Japanese Online Newsletter Vol. 138 時間の表現方法(じかんのひょうげんほうほう)

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いかがでしたでしょうか? ちなみに日本(にほん)一番(いちばん)時間(じかん)無頓着(むとんちゃく)()われる地域(ちいき)(じつ)沖縄(おきなわ)だそうです。(たと)えばお(ひる)にどこかで()おうと()うと、お(ひる)になって(いえ)()るという(はなし)()いたことがあります。それが本当(ほんとう)なのかはわかりませんが、面白(おもしろ)いですね。

How to Express Time

There are many ways to answer the question, “What time is it?”. Needless to say, the easiest way to respond is by saying the current time as a number. For example, in a casual conversation, you’d say, “It’s 6:54”. It’s not necessary to add AM or PM at the end of it because the periods are implied depending on the time-of-day people say it. Also, 24-hour expressions are not common, so we don’t usually refer to 6:54 PM as 18:54.

Another way to express time is saying it’s five minutes before 7:00. This means it is 6:55, so it will be 7:00 in five minutes. Conversely, you can say it’s five minutes past 7:00, which is the same as saying it’s 7:05. But saying it’s 7:00 means it’s exactly 7:00. Saying that it’s almost 7:00 is another way to indicate that it’s close to 7:00.

How is that? Speaking of which, people in Okinawa are said to be the most indifferent to time in Japan. For example, I’ve heard that if you ask someone to meet you somewhere at noon, they will actually leave home at noon. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but it is interesting.

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