How do you answer Doushite in Japanese?

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How do you answer Doushite in Japanese?

Previous How to say Im rusty / My Japanese is bad!Next #1 Japanese Lesson for Absolute Beginners by a Native TeacherCommon / useful expressions, Vocab

Questions Japanese people always ask foreigners! Answer in Japanese!November 19, 20157,243 views8 min read1 comment Watch LaterRemove Cinema ModeFacebook Twitter Reddit Pinterest Email

Questions Japanese people ask foreigners 100% of the time!!!

As I work as a Japanese tutor, I talk to so many different people from all over the world.

Andthere are certain questions that I always ask when talking to someone for the first time.
Well, its not just me, but probably any Japanese person will ask you these questions
to make conversation and get to know you. To befair, its not just Japanese people
but most people ask these questions if they talk to a foreigner.
My Russian friends asked me these. My German friends asked me these.
In other words, you can change the word  日本 (Japan) to your country and
ask questions to your Japanese mates!

Ill get you prepared for how to answer all these questions in Japanese.

It will for sure help your first Japanese lesson too:)
Check out this article as well if you are planning to have one.
Also knowing what Japanese culture is like is extremely important.
So check outthis article!

The conversation can vary depending on whether you are talking in person or not.

Question 1.


Nihon-gowahanaSE-masuka? (form.)

nihon-go (wa) hanaSEru? (inf.)


In English its more common to ask DO you speak Japanese?,
and as a beginner,you learn the phrase :
日本語を話ますか。 nihon-go wo hanaSHI-masu ka
But in Japanese its more natural to ask CAN you?
so use the potential form*.

Your answer :

Yes, I can.

hai (, hanasE-masu) (form.)

un (, hanasEru yo). (inf.)

Only a little bit.

sukoshi dake (can be used both in inf. and form.speech)

No, I cannot.

hanasE-masen (form.)

hanasE-nai (inf.)

*How to make a potential (CAN) form*

For Iru/Eru ending verbs (except for irregulars like 帰る, 入る, 切る) :
Get rid of る and put られる. (In informal speech, the first ら is often omitted.)
たべる  たべられる (inf.) / たべられます (form.) = can eat

For Other verbs (including the irregular帰る, 入る, 切る)
Change U sound into I + る
いく  いける (inf.) / いけます (form.) = can go

For irregulars :
する  できる = can do
くる  こられる = can come


Question 2.

Where are you from?

shusshin wa doko desu ka (form.)

shusshin wa (doko?) (inf.)

出身 means ones origin / where one is from.
The person might omit the どこ (=where) part and ask just 出身は? shusshin wa?.

Your answer :

(Im from) the US / England / Canada / Australia.

= アメリカ / イギリス / カナダ / オーストラリア です。 (form.)
amerika / igirisu / kanada / oosutoraria desu

Get rid of desu for inf. speech.

[spacer height=15px]

Some other options :

O-kuniwadochiradesuka (very form.)

Kuniwadoko? (inf.)

Literally, Where is your country?. どちら is a very formal version of どこ.
The answer would be the same.


Nani-jin desuka (form.)

Nani-jin? (inf.)

Literally, What nationality are you?.
I dont think people would use it directly to you, but some people might use.

Your answer :

Im American / English / Canadian / Australian.

= アメリカ人 / イギリス人 / カナダ人 / オーストラリア人 です。
amerika-jin / igirisu-jin / kanada-jin / oosutoraria-jin desu (form.)

Without desu  informal.

Question 3.

How long have you been learning Japanese?

どのくらい日本語を勉強していますか。 / しているんですか。
donokurai nihon-go wo benkyou shite-imasu ka / shite-iru N desu ka (form.)

donokurai nihon-go wo benkyou shite(i)ru (no)? (inf.)

くらい can be replaced withどくらい. The meaning is the same.

Your answer :

Ive been learning for <time length>.

<time length> + 勉強しています。 / 勉強してる。
benkyou shite-imasu (form.) / benkyou shite(i)ru (inf.)

Or simply <time length> です。 works as well.

Example of the time length :
1 month = 一ヶ月 i-kka-getsu
2 months = 二ヶ月 ni-ka-getsu
3 months = 三ヶ月 san-ka-getsu
4 months = 四ヶ月 yon-ka-getsu
5 months = 五ヶ月 go-ka-getsu

Half a year = 半年 han-toshi

1 year = 一年 ichi-nen
2 years = 二年 ni-nen
3 years = 三年 san-nen

If you want to say around <time> then put ぐらい (or くらい) after the time.
ju-kka-getsu gurai benkyou shite(i)ru
= Ive been learning for about 10 months.

Ive just started (learning) .

= 勉強し始めたばかりです。 / 勉強し始めたばっか
benkyou shi-hajimeta bakari desu (form.) / benkyou shi-hajimeta bakka (inf.)

Then they might say :

sugoi! nihon-go ga jouzu desu ne (form.) / nihon-go, jouzu da ne (inf.)
= Wow! Your Japanese is good!

