Lesson 11 – Talking about last week


We learned about verbs (past tense) in the previous lesson. In this lesson, will practice how to use some of the verbs you have learned in your daily conversation.  Please review Lesson 5, 6, and 10 if you forgot about verbs.

Try to use these verbs and talk with Japanese people near you!


In this Lesson
You’ll learn how to make a conversation by using the verbs you’ve learned.

ともこ: しゅうまつ、なにをしましたか?
いちろう:がっこうに いきました。

Tomoko: Syumatu, nani wo shimasita ka?
Ichiro: Gakkou ni ikimashita.
Tomoko: Eh? Doushite?
Ichiro: Denwa wo nakushimashita kara, sagashimashita.
Tomoko: Soudesuka… Denwa wa arimashita ka?
Ichiro: Iie. Arimasen desita.

Tomoko: What did you do last weekend?
Ichiro: I went to school.
Tomoko: Rearlly? Why?
Ichiro: I lost my phone, so I looked for it.
Tomoko: Is that so? Did you find it?
Ichiro: No, I couldn’t find it.



Pronunciation Meaning
しゅうまつ Shumatu Weekend
なに Nani What
しました Shimashita Did
がっこう Gakkou School
Ni To
いきました Ikimashita Went
え? Eh? Really?
*どうして? Doushite? Why?
でんわ Denwa Home phone/ cell phone
なくしました Nakushimashita Lost
から Kara …,so…
さがしました Sagashimashita Looked for…
そうですか Soudesuka… Is that so?
ありました Arimashita Found it
ありませんでした Arimasendeshita Didn’t find it


*どうしてmeans why? If you’re talking to your friend, you can also say なんで?(Nande?) なんで? sounds more casual than どうして?


Change this conversation into Japanese.

1. Sakura: What did you do last weekend?
Toru: I went to Royal Randwick Racecourse.
Sakura: Why?
Toru: It was a Sport’s event.

2. Hitomi: What did you do last weekend?
Goro: I had Japanese food at Sushi Train.
Hitomi: Is that so?
Goro: It was 7 pm, so it was crowded.



  1. さくら:しゅうまつ、なにをしましたか?

  2. ひとみ:しゅうまつ、なにをしましたか?
    ごろう:Sushi Trainでにほんりょうりをたべました。


  1. lesson11_img02

Lesson 10 – Past Tense Verbs


In the previous lesson, we learned all about time and the months in the year. Now that you have several lessons and a lot of very basic Japanese under your belt, let’s switch gears and learn about past tense verbs. It has been a while since we have worked on verbs, so you may want to review Lessons 5 and 6. This lesson will focus on the past tense of verbs. If you want to learn more verbs, look for them in future lessons or use a dictionary. The essential patterns for forming the conjugations you will need can be found in this lesson and applied to other verbs.

In this lesson

–          Past Tense Verbs: Affirmative

–          Past Tense Verbs: Negative

–          Homework

–          Answer Key

Past Tense Verbs – Affirmative

The way you conjugate verbs into past tense will depend on whether the verb is a る verb, a う verb, or an irregular verb. For starters, る verbs will conjugate like so:

ねる à ねます à ねました

The starting point is always the dictionary form of the verb. This is what you will see if you look up the verb in the dictionary. Dictionaries do not usually give you any specific conjugations of a verb, unless they are in example sentences or the dictionary is a special verb dictionary. Knowing the dictionary form of a verb is very important!

Since ねる is a る verb, we get to the present affirmative tense by removing the る and adding ます. Now to move into the past affirmative tense, you simply remove the す and add した. This makes the verb past tense. Alternatively, you can start with the dictionary form, remove the る, and add the past tense ending ました. Either way is fine. ねました therefore is the past tense of ねます. So if you wanted to say you slept on Tuesday, you would use: かようびにねました.

Now let’s consider a う verb. Look at the pattern below.

のむ à のみますà のみました

Remember that with う verbs, you change the last syllable of the verb and add ます. Since のむ ends in む, you change it to み. If the う verb you are working with ends in う, you would change it to い and so on. (If you are looking at a hiragana chart, you change the final syllable to the one that appears above it on the chart!)

Here, just like the る verbs, you change ます to ました.

For irregular verbs, you just have to memorize their past tense form. They do not follow a pattern like the る and う verbs do. However, they do still follow the change ます to ました rule!

する à します à しました

くる à きます à きました

Past Tense Verbs – Negative

Now for conjugating verbs in the negative form! This is really easy to do once you know the present affirmative, present negative, and past affirmative forms. Look at the pattern below.

たべる à たべません à たべませんでした

As you can see, all you have to do is take the present negative form of a verb and add でした to the end of it, thus making it past tense (and still negative).

かう à かいません à かいませんでした

するà しません à しませんでした

Simple, right?

Now it’s time to practice what you’ve learned. Use the exercises below to learn more verbs and practice conjugating them.


