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( LEVEL - Beginner - N5 N4 N3 N2 N1 - Advanced )

Fun Facts: “さん (-san)” for Jobs / Occupations

As you learned before, “さん (-san)” is usually followed by a name to show your respect for the person. Actually, we also use “-san” for jobs/occupations in conversation.... 

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1) Shop (product/service + 屋)  + “-san”

When you add “-san” to shops ending with 屋 (e.g. 本屋, ケーキ屋, 床屋, 電気屋, etc.), they will mean people working there or their jobs. 


For example, 本屋 (bookstore) + san = 本屋さん can mean people working at a bookstore or their job. If a child says, “本屋さんになりたい”, it means  “I want to become a person who works at a bookstore./ I want to sell books at a bookstore” not “I want to become a bookstore”. 

Please make sure that such expressions sound casual and tend to be childlike. 


2) Job/Occupation + “-san”

Also, we simply add “-san” to occupations to call them in a friendly way. 


For example, when you call a nourse, you can say “看護師さん (Kangoshi-san)”. But please be careful, because we can’t add “-san” for certain occupations like 教師 (kyoushi) and 警察官 (keisatsu-kan)!  Instead, you can use “先生” for a teacher and “おまわりさん” for a police officer. 

Please make sure that such expressions sometimes sound casual and childlike. 


3) Others in the business conversation : 

As people sometimes call clients friendly by their company names with “-san” (e.g. TOYOTA-san, Apple-san, Sharp-san) or by their job titles with “-san” (e.g. 社長さん(shachou-san), 営業*さん(eigyou-san)), instead of their names with -san. 

*sales person

Please make sure that they don’t add “-san” to their own company name!   

Also, such expressions should be used with a good and close relation between them.

Fun Activity: Let’s memorize Kanji with illustrations! 

Now let’s try to remember adjective Kanji linked to each illustration.

*Please take note that the following illustrations are based on my inspiration from Kanji shapes. (Often people find it easier to remember Kanji by using mnemonics).

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