And you can respond like :

ieie, mada-mada desu (form.)

iyaa, mada-mada da yo (inf.)

= No, I still have lots more to work on.

*Its important to be humble / modest in Japan ;)

ganbatte-imasu (form.)

ganbatte(i)ru (inf.)

= Im working / studying hard!
* Japanese people like hard-workers :D

Question 4.1

Have you been to Japan?
(If you are not in Japan when talking.)

nihon ni itta* koto ga ari-masu ka (form.)

nihon ni itta* koto (ga) aru? (inf.)

*If the speaker is not in Japan, they use  行った itta (went),
but if (s)he is in Japan, and you are not in Japan (e.g on Skype),
they will instead use  来た kita (came) + ことが ~.

Your answer :

Yes, I have.

hai, ari-masu (form.)

un, aru yo (inf.)

You can put how many times youve been like this :
一回(だけ)(行ったことが)あります。 / あるよ。
ikkai (dake) (itta koto ga) + ari-masu (form.) / aru yo (inf.)
= (Just = dake) once.

二回 ni-kai = twice
三回 san-kai = three times
何回も nan-kai-mo = many times

Then they might ask you where youve visited :

doko ni iki-mashita ka (form.)

doko ni itta no (inf.)
= Where did you go / visit?

Your answer :

toukyou to kyouto (desu  form.).
= Tokyo and Kyoto.

If youve visisted loads of places, you can use や in form. and とか in inform. speech.
toukyou toka kanagawa toka kyouto toka okinawa toka
*とか works the best when you want to say etc / many more.

No, I havent (been to Japan) yet.

mada ari-masen (form.)

mada nai (inf.)


But I really want to go there.

hontou-ni iki-tai n desu kedo ne (form.)

hontou-ni iki-tai n da kedo ne (inf.)


But Ill go soon / next year.

でも、もうすぐ / 来年 行きます。
demo, mou-sugu / rainen iki-masu (form.)

でも、もうすぐ / 来年 行くよ。
demo, mou-sugu / rainen iku yo (inf.)

Question 4.2

How long have you been / lived in Japan (already)?

日本に(もう)どのくらい  いますか。 / 住んでいますか。
nihon ni (mou) donokurai + imasu ka / sunde-imasu ka (form.)

日本にどのくらい  いるの? / 住んでるの?
nihon ni donokurai iru no? / sunde(i)ru no? (inf.)


How long has it been since you came to Japan?

nihon ni kite, donokurai desu ka (form.)

nihon ni kite donokurai? (inf.)

Your answer :

kinou kita bakari desu (form.)

kinou kita ba(k)kari (inf.)
= I just came / arrived here yesterday.

<time> 前に 来ました。 / 来た。
mae ni ki-mashita (form.) / kita (inf.)
= I came here <time> ago.
二日前に futsu-ka-mae ni = 2 days ago
三日前に mi-kka-mae ni = 3 days ago
一週間前に i-sshuu-kan-mae ni = a week ago

ichi-nen gurai sunde-imasu
= Ive been here for a year.

Be careful, if they add the word あと, the meaning will change.

nihon ni ATO donokurai imasu ka (form.)

nihon ni ATO donokurai iru no (inf.)
= How long (more) will you stay here?

Your answer :

あと <time> (ぐらい)です。 = (About) <time> more.
ato go-ka-getsu gurai desu
= About 5 more months.

Question 5.1

How is (your stay in) Japan? Do you like it (Japan)?

nihon wa dou desu ka. suki desu ka (form.)

nihon wa dou? / suki? (inf.)

Your answer :

Its fun.= 楽しいです。tanoshii desu
(Get rid of desu for inf. speech.)

Its hard / difficult (because of work / study).

=(仕事で / 勉強で)大変です。
(shigoto de / benkyou de) taihen desu

Question 5.2

Why do you like Japan? / What do you like about Japan?

どうして日本が好きですか。/ 日本の何が好きですか。
doushite nihon ga suki desu ka / nihon no nani ga suki desu ka (form.)

どうして or なんで 日本が好き?/ 日本の何が好き?
doushite / nande nihon ga suki? / nihon no nani ga suki? (inf.)

Your answer :

nihon no bunka ya, anime ya, ongaku ga suki desu (form.)

nihon no bunka TOKA, anime toka, ongaku ga suki (inf.)

= I like Japanese cultures, anime and music.

Hope you liked this article!

If you want an extented one or want me to add more questions,
please leave a comment and share ^_^

またね See ya!"I love Japanese culture" "I want to go to Japan" "I'm from Australia" in Japanese "I'm from Canada" in Japanese "I'm from the UK" in Japanese "I'm from the US" in Japanese "I've been learning Japanese" conversation in Japanese How to say "Where are you from" in Japanese japanese language exchange meet up with Japanese people talk with Japanese people


Translator / Linguist / Japanese Teacher
/ Happy World Traveler/ manga, anime, comedy lover.View all posts

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1 comment

Kirk says:December 14, 2015 at 11:36 pm

Thank you Misa =)

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