It’s not easy.
“I’m gonna think in Japanese,” you tell yourself. I’ll be so awesome after like a year of Japanese brain action!
Fast forward four minutes, and you’re thinking about what you want to eat for lunch …And you’re thinking in English again! For shame.
Recently Rei (my fiancé) and I have been trying to speak English more often.
But we’ve been speaking Japanese for so long now, that it’s easy to slip into old habits, and before either of us realize it, we’ve often gone days without speaking any English X_X.
But it’s difficult.
You have those moments, of, “Oh, we should be speaking [English]!” Or “Oh, I should be thinking in [Japanese]!” Then your mind draws a blank.
With Rei and I, often I think, “I should say something to her in English.” But then, I have no idea what to say, because I’m trying to force some random English sentence to float into my brain.
So we started this cool thing, instead: Saying things that are AWESOME.
As a result, we’ve been building these huge lists of things that are awesome… and they’re, well, awesome, because they help both of us learn lots of cool new phrases. As such…
Today I give you:
3 Things That Are Totally Awesome… in Japanese
I’ll list five awesome things in both English and Japanese, along with some explanations as to how we arrived upon these translations.
First of all, maybe we should address:
How to Say “List of Things That Are Awesome in Japanese”
As is the nature of translation, there are a multitude of possible translations for this. But here’s what I went with:
Awesome Things = 最高なこと
最高 (saikou), if you don’t already know it, is a super useful word in Japanese. 最高 means like “maximum; the highest,” but we can also use it to mean the best.
Actually, when you’re super stoked about something, you can just say 最高！ (Saikou!), “(This is) the best!”
こと is “thing(s),” so literally we’re saying “the best things” –> “awesome things.”
List of Things That Are Awesome
saikou na koto no risuto
Seeing as how life is awesome, this list could go on forever, but I’ll just give a sample for this post.
1) Spontaneous Dates / 急に決めたデート
I’m actually writing this post from a coffee shop in Sapporo. Today is one of the few Saturdays where I don’t have to teach any English lessons in the morning.
So there I was–free time! And I knew that I wanted to work on this site (and e-books and all that other stuff), but then I looked at Rei and thought, “Let’s go on a (coffee) date!” Thus, here we are.
Spontaneous dates are awesome.
kyuu ni kimeta deeto wa saikou da!
急に (kyuu ni) means “suddenly.”
決めた (kimeta) means “decided.”
デート (deeto) means, uh, yeah, “date.”
は is wa and for our purposes here we can just call it a topic marker.
最高な (saikou na) means “the best,” used as an adjective (because na).
だ (da) means “is,” basically.
Suddenly + decided + date + wa + the best + is
–> “Suddently decided dates are the best.
–> –> “Spontaneous dates are awesome.”
2) Five-Hour Buffets / 5時間のビュッフェ
This one was Rei’s idea, because she, like every human I’ve ever met, loves food.
Food is awesome.
Unlimited food is double awesome.
Five-hour buffets are therefore double awesome! (Logic, bro. Look it up.)
gojikan no byuffe wa saikou da!
5時間 (gojikan), “five hours” is a noun, right? Noun phrase? Whatever. In english, we can put a dash between “Five” and “Hours” in order to make it into an adjective: “five-hour.”
In Japanese, we can just put の (no) after the noun to make it modify the noun that follows. So…
５時間のビュッフェ (gojikan no byuffe) = five-hour buffet
…and it’s awesome.
3) Fresh Bed Sheets / 干したばかりのシーツ
Warm, sleek. Scented.
You put your face on the pillow and think:
“This doesn’t feel like dead skin at all.
This feels like awesome.”
While in English, we might say something like “Fresh sheets are awesome.” Or “Freshly laundered sheets are the greatest!” But it’s a little different in Japanese.
I was working with Rei on this one, and we decided to go with:
hoshita bakari no shiitu wa saikou da!
Literally: “Freshly hanged (out-to-dry) sheets are the best.”
Hanging clothes (and sheets) in the sun to dry is the norm in Japan. So it makes sense that 干した / hoshita / “hang(-dried)” is used here.
ばかり / bakari, when it comes right after the plain past tense form of a verb ( <– gross), means “just ([verb-ed]).”
So saying 干したばかり / hoshita bakari means “just hang-dried,” means… “freshly laundered.”
taiyou no nioi suru desho?
“They smell like (the) sun, right?” is what Rei said to me.
And I totally agree: That’s awesome.
Some Notes About wa and ga
If you’re suddently introducing some awesome thing to someone (as we’re doing above), then you would be using は, because you’re introducing a topic (and this is the “topic particle”).
But, for example, let’s say that you’re experiencing the awesome things above, then if we want to say “[This thing that I’m (obviously) doing right now] is awesome!” then you would use が, the “pointer particle.”
Situation = We are on a spontaneous date.
kyuu ni kimeta deeto ga saikou (da)!
Situation = We are at a 5-Hour Buffet filled with awesome, delicious food.
gojikan no byuffe ga saikou (da)!
Situation: We are touching freshly laundered sheets.
hoshita bakari no shiitsu ga saikou (da)!
Oh yeah, and だ (da) is optional. But I’ll talk about that some other time.
Sorry if that was all a bit confusing. I’m working on some grammar resources that clear up difficult nuances and things like that.
Are you more than 0% awesome, yourself?
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What do you think is awesome? Email me, and I’ll include it in the next post/list of awesome things (in Japanese).
Also, like making lists of things that are aweosme, if you can think of any other less-than-100%-boring ways to study/use Japanese, please let me know! (For example, in the comments *wink-wink*)
Good luck with your studies!