Section 1: Look at the pictures below. Think of the verb that fits the picture and then conjugate it into the past affirmative and past negative forms.






Section 2: In the table below, you will find some Japanese verbs with their English translations. The verbs are listed in dictionary form, and you may or may not have seen them in previous lessons. The type of verb is given in the last column. Use this information to conjugate each verb into present affirmative, present negative, past affirmative, and past negative forms.


Japanese English Verb Type
きまる To be decided; certain
きく To hear; to listen
おちる To fall; to come off
まかす To entrust to; to defeat
する To do Irregular
たすかる To be saved
ほめる To praise
たべる To eat
かう To buy
だます To deceive or cheat
ためす To test; to try
うたう To sing; to express
かえる To return
なくす To lose something or someone
ことわる To refuse; to decline
かわかす To dry
いる To be, stay, be doing
はなす To speak; to talk
でかける To go out
はじめり To begin; to open



Answer Key

Section 1:

  1. おきました おきませんでした
  2. のみました    のみませんでした
  3. しました しませんでした
  4. ねました ねませんでした
  5. かきました    かきませんでした

Section 2:

1.きまります  きまりません  きまりました          きまりませんでした

2.ききます            ききません      ききました                 ききませんでした

3.おちます            おちません      おちました                 おちませんでした

4.まかします        まかしません  まかしました             まかしませんでした

5.します                しません          しました                     しませんでした

6.たすかります    たすかりません たすかりました            たすかりませんでした

7.ほめます            ほめません      ほめました                 ほめませんでした

8.たべます            たべません      たべました                 たべませんでした

9.かいます            かいません      かいました                    かいませんでした

10.だまします    だましません            だましました            だましませんでした

11.ためします    ためしません            ためしました            ためしませんでした

12.うたいます    うたいません            うたいました            うたいませんでした

13.かえります    かえりません            かえりました            かえりませんでした

14.なくします    なくしません            なくしました            なくしませんでした

15.ことわります ことわりません    ことわりました        ことわりませんでした

16.かわかします かわかしません    かわかしました        かわかしませんでした

17.います            いません        いました        いませんでした

18.はなします    はなしません            はなしました            はなしませんでした

19.でかけます    でかけません            でかけました            でかけませんでした

20.はじめます    はじめません            はじめました            はじめませんでした


Lesson 09 – Months, Seasons, Time


In the previous lesson, you learned how to talk about the days of the week. You also learned common time words such as the words for “tomorrow,” “weekend,” and “today.” This lesson will continue the theme of time and teach you how to say the months of the year as well as tell time in a general sense. Practice telling time in Japanese during your everyday life and this lesson will stick with you!

In this Lesson

–          Months of the year

–          How to tell time

–          Homework

–          Answer key


The table below gives you the Japanese words for the twelve months of the calendar year. These are really very easy if you already know your numbers!

English Hiragana Japanese
January いちがつ 一月
February にがつ 二月
March さんがつ 三月
April よんがつ 四月
May ごがつ 五月
June ろくがつ 六月
July しちがつ 七月
August はちがつ 八月
September くがつ 九月
October じゅうがつ 十月
November じゅういちがつ 十一月
December じゅうにがつ 十二月


From the chart above, it is easy to tell that each month is simply named by number plus the ending of がつ. がつ means “month.” The kanji for this is shown in the “Japanese” section of the table, along with the kanji for the numbers (which you should already know from Lesson 4)!

Seasons go along with months of the year, so check the table below for the translations of the seasons!

English Hiragana
Spring はる
Fall あき
Winter ふゆ
Summer なつ
The four seasons しき


How To Tell Time

Now, let’s move on to telling time in Japanese. The chart below details how to tell time when it is on the hour. Note that the table goes 1 through 12. The words for AM and PM are ごぜん and ごご respectively.

Arabic Numeral Japanese reading
1 一じ
2 二じ
3 三じ
4 四じ pronounced よじ
5 五じ
6 六じ
7 七じ
8 八じ
9 九じ pronounced くじ
10 十じ
11 十一じ
12 十二じ


Notice that the readings for time in Japanese are just the Japanese word for the number plus じ. If you want to say half past a certain time (meaning 3:30 instead of 3:00), you can simply add はん after じ. So, to say 3:00, it’s さんじ, but 3:30 is さんじはん.

You can also use the numbers you already know and ふん/ぷん to add minutes to the time. The ending ふん or ぷん means “minutes.” Depending on what number you are talking about, the word for “minute” fluctuates between ふん and ぷん. Look at the table below to learn which numbers take which ending.

English Hiragana
1 minute いっぷん
2 minutes にふん
3 minutes さんぷん
4 minutes よんぷん
5 minutes ごふん
6 minutes ろっぷん
7 minutes ななふん
8 minutes はちふん
9 minutes きゅうふん
10 minutes じゅっぷん

By looking at the charts above, you should be able to form any type of time in Japanese now! Study the charts until you become familiar with them, then try the exercises in the Homework section. First, here is a couple of examples.

