Unit  2                          世田谷区(せたがや)のホストファミリーとの会話(かいわ)

  Conversations with the Setagaya-ku Host Family


Part A:  家族しょうかい

Have the learners find where Setagaka-ku is in Tokyo. The Matsui family live near the Tama River (Tamagawa) two stops from Jiyuugaoka in a relatively up-market residential area.      


Part B:  Language Choices


1. 原宿(はらじゅく)へ行こうよ。

Function:  Accepting and declining



Information and Suggestions for teaching and Learning

Should the question have been Harajuku e ikoo, ikoo yo or ikanai?  What would a boy say to the ryuugakusei who is a couple of years older than him? The writers and collaborators and their teenage and university aged children decided that ikoo yo or ikanai? would be the most natural.  As for the student’s response, it is difficult to agree on a “standard” without knowing the finer contextual details and the personal style and identity of the potential speaker (who is to compound the matter) a non-Japanese speaker. The attempt to rate the choices is a valuable learning process, and it is important that the learners join in the debate and eventually decide on a typical and safe response and some other possible options to add to the repertoire – depending of course on the context.  Misa expresses her opinion openly. She makes few concessions to the fact that it is an overseas student speaking. 





Teachers reference for facilitating class discussion

1. You have been there once and would love to go again. Accept the offer


a)    行きましょう。


The student has been living with the family for five months so would probably be on casual terms with the brother and would say Ikoo.

b)    いいね。行こう。


The student has spontaneously responded to the idea and agreed to go.


c)     うん。行こう。


Similar to b) but from someone who expresses him/herself in few words.

d)    行く行く。


The repetition emphasizes the meaning. This is a more enthusiastic response than b) or c) indicating that either the speaker is someone who generally expresses him/herself enthusiastically or is someone who has been particularly keen to go to Harajuku.  


e)    (ちょうど)行きたかったんだ。


This is also an enthusiastic response or the words of someone who has been keenly waiting for an opportunity to go to Harajuku again.  It is similar to the English “ Oh, I’ve been thinking lately how I wanted to go there”.

f)      そうしましょう。



As for a) 

The student would say soo shiyoo to a younger host brother.




1.                                     You would like to go but have made an arrangement to see a friend that day. Turn down the offer.


a)    わたし・ぼくはいけない。


The effect is quite abrupt, as it would be in English is someone said I can’t go.  The student gives no reason. Takuya could probably be offended.

b)    え、土曜日(どようび)? じゃあ、だめだ。べつの日じゃだめ?



The student hasn’t given the reason, but presumably would give it if asked why. The language is informal. The student cannot go but is nevertheless still being positive by seeing if they could go together another day.

c)     土曜日ですか。ざんねんですが、ようじがあるんです。



This doesn’t sound like the interaction between siblings, but perhaps as if the student is speaking with a tanin. It is the interaction of a soto relationship.

d)    行きたいけど土曜日はね。


This sounds natural assuming Takuya knows why Saturday is not convenient. Maybe he knows for example that the student does not go out on Saturday for religious reasons. Or maybe the student is suggesting that Saturday isn’t a good day at Harajuku because it is crowded.

e)    ちょっと行けないね。


The chotto softens the response, and the ne suggests that the student assumes that Takuya knows why he/she cannot go. If Takuya doesn’t know he can ask. This is similar to d)


f)      うーん。ちょっと。


Takuya would understand that the student cannot go, but the student would have to add more information, at least Yooji ga aru n da, for Yasushi not to feel somehow rejected.

g)    わたしは行くことができない。



This grammar form is used more in written rather than spoken language, or perhaps spoken in a more formal context. Ikenai  is common.

h)    わたしは行かれない。



The choice is not recommended because of the abruptness and lack of affect (feeling) and care for the brother’s feelings. Also within a family you would expect to hear the reason. Ikarenai is the alternative to ikenai .Both ikeru and Ikareru are used. Ikareru is disappearing from spoken Japanese. The verb iku is semi-irregular (te form is itte not ikite) otherwise it changes like regular  Group 2 or U-verbs (五段動詞). Iku becomes Ikeru as kaku becomes kakeru. 



例:はらじゅく  へ行こう

    1. イタリアりょうりをつくろう
    2. パソコンをしよう
    3. 先生とはなそう・をなおそう(!)・をなかそう・しょうたいしよう
    4. コンビニでかいものをしよう
    5. おふろにはいろう





2. うまくいってる


Function: complimenting, being amusing or ironic.


