Oh, My Goddess and Ranma 1/2\Edutainment:  Language Lessons

by David A. Tatum


Disclaimer:  Ranma 1/2 obviously does not belong to me, but to its creator,

Rumiko Takahashi (and to the producers of the anime...).  Oh, My Goddess!

(by whatever name) belongs to Kousuke Fujishima (and, again, the producers

of the anime).  All other characters (unless in cameos or unless otherwise

noted- I may toss in another series or two before the end) belong to me

(and I don't have anyone producing anime for them, so they belong to me

alone).  All characters except for my own are used without permission, for

the purposes of fun and, in this unique case, education.  Additional

sources used, which are listed below.


Author's Notes (LONG, but IMPORTANT):


Some of this may sound like an advertisement for a particular language

program, but I assure you it isn't.  People learn things in a variety of

ways, and the method I keep mentioning here is merely one that suits my



A while back, I was in a Barnes and Noble Bookstore with a friend as they

were getting something they'd ordered.  I got bored and started browsing,

and something caught my eye.  Impulsively, I bought Simon and Schuster's

Pimsleur's Totally Audio Japanese Language Program, a four tape (each tape

with 2 half-hour lessons) very beginning survival course, of sorts.  I

studied the first couple of lessons and loved it- for the first time, I was

actually following what was going on in this sort of study (if you were to

look at my high school grades, you would notice that the courses I had the

most trouble with were foreign language ones) and was rather quickly

learning the language (well, sort of).  It was NOT a course in the written

language, and that could have helped a lot, but I really liked the method

employed.  I basically had to listen to each lesson two or three times, and

I was ready to move on.  As I thought about it more, I wondered what I

would do with this language I was learning.  Sure, I could use it to listen

to raw anime, but it would be years before I could do that, and I wasn't

learning how to read it at all so I would have problems there.  Still, I

wanted to do SOMETHING with it while I was still learning, to keep my

interest in it up if for no other reason.  Then the idea hit me- what

better way to understand the language better than to try and teach it,

myself?  And to teach it in a fun way, too- like, say, putting a language

course into a fanfic?  And thus, the idea for this fic was born.


Of course, an eight lesson survival course is not enough for a fanfic like

this- I've ordered the 'Comprehensive Pimsleur Japanese Language Program,'

which is really the thirty tape, sixty lesson continuation of the course I

already have, but that hasn't arrived yet (and probably won't for a month

or two- they didn't have any in stock, but expected to have some in a

couple of months).  I still decided to frame my lessons around it- despite

it being designed for audio only learning and this is a written format- but

since it may be a while before I can start using the later lessons, I

purchased some other things to help me with this fanfic, and will continue

to add to them as I go along (probably a good idea anyway).  If you want

additional help with these lessons, you may wish to purchase these...

Currently, in addition to the Pimsleur Program, I have the following

sources (some serious, some not so serious but maybe a little useful- at

least plotwise.  The order given is the order of when they were purchased,

not of relevance):


JTB's Illustrated Book Series- Japan in Your Pocket:  Illustrated Japanese

Characters (in case I find a way to learn AND teach the written language

with my available sources)


More Making Out in Japanese, by Todd and Erika Geers (probably not going to

be useful for a while, since the story's going to be kinda slow to start



Random House's Living Language: Japanese Complete Course, Compact Disc

Edition, Basic to intermediate level. (I don't exactly like the methods

used in the Living Language program, but as a supplemental source it might

work out.  At least the Coursebook and the Japanese Dictionary can be



13 Secrets for Speaking Fluent Japanese, by Giles Murray (includes some

manga- one original, custom-made manga, and six pages of Osamu Tezuka's

Blackjack series.  I'm thinking Chapter 13, 'How to Exploit Japanese Comics

as a Learning Resource,' might be very interesting, but since I only bought

it last week and haven't had time to read it up to that point yet...)


Wicked Japanese for the Business Traveler, By Howard Tomb  (probably the

least useful of them all, but it might be fun to use for Ranma and Akane's

fights- for example, there's a section on 'Avoiding Ambulatory Food' that

might be, er, amusing)


Also, not as a language source but as an idea source, I also got

(essentially for free) a copy of Dave Barry Does Japan (by Dave Barry, of

course), which in the front cover has the following quote- "At a point

where it appeared that tensions between Japan and the United States could

get no worse, Random House decided to dispatch Dave Barry to Tokyo.  The

resulting report is the most successful diplomatic stroke since George Bush

lost his cookies in the Japanese prime minister's lap."


