Time for TIME in Japanese

So you’re staying in Japan for a few months and decided to get yourself a job. You got yourself an interview at half 3 and spent all morning shopping and your phone battery died! (-_-;)… So you’re gonna need to remember how to ask for the time:

Vocabulary:
Hour – ji – じ – 時
Minutes – bun / fun / pun – ぶん/ふん/ぷん – 分
Time – jikan – じかん – 時間
Watch/clock – tokei – とけい – 時計
AM – gozen – 午前
PM – gogo – 午後
Approx./about – goro – ごろ
Before – mae – 前
Half (past) – hanbun – 半分

(If you need to refresh your memory concerning numbers, click here)

Examples:
Excuse me, what’s the time?

Sumimasen, jikan wa nan desu ka?
すみません、時間は何ですか?

It is/the time is about 2 O’clock.
Ima wa/jikan wa ni ji goro desu.
今は 時間は二時ごろです。

Talking about minutes – Fun, Bun or Pun?!!
The irregulars are: 1 = ippun 2 = nifun 4 = yonpun 5 = gofun 6 =roppun 7 = nanafun 8 = happun/hachifun 9 = kyuufun 10 = juppun. There are quite a pain to remember and easy to mix up, but remember the main thing is to get the message across and be understood. For the ones not listed above, use ‘bun’.

 時間は  [AM/PM] + [Number] + 時 + [Number] + 分  です

More Examples:
It is 11:45 AM.
Ima wa gozen juuichi ji yonjuugo fun desu.
今は午前十一時四十五分です。

The time is half 12.
Jikan wa juuni ji hanbun desu.
時間は十二時半分です。

It’s 15 minutes to 7 PM.
Ima wa gogo shichiji juugofun mae desu.
いまは午後七時十五分前です。

* One way you can practice telling time in Japanese is with a friend going back and forth. Otherwise, you can try making a small clock out of cardboard on which you can spin the spindles, and then try to say to random time in Japanese.

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