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Lesson One

Welcome to lesson one of a five lesson series. Introductions should be your first lesson when learning Japanese at school or university. Objectives: Meeting new people, introducing yourself, asking for someones name, morning expressions and exchanging business cards.

Basic Introductions

Hajimemashite

Hajimemashite is only used when it’s the first time you meet someone. It would be strange to say hajimemashite to someone you’ve already met. It would be like saying “nice to meet you, I don’t think we’ve met before” to someone you’ve already met.

In this dialogue, Mr. Pope and Ms. Kurata meet for the first time and introduce themselves.

Listen to Dialogue 1:
Pope:
Kurata:
Pope:
Kurata:
Hajimemashite. Pope desu.
Hajimemashite. Kurata desu.
Douzo yoroshiku onegaishimasu.
Douzo yoroshiku onegaishimasu.
Pope:
Kurata:
Pope:
Kurata:
How do you do? I’m Mr. Pope.
How do you do? I’m Ms. Kurata
It’s nice to meet you.
It’s nice to meet you.

Meeting someone and then introducing yourself

Sumimasen

Sumimasen is used as an apology, similar to I’m sorry or excuse me. It can also be used to get someone’s attention and to say thank you to someone. Ka is the question marker, something we don’t have in English. Hai means yes and sou desu means, “that’s correct”.

This example assumes Mr. Pope knows Ms. Kurata; however, Ms. Kurata doesn’t know Mr. Pope. Mr. Pope confirms Ms. Kurata’s name then introduces himself for the first time. Notice how the name can come before the greeting, just like in English.

Dialogue 2:
Pope:
Kurata:
Pope:
Kurata:
Sumimasen. Kurata san desu ka?
Hai, sou desu.
Hajimemashite. Pope desu.
Hajimemashite. Kurata desu.
Pope:
Kurata:
Pope:
Kurata:
Excuse me. Are you Ms. Kurata?
Yes, that’s correct.
I’m Mr. Pope. How do you do? It’s nice to meet you.
I’m Ms. Kurata. It’s nice to meet you.

Asking someone’s name

Onamae wa?

In formal speach you always ask a question with ka. However, when asking someone’s name you us wa. This is because ka is used in formal questions whereas wa is used in informal colloquial style.

Dialogue 3:
Kurata:
Pope:
Hajimemashite, Kurata desu. Onamae wa?
Pope desu. Hajimemashite.
Kurata:
Pope:
How do you do? I’m Ms. Kurata. very nice to meet you.
I’m Mr Pope. Very nice to meet you.

Greetings in the morning

Ohayou gozaimasu.

When speaking to someone older or in a position of authority, it is important to always use Ohayou gozaimasu. They will, in turn, only reply with ohayou. This is an acknowledgement that they are in a superior position.

Dialogue 4:
Pope:
Kurata:
Ohayou gozaimasu.
ohayou.
Pope:
Kurata:
Good morning.
Good morning.

Exchanging business cards

The business card exchange protocal is very important in Japan, and very important for exams at school and university. Notice how Mrs. Kurata says “ha” after “kore”. The second “ha” means “too”. So it literally translate to: “This is my business card, too.” This is a more natural way to respond.

Dialogue 5:
Pope:
Kurata:
Pope:
Kurata:

Pope:

Hajimemashite, Toukyou Daigaku no Pope desu.
Hajimemashite, Toshiba no Kurata desu.
Kore, watshi no meishi desu.
Doumo arigatou gozaimasu. Kore ha, watashi no meishi desu.
Doumo arigatou gozaimasu.
Pope:

Kurata:

Pope:
Kurata:

Pope:

How do you do? I’m Mr. Pope from the University of Tokyo
How do you do? I’m Takada from the Toshiba corporation.
This is my business card.
Thank you very much. This is my business card.
Thank you very much.