4.0 Bringing Japan Home

Tokyo Sky Tree
Figure 1: Tokyo Skytree Tower

‘Bringing Japan Home’ invites you on an exciting journey to immerse yourself in Japanese culture locally.

This chapter offers practical tips for engaging with your local Japanese community, including engaging in conversations with Japanese speakers and connecting with fellow language enthusiasts. By embracing these cultural opportunities, you will create a sense of ‘home’ and foster cross-cultural understanding, all while cultivating a deeper appreciation for Japanese language and culture.

embark on this adventure of bringing Japan home, right in your own community!


Goal IconLearning goals

By the end of this chapter, you will be able to:

  • Understand how katakana functions in sentences.
  • Write or type your name in katakana.
  • Use demonstrative pronouns to refer to objects for which you do not know a specific name.
  • Use the question maker 何(なん)(nan: what) in the sentence pattern ‘X は Y です’ to ask what an object is.
  • Count small items.
  • Understand the difference between the conjunction それから (sorekara: and then) and the particle と (to: and) and apply them in sentences appropriately.
  • Understand the ending particles ね (ne) and よ (yo), and how to apply them in sentences.


Japanese Romaji English Notes
カフェ(かふぇ) kafe café The word ‘café’ is generally written in katakana as カフェ, as is the case for other imported concepts such as ‘menu’, ‘crêpe’ and ‘dollar’. The hiragana かふぇis only provided for reference.
メニュー (めにゅう) menyuu menu
お茶(ちゃ) ocha tea The word お茶 can be used as a general term for tea, but it usually used to refer specifically to Japanese green tea.
ほうじ茶 houjicha hojicha (roasted green) tea
ラテ(らて) rate latte
コーヒー(こおひい) koohii coffee
ケーキ(けえき) keeki cake
プリン(ぷりん) purin crème caramel
クレープ(くれえぷ) kureepu
まっ茶 matcha matcha
ごま goma sesame
あんこ anko
sweet red bean paste
ドル(どる) doru
おすすめ osusume
Demonstrative pronouns  
これ kore this (one)
それ sore that (one)
あれ are that (one) over there
どれ dore which (one)
oishii delicious
あまい amai sweet The word あまい is commonly used to describe sweet-tasting food. However, it also has a figurative meaning, used to describe someone being overly indulgent or lenient towards someone else. For example, to express that ‘My dad is indulgent to my younger sister’, in Japanese, you would say お父(とお)さんは妹(いもうと)にあまいです (Otousan wa imouto ni amai desu).
Numbers (used to count small objects)
 hitotsu one (thing)
二(ふた)つ  futatsu two (things)
三(みっ)つ  mittsu three (things)
四(よっ)つ  yottsu four (things)
五(いつ)つ  itsutsu five (things)
六(むっ)つ  muttsu six (things)
七(なな)つ  nanatsu seven (things)
八(やっ)つ  yattsu eight (things)
九(ここの)つ  kokonotsu nine (things)
十(とお)  too ten (things)

Expressions and phrases 

Japanese Romaji English Notes
日本語(にほんご)で Nihongo de In Japanese Please refer to the ‘Key grammar points’ section below for an explanation of the particle で (de).
大丈夫(だいじょうぶ)です Daijoubu desu It’s okay Polite/formal
Xをどうぞ X o douzo Please (have/take/do) X

The expression をどうぞ is used when offering something to someone or inviting them to do something. The ‘X’ in this phrase is replaced by whatever you are offering or suggesting.

The particle を (o) is the object marker in Japanese, used after the noun that serves as the object of a sentence. Nouns should be positioned where the ‘X’ is indicated. For more details on the particle を, please refer to

Module 2.5.

Xをください X o kudasai
X, please

While the expression をください is more direct and commonly used for simple requests, the expression をお願いします is more formal and polite, suitable for a broader range of requests, including favours or actions. For more information, please see Module 2.5.

X をお願(ねが)いします  X o onegai shimasu
X, please
そうです Sou desu That’s right Polite/formal
わかりました Wakarimashita
All right/Certainly/I see Polite/formal

Key grammar points

Japanese Romaji English Notes
X は 何(なん)ですか X wa nan desu ka What is X? Nouns should be placed in the position marked by X.
それから sorekara
And then Conjunction
by means of … Particle

In this chapter, we will introduce the particle で, which is used in phrases like ‘…で’ to mean ‘in X language’. For example, when you want to say ‘in Japanese’, you would use 日本語 (にほんご)で (Nihongo de).

and Particle
…, isn’t it? Particle
I’m telling you/you know Particle


Exercise 1

Guess which hiragana or katakana character needs to be filled in. To listen to the pronunciation of each word, click the audio icon. To check the answer, click the ‘turn’ button.

Speech Bubble Icon Model dialogue

Lina and Nao find themselves at a local Japanese café in Australia, excited to put their Japanese language skills into practice. They know that the café has Japanese-speaking staff, so they decide to challenge themselves by ordering their food in Japanese.

