In Japanese, you can use the word 興味 (‘kyoumi’) to talk about interest in something. It is typically coupled with the が or は, plus the verb for inanimate existence, ある (‘aru’), or some derivation of it (negative form, polite form, etc.). Let’s start with a simple example:
- I am not interested in that at all.
Often the particle に (or more formal “に対して”) is used before the object of interest, as in:
- I’m interested in sports.
Instead of using ある, the verb 持つ (“motsu”, to hold) can be used after 興味. The particle for indicating direct object を (‘wo’) is usually placed before 興味.
- I’m interested in sports. (literally: “(I) am holding an interest in sports”).
You can use the past tense of 持つ, which is 持った (“motta”) in order to describe gaining an interest in something.
- I become interested in Japan in high school (literally: “The time that I gained an interest in Japanese was in high school.”)
Alternatively, you can use some form of 持ち始める (“mochihajimeru”, to begin to hold).
Another expression with a similar meaning is 興味が湧く, where 湧く(“waku”) means “to gush out”. (“waku” can also mean “to boil”, but that is written “沸く”.)
- When I watched Akira I gained an interest in Japanese.
The phrase 興味津々 (“kyoumi shinshin”) is used to express great interest in something.
- I’m really interested in working at a (computer) game company.
If you wanted to express absolutely no interest in something, the phrase ”どうでもいい” (“dou demo ii”) would be appropriate.
- I have no interest in chores.
Finally, the word 関心 (“kanshin”) can be used interchangeably with 興味.
- I’m interested in this.
“kanshin” also can be used to mean “admire” or “impress”, though that usage is written as “感心”。