Hopefully, these sources will let me write something both fun and

educational- which is why I'm labeling this fanfic 'Edutainment.'  At the

very least, it'll have some of your favorite characters from Ranma and Oh,

My Goddess! in it, so enjoy...


By the way, this will be a continuing story, though I might not continue it

past the second 'book.' (the current titles I've decided on for these books

are Japanese 100: Survival Course, which will cover the first eight lessons

and probably be the shortest of them all, and Japanese 101, which will

cover all of the Pimsleur Comprehensive Course that is not part of the

course I own already).  I may, however, move past it- time will see.  (as

an additional note, the use of multiple sources may result in some

redundant lessons- er, well, extra drill is a good thing usually, so I

don't think that'll be too much of a problem.  If it annoys you, though,

just let me know).  It will also be (well, at least read a bit something

like) a Self-Insertion fic- sorry, but that's one of the drawbacks of

writing edutainment- it generally has poor-quality characters.  Hopefully,

he won't be too boring....



Well, obviously the lessons will be patterned after a couple of learning

methods...  There WILL be Japanese spoken outside of the lessons- but don't

worry, if our hero doesn't understand, you're not supposed to, either.

When it IS spoken as part of a lesson, however, I will do my best to

(limited by the lack of diacritical marks) write how to pronounce it next

to it...  Note that, at times, the lessons will be taken word-for-word from

the source.  Since I'm not able to do footnotes with this word processor

set-up and I'd lose track of the endnotes before I got to typing them up,

I'll just warn you now that occasionally the lessons themselves are

word-for-word out of the real lessons I have.  I DO want to try and make it

more original, but when I'm working on a 'list of vocabulary words,' I

think it's best to stick with the lists the professionals came up with (in

the order they put them, too) because I don't want to repeat myself or miss

things...  the vocab lists are usually taken from the Living Language

Japanese course book.  The rest of what I use I will TRY to be original,

but since I AM giving you what was in the particular lesson and (pretty

much) ONLY what was in the particular lesson, that will occasionally be

difficult.  I may try to go back and do the proper end notes at the end of

each book to show I'm quoting, but we'll see if I can do that.


The basic design of each lesson will be one Pimsleur course lesson plus one

item from one of the other sources I have (which may not be vocabulary or

grammar or anything like that, but instead be a discussion of how to learn

more efficiently or how to pronounce certain things, or short cuts you can

use, or how to use mnemonics to help you remember certain things, and that

sort of thing...).  I currently have 60 Pimsleur lessons (either on hand or

to be delivered soon).  To go with them, I have fourty Living Lesson

lessons, 13 methods of learning from the 13 Secrets for Speaking Fluent

Japanese, and... well, I'm pretty sure between the other sources I have I

can come up with seven other 'supplemental' things, so we'll see what

happens.  If I decide to continue this past that point... well, there's

apparently -3- levels of the comprehensive course (each with 60 lessons)

and I've only ordered one of them, and I'm always on the lookout for more



Chronological notes:  Er, for Oh, My Goddess, it's set some time shortly

after the 'Terrible Master Urd' arc of the manga, but even if you just saw

the anime you should be able to understand what's going on in the story...

For Ranma, well... I don't think it's THAT important, yet, and so haven't

decided.  Since the only Ranma character we're likely to meet in the first

chapter or two is Akane, it shouldn't matter too much.


On with the story...




Book I:  Japanese 100- Survival Course


Notes for this book of the series:  Those of you looking for the Ranma

content might not find much of it in this book- it's primarily the set-up.

Akane plays a role in it, and certain other Ranma characters may play small

roles in it, but it'll be a while before our hero (or I, myself) can speak

and/or understand the language well enough to communicate with the Tendou's

on a regular basis.  Oh, and as a brief note, while I completed the eight

lessons of the Pimsleur Audio-Only Course before writing this one, future

books I'll be writing out the chapters as I complete each lesson, so this

book may be the fastest-written of them all (and since this is likely to be

written at a snails-pace since I want to work on my other fanfics between

each of these chapters, and I've been writing slowly (for me, anyway)

recently anyway)


Prolog:  Welcome to Tokyo!  What Do You Mean You Don't Know Any Japanese?


The first thing that clued me in to the fact that something out of the

ordinary had happened was that I woke up lying on a sidewalk.  Now, I admit

that in the past, after some pretty late parties- where I may have had one

too many drinks- I'd woken up in some pretty weird places, but I hadn't

been drunk the night before, and I certainly hadn't gone to any parties.

In fact, I didn't even remember going to sleep!


