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Lesson Transcript

Jane: 嗨,大家好。我是 Jane。 (hài , dàjiā hǎo. Wǒ shì Jane.) and welcome to chineseclass101.com
Canaan: And this is Canaan. Anyway, with us, you will learn to speak Chinese with fun and effective lessons.
Jane: We also provide you with cultural insights
Canaan: And tips you won’t find in a textbook.
Jane: Today we have Absolute Beginner series, season 3, lesson 20.
Canaan: In China, turning Japanese.
Jane: Not sure how many Chinese friends would like this title.
Canaan: Yeah you are probably right. I find that there is still a lot of animosity among both young and old Chinese people towards Japan.
Jane: But in the meantime, Japanese culture including the food, fashion and languages and it is extremely popular in China as well.
Canaan: True. So today, in this lesson, we are going to help you talk about experiences related to Japan.
Jane: And this conversation takes place in a pub between two friends who just met and having a chat.
Canaan: Of course, they are speaking informal Mandarin.
Jane: But before we go.
Canaan: We would like to remind our listeners once again about our online premium learning center where you can find a distinct array of unique learning tools designed to help you improve your Chinese.
Jane: 是的。(shì de .) Just log on to chineseclass101.com and everything is at your fingertips.
Canaan: Now let’s go to the dialogue.
你吃过寿司吗?(Nǐ chīguò shòusīma?)
你喝过日本烧酒吗?(Nǐ hē guo rìběn shāojiǔ ma?)
喝过。(Hē guo.)
你去过日本吗?(Nǐ qù guo rìběn ma?)
我是日本人。(Wǒ shì Rìběnrén.)
Canaan: And now with the English translation.
你吃过寿司吗?(Nǐ chīguò shòusī ma?)
Have you eaten sushi?
Yes, I have.
你喝过日本烧酒吗?(Nǐ hēguò rìběn shāojiǔ ma?)
Have you drunk Japanese sake?
Yes, I have.
你去过日本吗?(Nǐ qùguò rìběn ma?)
Have you been to Japan?
我是日本人。(Wǒ shì rìběn rén.)
I am Japanese.
Jane: So Canaan, have you ever been to Japan?
Canaan: I have not though I would really love to go. It interests me to see how a country so close to China can be so different.
Jane: Well, many of Japan’s customs as well as their first written characters do come from China.
Canaan: That’s true but the spoken language itself is native to the country, it’s organic and my understanding is that Japan has evolved culturally quite far away from the Chinese for better as well as for worse.
Jane: So today’s vocabulary will allow you to describe what you do know about Japan. So Canaan, even you might know these words.
Canaan: Yeah don’t count on it. Let’s take a look.
Jane: 日本 (rìběn)
Canaan: Japan.
Jane: 日本 日本 (rìběn rìběn)
Jane: 日本人 (rìběnrén)
Canaan: Japanese people.
Jane: 日本人 日本人 (Rìběn rén rìběn rén)
Jane: 日语 (rìyǔ)
Canaan: Japanese language.
Jane: 日语 日语 (Rìyǔ rìyǔ)
Jane: 寿司 (shòusī)
Canaan: Sushi.
Jane: 寿司 寿司 (Shòusī shòusī)
Jane: 烧酒 (shāojiǔ)
Canaan: Japanese Saki.
Jane: 烧酒 烧酒 (Shāojiǔ shāojiǔ)
Jane: 富士山 (fùshìshān)
Canaan: Mount Fuji.
Jane: 富士山 富士山 (Fùshìshān fùshìshān)
Jane: 东京 (Dōngjīng)
Canaan: Tokyo.
Jane: 东京 东京 (Dōngjīng dōngjīng)
Canaan: All right. Now let’s have a closer look at the usage for some of the words and phrases we just heard.
