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Eric: Welcome to japanesepod101.com. Newbie series, Lori’s Story 16. Everybody counts. My name is Eric and I am accompanied by Naomi Sensei.
Naomi: こんにちは。
Eric: こんにちは。
Naomi: よろしくお願いします。
Eric: よろしくお願いします。 Naomi Sensei, what are we doing today?
Naomi: 今日は We are studying numbers again. Bigger numbers.
Eric: Well we just learned how to count up to 999.
Naomi: Today we are going to learn 1000s and millions and trillions.
Eric: Wait trillions. Can you imagine a trillion things?
Naomi: Stars.
Eric: Wow! You have a vast imagination. That’s good Naomi Sensei. So Naomi Sensei, I miss Lori.
Naomi: Sorry, she won’t appear in today’s conversation.
Eric: She is not back yet?
Naomi: She is still in the shoe shop and choosing a nice pair.
Eric: Wait! So she is still trying to get those Alligator Skin pumps that I told you about?
Naomi: I don’t know.
Eric: Unbelievable well so what happens this week?
Naomi: Mr. Mizuki and foreigner student are talking at 留学センター Center and Mr. Mizuki is showing Japanese currency 円.
Eric: 円 or in English Yen. All right, let’s see how much money he has.
水木: これは、一円。一円玉。これは五円。五円玉。十円。十円玉。五十円。五十円玉。百円。百円玉。五百円。五百円玉。
留学生: はい。一、五、十、五十、百、五百。
水木: そうです。これは千円。千円札。二千円。二千円札。五千円。五千円札。それから、これは一万円。一万円札。
留学生: 千、二千、五千、一万。
水木: そうそう。
水木: これは、一円。一円玉。これは五円。五円玉。十円。十円玉。五十円。五十円玉。百円。百円玉。五百円。五百円玉。
留学生: はい。一、五、十、五十、百、五百。
水木: そうです。これは千円。千円札。二千円。二千円札。五千円。五千円札。それから、これは一万円。一万円札。
留学生: 千、二千、五千、一万。
水木: そうそう。
(Exchange Student Office)
水木: これは、一円。一円玉。これは五円。五円玉。十円。十円玉。五十円。五十円玉。百円。百円玉。五百円。五百円玉。
MIZUKI: This is one yen, a one yen coin. This is five yen, a five yen coin. Tenyen, a ten yen coin. Fifty yen, a fifty yen coin. One hundred yen, a hundred yen coin. Five hundred yen, a five hundred yen coin.
留学生: はい。一、五、十、五十、百、五百。
EXCHANGE STUDENT: Okay. One, five, ten, fifty, one hundred, five hundred.
水木: そうです。これは千円。千円札。二千円。二千円札。五千円。五千円札。それから、これは一万円。一万円札。
MIZUKI: That's right. This is one thousand yen, a thousand yen bill. Two thousand yen, a two thousand yen bill. Five thousand yen, a five thousand yen bill. And then, there's ten thousand yen, the ten thousand yen bill.
留学生: 千、二千、五千、一万。
EXCHANGE STUDENT: One thousand, two thousand, five thousand, ten thousand.
水木: そうそう。
MIZUKI: There you go!
Naomi: Eric-san, I think Japanese currency system is quite simple compared with dollars and…
Eric: Yeah you think so?
Naomi: Yeah.
Eric: Well actually that’s true. You know, there is no sense. So there is no decimal point. For me, that’s the most convenient point about it.
Naomi: そう。
Eric: But it’s sort of like you are counting in pennies. Once you get the hang of it, then you don’t need a decimal point right because the numbers seem way bigger when you are coming from dollars but if you think of each yen almost as a penny, then it starts to make sense more or less. It is pretty simple. It’s pretty simple numerically but physically you are going to have a big fat pocket full of coins eventually right?
Naomi: そうですね。 Right.
Eric: Right because like if you are dealing with dollars, when you have change, when you have coins in your pocket, those are negligible. You could throw them away or you can give them away and it’s not a big deal but in Japanese yen, you can be holding like $50 in your pocket in change, just in change right?
Naomi: Uhhh.
Eric: And it won’t even weigh you down that much.
Naomi: え~ Because we have ¥500 coin, ¥100 coin and ¥500 coin.
Eric: That’s right and you could think about the ¥100 coin almost as the gold dollar with a dollar coin.
Naomi: Ah $5 coins ってことなのね。
Eric: Right and the ¥500 is like, it’s almost like a $5 coin right?
Naomi: Yeah.
Eric: So you can be carrying serious money just in your loose change pocket.
Naomi: なるほどね。次は単語です。
Eric: On to the vocabulary.
Naomi: 円
Eric: Yen.
Naomi: (slow)えん (natural speed) 円
Eric: The next word is
Naomi: 玉
Eric: Ball, coin.
Naomi: (slow)たま (natural speed) 玉
Eric: The next word is
Naomi: 千
Eric: Thousand.
Naomi: (slow)せん (natural speed) 千
Eric: The next word is
Naomi: 一万
Eric: Ten thousand.
Naomi: (slow)いちまん (natural speed) 一万
Eric: The next word is
Naomi: 札
Eric: Bill.
Naomi: (slow)さつ (natural speed) 札
Eric: The next word is
Naomi: それから
Eric: And then, after that, and
Naomi: (slow)それから (natural speed) それから
Eric: Okay Naomi Sensei, let’s take a closer look at some of these words. What was our first word today?
Naomi: 玉
Eric: 玉 It usually means ball right?
