67 - Taking a Breather

Generally speaking, writing these daily lessons is not too much of a problem for me.

I like talking about Japanese, after all.

The problem is what I call "my real job."

Which is writing/translating for a company that edits English learning materials in Tokyo.

For example, here's me holding a TOEIC book:

( ↑ Me being stoked, because my name's written in the book. ↑ )

I wrote all of the sample TOEIC tests in it.

My face, however, is not on the cover (T_T)

Anyways, that job is cool, too.

I'm a word nerd, after all.

Managing both jobs can, at times, get a bit dicey, though.

Like last weekend, I suddenly got this big assignment for my writing job, and they're like, Can you finish it in the next 12 hours or so?

Psshht. No problem. I say.

Panic. I do.

Ultimately, I ended up just working every waking hour for like 2 days straight.

And after that, I needed a rest...

Leisure Pose, ACTIVATE!

Wait a second.

That's not my leisure pose.

I don't even have a leisure pose.

*Starts Over*

The following kanji is the king of leisure:

Makes sense, I suppose. When a person (人) is next to a tree (木), they're probably partaking in leisure activities.

Quick! What are three words that use this kanji?!

Here's some space to think:

Time's up, princess.

I have no idea what words you chose, but here are mine:

Let's study them words, homie.

Here's some space to mentally prep yourself.

Engage Learning Mode!

to rest; to take a break; to be absent (e.g. from work); to take a day off; to go to bed

That long list of meanings might look intimidating, but it's usually clear from context.

For example, if I'm sitting at my computer all day working, Rei might say to me:

sukoshi yasumeba.
Why don't rest for a bit? // Why don't you take a break?
(Literally: "a little bit + if you rest.")

(Note: For the English translation, this is not a genuine question; it's a suggestion. Also, isn't it cool how we can make a sentence like this with just two words?! You could even just say 休めば, "if you rest," though that suggestion would have the nuance of "Why don't you take the day off?" Instead of "resting a bit," it's talking about "resting [completely], yeah?)

Similarly, I might wake up in the morning, see that it's a beautiful day outside, and "realize" that I'm sick.

Then I could say:

kyou yasumu.
I'm gonna take the day off. // I'm not gonna work today.
(Literally: "today + rest.")

With all of that in mind, it's not too hard to make the leap to the noun...

rest; vacation; holiday; day off; absence

So above we saw how 今日休む is "I'm gonna take the day off."

But what if we say the noun 休み (yasumi) instead of the verb 休む (yasumu)?

That would make it...

kyou yasumi.
Today's my day off. // I don't have work today.
(Literally: "today + rest.")

You might be thinking, Can I really make this sentence with only two words?

Well, yes.

And no.

Imagine someone asked you:

kyou shigoto?
Do you have work today?
(Literally: "today + work / job?")

In response to A's question, you could say:

kyou yasumi.
Today's my day off.


If you just suddenly start a conversation by saying 今日休み (kyou yasumi), it's gonna sound a tiny bit weird, because there is no context for this sudden phrase.

Here are some situations in which this sentence could be the beginning of a conversation, though...

(1) You could make it a question:

kyou yasumi?
Is today your day off?
(Literally: "today + rest?")

(Note: This is really casual. Not rude. Just casual. If you're talking to someone formally, then maybe, 今日は休みですか [kyou wa yasumi desu ka // Is today your day off?] would be better. You could also add the honorific prefix お, making it お休み [oyasumi].)

(2) OR, you could start a conversation with this phrase about it being your own day off... BUT! You'd have to add ~なんだ (~nan da). The "だ of explanation!"

kyou yasumi nan da.
Today's my day off.
(Literally: "today + rest + なん + is.")

(Note: The nuance is, "Today's my day off, [and there is a reason I'm telling you this]." Like, maybe I have special plans today or something? For more on this "だ of explanation," check out this article: "How to Say 'So I was thinking' in Japanese.")

❈❈❈ Casual Note City ❈❈❈

Originally for Person A in the A-B conversation above, I wanted to put:

kyou nani sun no?
What are you up to today?
(Literally: "today + what + do + の?")

But then I realized that "Today's my day off" doesn't match up that well with "What are you up to today?"

And yet, I MUST introduce this question to you, because no one else will:

kyou nani sun no?
What are you up to today?

Sometimes, when an "n" comes after a "ra / ru," that "n" will eat the "ra / ru."


今日何するの → 今日何すんの?
kyou nani suru no? → kyou nani sun no?
What are you up to today?

分からない → 分かんない。
wakaranai → wakannai.
I don't know.

何してるの? → 何してんの?
nani shiteru no? → nani shiten no?
What're you doing?

It took me years to figure this out.

Because they don't teach it in Japanese books or classrooms.

At least, none of the books I've seen.

❈ ❈ ❈


What if instead of a 休み (yasumi), a "rest," I take a 一休み (hito-yasumi), a "one-rest?"


a (short) rest; a break; a breather

By adding the kanji for "one" to our noun "rest," it means "a (short) rest."

This would not be a full-day thing.

For example, I was looking online for examples of this word, and I came acrossthis article titled:

bibarii hiruzu no oishii kafe de hitoyasumi dekiru omise go sen
5 Beverly Hills Cafes Where You Can Take a Breather
(Literally: "Beverly Hills + の + delicious + cafe + で + short rest + can do + shops + 5 + selections.)

Wow. Fancy.

Suddenly... Bonus Phrase!

So all three of those words are using the kunyomi of 休, which is "yasu-."

But words with the onyomi reading are quite common, too.

For example, in the intro to that article mentioned above, this sentence shows up:

kankou tochuu no chotto shita kyuukei nado ni saiteki na,
bibarii hiruzu no kodawari no kafe wo go-shoukai shimasu.

I'd like to introduce some cafes in Beverly Hills that are perfect for taking a short break from sightseeing.
(Literally, Line #1: "sightseeing + in the middle of + just a little [little + did] + break / rest + and so forth + に + the best")
(Literally, Line #2: "Beverly Hills + の + preference + の + cafe + を + introduce.")

So the word in question here is 休憩 (kyuukei // a rest; a break).

Also, earlier we had:

sukoshi yasumeba.
Why don't rest for a bit? // Why don't you take a break?
(Literally: "a little bit + if you rest.")

But it's just as common--maybe even more common--to say:

kyuukei sureba.
Why don't rest for a bit? // Why don't you take a break?
(Literally: "a break + if you do.")

Generally speaking, 休憩 (kyuukei) is more common than 一休み (hito yasumi), so let's remember it!


The reason I even brought up the kanji 休 was because I wanted to talk about a restaurant Rei and I went to after my long weekend of work.

Then I went off into la-la-language-land, and now the lesson is too long to mention it.

Tomorrow, perhaps...

Unless I 休む. ^_^

Bonus Phrases

あの ひと かっこいい!
That guy is so cool!

さくら の き だ。
It's a cherry tree.

きょう は やすみ です か?
Is today your day off?

にちようび だから びょういん おやすみ かなぁ?
Since it's Sunday, I wonder if the hospital is closed.

Complete and Continue