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Peter: Basic Bootcamp Lesson 1 – Self Introduction - Basic Greetings in Japanese.
Welcome to Basic Bootcamp. This five-part series will help you ease your way into Japanese.
Naomi: Bootcamp sounds a bit scary.
Peter: Yeah, I'm sure it does have that image but Noami-sensei, we promise you, it’s not.
We’ll have fun going over all the basics that will really help you understand Japanese in a quick and easy way. Hey, Naomi-sensi, what we will be learning in this lesson?
Naomi: In this lesson, you will learn how to say “Hello” in Japanese and how to introduce yourself.
Peter: We’ll be listening to a conversation between two people meeting for the first time. This is a conversation that you will have many, many times. Noami-sensei, this conversation must take place, how many times a day?
Noami: Um… hundreds?
Peter: Thousands, throughout Japan. So it’s pretty important.
Naomi: Definitely. It is very important.
Peter: Ok, let’s listen to the conversation between Mr. Tanaka and Ms. Suzuki.
Tanaka: こんにちは、はじめまして。私は田中です。
(Kon'nichiwa. Hajime mashite. Watashi wa Tanaka desu.)
Tanaka: Hello. Nice to meet you. My name is Tanaka.
Suzuki: 私は鈴木です。よろしくお願いします。
(Watashi wa Suzuki desu. Yoroshiku o-negai shimasu.)
Suzuki: My name is Suzuki. Nice to meet you.
Here we will break down the phrases and sentences so that you can hear what's being said. This will help your ear get tuned to Japanese.
Tanaka: こんにちは、はじめまして。私は田中です。
(Kon'nichiwa. Hajime mashite. Watashi wa Tanaka desu.)
Tanaka: Hello. Nice to meet you. My name is Tanaka.
Suzuki: 私は鈴木です。よろしくお願いします。
(Watashi wa Suzuki desu. Yoroshiku o-negai shimasu.)
Suzuki: My name is Suzuki. Nice to meet you.
Peter: So, Naomi-sensei, what do people in Japan do when they meet for the first time? What’s the custom?
Naomi: Japanese people almost always bow when they first meet each other.
Peter: How about shaking hands?
Naomi: I don’t think we do very often. But in a business situation, they might do it if they are dealing with Western people. Otherwise, just a bow is enough.
Peter: And a couple of interesting things, sometimes not just one bow but a few bows, right?
Naomi: Yeah.
Peter: Two, three, four…
Naomi: Multiple times
Peter: Multiple bows.
Naomi: はい (hai), I think it’s just a habit.
Peter: One more interesting thing is like, if a Japanese person does shake your hand, they might use two hands. One hand grasping yours and one more on the outside.
Naomi: Oh yeah, that’s true! Some people do that.
Peter: So, just a little FYI, just some information in case someone does shake their hand in that manner.
Peter: Okay, now, let’s take a closer look into these phrases for learning Japanese. Naomi-Sensei, what was the phrase for “hello” used in the dialogue?
Naomi: こんにちは (Kon'nichiwa.)
Peter: “Hello.” It’s not konnichiwa, it’s こんにちは (Kon'nichiwa.) You really have to hit that ん(n) sound in there, the ん(n) syllable before -ni. Naomi-Sensei, one more time.
Naomi: Sure. こんにちは (Kon'nichiwa.)
Peter: And please, break it down by syllable.
Naomi: こんにちは (Kon'nichiwa.) こんにちは (Kon'nichiwa.)
Peter: こんにちは (Kon'nichiwa.)
Naomi: Right.
Peter: Now, when can we use this phrase?
Naomi: It’s like “hello.” It’s used mainly in a daytime.
Peter: This phrase is polite enough for use in formal situations too, right?
Naomi: はい (hai), right.
Peter: Okay, let’s look at the next phrase. After saying hello, Mr. Tanaka said?
Naomi: はじめまして。 (Hajime mashite.)
Peter: Can you say it again?
Naomi: はじめまして。 (Hajime mashite.)
Peter: Now please, break it down by syllable. Everybody, please listen closely. Hearing it syllable by syllable really help you pick up the sounds of Japanese.
Naomi: はじめまして。 (Hajime mashite.) はじめまして。 (Hajime mashite.)
Peter: It literally means “for the first time,” but in English, you need to say that when you meet someone for the first time.
Naomi: It’s like "nice to meet you" in English.