Jane: And the first word is 日本 (rìběn)
Canaan: Japan.
Jane: 日本 (rìběn)
Canaan: And if you want to refer to the people who come from that country, all you have to do is add the word for people to the end.
Jane: So in this case 日本人 (rìběnrén)
Canaan: Meaning Japanese.
Jane: 日本人 (rìběnrén) 那个日本人是我的朋友。(nà ge Rìběnrén shì Wǒ de péngyou)
Canaan: That Japanese person is my friend.
Jane: 那个日本人是我的朋友。(nà ge Rìběnrén shì Wǒ de péngyou)
Canaan: And to refer to the language of that country, you can usually add either
Jane: 文 (wén)
Canaan: Or
Jane: 语 (yǔ)
Canaan: After the country’s name.
Jane: So 日本文 (Rìběn wén) or 日本语 (Rìběn yǔ) or sometimes we will only take the first characters of that country’s name and combined with
Canaan: So the word for the Japanese language can also be
Jane: 日文 (Rìwén) or 日语 (Rìyǔ)
Canaan: All right. Now I hope what we’ve just been saying is going to be mainly review for most of you out there. The next word is
Jane: 寿司 (shòusī)
Canaan: Sushi.
Jane: 寿司 (shòusī)
Canaan: A traditional Japanese food. If you haven’t had it before and you are in a city where they make it well, be sure to try it out.
Jane: 我不爱吃寿司。(Wǒ bú ài chī shòusī.)
Canaan: I don’t like Sushi.
Jane: 我不爱吃寿司。(Wǒ bú ài chī shòusī.)
Canaan: Now let me be clear here. That’s Jane who doesn’t like Sushi. I would not say that. Now if you’ve been to Japanese restaurants before and had 寿司 (shòusī) it’s often times very enjoyable to pair that up with a little bit of Japanese Sake.
Jane: 烧酒 (shāojiǔ)
Canaan: Sake.
Jane: 烧酒 (shāojiǔ) So have you tried it before Canaan?
Canaan: I absolutely have. I love good sake especially hot.
Jane: 我想要热的烧酒。(Wǒ xiǎng yào rè de shāojiǔ .)
Canaan: I would like hot sake.
Jane: 我想要热的烧酒。(Wǒ xiǎng yào rè de shāojiǔ .)
Canaan: Now the next word refers to a famous Japanese site.
Jane: 富士山 (fùshìshān)
Canaan: Mount Fuji.
Jane: 富士山 (fùshìshān)
Canaan: Now of course the last character 山 (shān) means mountain and remember, for most names may they be of mountains, rivers or roads, Chinese way is always the opposite to the English way.
Jane: So we don’t say 山富士 (shānfùshì) but 富士山 (fùshìshān) 富士山是日本最高的山。(fùshìshān shì Rìběn zuì gāo de shān .)
Canaan: Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan.
Jane: 富士山是日本最高的山。(fùshìshān shì Rìběn zuì gāo de shān .)
Canaan: And our final word is the name of Japan’s capital city.
Jane: 东京 (Dōngjīng)
Canaan: Tokyo.
Jane: 东京 (Dōngjīng)
Canaan: So this word in Chinese literally means East Capital while the capital in China where we are now is the North Capital 北京 (Běijīng)
Jane: 东京是日本的首都。(Dōngjīng shì Rìběn de shǒudū .)
Canaan: Tokyo is the capital of Japan.
Jane: 东京是日本的首都。(Dōngjīng shì Rìběn de shǒudū .)
Canaan: So this is a pretty good collection of Japanese vocabulary we have here 有吃的 (yǒu chīde) things to eat.
Jane: 寿司 (shòusī)
Canaan: 有喝的 (yǒu hē de) Things to drink.
Jane: 烧酒 (shāojiǔ)
Canaan: 还有玩儿的 (hái yǒu wánr de) Things to do.
Jane: 富士山 (fùshìshān)
Canaan: Right. And next we are going to take you to the grammar section where we are going to ask you whether or not you’ve tried these things before.
Jane: 让我们看一下吧。(ràng wǒmen kàn yíxià ba .)

