This lesson focuses on the こそあど series of words that refer to location as well as situations. How they are distinguished from each other is exactly parallel to how the こそあど work for "this" and "that."
The basic word for "here" in Japanese is koko ここ. This word refers to either a location or situation that is "here," or in other words, in immediate 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.
Koko no rāmen wa aji ga umai desu.
The ramen here has a delicious taste.
Grammar Note: To use a location kosoado こそあど adjectivally, just add the particle no の after.
Gotanda-eki wa kokorahen deshita yo ne?
Gotanda Station was around here, 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 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 the speaker nor the 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 Speaker A and Speaker B may both be involved, but one of them feels more heavily involved and the tone indicated by ne ね implies that that speaker thinks the other one is less emotionally taxed by the situation.
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 is being referred to in context, the place must be known by all parties.
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: The basic word for police officer is kei(satsu)kan 警（察）官, but the polite term is 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.
Asoko ga itai desu.
My private area hurts.
Phrase Note: It would be ironically inappropriate to not mention that asoko あそこ is frequently used euphemistically to refer to one’s private parts.
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 more severe.
Asoko made naka ga warui to wa omoimasen-deshita.
I didn't think that their relationship was that bad.