134 - Would You Like Some Cheese with that Whine?

I love complaining. I have seen like a million scientific studies showing that people who complain aren’t as healthy, or we die sooner.

But whatever. For some reason it just makes me feel better when I can complain about something.

Japan, having a character mascot for everything, also has someone who loves complaining as much as I do <3

In this lesson I would like to introduce my spirit animal, ぐでたま.

ぐでたま is an egg that has no motivation for life.

His name comes from ぐでぐで meaning ‘dead drunk’ or ‘lazy,’ and たま, short for 卵(たまご).

He is very popular in Japan right now, having a host of goods, sweets and even shops in his name. He is most famous for his laziness and complaining about everything. He speaks mainly in informal Japanese, and it’s mostly written in ひらがな, so the language is pretty simple and easy to understand. Perfect for us Japanese learners!

So without further ado, let’s learn how to complain in Japanese, from the master himself.

あした も ねてたい...
I want to sleep tomorrow too...
Literally: “tomorrow + also + sleep + am wanting”

Note: Instead of saying ねていたい, he shortens the word to make it more informal ねてたい.

The first way to complain in Japanese is to use ~たい when you want to do something, but can’t. For example if your friend is going on vacation to Europe you might say:

うらやましい、 いきたい~い
I am so jealous, I want to goooo!
Literally: "jealous + go + want"

I don’t want to do anything
Literally: “anything + do + want + ない”

Using ~たくない is the easiest way to complain in Japanese. Simply take the たい form of the verb and make it negative. So 食べたくない(たべたくない) is “I don’t want to eat.” (Although I would never say this…)

If you are at the beach and the water is too cold, you might say:

つめたい ので、 およぎ たくない
Since its cold, I don’t want to swim.
Literally: "cold (thing) + ので + swim + want + ない"

Not a good morning

This is a play on words. It takes the phrase おはようございます, "good morning," and turns ございます into a negative. It is obviously not grammatically correct, but used only to be funny and cute in this drawing.

もうだめ~ ほんと だめ マジ ムリー
I can’t anymore, I really can’t, seriously, it’s impossible

This one has so many good words for complaining. Starting at the beginning だめ has a literal meaning of “useless, or no good.” You can use this word to ask someone to stop what they are doing, tell someone no, or show your general displeasure of a situation.

So if you are trying to write a lesson and your dog keeps dropping saliva covered toys in your lap, you can say:

いま は だめよ!
Not now!
Literally: "now + は + don't + よ"
Note: This sentence sounds a bit feminine. A guy would say だめ or だめだよ, but not だめよ. The short explanation is that in male speech you don't put よ right after a noun or na-adjective... so drop the よ or put a だ before it: ~だよ.

Just kidding, my dog always gets his way. He is spoiled, and I would play with him instead of working ^.^

Or if you are telling a child not to lie to their teacher, you would say:

うそ は だめ です。
Lying is bad.
Literally: "lie + は + bad + です"

Next our friend ぐでたま says マジ which is a slang for “serious, cannot, will not,” and in this case its used a bit like 本当(ほんとう).

Lastly he says 無理(むり), which is a very tricky word in Japanese. It means something like “impossible, or unreasonable.” It is often used to rudely refuse to do something.
So if you are invited to a party but you work that day, you would say:

その ひ は むり だ よ。
I can’t do it that day.
Literally: "that + day + impossible + だよ”

Note: The use of カタカナ in the above illustration is used for emphasis. In magazines, advertising, or other written media, カタカナ is sometimes used like italics to draw attention to certain words or phrases.

もう かえっても いい?
Can I go home already?
Literally: "already + return home + ても + good"

~てもいいですか or the shortened form ~てもいい? is used to ask “May I ~.” You can use this to ask your older brother if you can drive the car:

ここ から、 うんてん しても いい?
From here on, can I drive?
Literally: "here + from + drive + ても + good"

えー やだー いきたくなーい
Ah, no, I don’t want to go
Literally: "ah + no + go + want + ない"

やだー is a slang word used in this case meaning “no way,” or “never!”
The long vowel sound in いきたくなーい is kind of the same as adding extra vowels to English words to draw out the sound and emphasize; like “nooooo,” or “I don’t waaaant to!”

Tuning is a pain
Literally: "tuning + troublesome"

Stop with the fast tempo
Literally: " fast + tempo + stop"

In this case, めんどくせぇ is a shortened form of 面倒くさい(めんどうくさい)which is one of my favorite and most useful words in Japanese. It doesn’t really have an English equivalent, but it’s the idea that something is troublesome, difficult, or a pain in the ass. I have lovingly translated it to “troublesome.”

Everything can be 面倒くさい when you are complaining. Like cleaning your room:

へや の そうじ が めんどうくさい。
I can’t be bothered to clean my room.
Literally: "room + の + cleaning + が + troublesome"

Or commuting to work:

まいにち、 えんきょり つうきん している こと は めんどうくさい
The long commute everyday is such a pain in the ass.
Literally: "everyday + far distance + work commute + こと + は + troublesome"

Finally, our last way to complain is simply telling someone to stop with やめて!
Like when you want a friend to stop playing around when you are serious:

じょうだん は やめて!
Stop joking around!
Literally: " joking + は + stop"

Or when your Italian friend is so loud on the train that everyone is staring at her (no offense to the Italian population, I am only trying to offend my loud friend!)

Stop being so loud!
Literally: "that + loud + thing + は + stop"

Thank you to ぐでたま for teaching us how to complain! To me, being able to complain in Japanese makes it much more natural, as I am also whiny in English.

When you get comfortable saying not only the good things in Japanese, but the shit things as well, conversations will flow that much easier. So keep on complaining!

This lesson was written by Cassy L., a guest contributor:

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