In this lesson, we will learn about the kosoado こそあど words that describe location/situation. The dynamics involved as for which to use are exactly the same as they were for “this” and “that.”
Word of warning, this word does NOT mean cocoa as in cocoa puffs. As tempting as that might sound, it is most certainly the word for “here.” Koko ここ refers to a location/situation that is in close proximity/association with the speaker and listener(s).
Koko wa kyōshitsu desu.
Here is a/the classroom.
Koko wa Kamata desu.
This is Kamata.
Sentence Note: Sometimes in English, “this” is used instead of “here” for the same purpose. However, in Japanese, koko ここ remains the word of choice.
Location Note: Kamata 蒲田 is a neighborhood in Ōta Ward (Ōta-ku 大田区) of Tokyo, Japan.
Koko no rāmen wa aji ga umai desu.
The ramen here has a delicious taste.
Grammar Note: There are no unique changes to kosoado こそあど for location to make them adjectival. All you do is add the particle no の after.
Phrase Note: Umai うまい is another way of saying “delicious.” However, the word is not as polite or refined as oishii 美味しい. This is because the latter originated from refined feminine speech which eventually became widely used by sex and ages. Although this is the case, umai うまい can still be used in casual yet polite speech as is shown in this example.
Gotanda-eki wa kokorahen deshita yo ne?
Gotanda Station was around her, wasn’t it?
Particle Note: The particles yo よ and ne ね are used together at the end of the sentence to express direct seeking of confirmation from the listener.
Tense Note: The use of the past tense here is not literal. Instead, it is used in part to seek confirmation, just as is the case in the English translation.
Suffix Note: The suffix -rahen ら辺 may be added to any of the place kosoado こそあど phrases mentioned in this lesson to add the nuance “about.”
The word for “there” in Japanese is soko そこ. It is "there" as in a location in close proximity to the listener. When neither speaker nor listener is talking about a place in proximity, then the place indicated by soko そこ is one that just one party is fully aware of. Conversely, sokoそこ is a situation that both listener and speaker are aware of, but the degree to which they are involved will likely not be equal.
Soko wa kaidan desu.
There is a/the staircase there.
Soko wa doko desu ka?
Where is that?
Sentence Note: In this example, it is English that is odd. Instead of referring to "there" with “there,” the word “that” is used. However, this is a problem with English and not Japanese, as this example demonstrates.
Soko ga muzukashii tokoro desu ne.
Yeah, that’s the difficult part.
Sentence Note: In this example, both the speaker and listener may be heavily involved in whatever is going on. However, it is the listener who must have mentioned how something about it was terribly difficult, and it is the speaker who is simply responding. The tone indicated by ne ね in this sentence indicates that the speaker must be less emotionally taxed than the listener. Thus, some distance is to be had in the mind of the speaker.
Sokorahen ni oite kudasai.
Please place it around there.
Soko made iu hitsuyo wa nai.
There’s no need to go (talk) that far.
Sentence Note: Soko made そこまで means “to that extent/go that far.” This is a perfect example of how “there” doesn’t necessarily have to literally mean “there” but can also mean “that (part/extent/situation).”
Soko no onē-san, ano, saifu wo otoshimashita yo.
Miss, um, you dropped your wallet.
Sentence Note: In English, no word indicating the physical proximity of the lady is needed, but in Japanese, it aids in grabbing the lady’s attention. This sentence also demonstrates how the word ano あの may be used as an interjection meaning “um.”
In a physical sense, asoko あそこ refers to a place away from both the speaker and the listener. When said place, however, is out of eyesight and is being referred to in context, then the place must be known by all parties in the conversation. Of course, this is assumed in natural discourse. Similarly to soko そこ, asoko あそこ may also refer to a situation that is known by both the speaker and listener, but as for asoko あそこ, the situation is of a severe degree.
Asoko wa jimushitsu desu.
Over there is the office.
Kiyoko-san no kaban wa asoko ni arimasu.
Ms. Kiyoko’s bag is over there.
Asoko no mukō wa Fukuoka-shi desu ne.
Beyond there/on the opposite side of there is Fukuoka City, right?
Asoko no omawari-san ni kiite kudasai.
Please ask that police officer over there.
Phrase Note: Although the word for police officer is kei(satsu)kan 警（察）官, policemen are generally referred to as omawari-san お巡りさん.
Kanojo mo asokorahen ni sunde imasu.
She too lives around there.
“Ginkō wa doko desu ka?” “Asoko desu.”
Where is the bank?
Asoko ni dōbutsuen ga arimasu.
There is a zoo over there.
Watashi mo asoko ni kazoku ga imasu.
I too have family there.
Soko ni shōgakkō ga arimasu.
There is an elementary school there.
Asoko ga itai desu.
My private area hurts.
Phrase Note: Asoko あそこ may also be used to euphemistically refer to one’s private parts.