Lesson focus

It’s grammar time.
Canaan: Now today’s grammar section is going to focus on a very important grammatical particle. For some of you, if you’ve heard of it before and it’s familiar, take it as a review but if it’s totally new, then please listen close.
Jane: 是的。(shì de.) Today, we are going to teach you how to talk about your past experience with the word 过 (guò)
Canaan: Yeah. Now this character literally means to cross like to cross a river or to get across when it’s used on its own. However here it’s always used in conjunction with other verbs that is say directly after other verbs to indicate that the speaker has already done something or has had the experience before.
Jane: Because there are no verb conjugations when it comes to different tense in terms of Chinese grammar. So the verb plus 过 (guò) pattern is often used to tell things happens in the past.
Canaan: Right. Can we have some examples?
Jane: 我来过中国。(Wǒ lái guo Zhōngguó .)
Canaan: I have been to China before.
Jane: 我来过中国。(Wǒ lái guo Zhōngguó .)
Canaan: So the verb 来 (lái) to come plus 过 (guò) to have passed or to have done means have come before.
Jane: 他看过京剧。(tā kàn guo Jīngjù .)
Canaan: He has watched Beijing Opera before.
Jane: 他看过京剧。(tā kàn guo Jīngjù .)
Canaan: He has watched Beijing Opera before. Now here we have a word
Jane: 京剧 (Jīngjù)
Canaan: Meaning Beijing Opera.
Jane: And you can also use this pattern to ask questions like 你爬过富士山吗?(nǐ pá guò fùshìshānma ?)
Canaan: Have you climbed Mount Fuji before?
Jane: 你爬过富士山吗?(nǐ pá guò fùshìshānma ?)
Canaan: Once again, remember our golden rule of verb echoing. So if you want to answer yes, it should be
Jane: 爬过 (pá guò)
Canaan: So remember to repeat both the verb and 过 (guò) together.
Jane: And if the answer is negative, it is 没爬过 (méi pá guò)
Canaan: Right because 没 (méi) indicates something that you have not done but there is of course a chance you might do it later.
Jane: 是的。(shì de.) So one more sentence 你见过她的男朋友吗?(nǐ jiànguo tā de nánpéngyou ma ?)
Canaan: Have you met her boyfriend before?
Jane: 你见过她的男朋友吗?(nǐ jiànguo tā de nánpéngyou ma ?)
Canaan: All right. So today’s grammar point is a significant one but really it’s pretty simple to use.


Jane: Still if you have any questions, it doesn’t have to be from this lesson, any lessons.
Canaan: They don’t even have to be questions. They could be diatribe, invective endorsements, just write to us.
Jane: At contactus@chineseclass101.com or leave a comment on the site.
Canaan: And we will get back to you straight away. For now though, this is Canaan.
Jane: 还有Jane. 在北京。(hái yǒu Jane. zài Běijīng .)
Canaan: And we will see you next time.
Jane: 下次见吧。(xiàcì jiàn ba)


Please to leave a comment.
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Sorry, please keep your comment under 800 characters. Got a complicated question? Try asking your teacher using My Teacher Messenger.

Monday at 6:30 pm
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Do you like Japan? What do you think the relationship between China and Japan over the last century?

Monday at 6:40 pm
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Hello Irit,

Thank you for your comment. Both 喜欢 and 爱 can be translated to 'love', but 爱 expresses a higher and deeper degree of love. You're right, their difference is like the difference between like and love, 喜欢 = like, 爱 = love. Nowadays, more and more people are using 爱 to express 'like' thou, for example in this lesson Jane expressed she didn't like sushi by saying 不爱.

Thank you for learning with us, let us know if you have any questions.

Ngai Lam

Team ChineseClass101.com

Friday at 2:58 am
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Jane said she didn't like sushi using 'ai' and not 'xihuan'. Can 'ai' be used also in a casual way, to describe not liking food, for example? I thought it was a higher degree of 'xihuan', like the difference between 'like' and 'love' (or, speaking of Japanese, it's more pronounced there, I think, the difference between 'suki' and 'ai'...) If you could please explain to me the proper usage of those two verbs. Thanks!

Thursday at 12:25 am
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As someone who is also studying Japanese with japanespod101.com, I found this lesson very interesting. Let's all hope that Sino-Japanese relations improve!

Thursday at 10:56 am
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Yes, in China we call all the colourless distilled liquor 烧酒, because there are two many kinds of grain in China, so it's quite difficult to give everyone a name.


Wednesday at 5:43 pm
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In Japan we make a distinction between "sake" (お酒 or 日本酒), which is made from fermented rice, and "shochu" (焼酎), which is distilled from barley or sweet potatoes and has a higher alcohol content. Which one does the Chinese 「焼酒」 refer to? You translated it as "sake" but the characters are similar to "shochu". Does Chinese call them both by one name, as in English?

Ma An
Monday at 5:01 am
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Hello Jane and Canaan,

Very good lesson,

In the vocabulary samples, I think the pinyin word (guīgǔ) in this phrase was added by mistake:


Rìběn zài Zhōngguó guīgǔ de dōngbiān

Tuesday at 5:03 am
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Hi, thanks!

I have been to Suzhou once, and I really like some of those gardens there. Han Shan temple is also nice.


Tuesday at 2:54 am
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Hi Jane and Canaan,

Great lesson! I study Japanese, Mandarin and Cantonese as hobby. Been twice to Tokyo on vacation and worked for 6 months in Suzhou, Jiangsu. I think it is great to know familiar words and phrases from Japanese in Mandarin. Keep up the great work!