2:17 pm = ごご二じ十七ふん

9:50 am = ごぜん九じ五十っぷん

*Note that there are two words for the numbers 4 and 7. 4 can be either よん or し. Usually for telling time, よん is shortened to よ and coupled with じ to form よじ. 7 can be either なな or しち. Usually for time, しち is used (しちじ). For minutes, you can use なな.

You can use the above method for telling times like 8:45, but you can also use another method. In English, you can say “a quarter ‘til 9” instead of 8:45. So, in Japanese you can either say 8:45 by saying 八じ四十五ふん, or you can say 九じ十五ふんまえ. This would be the equivalent of “a quarter ‘til 9.” Literally it would translate as “fifteen minutes before nine o’clock.” まえ means before.


Section 1: Look at the clocks below. Write out the time in Japanese. You do not need to include AM or PM.






Section 2: Translate the following times and short conversations into English or Japanese as needed.

  1. 10:00 AM
  2. 3:30 PM
  3. 12:45
  4. 8:28
  5. 11:56 PM
  6. 4:12 AM
  7. 9:08 AM
  8. 5:45 PM
  9. 7:17
  10. 2:37
  11. すみません、いまなんじですか。
  12. クラス はなんじですか。
    クラス はごぜん十じはんです。
  13. なんじにかえりますか。
  14. いま四じはんですか。
  15. ばんごはんはなんじですか。



Answer Key

Section 1:

  1. 十二じ
  2. 八じ
  3. 八じ四十五ふんor 九じ十五ふんまえ
  4. 七じはん
  5. 一じ十五ふん


Section 2:

  1. ごぜん十じ
  2. ごご三じはん
  3. 二十じ四十五ふん 一じ十五ふんまえ
  4. 八じ二十八ふん
  5. ごご十一じ五十六っぷん
  6. ごぜん四じ十二ふん
  7. ごぜん九じ八ふん
  8. 五じ四十五ふんor 六じ十五ふんまえ
  9. 七じ十七ふん
  10. 二じ三十七ふん
  11. Excuse me, what time is it now?
    It’s a quarter ‘til 10 PM.
  12. What time is class?
    Class is at 10:30 AM.
  13. What time are you returning?
    I’m returning at 3:15.
  14. Is it 4:30 now?
    No, it’s a quarter ‘til 4.
  15. What time is dinner?
    It’s at 6:30.

Lesson 08 – Days of the Week


In our last lesson, we focused on starting to learn some beginner’s kanji. Keep practicing those symbols as you continue with these lessons. There will be kanji lessons again soon, so make sure you have fully mastered the first kanji lesson before taking on those! This lesson will focus on teaching you how to talk about the days of the week and time. We will use the verb する (します/しません) a lot, but you should remember that verb from Lesson 5.

In This Lesson

  • Days of the week vocabulary
  • Usage
  • Homework
  • Answer key

Vocabulary for Days of the Week

In the table below, you will find the Japanese words for all of the days of the week. The kanji for these terms will be taught in a later lesson. For now, just focus on learning the hiragana! Below the table, there are some examples of how to talk about the days of the week.



Sunday にちようび
Monday げつようび
Tuesday かようび
Wednesday すいようび
Thursday もくようび
Friday きんようび
Saturday どようび
weekend しゅうまつ
today きょう
tomorrow あした
yesterday きのう


As you can see, each day of the week ends in the same sound (ようび). Only the first few syllables change, so the days of the week are easy to learn. In order to use them in a sentence, you can place the particle に after the day you are talking about. Normally, the day of the week you are talking about will go at the beginning of the sentence. This may change later as you get more comfortable with Japanese and learn more about the language. For now, leave the days of the week at the front of the sentence.

You can ask someone what they are doing on a specific day by saying ______になにをしますか. Or you can say ______になにがありますか. The latter means “what do you have on ______ (day of the week)?” This is usually used when talking about a schedule. But you can also just simply ask “What are you doing on  _____? with the first option listed above.

Since we have not had a lesson on あります yet, we will mostly focus on the first type of question for now. Later, you can learn how to answer an あります question.

Here is a sample conversation:

A: げつようびになにをしますか。

B:クラス にいきます。あなたはげつようびになにをしますか。

A: わたしはアルバイトにいきます。

Here is the translation: Person A says “What are (you) doing on Monday?” Person B answers: “Going to class. What are you doing on Monday?” Person A then responds: “I am going to my part-time job.”

This is a simple and typical conversation that really illustrates how to use the days of the week. You can replace げつようび with any of the days. You can also replace the activity that you are doing.

To use しゅうまつ, きょう, and あした, you can simply use that word where you would normally place a name like Monday or Tuesday. This time, however, you can leave off the に particle. Here is an example: “あしたがっこうにいきます.” This means “I am going to school tomorrow.” The word for “yesterday” is also listed in the vocabulary list above; however, since we have not covered past tense verbs yet, let’s save this word for later!


