Imagine for a moment that you’re suddenly in Japan… you’re in Tokyo in Ueno park just enjoying some people watching, and then you see her (or him). Your Japanese idol. Maybe it’s a famous fashion designer or game developer, or perhaps your favorite author, poet, musician or artist, or perhaps it’s someone strikingly attractive. You want to break the ice. You want to make small talk and start a conversation… but how?!
Then you remember reading this article and say:
“そうですね,” she says.
“明日、雨ですよ” You comment. You heard the weather report that morning.
“明日？ありがとう！” She says, thanking you, “I speak some English, too. Where are you from?”
And there you go! Breaking the ice and starting that conversation. Well, maybe it wouldn’t really go that well, but we can dream, can’t we?
This article is all about conversation starters and starting off with a good neutral topic – weather. Talking about the weather is an amazing way of breaking the ice and moving on to where someone’s from or what they do or what their hobbies are. By the end of this lesson, you’ll know a few phrases and some words that will let you approach anyone and start a conversation! And you’ll have done it in Japanese!
Talking about the weather is a great way to make chit chat and start a casual conversation. First I’m going to introduce you to some nouns and adjectives to allow you to combine them and create a staggering amount of basic statements. Let’s with start with some basic nouns:
天気 tenki – weather
雨 ame – rain
雲 kumo – cloud
雪 yuki – snow
風 kaze – wind
雷 kaminari – lightning/thunder
傘 kasa – umbrella
季節 kisetsu – season
春 haru – Spring
夏 natsu – Summer
秋 aki – Fall
冬 fuyu – Winter
虹 niji – rainbow
霧 giri – fog
空 sora – sky
氷 koori – ice
嵐 arashi – storm
梅雨 tsuyu – rainy season
今日 kyo – today
明日 ashita – tomorrow
来週 raishu – next week
最近 saikin – recently, these days
Now for some adjectives:
暑い atsui – hot
寒い samui – cold
蒸し暑い mushiatsui – humid
晴れの hare no – fine (clear [skies])
涼しい suzushii – cool
暖かい atatakai – warm
いい ii – good, nice
嫌な iya na – bad, poor
So here’s the formula: _time-adjective_ , _adjective_ _noun_ desu (ne/yo).
The “desu” basically means “is,” a grammatical equal sign. Also, you can add “ne” (ね) at the end to prompt a response from the listener. It would somewhat equate to saying “y’know” or “don’t you think.” If you want to add a little more umph to your statement, you can add “yo” (よ). OR, just to give you more options, you could add “ka” (か) to make the statement a question. Whoa, isn’t that cool? See how easy Japanese can be!? Let’s see some examples:
ashita, arashi desu ka – Is there going to be a storm tomorrow?
iya na fuyu desu yo – It’s been an awful winter!!
saikin, samui desu ne – It’s been cold lately, don’t you think?
ii niji desu – It’s a nice rainbow
kyo, hare no sora desu ne – The sky is so nice today
mushiatsui natsu desu yo – It’s such a muggy humid summer!
Looking at all these examples, you’ll notice I don’t rigidly stick to the formula all the time. Sometimes there’s no time-adjective, or no noun, or no adjective. All of these are OK. The point is to give you tools and words and a flexible sentence structure you can use to say a whole bunch of things. You want to communicate, and we want to make that happen… And I want you to go out and make friends and have fun! J
Want to discuss the finer points of meteorology in Japanese? Or, want to apply to be the next weather forecaster on NHK? Schedule some lessons at Hills Learning! We’ll make clear weather the forecast for your Japanese language learning future.