Kosoado こそあど III: Here & There

第26課: Kosoado こそあど III: “Here” & “There”: Koko ここ, Soko そこ, & Asoko あそこ

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.”

Here: Koko ここ

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)). 

1. ここは教室です。
Koko wa kyōshitsu desu.
Here is a/the classroom.

2. ここは蒲田です。
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.

3. ここのラーメンは味がうまいです。
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.

4. 五反田駅ごたんだえきはここら辺へんでしたよね。
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.” 

There: Soko そこ

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. 

5. そこは階段です。
Soko wa kaidan desu.
There is a/the staircase there.

6. そこはどこですか。
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.

7. そこが難むずかしいところですね。
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. 

8. そこら辺に置いてください。
Sokorahen ni oite kudasai.
Please place it around there.

9. そこまで言う必要はない。
Soko made iu hitsuyo wa nai.
There’s no need to go (talk) that far.

Sentence NoteSoko 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).”

10. そこのお姉さん、あの、財布を落としましたよ。
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.”

(Over) There: Asoko あそこ

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.

11. あそこは事務室です。
Asoko wa jimushitsu desu.
Over there is the office.

12. 清子さんの鞄はあそこにあります。

Kiyoko-san no kaban wa asoko ni arimasu.
Ms. Kiyoko’s bag is over there.

13. あそこの向こうは福岡市ですね。
Asoko no mukō wa Fukuoka-shi desu ne.
Beyond there/on the opposite side of there is Fukuoka City, right?

14. あそこのお巡りさんに聞いてください。
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.

15. 彼女もあそこら辺に住んでいます。
Kanojo mo asokorahen ni sunde imasu.
She too lives around there.

16. 「銀行はどこですか。」「あそこです。」
“Ginkō wa doko desu ka?” “Asoko desu.”
Where is the bank?

17. あそこに動物園があります。
Asoko ni dōbutsuen ga arimasu.
There is a zoo over there.

18. 私わたしもあそこに家族がいます。
Watashi mo asoko ni kazoku ga imasu.
I too have family there.

19. あそこが痛いたいです。
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.

20. あそこまで仲が悪いとは思いませんでした。
Asoko made naka ga warui to wa omoimasen-deshita.
I didn’t think that their relationship was that bad.