Section 1: Look at the images of the activities below. Make sentences about them in Japanese and choose a day of the week to place in the sentence. (Note: There is no answer key section for this part because you can make up several different scenarios for the pictures!)

Section 2: Translate the following from Japanese into English.

  1. きんようびにがっこうにいきますか。
  2. いいえ、きんようびにがっこうにいきません。
  3. しゅうまつなにをしますか。
  4. げつようびににほんごをべんきょうします。
  5. すいようびにクラスにいきます。
  6. もくようびにアルバイトにいきません。
  7. かようびにテニスをします。
  8. あしたぎんこうにいきます。
  9. きょうわたしはデパートにいきます。
  10. しゅうまつきょうとにいきます。
  11. にちようびにいえにかえりますか。
  12. はい、にちようびにかえります。
  13. きょうはなんようびですか。
  14. きょうはきにょうびです。
  15. あしたはどようびです。


Answer Key

Section 2:

  1. Are you going to school on Friday?
  2. No, I’m not going to school on Friday.
  3. What are you doing this weekend?
  4. On Monday I will study Japanese.
  5. On Wednesday I will go to class.
  6. On Thursday I will not go to my part-time job.
  7. On Tuesday I will play tennis.
  8. Tomorrow I’m going to the bank.
  9. Today I’m going to the department store.
  10. This weekend I’m going to Kyoto.
  11. Are you returning home on Sunday?
  12. Yes, I will return home on Sunday.
  13. What day is today?
  14. Today is Friday.
  15. Tomorrow is Saturday.



Lesson 07 – Kanji 1


Now that you have gotten a few of the more basic lessons out of the way, let’s move on to something more complicated (and sometimes more frustrating): kanji. Actually, in Lesson 4, you were taught the Japanese numbers along with their kanji. If you have not yet memorized the kanji from that lesson, it is probably best if you backtrack and learn this kanji completely first. Once you have that kanji under your belt, you should move on to this lesson.

In this lesson

  • Basic Kanji
  • Tips for learning kanji
  • Homework
  • Answer Key

Basic Kanji

To get started with some kanji unrelated to numbers, let’s take a look at these 15 symbols. Remember that kanji is the third system of writing in Japanese (hiragana and katakana are the two alphabets). Kanji is not an alphabet. These symbols were borrowed from Chinese but given Japanese pronunciations, and sometimes the meanings were changed. Each kanji symbol can stand for a word, a phrase, or an idea. This is why kanji can be really complicated. Kanji is further complicated by the fact that the symbols themselves can be made up of many, many strokes. Also, one kanji can sometimes have multiple meanings and translations.

Below are some kanji that are good for beginners to learn (in fact, all of the kanji below are taught to Japanese students in first grade). The best way to learn these is to practice writing them over and over again.

Kanji Hiragana English
みぎ right (as in direction)
あめ rain
まる / えん yen, circle, round
おら sky
おう king
spirit, vitality
はな flower
おと / ね sound, noise, tone
きん / かね / かな gold, money, metal
した below, under
やす to rest
かい shell, shellfish
がく student, place of education
たま / ぎょく gem, jewel


That’s it for the kanji list this time! There are more kanji that are taught to Japanese students in grade 1, so look for them in the next Kanji lesson! In the meantime, memorize the kanji for the numbers you have already learned and work on this kanji. Use the chart for as long as you need to before you move on to the next lesson!

Tips for Learning Kanji

1. First off, as stated above, take your time with the chart above. Kanji is very complicated, and it is often very hard for native speakers of Western languages to learn because these symbols are so much different than any of our languages. If you are a native speaker of another Asian language, you may have an easier time learning these kanji. No matter what your background is, kanji can still be complicated and difficult to learn because the only way to learn them is to memorize them. (If you don’t practice them after you learn them, you will quickly forget them!)

2. Make flashcards. Some people learn and memorize better this way. Write the kanji on one side and the English on the other. Quiz yourself by looking at the kanji symbols, saying the hiragana pronunciation and the English translation, and then checking your accuracy by looking at the back. Then try going the opposite way and look at the English translation first. You may also want to write the hiragana on the English translation side.

3. Write the symbols many times. It may help you to write the above symbols down in a vertical column on a sheet of paper. Then, start with the first symbol and write it over and over again in a row until you reach the end of the page. Move down to the next line and repeat.

4. Learn kanji over a period of time and review frequently. It may benefit you to take a few symbols at a time and study them intensively before moving on to a new small set. This first lesson has 15 symbols, but you could easily divide them up into groups of 5 or less and learn in increments. After you have learned them all, review them at least once a week by writing them out to make sure you don’t forget them.

5. Always write the kanji instead of the hiragana when you know it. This will help you remember which kanji is associated with which word instead of having just a bunch of random kanji floating around in your head!

6. Finally, persevere! You can do it!


Section 1: Look at each picture below. Write the kanji from this lesson that best corresponds to each picture.


















Section 2: Write the English translation for the kanji below.


