Have you ever noticed how we count – in English it seems fairly easy – one, two, three, four and so forth. It doesn’t matter what we are counting – books, people, jumping jacks, situps. At the dojo (Harp Karate), we do fairly well when we count to ten in Japanese – ichi, ni, san shi, go, roku, shichi, hachi, ku, juu. However, we need to count more than 10, we repeat 1-9 and change to the English for the next (twenty, thirty, . . .). Japanese does make counting harder as there are different counting words if you are counting people or books or pencils.
I am going to make an effort to learn the Japanese equivalents – up to 50 (for a start).
10 – juu
20 – nijuu
30 – sanjuu
40 – yonjuu (yon is another word for 4)
50 – gojuu
This shouldn’t be to bad. At least until I get my feet moving and my hands and arms moving and keep up with the rest of the students all at the same time. There are times when I can’t count to 10 in English.