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LESSON 35- How old are you?

Sai is the counter for age. To ask "How old are you?", you would ask Nansai desu ka, nansai literally meaning "how many years". A more formal way to ask this is Oikutsu desu ka, but this is very formal and rarely in modern Japan. There are a few modifications in the first ten numbers, so please note them for they won't change as you get into the higher numbers. The are some of the ages between one and twenty-two are:
一歳 Issai- one year old
二歳 Nisai- two years old
三歳 Sansai- three years old
四歳 Yonsai- four years old
五歳 Gosai- five years old
六歳 Rokusai- six years old
七歳 Nanasai- seven years old
八歳 Hassai- eight years old
九歳 Kyuusai- nine years old
十歳 Jussai- ten years old
十一歳 Juuissai- eleven years old
十二歳 Juunisai- twelve years old
十三歳 Juusansai- thirteen years old
十八歳 Juuhassai- eighteen years old
二十歳 Hatachi- twenty years old
二十一歳 Nijuuissai- twenty-one years old
二十二歳 Nijuunisai- twenty-two years old
Hatachi is the only exception, since the age of twenty is the age you officially become an adult in Japan. Just use this with desu to make a complete sentence.
The word tomodachi means friend. In order to say "My friend Yumiko," you would say Watashi no tomodachi no Yumiko chan. Normally you would not expect this, but that is the pattern. The suffix -chan is used between close girl friends. Also, when introducing your tomodachi, you can be very formal and use the word kochira, which is "this is". So if you wanted to say "This is my friend Yumiko", you would say Kochira wa watashi no tomodachi no Yumiko chan desu.
Let's try having a small sample conversation between Toshiki and Kito, and Toshiki's friend Amane.
Toshiki: Kito chan, konban wa. Ogenki desu ka.
Kito: Aa, Toshi kun, konban wa! Genki desu, anata wa.
Toshiki: Genki desu. Kochira wa watashi no tomodachi no Amane kun desu.
Amane: Konban wa, Kito san.
Kito: Konban wa! Watashi wa Kito desu. Hajimemashite douzo yoroshiku.
Amane: Hajimemashite. Nansai desu ka.
Kito: Juunanasai desu. Amane san wa.
Amane: Nijuuyonsai desu.
In this dialogue, after they greet each other, Toshiki says, "This is my friend Amane." Amane says good evening and Kito replied, "Good evening! I'm Kito. It's nice to meet you." Amane replies, "It's nice to meet you. How old are you?" Kito replies that she is 17 and asks for his age in return. He replies that he is 24.

Vocabulary Review
-歳 -sai- age counter
何歳 Nansai- what age
お幾つですか Oikutsu desu ka- formal way of asking a person's age
一歳 Issai- one year old
二歳 Nisai- two years old
三歳 Sansai- three years old
四歳 Yonsai- four years old
五歳 Gosai- five years old
六歳 Rokusai- six years old
七歳 Nanasai- seven years old
八歳 Hassai- eight years old
九歳 Kyuusai- nine years old
十歳 Jussai- ten years old
十一歳 Juuissai- eleven years old
十二歳 Juunisai- twelve years old
十三歳 Juusansai- thirteen years old
十八歳 Juuhassai- eighteen years old
二十歳 Hatachi- twenty years old
二十一歳 Nijuuissai- twenty-one years old
二十二歳 Nijuunisai- twenty-two years old
友達 Tomodachi- friend
こちら Kochira- This is..
-ちゃん -chan- suffix used with girl friends

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