Answer Key

Section 1

Section 2 (if you have an alternate translation that is in the above chart, that is okay too!)

  1. king
  2. spirit
  3. money
  4. fire
  5. flower
  6. to rest
  7. rain
  8. gem
  9. shell
  10. yen
  11. student
  12. right
  13. under
  14. sky
  15. sound

Lesson 06: Negating Verbs



In the previous lesson, we learned how to conjugate verbs into the present affirmative form. In this lesson, we will focus on conjugating verbs into the present negative form! We will look at each type of verb.


In This Lesson


–  る verbs

–  う verbs

–  Irregular verbs

–  Common Particles

–  Homework and Answer Key


る Verbs


In order to make る verbs into the present negative form, you will need to remove the る and add ません. ません tells you that the verb is being negated whereas ます tells you that a verb is actually happening.


First, let’s take one of the examples from the previous lesson. みる is the dictionary form of the verb “to see/watch.” If we want this in present affirmative, we would end up with みます. If we want to say we are not watching something or didn’t see something, we would need to drop the る and add ません, so our ending result would be みません.


Example: テレビ をみません。= I am not watching TV. (This can also mean “I don’t watch TV.”)


う Verbs


う verbs will conjugate a little differently, depending on what they end in. For example, かく (“to write”) is かきます in present tense affirmative. In present tense negative form, it is かきません. The ます changes to ません, and the く changes to き just like in the present tense affirmative form.


Other う verbs, such as かう (meaning “to buy”), will conjugate a bit differently since it ends in う. The present tense affirmative form is かいます while the present tense negative form is かいません. Since かう ends in う, you drop the う before adding います or いません. For う verbs, you should learn them as a set as you come to them (meaning learn the dictionary form, the present affirmative form, and the present negative form).


Example: わたしはたべものをかいません。 = I am not buying food/I am not going to buy food.


Irregular Verbs


The irregular verbs consist of くる and all verbs that use する. You will recall from the previous lesson that the present affirmative forms of these two verbs are きます and します respectively. These you must memorize since they follow no pattern. The present negative form of くる is きません and the present negative of する is しません. This also works for verbs like べんきょうする, which would be べんきょうしませんin present negative form.


Example: わたしはべんきょうしません。= I am not studying/I will not study.


Common Particles


You have already been introduced to the particles of は and を. We use は to mark the subject of the sentence and we use を to make the object of the sentence.


There are a couple of other particles which are very useful for creating Japanese sentences. The most common ones are に, の, and で.


にusually means “to” and is used with verbs like “いく.” For example, if you wanted to say you were going to Japan, you would say にほんにいきます. The に needs to be in the sentence before いきますbecause it shows you are going TO Japan.


の is used to mean “of” and as a possessive marker. If you want to say something is yours, you can say わたしの and then whatever the item is. Example: わたしのほん = my book.


で is used to show that you are performing an action in a specific location. For example, you can say you study Japanese at the library. としょかんでにほんごをべんきょうします。The で goes after the location in this sentence. You can also just say としょかんでべんきょうしますwhich means “I study at the library” or “I am studying at the library.”



Section 1: Look at the images below and write something that is NOT happening. Use your new knowledge about how to conjugate verbs in the negative present form! Look additional verbs up in the dictionary or online if you have to.


Section 2: Translate the following into English.

  1. わたしはたべません。
  2. にほんごのほんをよみません。
  3. うちにかえりません。
  4. わたしはこれをみません。
  5. わたしはべんきょうしません。

Section 3: Answer the following questions.

  1. Which particle do you use when you are talking about somewhere you will go?
  2. Which particle do you use to mark the subject of the sentence?
  3. Which particle do you use to mark the object of the sentence?
  4. Which particle do you use to show possessives?
  5. Which particle do you use to show you are doing something at a certain location?
  6. Which particle do you use to say “of?”


Answer Key

Section 2:

1. I am not eating/I will not eat.

2. I am not reading a Japanese book.

3. I will not return home/I am not returning home.

4. I will not watch this/I am not watching this.

5. I am not studying/I don’t study.


Section 3:

1. に

2. は

3. を

4. の

5. で

6. の

Lesson 05: Introduction to Verbs



In this lesson, you will be introduced to some Japanese verbs and how they work. You will learn the three types of verbs and how to conjugate them. For now, we will focus only on the present tense verbs. Past tense verbs will be taught in a later lesson.


In this lesson


– る verbs

– う verbs

– Irregular verbs

– Homework and answer key


る verbs


The first type of verb we will learn about in this lesson is the る verb type. These verbs all end in the Japanese character る. Since they are categorized like this, all of these kinds of verbs can be conjugated the same way.


One example of a る verb is たべる. たべる is the dictionary form of the verb and means “to eat.” This means that it has not been conjugated. In order to conjugate this verb into the present affirmative form, you must drop the る and add ます to the end of the verb. So たべる becomes たべます. You can use this in the following sentence structure.


X は Y をたべます.