I shook my head and stood up, trying to orient myself.  When I looked

around, that feeling of something out of the ordinary only grew.  For one

thing, it was getting close to evening- the sun was starting to set.  Last

thing I remembered, it was noon.  Also, all the signs on the nearby shops

were in Chinese or something, and there were no street signs nearby to find

out where I was.  If that wasn't strange enough, the people walking around

were all Asians, dressed in either business suits (for the men) or darkish

conservative dresses (for the women).  Everything looked grey and vaguely

sterile.  It all seemed rather... alien.  Had I somehow wandered into



I was almost relieved to see something relatively out of place streaking

towards me- a young woman, with strange tattoos on her forehead and cheeks,

wearing a rather colorful feathered headress and a dress ensemble that

would look extravagant on a Victorian-era Opera-goer.  Well, the fact that

she had a stunning (Western) figure didn't do much to conceal her in the

crowd, either.


The final stroke that told me all was not quite right was when the young

woman started speaking to me in fluent- what was then, to me- gibberish.


"Konnichi wa!" she exclaimed, smiling brightly.  "Hajimemashite."


I stared at her stupidly.  "Huh?"


Her smile fell a little, but stayed on her face.  "Ogenki desu ka?"  My

blank look remained on my face.  "Wakarimasu ka?"  I continued staring,

wondering just what the hell this pretty young woman was saying.  "Nihongo

ga wakarimasu ka?"


My speechlessness ended, but I was still rather shocked.  "What are you

babbling about?  Where am I?  What's going on?"


The woman's smile fell the rest of the way into a careful, somewhat neutral

expression.  In English good enough to be native, she asked, "Don't you

understand Japanese?"


"Japanese?" I said, going from very confused to somewhat more than very

confused.  "Why would I understand Japanese?  And you still haven't told me

where I am or what's going on!"


The (relatively small) crowd that was gathered around started

surreptitiously staring at the two of us- looking back, I suppose it was

quite a spectacle to see a male westerner yelling at a female westerner in

the middle of the street.  They were not rubbernecking or gathering to

observe us, however- merely glancing at us curiously and doing their best

to get away from us.


The woman blinked, confused.  "You don't speak Japanese?  Then why are you



"That's what I want to know!" I shouted.  "I don't even know where HERE



Then the woman answered my question.


"You're in Tokyo, Japan, of course," she said absently, looking around.

"Now where is a phone?  I have a few questions to ask my superiors."


I looked around myself.  Everywhere I glanced, I now noticed the Japanese

influences.  The characters on the shops could have been either Chinese or

Japanese, but with this new bit of information I realized that it was

probably, in fact, Japanese (as it turns out, however, it was something of

both- most of the shop signs were Chinese Kanji, or pictograph-like

writing, adopted as one of the Japanese alphabets).  The people had the

slopes and lines around the eyes and nose that made me realize they were

not Chinese, as I originally thought, and the more I thought of it, the

more I realized that the woman was probably speaking the truth, and I WAS

in Japan.  I pinched myself to make certain that I was dreaming, and when I

discovered I wasn't, I fainted.


Chapter 1, Lesson 1:  Do You Understand English?


When I finally stirred, the woman was still nearby.  She'd apparently

dragged me with her to a nearby phone booth, and was talking into the

receiver when I opened my eyes.  I didn't understand a word of what she was

saying, but it didn't matter as she hung up almost immediately after I

regained consciousness.


"Oh, good," she said.  "You're awake."  Somehow, she'd changed from that

overelegant dress and head gear to a much more normal set of clothing.


My psyche at that point was rather frail.  All I could say was, "What's

going on?"


The woman looked embarrassed.  "I'm terribly sorry.  When the Yggdrasil

system crashed, some changes were made to semi-automate the wish

fulfillment system.  If possible, the best human who could grant the wish

that a deserving person asks for would be located and taken to where he or

she needed to be to fulfill it.  As it turns out, the programmers didn't

think of a few things, and so the system over-reacted and brought you



I blinked.  "Yggdrasil system?"


The woman smiled slightly.  "Oh, I'm sorry- you probably have no idea what

I'm talking about... but Keiichi-san keeps telling me that I shouldn't let

the general public know everything.  We should go home, and I'll explain



"Home?"  As you might have noticed, I had yet to fully recover from the

shock of having woken up in Japan.


The woman was totally oblivious, and started tugging me along to follow

her.  "Yes- to the temple where I live with my sisters and Keiichi-san.

You'll be staying there for a while, so I want you to think of it as if it

was your home, as well."


"Stay?  For how long?"


"Until the job is done, of course," she said.


"Job?  What job?"


"Well, according to my superiors, your job is that of matchmaker for a

young couple in the Nerima district... but we'll deal with all that after

we get home."


I sighed, then looked at her.  "You don't look American or Japanese... how

do you speak Japanese and English so well?


