Basic Japanese Grammar: I Try… (みたい)

Published February 4th, 2022

As the new year comes around, some of us have the habit of making New Year’s resolutions. Who’s with me? What is your New Year’s resolution? Are there any new things you want to try? It’s the best time of the year to come up with a list of new things you want to try – whether it’s new and exciting activities or the ones you missed out on completely in 2020. Why not have that list written down in Japanese as well?

In our Season 3 Episode 2 of the Nihongo Master Podcast, we broke down step-by-step the grammar of how to say “to try” in Japanese. And this article is a recap of what we discussed in that episode. But don’t worry, you get just enough information to fully grasp the grammar. Of course, if you want to be more comfortable with its usage, our episode has a few roleplaying scenarios exemplifying this new grammar.

Grammar Point

I thought the best way to understand this grammar point is by relating it to myself. So let’s say, my New Year’s resolution is to try a new sport. I also want to try cooking Japanese food.

To try…

If you want to say that you’re going to try something out, the Japanese grammar for it is extremely simple and clear cut: it’s basically the te-form of any verb, and add “~miru” (みる) to it at the end. And you’re done. Super simple, right?

Sentence ending with verb (in its te-form) + みる

Let’s take a look at an example: “My New Year’s resolution is to try a new sport.” The word for resolution in Japanese is houfu (豊富), New Year’s, is shinnen (新年), new is atarashii (新しい), and sports as a verb is spōtsu wo suru (スポーツをする). Then add “miru”. Now that we have all the words, let’s put it together: 私の新年の抱負は新しいスポーツをしてみる(watashi no shinnen no houfu ha atarashii supōtsu wo shite miru).

Let’s change this sentence into Japanese: “I will try to eat other country’s cuisine.” Here are the pieces: other is hoka (他), country is kuni (国), cuisine is ryōri (料理) and eat is taberu (食べる). Let’s put it all together: 他の国の料理を食べてみる (Hoka no kuni no ryōri wo tabete miru).

Want to try…

I’m going to throw in another grammar language that I pretty much use all the time. I like to try new things, so I would always say “I want to try...”

We basically want to combine our newly learnt grammar point with the way to say “want to”, and that’s to add ~tai (たい). You can learn how to do that in our Season 2 Episode 10, or its article recap. “Miru” (みる) is a ru-verb, so its stem form is just “mi” (み). When we combine them both, we get mitai (みたい).

Sentence ending with verb (in its te-form) + みたい

So to say “I want to try cooking Japanese food”, we have to put together the words: Japanese food is nihonshoku (日本食) or washoku (和食), cooking, in this context, is tsukuru (作る), and our new grammar: 日本食を作ってみたい (Nihonshoku wo tsukutte mitai).

Vocab Recap

We always have a vocab recap in our episodes. So here’s a list of the new words we used in that episode:

Houfu (豊富) — resolution or ambition

Shinnen (新年) — new year

Atarashii (新しい) — new

spōtsu (スポーツ) — sports

Ryōri (料理) — cuisine

Hoka (他) — other

Kuni (国) — country

Taberu (食べる) — to eat

Nihonshoku (日本食) or washoku (和食) — Japanese food

Tsukuru (作る) — to make, but we can also use it as in the context of cooking

Kotoshi (今年) — this year

Takusan (たくさん) — a lot

Yasai (野菜) — vegetables

Rikujoubu (陸上部) — track and field

saisho (最初) — first

Kenkou (健康) — healthy

Zenbu (全部) — all

Gōkaku suru (合格する) — to pass a test

Nibanme (二番目) — second

Shumi (趣味) — hobby

Egaku (描く) — to paint

Muzukashii (難しい) — difficult

Tanoshii (楽しい) — fun

Houkago (放課後) — after school

Kaimono (買い物) — shopping

Itsumo (いつも) — always

Onaji (同じ) — same

Chigau (違う) — to be wrong, but also can mean different

Betsu (別) — other

Oishii (美味しい) — delicious

Chikaku (近く) — near

Osusume (おすすめ) — recommendation

Takusan (たくさん) — a lot

Iro iro (色々) — various

Maa maa (まあまあ) — not good, not bad

Omoshiroi (面白い) — interesting

What do you want to try?

Now you can go off and write that New Year’s resolution list in Japanese, too! Or just to express trying out new things, which is something I definitely recommend — new year or not. Be sure to check out the original episode for the full version of this content.

Our Study Saturday language series of the podcast is formatted just like our online learning system, so give that series a listen, and if you like it, subscribe to our program! I promise you won't regret it!