"Is the school this way?"
They use the same difference between words as kore/sore/are for that/this.
Ko- indicates closer proximity to the speaker So- indicates closer proximity to the listener A- indicates something that is distant from both speaker & listener
In the context of these questions, when asking "is this way north?" the speaker is providing some example and asking if their assumption is correct. The example of North provided is considered close to the speaker, so kochi is used. When asking "which way is North?" there's no proximity context for North. In this case atchi is used.
Hopefully that makes sense. I'm sure someone else can explain better.
I don't understand how to choose between ko'chi and so'chi.
I know how to use ko- so- a- depending on speaker or listener proximity.
However, in this case, we're not talking about positions, but about directions.
For me, a direction doesn't have a position, a direction is not near me, or far from me, it's just a direction. Then, how can I tell if a direction is close to someone ?
Of course I noticed the english sentence uses "this", so it's "ko'chi". My question is more general.
Had you never guide directions for someone? How'd you say that: "you go THIS way or you go THIS way" or try to distinguish because they are not the same "you go THIS way or you go THAT way"?
It is natural for a person to have a prefered view, and that is similar to how こ-words work. Add your direct opponent's view, other's view and noone's view to the stack and you get the kosoado kotoba. Proximity is just a special case.
I believe you are free to use こちら all the time if you are always confident in yourself. But don't forget that こちら row group is also a polite equivalent of the ここ and これ, and you have to use そちら and あちら if that is in the context.