"You could say it's in my nature," she said matter-of-factly.  "I and my

sisters were born knowing every language in existence.


After that, I just decided to shut up- at least until I had some idea what

was going on.


*              *                *                *                *


We arrived at what was, indeed, something that looked a lot like a temple-

not that I had ever seen a temple before, but it did look like what I would

imagine one to be.  Well, except for the Greek columns, but then I wasn't

in Greece, was I?  I was in Japan.


"Take off your shoes," she told me.  "You aren't supposed to wear them



I blinked.  "I'm not?"


She looked at me oddly.  "What DO you know about Japanese culture, anyway?

You must know something!"


"Um... they study lots and eat raw fish?"  There were a few other details I

could have mentioned, too, if I hadn't been too befuddled to remember



She sighed.  "If you're the best chance these people have at getting

together, what's the worst?"  Shaking her head, she turned her attention to

the hallway.  "Keiichi-san!" the girl called.  "Tadaima!"


"Belldandy!" came a male voice, which I assumed (rightfully) belonged to

this 'Keiichi-san.'  A short- very short, actually, considering most Asians

averaged about a half-foot shorter than me, and he seemed short even for an

Asian- man walked up to the door.  "Okaeri!"  Then he caught sight of me.

"Ano...  Belldandy, dare-"


"Keiichi-san," she interrupted.  "Ato de setsumei suru node, matte

kudasai."  She turned to me.  "Come with me, I need to tell you some



I might as well have been in Greece trying to understand Greek for all of

that conversation that I understood, but I followed her into a rather large

room with a very low table in the middle of it.  The table was bare, and

the floor under it had a hole cut into it.


"Please, sit," the woman, whose name I guessed was Belldandy, said.


"I don't think I've given you my name," I said, looking around.  "Hi, I'm

Jonathan Desaix... um, what's going on?"


There didn't seem to be anywhere to sit, but there were kneeling pads a

little like the kind in my church back home in Maryland surrounding the

table.  Shrugging, I sat down cross-legged on one of them, and turned to

her as she, herself, knelt down on another.


"Okay, I suppose I should start from the beginning.  Forgive me for not

introducing myself earlier, but I am the goddess Belldandy.  Here's my



She handed me a rather shiny business card.  I studied it for a moment, and

noticed that the characters on it reformed themselves from being Japanese

characters into English ones.


'A goddess with a business card,' I thought giddily.  'I guess that makes

about as much sense as anything else that's happened lately.'  I studied

the card a bit more.  'One of the Norns, Goddess of the Present, eh?  On



"I used to be part of the Goddess Relief Office, but due to a contract that

Keiichi-san and I established I'm now on assignment to fulfilling his wish.

 It was my job to grant those people who were worthy of our attention and

needed help with problems wishes, and it was partly due to what happened

between Keiichi-san and I that the other gods and goddesses decided that

reforms were needed for the wish fulfillment process."




"Well, the wish fulfillment process is but one part of Yggdrasil.  To put

it in human terms, Yggdrasil is the computer network that controls all of

the processes in the world.  Wish fulfillment is just one program that it



"Uh huh.  And this revised program decided that I was needed to be a

matchmaker here in Tokyo?"


Belldandy shook her head.  "Not exactly.  See, that's why the program needs

further revision- it just decided you were the BEST person to act as a

matchmaker for this couple.  I talked to my superiors in heaven, and they

said that you had to deal with the situation now, but they would fix the

program.  They'll return you home, if you want, when the job is done.  I am

allowed, however, to do whatever is in my power to make you more



"So, in other words, if I want to ever see my family or friends again, I

have to set this guy and this girl up, right?"


Belldandy gasped.  "Oh, dear- I hope you don't really see things that

hopelessly.  The Ultimate Force, which is what brought you here, is now

working on making sure that this mistake turns out for the better for you.

I'm sure you'll see your loved ones again."


I sighed.  "Yeah, if you get all the bugs worked out of your system, I just

might at that.  Still, considering the options, I should probably just do

my best to get this job over and done with as quickly as possible."


Belldandy pulled a sheet of paper out of... somewhere, and handed it to me.

 "Well, the first thing you're going to do is start learning Japanese.  You

study what's on that sheet, while I go explain who you are to Keiichi-san.

Then I'll see what I can find out about your assignment- I don't know all

the details, myself.


With that, she left the room.  I looked at the sheet of paper she had given



"Mr. Desaix:

I'd rather wait until I can talk to you in person before teaching you full

phrases or sentences, but while I take care of other things you can study

some vocabulary.  There are a lot of words that the Japanese have adopted

from English, and here are only a few of them.  Study this list, and when

you think you are ready let me know and I'll give you another list.

