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Something I have often stumbled on is the expression of "neighborhood" in Japanese. For most uses I find that 近所 works well. However, this usually seems to refer to a closer proximity than one would equate to the english "neighborhood". When one describes a neighborhood of a city, for example, Shibuya, Minowa or Ginza in Tokyo, it seems that 近所 doesn't really apply. In the common English phrase, "What neighborhood do you live in?," I have yet to find a suitable Japanese equivalent. I was suggested that 町 would work, though the speaker told me this was perhaps a flawed translation as 町 has more of the feeling of town.

example:

I live in Minowa. Do you know that neighborhood?

みのわに住んでいます。 みのわって町、知ってる?

So what word do you think is best in asking someone, "What neighborhood do you live in?" Or if this question would be so rare in natural Japanese as to be unnatural, why would this be the case?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

近辺(きんぺん)辺り(あたり)周辺(しゅうへん)~らへん・・・

I live in Minowa. Do you know that neighborhood?
みのわに住んでるの。その[辺]{へん}、知ってる?/その[辺]{あた}り、知ってる?
みのわに住んでいます。その[周辺]{しゅうへん}を知っていますか?

What neighborhood do you live in?
「どの辺りに住んでるの?」「どの辺に住んでるの?」「どこら辺に住んでるの?」「家はどこら辺?」

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ありがとうございます!what is your feeling on 界隈? –  yadokari Jan 30 '12 at 19:28
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What about 付近【ふきん】? –  istrasci Jan 30 '12 at 22:01
    
@istrasci san, Ah yes 付近 also works I think~~! –  Chocolate Jan 31 '12 at 7:19
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I think 界隈【かいわい】 would work. It covers a wider area than 近所.

For your reference, there is a phrase that expresses an even narrower area than 近所; that is, 向こう三軒両隣 "three houses across the street and the houses on both sides" (1--5 in the following picture)

向こう三軒両隣の図.

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thanks. do you think this would be an okay thing to ask a new acquaintance? どこの界隈に住んでいますか? –  yadokari Jan 30 '12 at 18:17
    
@yadokari Yes. That is fine. –  sawa Jan 30 '12 at 18:28
    
How about どこらへん? –  Bathrobe Feb 1 '12 at 22:20
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