I highly recommend the book Japanese Demystified by Eriko Sato for language learning. I wish I'd had it way back in college when I studied the language formally. Rosetta Stone's Japanese program is also really good.
Just a tiny note, arimasu is actually the verb 'to be' for inanimate objects, and is slightly different than 'have', which is motte imasu. But arimasu is generally used to ask about the existance of a non-living thing, as in Kylie's bathroom example .
Technically yes... It has that literal meaning, but functionally: "have [something here]" works when the point is that you're looking for something. The basic verb motsu
is also to hold, as in hand. Often associated with small, concrete things or with more "status" things like money. It doesn't translate the same way for me, for the purposes of finding someone. The distinction is partly blurry, but not entirely... You can use either word to ask someone if they have money. I wouldn't use forms of motsu to ask if they had a bathroom I could use. And then I would generally expect iru
(imasuka) to describe if they had a brother, sister, pet, etc.
And wow, that was really nice of you to write all that out, Kylie. You rock :)
Meh. Afraid I always come off overly technical. I'm a big believer in trying to get some of the underlying logic along the way, though. I wish I had been taught to compare grammar constructions and substitute stuff into more of them, faster. Perhaps it's too easy to say that in retrospect? Shrugs.
But that's what I think.