{words in [] are how I hear them when they are pronounced, and NOT part of

the list given in the Living Language vocabulary list.}

akusento-- accent [ack sen toe]

amachua-- amatuer [ah mah chu ah]

Amerika-- America [Ah meh ree (or lee, depending on whether I'm listening

to Pimsleur or Living Language) kuh]

baree-- ballet [bah ray]

basu-- bus [bah sue]

bataa-- butter [bah tah]

beru-- bell [beh lue]

booto-- rowboat [boat oh]

chokoreeto-- chocolate [choe koe reh toe]

daiyamondo-- diamond [die yoh moan doe]

dansu-- dance [dan sue]

dezaato-- dessert [deh zhah toe]

dezain-- design [deh zhah een]

enameru-- enamel [en ah mehr ue]

erebeetaa-- elevator [ae ray bay tah]

esukareetaa-- escalator [es'kah ray tah]

furanneru-- flannel [fue rah nehr ue]

gaido-- guide (traveler's) [guy doe]

gasorin-- gasoline [gasorine]

gareeji-- garage [gah ray gee]

gorufu-- golf [goh rue fue]

haihiiru-- high heel [high hee rue]

handobaggu-- handbag [hand oh bag goo]

herikoputaa-- helicopter [heh lee k'p't ah]

hisuterii-- histeria, histerics [hist air ee]

hoosu-- water hose [hoe sue]

hoomushikku-- homesick [home ue shick ue]

hoteru-- hotel [hoe tear(as in tearing paper) ue]

infure-- inflation [een fue ray]

inku-- ink [een kuh]

interi-- intelligensia [in tehr ee]

jaanarisuto-- journalist [jah nah rish toe]

jamu-- jam, jelly [jah moo(cow call)]

jazu-- jazz [jah zoo]

kappu-- cup (trophy, measuring) [kah poe]

koppu-- drinking glass [koh puh]

karee raisu-- curried rice [kah ray wry sue]

karendaa-- calender [kah len dah]

maagarin-- margarine [mahn gah ring]

maaketto-- market [mah keh toe]

maaku-- mark [mah koo]

modan-- modern [moe dahn]

nairon-- nylon [nigh ron]

You can study these lists between your more formal lessons, like the one

I'll give you soon, but don't feel pressured into needing to learn them

quickly- it will be some time before they will be all that useful, but it

will make your future studies much easier if you learn these words now

instead of waiting until you need them."


After reading through the list a couple of times, I sighed and shook my

head.  I always had trouble with languages, and if this was the

EASY-TO-REMEMBER vocabulary, I didn't stand a chance of learning this

language anytime soon.


*              *                *                *                *


Belldandy returned about an hour later, smiling slightly.  "Well, it

appears there IS a reason that the person Yggdrasil chose for this

assignment can't speak Japanese.  Your inability to speak the language will

put you in a position to enter the lives of the couple you are supposed to

get together."  She knelt back down at the table.


"Really?" I said, not really caring.  At that point, I was feeling rather

'hoomushikku,' and her words weren't exactly reaching me.


"Of course- I'm a goddess, I can't lie," she explained.  I didn't really

believe that, but decided it was best not to say anything at the moment.

"Now, the two people you are supposed to act as matchmaker for are Ranma

Saotome and Akane Tendou.  They are high school students at Furinkan high

school, and they both have been harassed by various suitors to the point of

never trusting anyone of the opposite sex."


I shrugged.  "It figures- it seems as if Murphy's Law rules my life at

times, and so if anything could make my job harder, it will."


Belldandy studied me for a minute.  "Actually, you appear to have been born

under a lucky star- perhaps this is a blessing in disguise for you.  At any

rate, it is very close to summer break for the two of them, and Akane

Tendou-san has placed an ad in the local papers to provide supplemental

tutoring in English for those students who want help in English but don't

see the need to attend cram school."


That got my interest- someone else who could possibly speak English halfway

decently.  The more people who I could talk to, the better.


"Well, that'll make things a little easier," I said.


Belldandy nodded.  "Yes, it will.  I called her up, and told her that you

were an American student had unexpectedly found yourself here in Japan

without being able to prepare yourself before arriving, and wondered if her

English was good enough for her to  help teach you enough Japanese to get

around without too much difficulty.  She seemed very confident in her

ability to instruct you."


'Oh, joy,' I thought.  'Some little high school student is going to be

teaching ME, someone who's just a few credits shy of his degree.  Probably

will be as arrogant as she can about it, too.'