Naomi: はい。
Eric: Or something round?
Naomi: そうです。
Eric: But in this case, we want it to mean something different.
Naomi: In today’s dialogue, it meant coin.
Eric: Now is that common to call a coin 玉
Naomi: 玉 cannot be used by itself to mean in a sense of coin.
Eric: So I can’t say この玉 this this 玉です coin.
Naomi: You can’t say that. You should say 硬貨
Eric: 硬貨 which means hard money.
Naomi: はい。
Eric: Okay which means physical hard coins?
Naomi: Right.
Eric: Okay. So how do you use 玉
Naomi: For example, ¥1 coin will be 一円玉。
Eric: I see so you use, you add 玉 to the end of the denomination that you want to talk about. Alright, so for a ¥1 coin, it’s
Naomi: 一円玉
Eric: And the word 玉 by itself is たま with the T right but when you add it to the end of a word, it becomes
Naomi: だま
Eric: With a D.
Naomi: Right.
Eric: Okay. How about a ¥5 coin? Your favorite.
Naomi: 五円玉
Eric: And how about my favorite, the ¥100 coin?
Naomi: 百円玉 And I think Japanese people pronounce as 円 not yen.
Eric: That’s right. Why do we even pronounce it Yen in English?
Naomi: そう。なんで?
Eric: Yeah ey..Good question right. Actually this yen in Japanese, it’s 円 right because the Chinese character, the kanji for it is pronounced 円
Naomi: Right.
Eric: But it comes from China right and in China, it’s pronounced well okay I am no expert in Chinese but I think it’s pronounced Yuan or Yuen or something similar to that and possibly the English came from there.
Naomi: へえ~知らなかった! I didn’t know that. Wow!
Eric: Yeah and since they use a same character to mean where money began? Well, they use this character and a different character also but I think that might be where it came from because it’s kind of strange to call 円 yen.
Naomi: そうね。
Eric: And it almost doesn’t make sense but you know what also doesn’t make sense?
Naomi: あぁ。
Eric: This is completely unrelated but it’s related to the Y at the beginning of a word like N. Yebisu beer. Yebisu beer on the bottle, it has a Y like Yebisu. Nobody says that right like Ebisu and Yebisu. I mean, but any way that has nothing to do with money. So we’ve only been talking about chump change up till now hah, just pocket change but any way, let’s talk about bills.
Naomi: 札
Eric: All right. So what does that mean 札?
Naomi: Bills. Bank note.
Eric: That’s right bank notes, stuff that you usually put in your wallet rectangular piece of paper.
Naomi: I think I usually say お札 instead of 札
Eric: Wait, wait but that you are talking about only when you use that word by itself right?
Naomi: Right.
Eric: Do you ever actually use it by itself?
Naomi: お札?あ~使わないか。
Eric: Not really not that much?
Naomi: Not really.
Eric: Right. I mean, that’s what I imagined. You don’t really have to use the word お札 just by itself right because just like in 玉, we are going to add it to the end of the denomination that you talk about what type of money you want right. So what kind of bills do we have in Japanese?
Naomi: 千円札
Eric: ¥1000.
Naomi: はい。
Eric: What’s the next bill that we have?
Naomi: 二千円札
Eric: Okay ¥2000
Naomi: Yeah but nobody likes it though.
Eric: Really? Is it that nobody likes it or it’s just rare? It’s not in circulation.
Naomi: Nobody uses it.
Eric: Right I mean I like it. No it’s nice. Maybe it’s nice just because it’s rare and then you get to store and then you bust it out and everybody is like hey! Wow, hey that’s a ¥2000 note you got there. You know, it’s like having a $2 bill.
Naomi: そうです。
Eric: Well I mean in America, $20 is the most common bill that you have but like a $2 bill, who has that?
Naomi: あ~そっかそっかそっか。
Eric: I mean everybody has one they fold it up for good luck but nobody actually takes it out and uses it. So what’s the next bill that we have?
Naomi: 五千円札
Eric: The ¥5000 note.
Naomi: And finally the biggest bill in Japan is 一万円札
Eric: The ¥10,000 note. And that’s the one I was talking about earlier. Right, hey to have your pocket full of those, feel like a king.
Naomi: It’s like having $100 in your pocket.
Eric: Yes many pieces of $100 hah! And that’s actually very common.
Naomi: そうね。
Eric: At least in my personal experience, it’s not very common to see people walking around with tons of $100 bills but here in Japan, everybody mostly uses cash like you see everyone walking around with tons of ¥10,000 notes.
Naomi: 次は文法、じゃない。数字です。
Eric: Uhh…Naomi Sensei, throwing us a curveball. Next is not grammar but numbers.

