So, for those of you who don’t know, I’m living in Bangkok, Thailand now with my Japanese girlfriend and piano prodigy, Rei. We just arrived about two weeks ago. Wait, two weeks exactly! And in that short time, we’ve run into a number of mishaps.

This is Rei & I (Niko)

This is Rei & I (Niko)

In particular, the last few days have been a bit of a roller coaster, as:

1. A convenience store ATM machine ate our bank card. We’ve been using the same Japanese bank account to withdrawal our money (trying to save on wretched banking fees)… and that backfired pretty swiftly when we lost our card. Yikes! On a side note, when googling what to do in Japanese, Rei wrote 「海外 カード 紛失」(「kaigai kaado funshitsu」), which literally translates to “overseas card loss.” I’ve noticed that Japanese people usually don’t write full sentences when using search engines. Anyways, I’m getting sidetracked. Point is, we lost our banking card. Then, the next day…

2. Rei woke up with her knee in tremendous pain, and she couldn’t even walk. We were worried it was something serious. Doctors are always an adventure in foreign countries, right? Luckily, though, it seems she had just pulled a muscle or something, and the next morning it felt much better. This is the same morning that…

3. Rei’s retainer broke. She has a fixed retainer, and the wire came off of one of her teeth. So we were blessed with the opportunity to find and telephone dental clinics in Bangkok.

In light of her string of mishaps, she used a Japanese phrase that I hadn’t heard before:

ichinan satte mata ichinan!
It’s just one problem after another!

The literal translation of this phrase is something like “One problem goes away and yet another problem [surfaces].” I guess it kind of has the nuance of “I just can’t catch a break.” Japanese-English dictionaries like this Weblio one like to translate it as “Out of the frying pan and into the fire.”

So, if you ever have a string of mishaps, you might want to try remembering this one.


I’m sure you’d surprise your Japanese friends with your effortless, fluent production of native-sounding Japanese, yeah?

There are actually a bunch of Japanese phrases that express this concept of “one thing after another,” and I’m thinking that I’ll write about it in the next post.

Keep swimming, everyone. Questions in the comment section, please!


P.S. On the way to the dentist, a pigeon pooped on Rei’s head, and she said 「一難去ってまた一難」 one more time. It was a fun, if somewhat traumatizing, experience. Also, yes, I laughed at her.

P.P.S. Free Japanese, yay:


Yo! I'm Niko, the founder of NihongoShark. I'm also a Japanese translator, writer, and all-around language nerd.

I created this site to help as many people master Japanese (any language, really) as possible.

Uh, what else? Well... I live in Tokyo, Bangkok, Sapporo, Saigon, San Diego, Tokyo, Chiang Mai, Portland, Oregon! So if anyone wants to meet up for a refreshing nama beer, I'm probably down for that. Or a coffee. Learning Japanese is tricky-tikki-tavi. But we're in this together. ファイト!

Good luck with your studies!


p.s. If you like my articles, you may very well love my daily lessons.