"At any rate," Belldandy said.  "I think you should probably learn a few

simple phrases now, just in case you run into someone who you have to talk

to between now and when she gets here tomorrow evening."


I sighed.  As my girlfriend back in Maryland, who was quite the world

traveler (as opposed to me, who had lived in one state for his whole life),

once said, you should always learn a few particular phrases before going to

any country.  Of course, the two rather specific phrases she said you

should learn, "I don't speak your language" and "Where is the bathroom?"

weren't necessarily what the goddess was going to teach me, but I figured

she'd probably give me something useful.


"Sure- might as well."


Belldandy smiled at me.  "Okay, let's begin.  Suppose you wanted to start a

formal conversation with someone you didn't know.  What would you say- in

English, of course?"


I thought about it for a moment.  "I dunno... usually, I just start a

conversation with whatever words come to me.  I suppose if I might say

'excuse me' or something like that."


Belldandy nodded happily.  "Okay, excuse me.  The word for excuse me in

Japanese is  'sumimasen.'  I'll pronounce it in parts- repeat each part

after me, and try to follow the way I pronounce it."


I nodded.  "Okay."


[Please repeat these parts aloud, and again after our hero repeats

Belldandy.  Yes, it will be repetitive, but that's part of how you're

supposed to learn it]

"Mas [Mahss]," she began.


"Mas," I said.


"Mas," she repeated.


"Mas," I said again.


"Masen [Mahss sen (sen rhymes with hen)]"




"Sumi [Sue me (not literally- I can't afford it)]








"Sumimasen [sue me mahss sen]," she said, finally finishing the word.




Her smile grew.  "Right.  Now, how do you say excuse me?"


I looked at her oddly.  "Sumimasen, of course.  You just said that."


"Yes," she answered.  "But you need to make certain that you connect

'sumimasen' and 'excuse me' as much as you can.  I'll be asking you what

the word for 'excuse me' is later, too.  If you really CAN'T remember the

word when I ask you, I'll repeat it for you... but try to answer before I

do that.  It'll really help you to learn the language faster."


That made sense.  "Well... okay.  So what next?"


Belldandy thought for a moment.  "You should know how to ask someone if

they can speak English, of course.  First, let's teach you the word for the

English language...  Eigo.  [Eigh (as in Weigh) goe]"




"Good!"  Belldandy said, smiling.  "Right on the first try.  Now, if you

want to use that word in a sentence, you need to add the word 'ga' [gah]

after it.  Try it- Eigo ga [Eigh goe gah]"


"Eigo ga," I repeated.


"See?  This isn't so hard after all.  Now, what's the word for English, as

used in a sentence?"


"Eigo ga."


Belldandy nodded.  "Okay, remember- Eigo is the actual word for English,

but if you want to use it in a sentence you will need to use 'ga' or some

other particle along with it- and I'm not teaching you anything that

doesn't use 'ga' today."


"I'll remember that," I said, suspecting I wouldn't.


"Okay... say 'excuse me.'"


"Excuse me."  I smirked, proud of myself for being able to make even this

weak a joke at a time like this.  Maybe I was recovering from the shock of

it all, finally.


"I mean in Japanese," she replied, smiling.


"Sumimasen," I replied.  I hadn't had time to forget it, yet.


"Good... now, let's finish up 'Do you understand English' by teaching you

the word for 'understand.'  I'll say it then break it apart again.

Wakarimasu.  Okay, part by part- masu [mahss]."


"Masu," I replied.


"Rimasu [ree mahss]"




"Waka [wah kah]."








"Wakarimasu [wah kah ree mahss]," she finished.




"You're doing great!" she said encouragingly.  I smiled instinctively at

the compliment.  "Now, the word 'you' is rarely used in Japanese- it is

sometimes, but not often.  So, if you wanted to say 'you understand,' you'd

just say 'understand,' which is?"


"Wakarimasu," I answered obediently.


Belldandy nodded.  "And the word for 'English' is?"


"Eigo- or Eigo ga if used in a sentence."


"Correct.  Now, if you wanted to say 'You understand English,' you'd

actually say 'English Understand.'  So how do you say 'You understand



Well, it was rather easy to put what I had learned together so I could

answer her.  "Eigo ga wakarimasu [eigh goe gah wah kah ree mahss]," I



"Right!" Belldandy squealed.  "Simple, see?"  I couldn't really say 'no,'

but it didn't seem to me that easy to learn.  "Now, to make almost any

statement into a question, there's one word you can put at the end of it-

ka [kah].  It's known as a verbal question mark.  Repeat it."


"Ka," I said, not sure why I needed to repeat one syllable words so



"Okay, so ask me if I understand."