Peter: Perfect translation and it’s a very good phrase to use when you’re meeting someone for the first time. After Mr. Tanaka says this, he then says…
Naomi: 私は田中です。 (Watashi wa Tanaka desu.)
Peter: “I am Tanaka.” Now, this is his last name. We’re gonna look at this closer in just a minute, but he’s giving his last name. Ms. Suzuki says exactly the same thing, right?
Naomi: Right. She said 私は鈴木です。 (Watashi wa Suzuki desu.)
Peter: “I’m Suzuki.” Okay, we’re gonna look into the grammar and the structure of the sentence in just a minute. Now, let’s look at what Ms. Suzuki said after she gave her name.
Naomi: よろしくお願いします。 (Yoroshiku o-negai shimasu.)
Peter: Naomi-Sensei, one more time, please.
Naomi: よろしくお願いします。 (Yoroshiku o-negai shimasu.)
Peter: Please remember this phrase. Please remember this phrase. It’s an interesting one. For one thing, there is no real equivalent in the English language, but you hear it all the time!
Naomi: All the time!
Peter: Especially when you meet someone for the first time. Now, I’m gonna ask you a tricky question.
Naomi: Mmm.
Peter: What does it mean?
Naomi: Okay. よろしく (Yoroshiku) means “well,” お願いします (o-negai shimasu) means “please” or “I’m begging you” or could be “do me a favor.” So literally, “Do me a favor, please” or “Be nice to me.”
Peter: The reason I said this is a tricky phrase is the meaning can change, depending on the context, depending on how it’s used. In this case, you’re meeting someone for the first time, so when you use it, when you meet someone for the first time, its implication is "Please look favorably upon me." Please be nice to me, again, this is the context. Used in a different context, よろしくお願いします (Yoroshiku o-negai shimasu) can mean something completely different. Naomi-Sensei, help us memorize this phrase, can you give us a phrase used in the dialogue, but breaking into two parts? The first part will be よろしく (yoroshiku) and second part will be お願いします (o-negai shimasu).
Naomi: Okay. よろしく (Yoroshiku).
よろしく (Yoroshiku).
よろしく (Yoroshiku).
And the second part is お願いします (o-negai shimasu).
お願いします (O-negai shimasu).
お願いします (O-negai shimasu).
Peter: All together.
Naomi: よろしくお願いします。 (Yoroshiku o-negai shimasu.)
よろしくお願いします。 (Yoroshiku o-negai shimasu.)
よろしくお願いします。 (Yoroshiku o-negai shimasu.)
Peter: よろしくお願いします。 (Yoroshiku o-negai shimasu.)
Naomi: Right.
Peter: Let’s move on to the grammar section.

Lesson focus

Peter: Now, don’t be scared of grammar. I know the big bad G word, but grammar is important and if explained properly, it will help you see things in a whole new light. We’re gonna try to do that right now. In this grammar section, you’ll learn how to say your name in Japanese. In the dialogue, Mr. Tanaka said…
Naomi: 私は田中です。 (Watashi wa Tanaka desu.)
Peter: “I am Tanaka.” Let’s break down this phrase. The first word is?
Naomi: わたし (watashi)
Peter: In this context, it means “I.” Next, we have?
Naomi: は (wa)
Peter: This is a topic-marking particle. は (Wa) is a concept that we’ll get into much later. But for now, we’ll tell you that it’s a particle that indicates what you’re going to be talking about. A much simpler way of introducing this is think of は (wa) as an English equivalent to “as for.”
Naomi: Okay.
Peter: And whatever that comes before the は (wa) would come after “for.” So, let’s use an example to illustrate this. What do we have in the sentence?
Naomi: 私は (watashi wa)
Peter: So in this case, it would be, “as for me.”
Naomi: Right.
Peter: Whatever comes before that は (wa), think of what comes after. As for, right there. So, if we were to put Naomi’s name before the は (wa).
Naomi: 直美は (Naomi wa)
Peter: “As for Naomi.” So, it’s introducing the topic that we’re going to be talking about.
Naomi: Right. In the dialogue, Mr. Tanaka said 私は (watashi wa) and 田中です (Tanaka desu).
Peter: So he puts his name…
Naomi: 田中 (Tanaka),
Peter: and at the end of the sentence, he says…
Naomi: です (Desu). In this case, it means “am.”
