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Lesson Transcript

In today’s lesson, we will cover an extremely important phrase. Where is the bathroom? Without this, you could have serious bladder problems. In Japanese, where is the bathroom is Toire wa doko desuka? Toire wa doko desuka? Broken down by syllable, it’s To-i-re-wa-do-ko-de-su-ka altogether it’s Toire wa doko desuka? Now let’s take a look at the components. First we have toire which is the katakana word for toilet. Now this might sound a little bit crude to our US listeners but the word is actually pretty acceptable in Japanese. So let’s just break it down.
To-i-re, toire This is followed by the topic marking particle Va and then the interrogative where which is Doko. do-ko. So to recap what we have so far Toire wa doko literally toilet where and this is followed by desu the polite form of the rough equivalent to the English verb To Be. Finally we have ka a particle that indicates that the sentence is an interrogative all the parts put together give us Toire wa doko desuka? Toire wa doko desuka? Now there is another way to say bathroom which is Otearai, o-te-a-ra-i, Otearai. This word is made up of the honorific prefix O and the words for hand and wash.
To use this, we would substitute Otearai for the toilet to get Otearai wa doko desuka? Otearai wa doko desuka? Now when you finally get to the bathroom, there might be one last hurdle. In some cases, only the Kanji or the Chinese characters are written on the doors. Oohh! What to do, what to do? Well you can stop by the website and find the characters for man and woman. Find them inside the PDF or if you have an iPod, click the center button and you could find them there.
Be sure to do that or else you would be walking into the wrong bathroom. All right. That’s going to do it for today. See you later which in Japanese is Matane.


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JapanesePod101.com Verified
August 11th, 2009 at 06:30 PM
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Hi everyone! "Doko" is probably the most important question word to know! Do you know how to use it now?

JapanesePod101.com Verified
April 28th, 2018 at 05:52 AM
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Hi Graeme,

Thank you for the comment. To me, the last い for おてあらい is clearly pronounced. Most words ending with い is sounded out clearly. When there are two い together, then you are correct about it becomes like a long ī sound.





Miki H

Team JapanesePod101.com

April 5th, 2018 at 01:45 AM
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I'd like to ask a pronunciation question. When I read the word おてあらい - the last part of the word is pronounced like the English "rye", but there's an い on the end. However we don't pronounce い like we normally would in a word such as いいえ.

Is there a pronunciation rule for words with endings like おてあらい where the い isn't sounded?

JapanesePod101.com Verified
February 8th, 2018 at 01:20 AM
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Hi Marianne,

Thank you for the comment and sorry for our late reply!

Here are the kanji you are looking for:

Men 男

Women 女

For bathrooms, you often see signs say 男性用 (For men) and 女性用(For women). As long as you recognize the first kanji and the meaning, you are good to go!

Good luck travelling with 12 others to Japan. Enjoy your trip!!

Miki H

Team JapanesePod101.com

November 26th, 2017 at 07:42 PM
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I am looking for the kanji for mens and ladies toilet. I cannot find it in the PDF. Can you help me?

I will be travelling to Japan with 12 other Aussies next year, for three weeks.

JapanesePod101.com Verified
May 31st, 2017 at 09:18 PM
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Elizabeth Hamilton san,


I think that was 'o-benjo'. It's not very commonly used though:sweat_smile:

It's not wrong, so you can still use it. :wink:

Natsuko (奈津子),

Team JapanesePod101.com

Elizabeth Hamilton
March 31st, 2017 at 07:21 AM
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Kon'nichi wa, I studied a little Japanese in the early 1960's. I learned the word "o-benji" for bathroom in a home. Is this old usage or is it still current? Great lesson. ありがとう ございます?

JapanesePod101.com Verified
April 27th, 2016 at 09:31 AM
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Ruth M san,


Ganbatte kudasai.

Yuki 由紀

Team JapanesePod101.com

Ruth M
April 20th, 2016 at 07:54 AM
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"Hai. Wakarimashita!:thumbsup:(Eng.Yes.I understand!) :thumbsup:

"Hoteru,doko desu ka?"(Eng.Where is the hotel?:innocent:)

ARIGATO GOZAIMASU!:thumbsup:MATA NE!:thumbsup::heart::thumbsup:

November 6th, 2009 at 03:17 AM
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:shock::smile::???:confused here help

August 13th, 2009 at 11:21 AM
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grace michiko -san

化粧室 (けしょうしつ)keshou shitsu = powder room

keshou = makeup

shitsu= room

As you can probably tell from the meaning of the word, keshoushitsu is exclusively used by women.:wink: