[quo]*Quote from * Sayaka
This is an excellent and important question.
IMASU vs. ARIMASU
Japanese has two verbs for saying "exist(s)"
When speaking of PEOPLE or ANIMATE THINGS - いる／います (iru/imasu) is used.
When speaking of INANIMATE THINGS and PLANTS - ある／あります (aru/arimasu) is used.
Moreover, these words are used not only to speak of whether someone or something exists, but also to speak of whether something or someone exists in a particular place - "is present/is here/ is there" - or, even to say "I have" or "he/she has" (talking about possession).
"There is a TV here" or "A TV is here" would be ここにテレビがあります (Koko ni terebi ga arimasu). We use ARIMASU because TV is an INANIMATE thing.
"There is a person here" or "A person is here" would be ここにひとがいます (Koko ni hito ga imasu). We use IMASU because PERSON is an ANIMATE noun.
but sometimes , I would think, you can use bith. That the difficulty.
For example when people say I am, they would say:" Watashi wa Ashwin desu"
But as a person I exist, so couldn't you use imasu?? => Watashi Wa Ashwin imasu. I am, therefor I exist! :P
Or there *is* a key on the table: "Teburu ni, kagi desu"