Peter: Right. です (Desu) is known as copula. Basically, this is a linking verb and to rephrase “to be.”
Naomi: はい。 (Hai).
Peter: And basically, it’s a word that joins the subject of a sentence with the predicate. I’m not speaking in tongues. I’m just saying that this is what links “I” to “Tanaka” in this case. In Japanese, the structure can function as “I am, you are, he is, she is, they are.” It can function as everything, unlike in English. There’s no conjugation of the verb, depending on the subject, so it’s all the same. Naomi-Sensei, can you say the sentence one more time?
Naomi: 私は田中です。(Watashi wa Tanaka desu.) “I Tanaka am.”
Peter: Literally, of course. In natural English, it would be “I am Tanaka/I’m Tanaka.”
Naomi: So, in my case, my name is Naomi, so 私は直美です。 (Watashi wa Naomi desu.)
Peter: Right after 私は (watashi wa) comes your name and then you end it with?
Naomi: です (desu)
Peter: 私はピーターです。 (Watashi wa Pītā desu.) “I’m Peter.” “My name is Peter.” So, to say your name, say…
Naomi: 私は (Watashi wa),
Peter: then put your name, and finally add…
Naomi: です (Desu). 私は (Watashi wa), such and such, です (desu).
Peter: So, if a listener’s name is John, it would be…
Naomi: 私はジョンです。 (Watashi wa Jon desu.)
Peter: If the listener’s name was Jenny, it would be…
Naomi: 私はジェニーです。 (Watashi wa Jenī desu.)
Peter: So, the pattern is the same.
Naomi: Right.
Peter: In the conversation, Mr. Tanaka said…
Naomi: 私は田中です。(Watashi wa Tanaka desu.)
Peter: “I am Tanaka” / “My name is Tanaka.” And Ms. Suzuki said?
Naomi: 私は鈴木です。(Watashi wa Suzuki desu).
Peter: Please note here, Tanaka and Suzuki are last names.
Naomi: Right. In a polite situation, it’s very common to give only your last name. Other people will refer to you by your last name too, but in informal situations though, I think it’s okay to use your first name.
Peter: Another thing that is important to note is that name order in Japanese is the opposite of name order in English.
Naomi: That’s right. So, if my last name is Tanaka, my name would be Tanaka Naomi (last name, first name).
Peter: But something to keep in mind is that Western names usually keep their Western order, even when used in Japanese, so you don’t need to worry about changing the order. So in my case, my name is Peter Galante. So that would be, 私はピーター・ガランテです。(Watashi wa Pītā Garante desu). Of course, if I wanted to follow the Japanese way, I could say, 私はガランテ・ピーターです。(Watashi wa Garante Pītā desu.) “I’m Galante Peter.”
Naomi: And one more thing, when you look at the Romaji for です (desu), it’s spelled D-E-S-U, desu, but -u at the end is silent. It’s not pronounced as ‘desu,’ but ‘des.’
Peter: That’s a great pronunciation tip. And this doesn’t only occur in the word です (desu). You’ll find it when -u comes at the end of a word in Japanese. They’re often silent. Naomi-Sensei, I could think of one other example right from the dialogue.
Naomi: なに (nani), what is it?
Peter: お願いします (o-negai shimasu)
Naomi: Oh, right!
Peter: If you look at the kana and if you look at it, it’s -asu, so it’s -su. So, if you’re reading it without knowing that the final -u is usually silent, you would read it (o-negai shimasu), but it’s usually pronounced…
Naomi: お願いします (o-negai shimasu)
Peter: Silent -u.
Naomi: Okay. So, since it’s the first Bootcamp Lesson, why don’t we introduce ourselves using this lesson’s vocab and grammar?
Peter: Excellent idea.
Naomi: こんにちは。はじめまして。私は直美です。
(Kon'nichiwa. Hajimemashite. Watashi wa Naomi desu.)
"Hello. Nice to meet you. I’m Naomi.”
Peter: 私はピーター・ガランテです。よろしくお願いします。
(Watashi wa Pītā Garante desu. Yoroshiku o-negai shimasu.)
“I’m Peter Galante. Nice to meet you."


Peter: So, how was your first Japanese Basic Bootcamp Lesson? Hope we didn’t work you too hard. Join us next time as we learn more about of the basics.
Naomi: じゃ、また。(Ja, mata.) See you!


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