Something that I regularly get asked is how to do “self-introductions”. This seems to be the most preliminary stage of learning a language, yet could be the most pressuring because it is your initial contact with the person you are talking to, meaning that this wiill be your “first impression”.
One of my favorite sales/negotioation coach Brian Tracy says “You’ve heard it said that you never get a second chance to make a good first impression.” (Source: Brian Tracy International) So most of us know how important (and how pressuring!) this could be.
So here’s an imaginary character “Felipe（フェリペさん）” from Brazil. Like many foreigners trying to pave through a living in another country, he works 2 jobs. Let’s see what we can do.
We’ll have two versions of his introduction. 1) His original 2) Editted version based on his original.
1) Original Version
29歳。 4年前ぐらい 日本へ 来ました。
I’m Felipe. I’m Brazilian. 29 years of age. 4 years ago, I cam to Japan. I live in Tokyo.
Right now, I work in a company (located) in Tsukiji, and do NHK.
This self-introduction is actually really good. Considering that it has “all the right contents”. You have the name, age, your relationship with Japan, and your current status (work). This should definitely get you going to conversation in different topics. I personally believe the only thing you will need to do is just combining the sentences.
2) Edited Version
今築地の会社で フルタイムで 働きながら、NHKでもバイトをしています。
Hi, I’m Feliipe. I’ve been living in Japan since 4 years ago. I’m 29 years old.
I currently work fulltime at a company (located) in Tsukijji, and at the same time, I also work at NHK.
The above will sound something that a lot of native Japanese speakers would say. This also, has “all the right informaton” but at the same time, it concurs with the overall “trend” of how people speak Japanese today.
the structure follows this
今、NOUN/ACTIVITY NAME （を）し＋ながら、PLACE(conceptual/physical) でも VERBて＋（い）ます。
a) 「NOUN （を）し＋ながら」 works verb similar with 「NOUN+します」 as the し=します。
b) 「でも」 in this case can be understood as conjunction of 「で（at, physical/conceptual）」and 「も（also）」。 *It is not the same 「でも」 meaning “but”
c) 「VERB て＋（い）ます」 or 「NOUNして＋（い）ます」 is also a good structure to use, when you are explaining something such as an occupation. Think of it as saying “I’m currently —-ing (i.e. working, studying, resting”.
The above should help you sound like most other natives.
Also, if you are looking to add that “extra twist” and make yourself more memorable, try to put in some joke about yourself based upon a true fact. These are just merely examples to start with, but you can come up with your own.
Adding that “extra” impression
After you’ve made your point, now it’s time you can be creative, or good around, and say something most impressionable that suits your character like. BUT make sure to say something like below, AFTER you’ve made your NORMAL self introduction!
My favorite restaurant in Tokyo is the “Robot Restaurant”.
I have seen “Spirited Away”, over a million times.
The vocaloid known as “Hatsune Miku” is my imaginary girlfriend. (=in japanese it would be “Lover at my heart”)
The basic of a Japanese conversation is to first either a) make rapport b) mirror the person c) answer the person’s intended question without getting “too creative”. But after you’ve made enough initial engagement, give a shot with your whit and humor!