekimasu.
Cue: Kaimasu. I’m going to buy it.
Response: Nani o kaimasu ka. What are you going to buy?
Cue: Irimasu. I’m going to need it.
Response: Nani ga irimasu ka.What are you going to need?
Cue: Udon, yoku tabemasu nee. You eat udon a lot, don’t you!
Response: Ee, watashi wa udon ga suki desu kara. Yes, because I like udon.
ええ、 私 はうどんが好きですから。
Cue: Geimu, yoku shimasu nee.You play a lot of games, don’t you!
Response: Ee, watashi wa geimu ga suki desu kara. Yes, because I like games.
ええ、 私 はゲームが好きですから。
Cue: Zenbu mitai desu ka. Do you want to see all?
ぜ ん ぶ み
Response: Ie, kore wa mitai desu kedo, are wa mitaku nai desu. No, I want to see this, but I don’t want to see that.
Cue: Zenbu yomitai desu ka? Do you want to read all?
ぜ ん ぶよ
Response: Ie, kore wa yomitai desu kedo,No, I want to read this,
are wa yomitaku nai desu.but I don’t want to see that.
D. Say it in Japanese.
You’ve been asked if you like Japanese food.
- Yes, I like it. My favorite is ramen.
- Well, I do not hate it, but my favorite is Chinese.
- Of course I love it. I want to eat it everyday.
You’ve been asked why you go to a particular restaurant so often.
- Because their ramen is famous.
- Because they have Wi-Fi.
- Because I want to each good western-style food.
A co-worker has asked you what you want to do this weekend.
- I’d like to play the new game.
- I’d like to do shopping.
- I’d like to study because there will be an exam.
- I’d like to clean my apartment. I’d like to do laundry, too.
E. Act these roles in Japanese with a partner.
- At a restaurant, you’ve been asked if you need a fork. State that you don’t; you prefer chopsticks.
- You’ve been asked if you cook a lot. You make breakfast, but buy bento, a sandwich, etc. for lunch. For dinner, you eat out a lot.
- Ask a taxi driver if there is a good ramen shop.
- Ms. Honda invited you to her favorite restaurant. Find out what (dish) is good at the restaurant.
- Ask each other about your favorite fruit, book, sports, and class.