We covered all the sounds in Japanese, how they are written in Hiragana and Katakana, and how Kanji works. In addition, we also learned numbers up to 99 and how to count a person’s age. Let’s apply what we learned to come up with a simple self-introduction. The best way to learn a language is to regularly interact in that language and the only way to do that is to meet Japanese speakers so a self-introduction is an ideal way to practice.
Learning the expressions
You only need a couple of fixed expressions for your simple self-introduction.
Shortened form of an expression originally meaning “I meet you for the first time”. It’s a standard greeting similar in intent to “Nice to meet” or “How do you do?”
There is no easy direct translation but it means something along the lines of “please treat me well” when used at the end of an introduction.
Telling people your name
If you haven’t done so already, you’ll need to decide on what to call yourself in Japanese. As we’ve learned, Japanese has a relatively limited set of sounds so it’s very likely that your name will need to sound very different from its native pronunciation.
I would recommend asking your teacher or a Japanese speaker for help in converting your name to the Katakana equivalent. You may even want to ask the first person you introduce yourself to.
If you want to give it a try on your own (like right now), you can try this tutorial on finding your name in Japanese: http://www.guidetojapanese.org/learn/resources/nameinjapanese
To say you are that name, you need only attach 「です」 to the name. The pronunciation is usually shortened to just “dess”. We will learn more about 「です」 in the next chapter.
(I am) [name].
(I am) Brown.
(I am) Alice Smith.
In Japan, the last name is given more weight so it is common to just go by your last name especially in a more formal environment such as the classroom or workplace. When using the full name, the last name always comes first for Japanese names. However, it can go either way for names from countries where the order is reversed.
Putting it all together
Using the fixed expressions and the vocabulary we learned in the last section, we now have everything we need for our simple self-introduction.
Below is a short list of potentially useful nouns to describe yourself for your self-introduction. Don’t forget that you need to add 「人」（じん） to the country for nationality.
- 自己紹介 【じ・こ・しょう・かい】 – self-introduction
- 大学生 【だい・がく・せい】 – college student
- 社会人 【しゃ・かい・じん】 – working adult
- 中国 【ちゅう・ごく】 – China
- 韓国 【かん・こく】 – South Korea
- カナダ – Canada
- イギリス – England
- オーストラリア – Australia
- フランス – France
- スペイン – Spain
- ブラジル – Brazil
- メキシコ – Mexico
Here’s an example of a simple self-introduction.
Nice to meet you. (I am) Alice Smith.
(I’m) American. (I’m a) college student.
(I’m) 18 years old.
Please treat me well.
In addition to practicing your self-introduction, a good way to practice pronunciation is to use various expressions for different scenarios. It’s ok if nobody around you speaks Japanese. They’ll understand you’re hard at work practicing.
- ありがとうございます – thank you (polite)
- すみません – sorry (polite)
- さようなら – good-bye (notice the long vowel sound!
- いただきます – used before eating a meal (lit: I humbly receive)
- ごちそうさまでした – used after finishing a meal (lit: It was a feast)
- いってきます – used when leaving home (lit: I’m going and coming back)
- いってらっしゃい – used as farewell for someone leaving the house (lit: Go and come back)
- ただいま – used when returning home
- お帰りなさい 【お・かえ・りなさい】 – welcome home