In this lesson, we will discuss three more kosoado こそあど phrases that are politer counterparts to both the kosoado こそあど phrases for “this” and “that” and those for “here” and “there.” The reason for why they would be intertwined with each other is because phrases indicating direction have always been used in Japanese to also refer to physical entities, and by extension, people as you will soon see.
The first main usage of kochira こちら is as a politer version of kore これ.
Kochira wa shinseihin de gozaimasu.
This is a new product.
Grammar Note: In respectful language, more than just one word here and there will be different. Verb forms also change. Instead of using desu です, de gozaimasu でございます may be used instead to both be more respectful yet humble at the same time.
Prefix Note: Shin- 新 is seen in a lot of phrases in place of atarashii 新しい to mean “new” to form compound phrases. Although these should be learned individually, some phrases like shinseihin 新製品will also be common in the spoken language as they are in the written language.
Kochira, oyakodon desu.
This is your oyakodon (you ordered).
Culture Note: Oyakodon 親子丼 is a bowl of rice topped with chicken and eggs. Oyako 親子 means parent and child, and the use of chicken and eggs refers to the age-old question “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” This is one variety of rice bowl dishes called domburi 丼.
The second main usage of kochira こちら is as a politer version of koko ここ.
Dōzo kochira e.
Please, come this way.
Kochira wo muite kudasai.
Please face this way.
Kochira wa kinō, hidoi ame deshita.
It rained here heavily yesterday.
As a Pronoun
Just as alluded to in the introduction, kochira こちら may also be used as a pronoun, and when it is, it can either be a first person or a third person pronoun. As a first person pronoun, it is used to indirectly refer to oneself.
Kochira koso dōzo yoroshiku onegai shimasu.
It’s very nice to meet you too.
Kochira wa itsu demo kekkō desu.
I’m fine whenever.
In the third person, Kochira こちら may also be used to refer to “this person.” In this case, the person is either equal or above one’s own status. The phrase is synonymous with kono kata この方. When the person is of especially high status, the suffix -sama 様 should be added, creating kochira-sama こちら様.
Kochira wa Jōnzu-fujin desu.
This is Mrs. Jones.
Kochira-sama ni omizu wo sashiagete kudasai.
Please give this individual water.
The first main usage of sochira そちら is as a politer version of sore それ.
Sochira wa okaidoku desu yo.
That is a good bargain.
The second main usage of sochira そちら is used as a politer version of soko そこ.
Sochira wa mō samuku narimashita ka?
Has it already gotten cold there?
As a Pronoun
As a pronoun, sochira そちら frequently refers to the person whom you are interacting with. Essentially, this is a respectful “you.”
Sochira no go-iken wo kikasete kudasai.
Please let me hear your opinion.
Grammar Note: Kikaseru 聞かせる means “to let hear/ask.” Additionally, the prefix go- ご attached to iken 意見 adds respect to the noun.
Sochira koso otsukare-sama desu.
Thanks to you as well for your work.
Sentence Note: This phrase is used to very politely respond to also being told “otsukare-sama お疲れ様.” This phrase is used at the end of the day to thank colleagues for their efforts in the day’s work. It is also used by the public in service industries to people who have gotten off work.
As an extension of this, it may also refer to someone in proximity/relation with whom you are interacting with. In this case, you are not who is completely in the know about the individual. If the person happens to be in eyesight, then the individual is simply close to the listener.
Just as is the case for kochira こちら, if the person in question is of especially high social status, then the suffix -sama 様 should be added, creating sochira-sama そちら様.
Sochira wo watakushi ni shōkai shite moraemasen ka?
Could I have you introduce the/that person to me?
The first main usage of achira あちら is as a politer version of are あれ.
Achira wo goran kudasai.
Look at that over there.
Grammar Note: The respectful form of “please see” is goran kudasai ご覧ください.
The second main usage of achira あちら is as a politer version of asoko あそこ.
Otearai wa achira desu.
The bathroom is over there.
Kaneko-san wa achira-jikomi no ryūchō na eigo ga hanasemasu yo.
Mr. Kaneko can speak fluent English acquired abroad.
Grammar Note: Hanasemasu 話せます utilizes the potential form of the verb hanasu 話す, which we’ll get to later. Additionally, the suffix -jikomi 仕込み is used to mean “acquired at.”
As a Pronoun
Achira あちら may be used to refer to a third person that is not in near proximity to the speaker or the listener. When the individual is not in eyesight, all parties in the conversation are assumed to know who the person in question is. However, simple distance from parties involved determines its usage if said person is in eyesight.
Achira ga okā-sama desu ka?
Is that person over there your mother?
Achira-sama wa iegara mo yoroshii no desu.
That person’s pedigree is also very good.
Quite simply, these are contractions of the forms kochira こちら, sochira そちら, and achira あちら respectively. They possess the same meanings but without heightened sense of politeness. To the contrary, they are casual since they are contractions.
This way, this way!
Sore wa kotchi no serifu da.
That’s my line.
Sotchi no hitotachi no koto wo hanashiteta no?
Were you talking about those people?
Atchi no mizu wa nigai zo. Kotchi no mizu wa amai zo.
The water over there is bitter! The water here is sweet!
Culture Note: These lines are a part of an old children’s song for catching fireflies.
Grammar Note: The particle zo ぞ is used here to add force to the tone of the sentence.
Watashi wa kotoshi, sekai wo achikochi ryokō shite mawarimashita.
I traveled around the world this year.
Phrase Note: Achikochi あちこち literally means here and there. Although it may be pronounced as atchikotchi あっちこっち, that is not its normal pronunciation. However, achikochi あちこちis not a contraction of it. In fact, it is simply composed of achira あちら and kochira こちら without the /ra/.