Actually, I want to write an email to a person asking about her current situation in life, understanding by "situation" if she got married, if she changed companies, if she's happy, etc. I remember from my study of Japanese the word 状況, but I don't know if it can be applied here. Searching on jisho.org, I found this other word 状態, but again, I don't know if it has the nuance I want to express. So what would be the proper way to ask "how's your current situation?" in Japanese?

Thanks in advance.

  • Interesting question, but would you really write an email to a friend (sounds like she is a friend) in English saying "How's your current situation?" It doesn't sound like something one would write to a friend in an email, so the Japanese equivalents of the words also don't seem to come out right. – user36788 Mar 8 '20 at 3:55

We have a word [近況]{きんきょう} for "recent situation". It can be used like this:

近況報告 - catch up, update
近況(を)報告する -- to catch up (on one's life)
お互いの近況を報告し合いましょう。 "Let's catch up." (may sound too stiff)
近況を教えて。 "Can you update?" (may sound too direct and impolite, depending on who you say it to)

So what would the the proper way to ask "how's your current situation?" in Japanese?

I think it's more natural to say something like:

「今、何してるの?」 What do you do now? (usually asking job/occupation)
「どうしていますか。」「どうしてるの?」 How have you been? / What have you been up to?
「あれから、どうしてるの。」「その後、どうしていますか。」 How have you been doing (after we parted / since the last update)?

We don't usually use the word 状態 (condition) or 状況 (circumstance) when asking other's recent situation.

  • 1
    "We don't usually use the word 状態 (condition) or 状況 (circumstance) when asking other's recent situation." - this is the same in English, it's a pretty unlikely question for an email to a friend. – user36788 Mar 8 '20 at 3:55

For your question,「状況」is the most appropriate word to ask what she has been up to such as her marriage, her work, her well-being. If you want to ask her not in a straight way. 「状況」 is used in a broad sense. And in general, it is used what they are doing in their environment.

If you want to collect the data using survey from some record,「就業状態」 : "Employment status", 「婚姻状態」: "Marital status", 「健康状態」 : "Health condition" can be used. The word is used to know more objective information than「状況」. It is more often used in an official situation.

So,「状態」may put pressure on them to answer for what you want to know since it sounds requiring yes/no answer in a mechanical manner.

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    Thanks for your answer. It says at this link kokugoryokuup.com/situation-condition that the difference between the two is more to do with 状況 being applicable to general things, whereas 状態 applies only to the condition of either people or physical things (もの). It also says there is a difference in timing. What do you make of that article? – user36788 Mar 8 '20 at 2:58
  • sorry, this is not – kimi Tanaka Mar 8 '20 at 3:33
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    I'm sorry but your response doesn't enlighten me. – user36788 Mar 8 '20 at 3:51
  • I don't mind someone else's answer / other source enlighten you. I have not read your link though, regarding 状態, 4[精神状態 weblio.jp/content/%E7%B2%BE%E7%A5%9E%E7%8A%B6%E6%85%8B – kimi Tanaka Mar 8 '20 at 4:06
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    Thanks for clarifying. The link says something slightly different from your answer. – user36788 Mar 8 '20 at 4:08

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