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This article is in the series Teach Yourself Japanese

8.6. Space-time

8.6.1. Directions


All of the direction words in Japanese are nouns, while the English words up and down are not nouns.

-うえ
u e
up, upper
-
ひだり
hi da ri
left
-みぎ
mi gi
right
-した
si ta
down, lower
-


まえうしる
ma e
forward
u si ro
backward


-きた
ki ta
north
-
にし
ni si
west
-ひがし
hi ga si
east
-みなみ
mi na mi
south
-


8.6.2. Temporal nouns


I have written that every noun in a Japanese sentence is marked by a postposition, but temporal nouns, which stand for a time relative to now, are the exceptions. You don't have to add a postposition when you use them as an adverb. It is the same as in English because you don't use any preposition for the temporal nouns such as yesterday and today.

OffsetDayYear
-2おととい
o to to i
the day before yesterday
おととし
o to to si
the year before last
-1きのう
ki
yesterday
きょねん
kyo ne n
last year
0きょう
kyô
today
ことし
ko to si
this year
+1あした
a si ta
tomorrow
らいねん
ra i ne n
next year
+2あさって
a sa t te
the day after tomorrow
さらいねん
sa ra i ne n
the year after next
+3しあさって
a sa t te
the day after tomorrow
-

Note: The noun とし "tosi" means year. The prefix らい "rai" means coming.


OffsetMonthWeek
-2せんせんげつ
se n se n ge tu
the month before last
せんせんしゅう
se n se n syû
the week before last
-1せんげつ
se n ge tu
last month
せんしゅう
se n syû
last week
0こんげつ
ko n ge tu
this month
こんしゅう
ko n syû
this week
+1らいげつ
ra i ge tu
next month
らいしゅう
ra i syû
next week
+2さらいげつ
sa ra i ge tu
the month after next
さらいしゅう
sa ra i syû
the week after next


Note: The suffix げつ "getu" means month, and the noun しゅう "syû" means week. The prefix せん "sen" means previous. The prefix こん "kon" means current.

Example:

Kana:おとといてんぷらをたべた。
Romanization:O to to i te m pu ra o ta be ta .
Structure:(adverb, the day before yesterday) (noun, tempura) (accusative marker) (verb, ate)
Meaning:I ate tempura the day before yesterday.


Kana:きのうえいがをみた。
Romanization:Ki nô e i ga o mi ta .
Structure:(adverb, yesterday) (noun, movie) (accusative marker) (verb, saw)
Meaning:I saw a movie yesterday.


In both of the sentences, temporal nouns work as adverbs.

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Takasugi
My name is TAKASUGI Shinji. TAKASUGI is my family name, and Shinji is my given name; a family name is placed before a given name in Japan, as in other Asian nations. My family name is capitalized to avoid misunderstanding.

I have been living in Yokohama since I was born. Yokohama is the second largest city in Japan, which is just 30 kilometers away from the biggest city Tôkyô. It takes 30 minutes to go by train from home to Shibuya, which is the hottest town now in Tôkyô.

I work as a display engineer.

One of my hobbies is creating things with computers; creating programs, computer graphics and web pages is the thing I spent a lot of time doing. I am also interested in a wide range of sciences, and linguistics is my favorite. I like English and I like using it, but my focus is mainly on Japanese, which is my native language. I'm proud of knowing the language, and the difference between English and Japanese has been fascinating me. I have been thinking whether I can introduce it to people outside of Japan. My attempt of introducing Japanese with some Java applets has had more than 1 million visitors.

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