Again, it was rather easy to put two things together and come up with an

answer.  "Wakarimasu ka [wah kah ree mahss kah]?"


"And say excuse me..."


It took me a second, but I remembered.  "Sumimasen."


"Ask me if I understand."


"Wakarimasu ka?"


"Now, ask me if I understand English."  She was going quickly now.


"Eigo ga wakari masuka [eigh goe gah wah kah ree mahss kah]?"


"Good.  Okay, despite the fact that English is a required subject in high

school, a lot of Japanese people cannot speak it or understand it at all,

so the answer you're most likely to get it no.  The word for no, in

Japanese, is 'iie [ee ay].'  Try saying it."


"Iie," I said.


"Iie," she replied, correcting my pronunciation slightly.




"Just so you know, the word for yes is 'hai [high (as in tall)]'"


"Hai," I replied.


"Good.  Now, the word for 'I' is used a bit more often than the word for

'you,' because unless it is certain you are talking about yourself, it is

normally assumed you're talking about the other person.  Not MUCH more

often, but some.  If they try answering you with the phrase 'I understand,'

you might be a little confused when they try and use 'I.'  The most common

word for 'I' is watashi wa."  Pronouncing each syllable clearly and

separately, she repeated, "Wa [wah] ta [tah] shi [she] wa [wah]."


"Watashi wa."


"And so, if you wanted to say 'I understand English?'"


I wasn't entirely sure, and so hesitated.  "Um, where do I place the 'I'?"


Belldandy smiled.  "Where you would if you were saying it in English- at

the beginning of the sentence.  Watashi wa eigo ga wakarimasu [wah tah she

wah eigh goe gah wah kah ree mahss]."


"Watashi wa Eigo ga wakarimasu," I repeated.


"And if you wanted to ask me if I understood?"




"You forgot the 'Ka.'  Remember, you need the 'ka' in order to make it a

question.  Try it again."


"Wakarimasu ka."


"And if I were to ask you that question, and you didn't understand?"  I

blinked at her, confused.  "How do you say 'no'?"


"Oh- right.  Um..."  I tried to remember.  "Iie?" I suggested hesitantly.


"Good.  Now, a lot of Japanese people would claim to know English even if

they don't.  They aren't really lying, but they just don't know how bad

they are in the language.  I think Keiichi-san is a bit like that- he

doesn't really know English, but I think he believes he does.  If someone

tells you they do understand English, and what they say to you makes

absolutely no sense at all, you should learn how to say 'I don't

understand.'  It's really rather easy if you know 'I understand,' because

all you do is add a syllable.  So, how do you say I understand?"




"Right.  Now, for 'I don't understand,' instead of 'masu' you say 'masen.'

So try it- wakarimasen [wah kah ree mahss en (rhymes with hen)]"




"Don't understand."


"Wakarimasen," I replied, knowing what she was getting at.


"Now, -I- don't understand."


"Watashi wa wakarimasen [wah tah she wah wah kah ree mahss en]."


"Good.  Now, say English."




"And 'I don't understand English'?"


Remembering the word order carefully, I said, "Watashi wa Eigo ga

wakarimasen [wah tah she wah ay goe gah wah kah ree mahss en]."


"Now, ask me if I understand English."


"Eigo ga wakarimasu ka?"


"Now, the word for Japanese is 'Nihongo [Nee hone goe].  Try and say it."




"English when used in a sentence is?"


"Eigo ga."


"So Japanese used in a sentence would be?"


"Nihongo ga [Nee hone goe gah]."


"I understand?"


"Watashi wa wakarimasu."


"Now say 'I understand Japanese.'"


"Watashi wa Nihongo ga wakarimasu [wah tah she wah Nee hone goe gah wah kah

ree mahss]."


"And that you DON'T understand Japanese?"


"Watashi wa Nihongo ga wakarimasen [wah tah she wah Nee hone goe gah wah

kah ree mahss en]."


"Someone may ask you if you're an American.  The word for American is

Amerikajin [Ah meh ree kah jean (as in jeans) or Ah meh ree kah gin (as in

the drink- it's somewhere in between, I hear it closer to jean (sometimes),

one of my prereaders hears it closer to gin)]."




"There was a little bit of an accent there, but not so much you wouldn't be

understood.  'Jin' [jean] is used to turn the name of a country into a



"So a Japanese man would be 'japanjin'?"


Belldandy smiled slightly.  "Not quite- it would be 'Nihonjin [nee hone

jean].'  Nihon is Japanese for Japan."


"Now, if someone is going to ask you if you are an American, they'll

literally be saying 'You American is?'  Let's start with 'you.'  Anata wa

[ah nah tah wah]."


