Stories are a fun resource to help learn a language. I will introduce the story, “Match Girl (Matchi-uri no Shoujo)” by Hans Christian Andersen in Japanese. You can also read this story in Japanese. This is the first part of the story.
Mukashi mukashi, yuki no furishikiru oomisoka no ban.
Misuborashii fuku o kita matchi-uri no shoujo ga, samusa ni furuenagara isshoukenmei tooru hito ni yobikakete imashita.
“Macchi wa, ikaga. Macchi wa, ikaga desu ka. Dareka, macchi o katte kudasai.”
Demo, daremo tachidomatte kuremasen.
”Onegai, ippon demo ii n desu. Dareka, macchi o katte kudasai.”
Kyou wa mada, ippon mo urete imasen.
Basho o kaeyou to, shoujo ga aruki hajimeta toki desu.
Me no mae o ichidai no basha ga, hashirinukemashita.
Shoujo wa awatete yokeyou to shite yuki no ue ni korondeshimai, sono hazumini kutsu o tobashite shimaimashita.
Okaasan no ofuru no kutsu de shoujo no ashi niwa ookisugimashita ga, shoujo no motteiru tatta hitotsu no kutsu nano desu.
Shoujo ga achira kochira sagashimashita ga, doushitemo mitsukarimasen.
Shikatanaku, hadashi no mama arukidashimashita.
mukashi mukashi 昔々 --- Once upon a time
yuki 雪 --- snow
oomisoka 大晦日 --- New Year’s Eve
misuborashii みすぼらしい --- miserable
matchi マッチ --- match
shoujo 少女 --- girl
issoukenmei 一生懸命 --- earnestly
yobikakeru 呼びかける --- call to; speak to
ikaga いかが --- how what
onegai お願い --- please
basha 馬車 --- horse-drawn carriage
Abunai! 危ない！ --- Watch out!
awateru あわてる --- be in a hurry
hazumi はずみ --- the moment
kutsu 靴 --- shoe
okaasan お母さん --- mother
ofuru お古 --- a used article
ashi 足 ---- foot
achira kochira あちらこちら --- here and there
doushitemo どうしても --- at any cost
shikatanaku しかたなく --- helplessly
hadashi 裸足 --- bare foot
(1) “~ nagara” is a conjunction and used when the same person performs two actions simultaneously.
(2) “Ikaga desu ka” is a common phrase to ask how you are doing.
It can be also used when offering something to somebody. Here are some examples.
(3) “Dareka” means “somebody” and “daremo” means “nobody”. “Ka” is used with an interrogative word or question word (what, when, where, who, why and how) and indicates a meaning such as something, anything, someone, and anyone.”
nani (what) --- nanika (something; anything)
itsu (when) --- itsuka (someday; some time)
doko (where) --- dokoka (somewhere)
dare (who) --- dareka (somebody; someone)
“Mo” indicates total negation concerning a question of quality or quantity. It always accompanied by a negative verb.
nani (what) --- nanimo (nothing)
doko (where) --- dokomo (nowhere)
dare (who) --- daremo (nobody)
(4) The Japanese use counters to count different types of objects. In the story above, you will find the examples using counters such as “ippon (for match)” and “ichidai (for a carriage).” “Hon/pon” is one of the counters, and used for long, thin objects like trees and pens. “Dai” is used for vehicles and machines. Click this link to learn more about Japanese counters.
(5) “~ sugiru” is a suffix which describes “over~; too; to excess.” Here are some examples.
chiisasugiru 小さすぎる --- too small
hatarakisugiru 働きすぎる --- overwork