Lesson 56 - Directions

Saying directions in Japanese isn't as hard as it originally looks. The first words you should learn are migi, which is right, and hidari, which is left. Simply add -gawa to the end to make it either "left hand side" or "right hand side". Michi means road, hashi means bridge, kado is corner, shingou is traffic lights, and kousaten is intersection. Massugu means straight ahead, watarimasu is to cross over, arukimasu is to walk, and magarimasu is to turn. Wakarimasu means to understand and kakarimasu means to take (as in time). Miemasu is to be able to see.

Let's look at a small paragraph giving directions to a school and let's see how much we can understand.

Hajime ni eki kara massugu itte kudasai. DEEPATO no kado o hidari ni magatte, massugu itte kudasai. Hashi o watatte, migi ni magatte kudasai. Koko kara yuubinkyoku o miemasu. Kousaten o hidari ni magatte, massugu itte kudasai. Gakkou wa migigawa desu. Juugofun gurai kakarimasu. Wakarimasu ka.

It translates to: First, go straight from the station. At the department store corner, turn left and go straight. Cross over the bridge an turn right. From here, you can see the post office. Turn left at the intersection and go straight. The school is on the right hand side. It takes about fifteen minutes. Do you understand? It may be complicated at first, but all it takes is practice. A useful phrase to know is Dono gurai kakarimasu ka, or "About how long will it take?" Useful words are kochira (this way), sochira (that way),achira (that way over there), and dochira (which way). Dochira could be used in the phrase Dochira e ikimasu ka or "Which way do I go?" except it is very formal. E is particle that is equal to ni, but it means "to". Just to have more practice, let's launch into another conversation, this one between Adam and Eve.

Adam: Eve-san, doko ni ikimasu ka.
Eve: Hanaya ni ikimasu. Hana ga arimasen.
Adam: Sore wa ikimasen ne. Hanaya wa chikai desu ka.
Eve: Iie, tooi desu. Gojuppun gurai kakarimasu.
Adam: Arukimasu ka.
Eve: Iie! Densha de ikimasu.
Adam: Sou desu ne.
Eve: Adam-san wa dochira e ikimasu ka.
Adam: Sochira e ikimasu. Eve-san wa kochira e ikimasu ka.
Eve: Hai... demo, hajime ni ginkou ni ikimasu.
Adam: Sou desu ne. Issho ni arukimashou ka.
Eve: Ee.

Adam begins by saying, "Eve, where will you go?" Eve replies, "I will go to the flower shop. I don't have flowers." Adam says, "That's unfortunate. Is the flower shop near?" Eve replies, "No, it is far. It takes about 50 minutes." Chikai means near and tooi means far. Adam asks if she will walk. Eve replies she will take the train. She then asks which way he is going. Adam replies, "I will go that way. Will you go this way?" Eve replies, "Yes, but fierst I will go to the bank." Adam says, "Is that so? Shall we walk together?" Even agrees to.

Vocabulary Review
右 Migi- right
右側 Migigawa- right hand side
左 Hidari- left
左側 Hidarigawa- left hand side
道 Michi- road
橋 Hashi- bridge
過度 Kado- corner
信号 Shingou- traffic lights
交差点 Kousaten- intersection
真直ぐ Massugu- straight ahead
渡ります Watarimasu- to cross over
歩きます Arukimasu- to walk
曲がります Magarimasu- to turn
分かります Wakarimasu- to understand
かかります Kakarimasu- to take (as in amount of time)
見えます Miemasu- to be able to see
郵便局 Yuubinkyoku- post office
こちら Kochira- this way
そちら Sochira- that way
あちら Achira- that way over there
どちら Dochira- which way
へ E- particle meaning "to"
近い Chikai- close
遠い Tooi- far