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I am currently facing an exam in beginner Japanese where I will have to describe a picture of a person's entire day.

I've prepared a list of conjunctions I can use to go from event to event, but I am unsure of how many of them sound natural, so I'd like to get a second opinion.

For example, say the character I'm describing wakes up and then eats breakfast. Which of these sound natural? And are there any handy ones I've forgotten?

  1. 初めに、彼が起きました。次に、朝ご飯を食べました。

  2. 初めに、彼が起きました。そのあと、朝ご飯を食べました。

  3. 初めに、彼が起きました。起きたあとで、朝ご飯を食べました。

  4. 初めに、彼が起きました。起きてから、朝ご飯を食べました。

  5. 初めに、彼が起きました。そして、朝ご飯を食べました。

  6. 初めに、彼が起きました。それから、朝ご飯を食べました。

  7. 初めに、彼が起きました。そして、それから、朝ご飯を食べました。

Looking forward to your suggestions.

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初めに、彼起きました。

This phrase implies that there were people besides him and he woke up earlier than anyone else. I know this interpretation is not your intention.
If you want to describe only his sequential events starting with his waking up in one day, you should say like 初めに、彼起きました。Though there are some other expressions in place of 初めに like まず, まず初めに, or まず最初に, you should not use が in 彼が to avoid the misunderstanding that there were many people.

Which of these sound natural?

All are natural except for sentence 4 and 7. I prefer sentence 1 and 5 to others.
Besides が and は problem, I think sentence 4 is unnatural and sentence 7 is a little verbose.
The sentence 3 and 4 are alike, but only the sentence 4 sounds unnatural. I'm sorry I couldn't explain the reason.

And are there any handy ones I've forgotten?

初めに、彼は起きました。そのあとで、朝ご飯を食べました。
This is only for your request, but your sentence 1 and 5 are better than this.

  • Beautiful, this answer is exactly what I was looking for. I feel like I've dodged a bullet with that は and が confusion. Thank you very much. – Rins Jun 9 '17 at 13:27
  • There is 1 additional question that I've thought of. As a starting remark on a picture showing the day of a person called 佐藤さん, would the following be appropriate: この絵が佐藤さんの1日を示しています。? – Rins Jun 9 '17 at 13:28
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    @Rins: この絵が佐藤さんの1日を示しています。is grammatically correct and makes sense. But usually we say この絵 佐藤さんの1日を示しています。You know は is a topic marker. If you want to explain the picture, the topic is on the picture, so は is more appropriate. – mackygoo Jun 9 '17 at 13:39
  • Well, seems like I now know where to start studying. Once again, thank you very much. – Rins Jun 9 '17 at 15:32

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