In this sentence, を is a particle that goes after the noun that is being eaten, since our verb means “to eat.” Look at the example below.


わたしはりんごをたべます。 = I am eating an apple.


You will conjugate all る verbs this same way, but they will not always fit in the same sentence structure. Another る verb that will fit into this form is みる. みる becomes みます (to see/to watch).


う Verbs


These verbs are a little more difficult to conjugate. Once you just remember which verbs are う verbs and which ones are る verbs, you will have a much easier time conjugating. These verbs don’t have to end any certain way, but there is always a “u” sound on the end.


One example of a う verb is のむ. For this verb, you change the む to み and add ます. The verb (meaning “to drink”) becomes のみます.


Another う verb is かく (to write). This will becomeかきます when it is conjugated into the present affirmative tense.


Irregular Verbs


There are only two irregular verbs that you need to remember. For these, there is no pattern on how they will conjugate. The two verbs, in dictionary form, are する and くる. Since they end in る, they look like る verbs. Just keep in mind that not all verbs that end in る are actually る verbs.


In present affirmative, する becomes します (to do/play) and くる becomes きます (to return/come).  Also keep in mind that some additional verbs will end in する. If they do, you must conjugate them as if you are only conjugating する. One example is the verb べんきょうする. This would become べんきょうします and means “to study.”




Section 1: Conjugate the following verbs into present affirmative form. Then guess what the verbs mean in English by using the picture clues.

る Verbs

1. おきる


2. みる


3. たべる


4. ねる


5. あげる

う Verbs

1. はなす


2. のむ


3. きく


4. かく


5. まつ

Section 2: Translate the following sentences into English. Use a Japanese dictionary if you do not recognize a word.

  1. わたしはをみます。
  2. わたしはおきます。
  3. わたしはすしをたべます。
  4. けいたさんはねます。
  5. なにをみますか。
  6. にほんごをはなしますか。
  7. てがみをかきます。
  8. いまおんがくをききます。
  9. あなたはみずをのみますか。
  10. なにをききますか。

Answer Key

  1. おきます To get up.
  2. みます To see or watch.
  3. たべます To eat.
  4. ねます To sleep.
  5. あげます To give.


  1. はなします To speak or talk.
  2. のみます To drink.
  3. ききます To listen or hear.
  4. かきます To write.
  5. まちます To wait.


  1. I am watching TV.
  2. I am getting up.
  3. I am eating sushi.
  4. Keita is sleeping.
  5. What are you watching?
  6. Do you speak Japanese?
  7. I am writing a letter.
  8. I am listening to music now.
  9. Do you drink water?
  10. What are you listening to?

Lesson 04: Basic Numbers



In this lesson, you will be introduced to numbers. We use numbers for so many things, such as telling ages, telling time, counting, and pricing. Japanese often uses the Arabic numbers (1, 2, 3…) when writing ages, dates, and prices, but it is still helpful to understand how to write Japanese numbers in kanji (as well as pronounce them in Japanese, even when they are written in the Arabic style).


In this lesson

– Japanese numbers 0-100

– Telling your age

– Telling your phone number

– Homework and answer key


Japanese Numbers 0-100


Look at the table below. This table will teach you how to write Japanese numbers 0 through 30. After you have the pattern down, you will be able to figure out numbers 31-99 on your own. 100 is also listed in this table since it is the first number that breaks the pattern.


Number Kanji Hiragana/Katakana
0 N/A ゼロ
1 いち
3 さん
4 よん
6 ろく
7 なな
8 はち
9 きゅう
10 じゅう
11 十一 じゅういち
12 十二 じゅうに
13 十三 じゅうさん
14 十四 じゅうよん
15 十五 じゅうご
16 十六 じゅうろく
17 十七 じゅうなな
18 十八 じゅうはち
19 十九 じゅうきゅう
20 二十 にじゅう
21 二十一 にじゅういち
22 二十二 にじゅうに
23 二十三 にじゅうさん
24 二十四 にじゅうよん
25 二十五 にじゅうご
26 二十六 にじゅうろく
27 二十七 にじゅうなな
28 二十八 にじゅうはち
29 二十九 にじゅうきゅう
30 三十 さんじゅう
100 ひゃく


As you can see, the pattern is fairly simple. In order to make two digit numbers that are in the teens, you simple place the character for TEN in front of the other numbers. Once you get to 20, you place the character for TWO and TEN in front of the other digit. The same goes for 30, 40, 50, and all the way up to the 90s. Once you get to 100, the number changes.


It is good to know the numbers 0-100, but you should also be able to recognize symbols of higher numbers too. For now, don’t worry about being able to make every number with these kinds of symbols. Just look at the image below so you can become familiar with the kanji.



How to Say Your Age


Look at the conversation below to learn how to tell someone your age.







A: Tanaka-san, how old are you?

B: I am 36 years old. How old are you?

A: I am 18 years old.