Lesson focus

Eric: Okay what kind of numbers do we have today?
Naomi: 千、万。
Eric: Uhh Alright. So let’s start with those 1000
Naomi: 千
Eric: Okay so let’s count the thousands. 1000
Naomi: 千
Eric: So this number 千 is kind of like 100 百 right?
Naomi: Right.
Eric: Where you don’t say 一百.
Naomi: そうですね Usually we don’t say 一千 for 1000.
Eric: Usually okay I see. So when we talk about larger numbers that have to do with 千, you might say 一千.
Naomi: そうですね。 or if you want to be more clear, you probably have to say 一千 sometimes.
Eric: Okay so it’s not prohibited?
Naomi: No.
Eric: Because 一百 is absolutely nowhere right.
Naomi: Prohibited.
Eric: Got it. So 2000
Naomi: 二千
Eric: 3000
Naomi: 三千
Eric: Okay pay attention here. The 千 which is usually sen became
Naomi: ぜん
Eric: With a Z. 4000.
Naomi: 四千
Eric: 5000
Naomi: 五千
Eric: 6000
Naomi: 六千
Eric: 7000
Naomi: 七千
Eric: 8000
Naomi: 八千
Eric: Okay so in this case, the eight is not はち, it’s not はちせん.
Naomi: No.
Eric: It becomes
Naomi: はっせん
Eric: Okay. So it’s stretched out with a little つ
Naomi: Right.
Eric: はっせん Okay and 9000?
Naomi: 九千
Eric: So we just went through all the thousands and the only one that changed the word sen was 3000 right?
Naomi: はい。三千。
Eric: There is no more zens. Good that’s pretty easy to remember.
Naomi: But be careful. You can’t say 十千 for 10,000
Eric: Because it has its own.
Naomi: Word
Eric: Word for it.
Naomi: はい。
Eric: It is own little denomination. Okay now on to that, what is that?
Naomi: 一万
Eric: 10,000. Okay so any of the 10,000s will be counted as 万.
Naomi: そうです。
Eric: So how about 20,000?
Naomi: We say 2 of 10,000s. So 二万.
Eric: So what about 30,000?
Naomi: 三万
Eric: 40,000
Naomi: 四万
Eric: 50,000
Naomi: 五万
Eric: 60,000
Naomi: 六万
Eric: 70,000
Naomi: 七万
Eric: 80,000
Naomi: 八万
Eric: 90,000
Naomi: 九万
Eric: You know, even though these numbers are pretty big, I think the 万 were the easiest ones that you have done so far.
Naomi: そうですね。 There is no exceptions at all.
Eric: Right no exceptions. It doesn’t change. The numbers are straightforward. How about なな 7, 七万
Naomi: 七万
Eric: Can you say しちまん?
Naomi: しちまん is fine but I think people would say ななまん
Eric: It’s easier to say right?
Naomi: はい。
Eric: It’s just all us. So we went up to 90,000 but what if I wanted to say 91,000?
Naomi: 9万千 or 9万1千
Eric: Wow! That’s really easy. So you just say 90000 and then 1000 right after with no pause, no break, nothing in between. So how about 25000?
Naomi: 2万5千
Eric: That’s pretty straightforward. So let’s take it up a notch. Alright, so how about 47320?
Naomi: 4万7千3百20
Eric: So you start with the biggest number and work your way down to the smallest one in terms of the level of digits right?
Naomi: はい。
Eric: The place numbers. So I want to make this clear for all of the people who are used to the English system of numbers right where the places are different. The places are the ones placed at 10ths place, the hundreds, thousands, then the next one would be million right and everything else is a compound of each other and so you get to billion and a new place comes after each comma. It doesn’t work the same way in Japanese.
Naomi: そうね。カンマは違うよね。
Eric: Right.
Naomi: The place for comma is different.
Eric: Exactly. The place for the commas are different and the places are different.
Naomi: はい。
Eric: Okay. So we have the 1s place, so to review, we have the 1s place. The 10s place, the 100s place, the 1000s place and the 10,000s place. And then after 10,000 the next place would be 100 million.
Naomi: あ~1億。
Eric: 1億 And everything in between are just compounds of each other.
Naomi: そうでうすね。 For example, 100,000 is 10万
Eric: Ten 10,000s.
Naomi: One million is 100万
Eric: One Hundred 10,000s.
Naomi: Ten million is 1千万
Eric: One Thousand 10,000s.
Naomi: Then we have 1億
Eric: And which is 100 million. Alright, I know that sounds complicated right now and it is, right. I mean it is pretty complicated because it’s a whole change in the paradigm and the way that you think about numbers but when you are counting things just by yourself or home or wherever and you are counting money, try to count it in Japanese and use the Japanese places in denomination to count whatever you are counting especially when you are dealing with big numbers. Alright, so with that in mind, why don’t we practice?
Naomi: はい。
Eric: So Naomi Sensei is going to say a number in Japanese. You pause this. We will give you some time, you think about it, you press play and I will say the answer. We will do that for five problems and then we will switch.
Naomi: 三千
Eric: 3000.
Naomi: 八千
Eric: 8000.
Naomi: 四千
Eric: 4000.
Naomi: 九万
Eric: 90000.
Naomi: 二十万
Eric: 200,000. 2000.
Naomi: 二千
Eric: 3333.
Naomi: 三千三百三十三
Eric: 9874.
Naomi: 九千八百七十四
Eric: 100,000.
Naomi: 十万
Eric: 420,000.
Naomi: 四十二万
Eric: 3 million.
Naomi: 三百万
Eric: Well how was that Naomi Sensei, are you sweating?
Naomi: ねぇ。
Eric: Yeah that was tough ha! But there is still a lot of numbers and a lot of combinations of numbers that we haven’t mentioned at all. For example, you know 10s of millions, 100s of millions, even billions that you can say by combining all the numbers we just learned right?
Naomi: Right.
Eric: So with that in mind, go to japanesepod101.com, click on this episode and just write in the comments. Write in the comments your favorite numbers. You know, try to see what kind of crazy numbers you can come up with and see if you are right. It’s great. The community will help you out. It will try to come up with even bigger numbers and it will be tons of fun.
Naomi: はい。
Eric: All right and with that in mind, I will see you guys later.
Naomi: じゃ、また。


