I want to ask the hotel staff whether they allow me to keep my luggage at the front desk as I want to go shopping after checking out but I don’t want to drag my luggage around. How do I ask this?
Answer by Japanese teacher
(1) 荷物を少し預かっていただけますか。 Nimotsu o sukoshi azukatte itadakemasu ka. May I leave my luggage here for a while?
(2) 荷物を少し預かっていただきたいのですが・・・ Nimotsu o sukoshi azukatte itadakitai no desu ga… I want to leave my luggage here for a while but…
(3) 荷物を少し預かっていただけると助かるんですが・・・ Nimotsu o sukoshi azukatte itadakeruto tasukarun desu ga… It would be helpful if you could allow me to leave my luggage here for a while…
(1) is a direct way of asking the hotel staff for permission to leave your luggage at the hotel. For (2) and (3), the sentences are left hanging and they are supposed to be said with hesitation. This is a useful technique in Japanese communication to express something that is not said verbally. In this case, the “non-verbal” meaning is the sense of apology for the inconvenience incurred on the listener. Upon hearing this apologetic tone, the listener would be more receptive and agree to your request. It is not easy for English speakers to use this kind of “non-verbal” communication initially but they are very useful in getting things done. You will get the hang of it with more practice.
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