In order to tell someone your age, you simply take that number as you would normally say it in Japanese and add さい after it. The exception to this rule is the number 20. This age is special in Japan, so it has a different name. If you want to say “I’m 20 years old,” you have to say “わたしははたちです.”


How to Give Your Phone Number

The Japanese word for phone is でんわ. The phrase that means phone number is でんわばんごう. If you want to ask someone for his or her phone number, you would say でんわばんごうはなんばんですか。


When you tell someone your number, you should say each number individually. Where there is a dash in the phone number, you would say の. This lesson will use a random American phone number as an example. Keep in mind that Japanese phone numbers are structured differently than Western ones. Look at this conversation to see how to ask for and give telephone numbers.






A:五五五の九二三のゼロ九八七です。 (ごごごのきゅうにさんのゼロきゅうはちなな)

B: 五五五の九二三のゼロ九八七ですか。





A: Tanaka-san, what is your phone number?

B: It is 555-385-8759.

A: 555-385-8759? Thank you!

B: Yes. What is your phone number?

A: It is 555-923-0987.

B: 555-923-0987?

A: Yes, that is correct.

B: Got it.



Section 1: The pictures below are all of dice. Write the number being shown (add the dice together and write the number in Japanese!)


Section 2: Write out the following phone numbers in Japanese as you would say it to someone.

  1. 384-573-9488
  2. 239-991-0283
  3. 834-556-7829


Section 3: Answer the following questions. If you do not know the answer to one of them or do not have the family members that the questions ask about, make up a number. Check your answers by looking within the lesson, since this section can’t be in the answer key.








Answer Key

Section 1:

  1.  十
  2.  五
  3.  十一
  4.  十五
  5.  七


Section 2:

  1. 三八四の五七三の九四八八
  2. 二三九の九九一のゼロ二八三
  3. 八三四の五五六の七八二九

Lesson 03: Basic Phrases


Now that you have the basics of hiragana and katakana down, you can start learning some basic words, phrases, and sentence structures. Remember to keep practicing both alphabets and to do the homework assignment at the end of this lesson! It will help you retain what you learn!


In this lesson

– Basic phrases

– Basic sentence structure

– Homework assignment and answer key


Basic Phrases

In the table below are some very basic Japanese phrases, words, and greetings. Study them until you feel comfortable speaking them and writing them. The lessons from here on out will not give you any Romaji, so you must remember hiragana and katakana! Sometimes, you will be asked to Romanize certain words or phrases. This is for making sure you understand hiragana and katakana and retain them!


Japanese (にほんご) English (えいご)
おはようございます Good morning
こんにちは Good afternoon
こんばんは Good evening
おやすみなさい Good night
はじめまして Nice to meet you/How do you do?
どぞよろしく Pleased to meet you/please treat me kindly.
はい Yes
いいえ No
わたしは … I am …
おげんきですか。 How are you?
はい、げんきです。 I am well.

As you can see in the chart above, there is a greeting for each time of the day. When someone says this greeting to you, you can return it by saying the same one, depending on what time of day it is.


Look at the following short conversation to understand how the rest of the phrases are used. There is an English translation of the conversation following the Japanese.


A: こんにちは!

B: こんにちは!はじめまして。わたしはふじわらたけしです。どぞよろしく。

A: はじめまして。わたしはたかなかけいすけです。どぞよろしく。おげんきですか。

B: はい、げんきです。あなたは?

A: げんきです。



English translation:

A: Good afternoon!

B: Good afternoon. Nice to meet you. I am Fujiwara Takeshi. Please treat me well.

A: Nice to meet you. I am Takanaka Keisuke. Please treat me well. How are you?

B: I am well. And you?

A: I am fine.



From the above conversation, you can see how basic introductions are made using はじめまして, わたしは, and どぞよろしく. You can also see that there are usually no question marks in Japanese. The question particle か takes care of this, so you can just use a period. There is a question mark after あなたは because it is not a complete sentence and therefore does not have the particle か attached to it. In conversation, one would simply raise the tone of their voice when asking a question like this. In writing, the question mark is not necessary, but it is added here for clarification.


Basic Sentence Structure


The most basic sentence structure you will work with in Japanese is the X は Y です form. This is how you say “X is Y.” は is a particle that marks the subject of the sentence while です is a verb that means “to be.”


You can use this sentence form with わたしは that you saw above. For example, you can say “I am _____” and put your name where the blank is.


Example: わたしはななはらけいたです。 (I am Keita Nanahara).


Keep in mind that in Japanese, the surname always comes first! Japanese is also different from English because the verb always goes last. Japanese sentences function in subject, object, verb form instead of subject, verb, object form like English does.


Check out the sentence form in the below paragraph. You will learn how to make sentences like this as we learn more.




The above sentences say, “I am Yasuko Kumoto. I am 23 years old. I am a college student. My major is history.”


Notice that not each sentence begins with わたしは. This is because the subject in Japanese is often understood. Therefore, you can sometimes leave off the わたしは or whatever the subject may be, provided that your listener knows what you are referring to. It can get really repetitive to say わたしは over and over again.