Information and Suggestions for Teaching and Learning

Joking, teasing and playing with words is any everyday occurrence in our first language, but how often do we manage it well in a second language? Learners of this level may like to try.  If the relationship between the two speakers is already close (or already one of “unconditional positive regard”) then the kind of humour in c) could work well to further bond the speakers, but if it fails it can be insulting. As in one’s own language, the speaker’s judgement of the relationship and the right timing and gestures are essential for irony or humour to succeed.  


1. The Language Choice




Teachers reference for facilitating class discussion

a)    松井さんいつでも何でもたすけてくださるよ。




a) The intent is clear but this may sound overstated (nan demo). kudasaru gives the impression that you have not become close to the family yet.

b) kureru sounds more intimate and would better represent the stage of your relationship.


b)    松井さんはいつでも何でもたすけてくれるよ。


c)     たくやくんはかおもあたまもまずいけど、しんせつだよね。





While using irony (hiniku) and joking is risky, if the bonding between the student and the host brother and sister is based on similar banter, then, said with a glance their way and teasing manner, this would demonstrate directly to Suzuki-san how happy you are living with the Matsui family. The ne encodes a close bond and is directed towards the brother seeking agreement.

d)    (わら)いながら)何もしてくれないよね。


Similar to c)

e)    だいじょうぶですよ。



Daijoobu (It’s OK) gives the impression that there was a problem before but that you have overcome it.  It sounds as though you think the Matsui’s is “so-so”.

f)      松井さんはとてもいい人だと思います。



It sounds as though you have been directly asked for an evaluation of the Matsui family or as though you are defending them.

g)    とってもいい家族です。ほんとうの家族みたいです。


This is very complimentary and must make the host brother and sister feel very proud and happy.

h)    すごくらくです。


This is a comment on the comfort of your situation but does not tell whether you feel happy or not. It does not refer to the family relationships. If the student had explained why it is raku, for example, minna yoku shite kureru kara raku desu, the meaning would have been less ambiguous.



Lets assume that there is someone in your life who will do anything for you :何でもしてくれる人.  What do they do for you? List as many examples as you can and exchange information with fellow students.

e.g. こまったとき、そうだんにのってくれる。

Examples: ごはんを作ってくれる。







3. りゅうがくせいのかいぎ


Function:  Explaining, giving reasons, apologizing.

1. The Language Choice




Teachers reference for facilitating class discussion

a)            わたし・ぼく、 今日、なんか気分(きぶん)悪い(わる)。げりです。もうしわけないけどきょう()ませてください。


Apologizing with mooshiwake nai sounds very formal and distant for an established uchi relationships. ごめんなさい is recommended for all apologies within the family. Node sounds distant or objective and impersonal; kara sounds better.


The student might like to avoid the details and explain what it is if asked. An alternative way to explain geri is onaka o kowashite iru.


Yasumanakerebanaranai sounds as though you have been directed by someone (a doctor?) to rest. It would sound more natural to say Ikesoo mo nai. (It doesn’t look like I can go).

b)            きょう行くことになっていたんですけど、あさからぐあいがわるくて。



The host father would get the message without the student going any further, and probably follow with, for example, Dooshita no? Onaka itai no? Kaze hiitano?

If the student had been looking forward to the meeting, then he/she might have said tanoshimi ni shite ita kedo instead of the less enthusiastic iku koto ni natte ita kedo.

c)             ごめんなさい,     きょうはきぶんがわるくて、だめみたい。



The informal language of dame mitai sounds right. The mitai softens the impact of the news and objectifies or takes the responsibility away from the student. It looks like I can’t go.

d)            行きたいんだけど、きぶんがわるくて、行けそうもないです。みなさんにあやまっておいていただけますか。


This is the language of a well-mannered student, and unless they are a very casual family and are uncomfortable with any formality, this is recommended. The student is conscious of the soto relationships when using itadakemasu ka.




このレポートはあしたまでにおわれそう(に)もない。It doesn’t look like I will be able to finish this by tomorrow.

車がこんでいて、5時までに駅につけそう(に)もない。There is a lot of traffic so it doesn’t look like I will make it to the station by 5pm.

こんなにたくさん食べられそう(に)もないわ。It doesn’t look like I am going to be able to finish this.

太ったから、もうこのズボンはけそう(に)もないね。I’ve put on weight so I doesn’t look like I’m going to be able to fit into these jeans.

雨はふりそう(に)もないですね。It doesn’t look like it’s going to rain, does it.

このもんだい、ぼくにはとてもできそう(に)もないよ。It doesn’t look like I am going to be able to do this problem, you know.