Japanese For Dummies
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Making small talk in Japanese is just the same as in English. Touch on familiar topics like jobs, sports, children — just say it in Japanese! Small talk describes the brief conversations that you have with people you don't know well. Small talk is where friendships are made.

After the necessary introductions, small talk is really just a question of sharing information about yourself and asking the other person questions about themselves. The following phrases will come in handy when you're chitchatting with someone new.

  • Place kara kimashita. (I am from Place)

  • Amerika kara desu. (I'm from America.)

  • Amerika no dochira kara desu ka. (Where in the United States are you from?)

  • Furorida kara kimashita. (I am from Florida.)

  • Dochira kara kimashita ka. (Where are you from?)

  • Oshigoto wa nan desu ka. (What is your profession?)

  • Nan-sai desu ka. (How old are you?)

  • Okosan wa nan-nin irasshaimasu ka. (How many children do you have?)

  • Watashi wa kodomo ga hito-ri imasu. (I have one child.)

  • Okosan no o-namae wa nan desu ka. (What is your child's name?)

  • Watashi wa gakusei desu. (I'm a student.)

Personal Interests

Many friendships are forged on the bond of common interests. You can use the following phrases to compare interests when making small talk.

  • Shumi wa nan desu ka. (What do you like to do for fun?)

  • Supōtsu wa shimasu ka. (Do you play sports?)

  • Gorufu o shimasu. (I play golf.)

  • Sakkā o shimasu. (I play soccer.)

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Hiroko Chiba, PhD, is professor of Japanese at DePauw University, where she teaches all levels of Japanese language and directs the Japanese language program. Eriko Sato, PhD, is associate professor of applied inguistics and Japanese at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where she is also director of undergraduate studies. She has published many scholarly articles and been recognized for excellence in teaching.

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