Lesson 15: Telling Time

“Excuse me, what time is it?” 

In Japanese, you’d say “ima nan-ji desu ka?”

This lesson is about telling time in Japanese, and it’s a lot easier than you might think. 

First, you’ll learn to count from 1 to 12, then add “-ji” to the end of it — almost.

The numbers:

  1. ichi
  2. ni
  3. san
  4. yon/shi
  5. go
  6. roku
  7. nana/shichi
  8. hachi
  9. kyuu/ku
  10. juu
  11. juu-ichi
  12. Juu-ni

Did you notice that after 10, it was just 10 + the next number? So for 11, you would say juu-ichi.

Now add “-ji”

  1. ichi-ji = 1 o’clock
  2. ni-ji
  3. san-ji
  4. yo-ji
  5. go-ji
  6. roku-ji
  7. shichi-ji
  8. hachi-ji
  9. ku-ji
  10. juu-ji
  11. juu-ichi-ji
  12. Juu-ni-ji

Wait, what about AM/PM?

By default they’ll assume you’re talking about the time in the same part of the day you’re currently in (so PM if you’re in the afternoon, etc…) There’s a modifier you can add to specify AM/PM though.

To specify AM, before the time say asa — and for PM say yoru

For example, to say 3:00 am you would say “asa san-ji

That was just a starter. To learn more, here’s a great site that takes you through everything. I’ve reviewed the material and think it’s high quality, and will definitely help you out.

See you tomorrow with the final, and best, lesson. Crazy how time flies. Feels like we just started this journey.