Section 1: Write a short dialogue using the phrases you learned in this lesson. If you want to add extra words, feel free to use a Japanese dictionary.


Section 2: Write the following English phrases in Japanese (hiragana).

  1. Good night.
  2. How are you?
  3. Please treat me well.
  4. Good evening.
  5. I am well.


Section 3: Look at the pictures below. Write what Japanese phrase you think best goes with each picture. (Use your imagination!)







Section 4: Translate the following into English.

  1. わたしは30さいです。
  2. わたしはがくせいです。
  3. わたしはちなつです。
  4. わたしはげんきです。
  5. わたしのせんもんはれきしがくです。

Answer Key


Section 2:

  1.  おやすみなさい
  2.  おげんきですか。
  3.  どぞよろしく
  4. こんばんは
  5. げんきです。

Section 3:

  1. おはようございます
  2. こんにちは
  3. おやすみなさい
  4. はじめまして

Section 4:

  1. I am 30 years old.
  2. I am a student.
  3. I am Chinatsu.
  4. I am well.
  5. My major is history.

Lesson 02: Katakana



Now that you have learned hiragana, it is time to move on to the other kana alphabet: katakana! You’ll need a sheet of paper for practice! And remember, just keep drawing out the symbols until you have them memorized. You’ll be reading katakana in no time.


In This Lesson

–          What is Katakana?

–          Transliteration

–          How to read and write Katakana

–          Homework assignment and answer key


What is Katakana?


Katakana is one of the two Japanese alphabets. It is syllabic, just like hiragana, so the symbols work the same way. The difference between hiragana and katakana is that katakana is used only for “loan words.” Loan words are foreign words that have been adopted into the Japanese language (such as , Romanized as コーラko-ra, from English and Romanized as アルバイトarubaito, from German). There are thousands of loan words in Japanese. A lot of them come from English, but many of them are from different languages. Katakana lets you know that the word is not a native Japanese word.




There are katakana symbols for every hiragana symbol, so you transliterate them the same way. Below there is a table with the symbols in it. Use this just like you did the hiragana charts! The one different between transliterating hiragana and katakana is that katakana sometimes has a –in a word. This means that the vowel that this line follows is a long vowel. When you transliterate it into romaji, you can either leave the line or write two vowels out. (Ex: コーラRomanized as ko-ro or koora). In pronunciation, this line means that you draw out the vowel sound a bit.



How to Write Katakana


Use the tables below like you did for hiragana! Study each set and practice writing them until you are familiar with them. Move through each set this way.


Set 1 Set 2 Set 3 Set 4 Set 5


Set 6 Set 7 Set 8 Set 9 Set 10

Once you have mastered the above basic katakana, move on to this chart. Like hiragana, katakana can be changed slightly by adding a small circle or two lines to the top right corner. Here are the modified katakana.



Finally, check out the modified syllables below. These work like the hiragana symbols to make different sounds. Note how the second symbol is always written smaller than the first syllable. This is how you know to make the modified sound when reading katakana.

Also note that, just like in hiragana, the small ツ symbol may appear smaller next to another symbol. This means that you double that consonant, like in hiragana!




Like you practiced hiragana, you will need to practice katakana. You will definitely use hiragana more often, but that is no excuse to forget katakana! Practice writing the symbols over and over again until you have them memorized. The homework assignments below will aide you in your study!




Section 1: Print out the worksheets from this website and practice writing the katakana symbols. Click Here.


Section 2: Transliterate the following katakana into romaji. Then see if you can write the English translation of the word. Answers are in the Answer Key at the end of this lesson. Don’t peek!

  1. シャワー
  2.  バス
  3. ケーキ
  4. カメラ
  5. コーヒー
  6. コーラ
  7. アルバイト
  8. デパート
  9. スーパー
  10. コンピューター
  11. ドア
  12. クラス
  13. テスト
  14. スポーツ
  15. サッカー
  16. テレビ
  17. コンビニ
  18. テニス
  19. ゲーム
  20. アメリカ


Section 3: Write the katakana for the word the picture is demonstrating.

















Answer Key

Section 2:

  1. Shyawa-           shower
  2. Basu                bus
  3. Ke-ki               cake
  4. Kamera           camera
  5. Ko-hi-             coffee
  6. Ko-ra              cola/soda
  7. Arubaito         part-time job
  8. Depa-to          department store
  9. Su-pa-            supermarket
  10. Konpyuta-       computer
  11. Doa                door
  12. Kurasu            class
  13. Tesuto            test
  14. Supo-tsu         sports
  15. Sakka-            soccer
  16. Terebi            television
  17. Konbini          convenience store
  18. Tenisu           tennis
  19. Ge-mu           game
  20. Amerika         America


Section 3

  1. コンピューター
  2. コーラ
  3. バス
  4. アメリカ
  5. テニス


Image Credits: One, Two, Three