#9

Asking the names of things you don't know

これは何ですか What is this?

  • Skit
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  • Japanese
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Tam from Vietnam has come to the basement deli of a department store, called a "depa-chika." She's accompanied by her housemate Kaito and his American friend Mike.

Skit
Vocabulary

ここ

koko

here

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デパ地下

depa-chika

(department store’s) basement deli

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いろんな

ironna

various

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食べ物

tabemono

food

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ある

aru

be

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いい

ii

good

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わあ

waa

wow

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すごい

sugoi

amazing

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これ

kore

this

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nan

what

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大根

daikon

daikon radish

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漬け物

tsukemono

pickled vegetable

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食べる

taberu

eat

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いただきます

itadakimasu

I’ll have some

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おいしい

oishii

delicious

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Key Phrase

Asking the names of things you don't know

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To ask the name of something you don't know, point to the thing and ask "Kore/Sore/Are wa nan desu ka." For something close to you, use "kore." For something close to the person you're talking to, use "sore." If the thing is far from you and the person you're speaking to, use "are." "Nan" is an interrogative meaning "what."

"Nan/Nani" (What):
The "nan" in "nan desu ka" or "what is" has the same meaning as the "nani" in "nani o shimasu ka" or "what will you do?" However, it's pronounced "nan" when it comes before "desu ka."

Use It!
Try It Out!

Try asking the name of something

1Which of these three choices is the correct way to say this sentence in Japanese?

What is that?

2Say the sentence in Japanese, using the following word(s).

What is this/that/that over there?

これ/それ/あれ は何ですか。

Kore/Sore/Are wa nan desu ka.

3Say the sentence in Japanese, using the following word(s).

What is this/that/that over there?

これ/それ/あれ は何ですか。

Kore/Sore/Are wa nan desu ka.

Bonus Phrase

Someone who treats you will be happy if you use this phrase. You can also simply say "Oishii!"

Kanji

Shoku (food)

Culture

Kaito Is Your Food Guide!

"Depa-chika": Treasure Troves of Food

"Depa-chika," department store basement delis, sell a wide variety of food including ready-made dishes, bento box lunches, desserts, and bread. Sometimes, free samples are available. "Depa-chika" are convenient because you can buy your favorite dishes and then eat them at home or in your hotel room.

"Depa-chika"

Pickled vegetables

Ready-made dishes

Bread and cheese

Sweets

Trip tip

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