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Please to leave a comment.
😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

JapanesePod101.com Verified
October 25th, 2008 at 06:30 PM
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Mina-san, what's your local currency?

JapanesePod101.com Verified
September 10th, 2019 at 06:30 AM
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Hi Castus,

Thank you for the question!

8,336,005 = 八百三十三万六千五 (はっぴゃく さんじゅうさんまん ろくせん ご)


Miki H

Team JapanesePod101.com

August 1st, 2019 at 04:55 AM
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** 8,336,005 = 八百万三百三十六千五円 **?

August 1st, 2019 at 04:35 AM
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Here is a tough one I’m struggling with.

8,336,005 = 八百万三百三十六千六 ⁈ 🤯

I need to know if there are other ways to say this number or if this is completely wrong!

JapanesePod101.com Verified
October 16th, 2018 at 05:11 AM
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Hi Andy,

Thank you for sharing your height and weight. Please see below for a more natural way to say it.


Often times, Japanese native speakers drop メートル from センチメートル and グラム from キログラム and say it like this:


Hi Andy,

台湾の通貨 (つうか・currency) を教えてくれて、ありがとうございます!

Hi Tiara Newman,

Thank you for asking the question. Although the exchange rate fluctuates, thinking $1 (USD) = ¥100 (JPY) is a great yardstick. So if you are in Japan and looking at an item costing 1000 yen, it's roughly $10.

Hope this helps.


Miki H

Team JapanesePod101.com

Tiara Newman
August 30th, 2018 at 09:18 PM
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PLEASE HELP ME. Can you explain to me how to convert Japanese yen to U.S. dollars currency amount, so if I went to Japan😞, and I buy something I have a sense of how to calculate? Or do you just pull out the Yen amount?? This is the most important question I need to be answered please!!! ARIGATO!

December 30th, 2016 at 02:34 PM
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kindly correct me if i am wrong

December 29th, 2016 at 02:15 PM
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JapanesePod101.com Verified
May 5th, 2016 at 09:45 PM
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ウィレソン エッリク san


The Japanese language has counters.

Dama is used for coins.

Yuki 由紀

Team JapanesePod101.com

ウィレソン エッリク
April 23rd, 2016 at 02:14 AM
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The counting is confusing to me. Is there an easier way to memorize them.

Also is this only used to count money or anything in general?

JapanesePod101.com Verified
February 22nd, 2016 at 12:41 AM
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Team JapanesePod101.com

Yuki  由紀