"Anata wa."


"Right.  And the word for 'is' is desu [deh ss]"




"Put them together, and remember the verbal question mark..."


"Anata wa Amerikajin desu ka [ah nah tah wah ah meh ree kah jean deh ss



"Okay, you know the word for I, so how would you say 'I am an American'?"


Hesitating slightly, I said, "Watashi wa Amerikajin desu [wah tah she wah

ah meh ree kah jean deh ss]."


"Excellent!  You're doing extremely well," she said.  "One more word today,

and then we'll review and try a little conversation in Japanese.  The word

is 'a little.'  Sukoshi.  [S'koe she (occasionally, the e is dropped,

making it sound like just "s'koe sh")]  Try it."




"So if you wanted to say 'I understand a little Japanese?'  Literally, 'I

Japanese little understand.'"


"Watashi wa Nihongo ga sukoshi wakarimasu [wah tah she wah nee hone goe gah

s'koe she wah kah ree mahss]."


"Good!  Now to review...."

[For the Review, Belldandy will be the only one speaking- this is sort of a

quiz for you- write down your answers and look at the end of the chapter.

If you can answer everything correctly, or at least almost everything, move

on to the next chapter.  If not, then please repeat the lesson before



"What is the word for 'excuse me'?




"Now, how do you say, 'I understand English?'"




"'I understand Japanese?'"




"'Do you understand Japanese?'"




"'Do you understand English?'  And, in this case, try using the actual word

for 'you.'"




"'I don't understand English.'"




"'I understand a little Japanese.'"




"'Are you American?'"








"'I am an American.'"




"'I understand a little English.'"




"Now, combine two things- 'Excuse me.  Do you understand English?'"




[End of quiz]


"Good!"  Belldandy said.  "Now, lets try a very brief conversation.  Answer

me truthfully- but remember that you know a LITTLE Japanese."


"Okay... I guess."


"Sumimasen.  Nihongo ga wakarimasu ka?"


"Sukoshi."  I left it there, until Belldandy motioned for me to continue.

"Watashi wa Nihongo ga sukoshi wakarimasu."


"Anata wa Amerikajin desu ka?"


"Hai.  Watashi wa Amerikajin desu."


"Nani ka tabemasu ka?" she asked.


"What?"  I said.  That was something I certainly wasn't expecting- I didn't

know if I heard her right.


Belldandy smiled patiently.  "In Japanese, please."


I got it, then.  She was trying to get me to say... "Sumimasen.



She nodded.  "Eigo ga wakarimasu ka?"


"Hai.  Watashi wa Eigo ga wakarimasu."


"Well, that should be enough for now," she said.  "I suspect everything

we've studied today will be reviewed in the lessons Akane will give you."

She stood up and looked into the dark sky outside.  "Everyone else has

already eaten- you'll meet them tomorrow, I think- but I can cook something

for you if you want.  Most people will be going to bed soon, though, so I

should make something small so I don't disturb anyone making it."


I blinked.  The lesson was over?  "Um... no, thank you.  I should get

adjusted to the schedule you guys follow, since it seems I'll be here for a

while."  I grimaced- when had I given up on being able to find a way home

quickly?  "Anyway, I think I should just go to bed."


Belldandy smiled.  "Okay- let me take you to your room.  Good night!"


Quiz answers:

1.  Sumimasen [sue me mahss en]

2.  Eigo ga wakarimasu [Eigh goe gah wah kah ree mahss]

3.  Nihongo ga wakarimasu [Nee hone goe gah wah kah ree mahss]

4.  Nihongo ga wakarimasu ka? [Nee hone goe gah wah kah ree mahss kah]

5.  Anata wa Eigo ga wakarimasu ka? [ah nah tah wah Eigh goe gah wah kah

ree mahss kah]

6.  Watashi wa Eigo ga wakarimasen [wah tah she wah Eigh goe gah wah kah

ree mahss en]

7.  Watashi wa Nihongo ga sukoshi wakarimasu [wah tah she wah  Nee hone goe

gah s'koe she wah kah ree mahss]

8.  Anata wa Amerikajin desu ka?  [ah nah tah wah ah meh ree kah jean deh

ss kah]

9.  Iie [ee ay]

10.  Watashi wa Amerikajin desu [wah tah she wah ah meh ree kah jean dehss]

11.  Watashi wa Eigo ga sukoshi wakarimasu [wah tah she wah Eigh goe gah

wah kah ree mahss]

12.  Sumimasen.  Eigo ga wakarimasu ka?  [sue me mahss en Eigh goe gah wah

kah ree mahss kah]