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Reserving A Room

Before calling a hotel to yoyaku suru (yoh-yah-koo soo-roo; to make a reservation), know how many rooms you need, how long you're staying, and how _ much you can spend. Then have your kurejitto kado (koo-reh-jeet-toh kahh-doh; credit card) ready and dial the number.

If you're already traveling, just walk into the hotel and ask whether they have a room for you.

Japanese doesn't have simple verbs that mean "to plan" or "to make a reservation." To say "to plan" and "to make a reservation," combine the verb suru (soo-roo; to do) with a noun - like keikaku (kehh-kah-koo; plan) and yoyaku (yoh-yah-koo; reservation). Keikaku suru means "to plan," and yoyaku suru means "to make a reservation." To conjugate these verbs, you simply conjugate the suru part.Suru is an irregular verb. Checking out room size Ask the folks at the front desk about the types of heya (heh-yah; rooms) they have. Following are the words for the types of hotel rooms:

  • shinguru (sheen-goo-roo; single)
  • tsuin (tsoo-een; twin)
  • semi-daburu (seh-mee-dah-boo-roo; semi-double/a room with a full-size bed)
  • daburu (dah-boo-roo; double)

Compare room sizes and prices. Do you want a twin room or a double room? When asking a choice question involving two items, use dochira (doh-chee-rah; which one - see Chapter 6 for more on comparisons), as in these examples:

Counting, the number of guests

Room costs differ depending on the number of people sharing the room. Express the number of people in your party by using the counter -nin, but watch out for the irregular "one person" and "two people."

To ask for an extra bed, use the convenient word mo hitotsu (mohh hee-toh-tsoo; one more) and request a bed by saying Beddo o mo hitotsu onegaishimasu (behd-doh oh mohh hee-toh-tsoo oh-neh-gah-ee shee-mah-soo; One more bed please).

Words to Know
dochiradoh-chee-rahwhich one (of two)
-ninneencounter for people

Indicating the length of your stay

Specify how long you want to tomaru (toh-mah-roo; to stay). To start with, why don't you conjugate the verb tomaru? It's a u-verb.


Use the particles kara (kah-rah; from) and made (mah-deh; until) to talk about the length of your stay. Kara and made look like English prepositions, but they follow, not precede, the relevant phrases. For example, "from the 15th" in English is "the 15th from" in Japanese, and "until the 23rd" in English is "the 23rd until" in Japanese. So now you know that 15-nichi kara Qooo-goh-nee-chee kah-rah) means "from the 15th," and 23-nichi made (nee-jooo-sahn-nee-chee mah-deh) means "until the 23rd." Take a look at a few examples:

Use the counter -haku (hah-koo) to specify the number of nights you're staying. -Haku is the counter for nights spent away from home. Remember to watch out for the -haku/-paku alternation. You just have to memorize it.

If you plan to stay a week, say isshukan.

Talking With insiders and outsiders

The distinction between inside and outside is very important in Japanese. Your choice between a formal speech style or an informal one depends heavily on whether the person you're talking to is your insider or outsider.
The two important words uchi (oo-chee; inside) and soto (soh-toh; outside) mean not only physical locations, such as inside or outside the house, but also social groupings: our group versus their group. So the word uchi can mean both one's household and one's group. For example, if a hotel clerk says Uchi wa yasui desu yo (oo-chee wah yah-soo-ee deh-soo yoh), the phrase doesn't mean "My house doesn't charge much"; it means "Our hotel doesn't charge much."

Comparing costs

Cost is a major criterion when you choose a hotel. Do all the research and keikaku suru (kehh-kah-koo soo-roo; plan) carefully.

Making comparisons in Japanese is easy. All you need is the particle yori (yoh-ree; than). For example, Yusu hosuteru wa yasui desu (yooo-soo-hoh-soo-teh-roo wah yah-soo-ee deh-soo) means "Youth hostels are cheap." If you want to say "Youth hostels are cheaper than hotels," say Yusu hosuteru wa hoteru yori yasui desu (yooo-soo-hoh-soo-teh-roo wah hoh-teh-roo yoh-ree yah-soo-ee deh-soo).

Keeping track of What's yours With possessive pronouns

When you're traveling, you want to keep track of your sutsukesu (sooo-tsoo-kehh-soo; suitcases), handobaggu (hahn-doh-bagh-goh; handbag), saifu (sah-ee-foo; wallet), and kagi (kah-gee; keys). If a guy reaches for your kagi on a table in the hotel lobby, tell him right away that the keys are yours.

Creating possessive pronouns in Japanese is easy. To say "yours" and "mine," for example, take the words that mean "you" and "I" and add the particle no after them:

Piece of cake, right? Now you can say Watashi no desu (wah-tah-shee-noh deh-soo; That's mine!) to the guy reaching for your keys.

If you know yours and mine in Japanese, you already know your and my because they're exactly the same. Watashi no desu (wah-tah-shee-noh deh-soo) means "That's mine," and Watashi no kagi desu (wah-tah-shee noh kah-gee deh-soo) means "That's my key." Watashi no means both "mine" and "my." If the phrase is followed by a noun like kagi, it means "my;" if it's not followed by a noun, it means "mine."Below table lists the basic personal pronouns and their ownership counterparts.

Personal and Possessive Pronouns
Personal PronounTranslationOwnership WordTranslation
watashi (wah-tah-shee)l/mewatashi no (wah-tah-shee noh)my/mine
watashi tachi (wahtah-shee tah-chee)we/uswatashi tachi no (wah-tah-shee tah-chee noh)our/ours
anata (ah-nah-tah)youanata no (ah-nah-tah noh)your/yours
anata tachi(ah-nah-tah tah-chee)you pluralanata tachi no (ah-nah-tah tah-chee noh)your/yours plural
kare (kah-reh)he/himkare no(kah-reh noh)his
kanojo (kah-noh-joh)she/herkanojo no (kah-noh-joh noh)her/hers
karera (kah-reh-rah)they/themkarera no (kah-reh-rah noh)their/theirs

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