Café staff: Hi, guys! Hi guys!
Lina: あ、日本語(にほんご)で大丈夫(だいじょうぶ)です。 A, Nihongo de daijoubu desu.
Café staff: そうですか。じゃあ、日本語で。メニュー(めにゅう)をどうぞ。 Sou desu ka . Jaa, Nihongo de!
Lina: ありがとうございます。あ、これはまっ茶(ちゃ)ケーキ(けえき)ですか。 Arigatou gozaimasu. A, kore wa matcha keeki desu ka.
Café staff: はい、そうです。おいしいですよ。 Hai, soudesu. Oishii desu yo.
Lina: じゃあ、まっ茶ケーキをお願(ねが)します。それから、ほうじ茶ラテ(らて)もお願いします。なおさんは? Jaa, matcha keeki o onegai shimasu. Sorekara, houjicha rate mo onegai shimasu. Nao-san wa?
Nao: ええと…。 Eeto…
Café staff: ごまプリン(ぷりん)もおいしいですよ。 Goma purin mo oishii desu yo.
Lina: ごまプリン?どれですか。 Goma purin? Dore desu ka.
Café staff: あ、これです。九(きゅう)ドル(どる)です。 A, kore desu. Kyuu doru desu.
Nao: そうですか。これは何(なん)ですか。
Soudesuka. Kore wa nan desu ka.
Café staff: それですか。それはあんこのクレープ(くれえぷ)です。 Sore desu ka. Sore wa anko no kureepu desu.
Nao: 「あんこ」は何ですか。 Anko wa nan desu ka.
Café staff: あんこはred bean pasteです。あまいですよ。おすすめです。
Anko wa reddo biin peesuto desu. Amai desu yo. Osusume desu.
Nao: じゃあ、あんこのクレープをお願いします。それから、私(わたし)もほうじ茶ラテをください。
Jaa, anko no kureepu o onegai shimasu. Sorekara, watashi mo houji-cha rate o kudasai.
Café staff: はい、わかりました。まっちゃケーキ*ひとつと、あんこのクレープひとつと、ほうじ茶ラテを二(ふた)つですね。*Since the kanji 一つ can be mistaken for the katakana long vowel mark ‘ー’ in certain fonts, it’s written in hiragana here to avoid confusion. Hai, wakari mashita. Matcha keeki hitotsu to, anko no kureepu hitotsu to, houjicha rate o futatsu desu ne.
Lina and Nao: はい、そうです。ありがとうございます!
Hai, soudesu. Arigatou gozaimasu!


English translation

Café staff: Hi guys!
Lina: Oh, Japanese is fine!
Café staff: Okay, then in Japanese. Here’s a menu.
Lina: Thank you. Oh, is this a matcha cake?
Café staff: Yes, that’s right. It’s delicious!
Lina: Well then, I’ll have the matcha cake, please. And also, a hojicha latte, please. How about you, Nao-san?
Nao: Well…
Café staff: I would say sesame pudding is nice, too.
Lina: Sesame pudding? Which one is it?
Café staff: Ah, this one is. It’s nine dollars.
Nao: Right. What is this one?
Café staff: That one? That’s an anko crêpe.
Nao: What is ‘anko’?
Café staff: It’s red bean paste. It’s sweet! I recommend it.
Nao: Then, I will have an anko crêpe. And also, I will have a hojicha latte, too.
Café staff: All right. One matcha cake, one anko crêpe and two hojicha lattes, is that right?
Lina and Nao: Yes. that’s right. Thank you!

Exercise 2

Listen to the following audio files and repeat each Japanese phrase after. Each phrase is read twice, first at a slow pace and then at a natural pace.


Lina: あ、日本語(にほんご)で大丈夫(だいじょうぶ)です。

Café staff: そうですか。じゃあ、日本語で。メニュー(めにゅう)をどうぞ。

Lina: ありがとうございます。あ、これはまっ茶(ちゃ)ケーキ(けえき)ですか。

Café staff: はい、そうです。おいしいですよ。


Nao: ええと…。

Café staff: ごまプリン(ぷりん)もおいしいですよ。

Lina: ごまプリン?どれですか。

Café staff: あ、これです。九(きゅう) ドル(どる)です。

Nao: そうですか。これは何(なん)ですか。

Café staff: それですか。それはあんこのクレープ(くれえぷ)です。

Nao: 「あんこ」は何ですか。

Café staff: あんこはred bean pasteです。あまいですよ。おすすめです。

Nao: じゃあ、あんこのクレープをお願いします。それから、わたしもほうじ茶ラテをください。

Café staff: はい、わかりました。まっ茶ケーキひとつと、あんこのクレープひとつと、ほうじ茶ラテを二(ふた)つですね。

Lina and Nao: はい、そうです。ありがとうございます!

Lightbulb Icon Discussion points

Let’s reflect on these points and share our observations and thoughts!

  1. Have you ever tried to communicate with someone at a shop in another language? Do you recall your first experience? What was it like?
  2. Imagine you are working at a local café in your hometown, and someone from outside the area attempts to place an order in the local language, but their fluency is limited. How would you feel about it?


Further resources

If you haven’t been to Japan yet and would like to know how ordering works at a restaurant, this resource created by Cakes with Faces will walk you through with some useful tips and expressions.

By the way, the producer of this video highlights an intriguing cultural aspect that may resonate with practices around the world. In Japan, pointing at people with one finger is viewed as impolite, much like in many other cultures. Instead, using the whole hand to point at objects or things is considered polite and professional in Japan.


1 “Tokyo Skytree Tower” (Low angle shot of the Tokyo Skytree) by Evgeny Tchebotarev. Pexels. Licensed under Pexels licence.

2 Goal IconGoal Icon” (untitled) by faisalovers. Wikimedia Commons. Licensed under CC by 3.0.

3 Speech Bubble IconSpeech Bubble Icon” (untitled) by Geremy Good. Wikimedia Commons. Licensed under CC 0.

4 Lightbulb IconLightbulb Icon” (untitled) by Maxim Kulikov. Wikimedia Commons. Licensed under CC by 3.0.



Cakes with Faces. “Ordering Food at Restaurants in Japan—JAPLANNING.” YouTube video, 11.03. September 20, 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E33w7KgWVPw.



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Japanese Introductory 1 Copyright © 2024 by Iori Hamada is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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