Ep. 4 Commentary - Miki Self-Intro


Dialogue

ミキ:

はじめまして。
Hi.

ミキです。
I’m Miki.

東京出身()です。
とうきょう しゅっしん です。
I’m from Tokyo.

OL()をしています。
オーエル を しています。
I’m an office worker*.

仕事()大嫌()いです。
しごと は だいきらい です。
I hate my job.

もう()きたくな~い。
もう はたらきたくな~い。
I don’t want to work anymore.

趣味()()べることです。
しゅみ は たべる こと です。
My hobby is eating!

()きな()()はカニとお寿司()とラーメンとおそばとうどんとカレーライスとオムライスと焼肉()です。
すき な たべもの は カニ と おすし と おそば と うどん と カレーライス と オムライス と やきにく です。
My favorite foods are crab, sushi, ramen, soba, udon, (Japanese) curry, (Japanese) rice omelets, and yakiniku.

焼肉()はまじで大好()きです。
やきにく は まじ で だいすき です。
Seriously, I love yakiniku.

でもしゃぶしゃぶも()きなんだよな~。
でも しゃぶしゃぶ も すき なんだよな~。
But I also love shabu-shabu…

司会:

あの~そろそろ時間()が...
あの~ そろそろ じかん が...
I’m sorry, but, we’re running short on time…

ミキ:

ううん、大丈夫()ですよ。
ううん、 だいじょうぶ です よ。
No, it’s no problem.

今日休()みだもん。
きょう やすみ だもん。
Today’s my day off.

あとは...もうない!
Let’s see, what else… that’s all!

よろしくお()いします!
よろしく おねがい します!
Thank you!


Commentary Transcript

In this video we have Miki’s Self-Introduction, or 自己紹介(じこしょうかい). If you haven’t noticed already, Miki is kind of an eccentric person, and as a result her self-introduction is a bit unconventional. Let’s look at how…

ミキ:

はじめまして。
Hi.

ミキです。
I’m Miki.

Assuming you’ve seen the other videos so far, this shouldn’t be any problem.

はじめまして / Hi / or / Nice to meet you.

ミキです / I’m Miki.

Next we have…

ミキ:

東京出身()です。
とうきょう しゅっしん です。
I’m from Tokyo.

In Toby’s self-intro, he said [アメリカのカリフォルニア州から来ました], I’m from California, or, literally, “I came from California (in America).” But he could have also just said [Hometown] + 出身(しゅっしん)です.

出身 as a word all by itself usually gets translated as “origin (of a person) (e.g. country, hometown, school, etc.). That makes sense, because the kanji are “exit,” or “come out,” plus “(some)body.” In other words, the place that somebody comes out of… that is, their origin.

So when Miki says 東京出身です, it just means “I’m from Tokyo.” Then she says…

ミキ:

OL()をしています。
オーエル を しています。
I’m an office worker*

OL, pronounced オーエル, stands for “office lady.” It pretty much just refers to a Japanese girl or woman working in an office, usually doing clerical work. A strange difference that I’ve noted, at least between the US and Japan, is that most people in the US tend to either say what their actual job is, or at the least the industry in which they’re working. In Japan, though, they keep this personal information out of the conversation usually, saying ultra-vague stuff like “I’m an office lady,” or “I’m an office worker,” or “I’m a government employee.”

The same way that Toby mentioned his job using しています, Miki also includes the nuance that this is not a permanent career choice. That’s not necessarily the case, but it’s the feel that I get from this sentence: “I’m working as an OL, but that’s not necessarily a permanent thing.” This makes sense, given the following line…

ミキ:

仕事()大嫌()いです。
しごと は だいきらい です。
I hate my job.

First thing, word-for-word, this is job / hate / [state of being / (is)] à “I hate my job.”

The opposite of 好(す)き, “to be to one’s liking,” usually translated to “(to) like” is 嫌(きら)い, “to be to one’s disliking, usually translated to “(to) dislike,” though that’s not accurate as a direct translation.

But 大, “big,” in front of either other things, and it becomes “big liking,” or “big disliking,” which we can translate as “really.”

大好きだ = I really like (it) / I love (it)
大嫌いだ = I really dislike (it) / I hate (it)

One more thing I want to talk about here is the particle は. I remember way back was I was a beginner in a Japanese class, my teacher told me that we always say Xが嫌いです or Xが好きです, but never Xは…

Well, I think that my teacher was actually being lazy… or maybe just getting tired of students asking what the difference between は and が is, because actually both are fine… it just depends on the situation. For example, if it was an answer to a question, like 好きな食(た)べ物(もの)は何ですか, “What (kind of) food do you like?” Then the answer would use が, the identifier particle, because it’s identifying new information: ラーメンが好きです.

Conversely, if the person talking about what they do or do not like or dislike is the one bringing up this topic, then they need to use the topic marker. So Miki uses は, saying [仕事は大嫌いです].

Anyways, don’t worry too much about getting those right. Instead, just know that it will depend on the situation you’re making your sentence when deciding which one you want to use. Also, you’ll just pick it up naturally over time.

As Miki starts thinking about her job, she gets upset, and then she says…

ミキ:

もう()きたくな~い。
もう はたらきたくな~い。
I don’t want to work anymore

So we’ve already seen もう, in the video where Miki met up Diego and Toby at the station, and she said [もうお店だって], “They’re already at the station.” In that dialog, もう means “already.” Here, though, もう is being translated to “anymore.” That’s because, when もう is used with a positive action (i.e. verb), then it means “already,” but when it’s paired with a negative action (i.e. verb), then it means anymore. Here are some examples…

  • もう食べた = “(I) already ate.”
  • もう食べる = “(I’m) gonna eat now [already].”
  • もう食べない = “(I’m) not going to eat anymore.”

Here we have the verb 働く, “to work,” and it’s being conjugated into the negative form of the ~たい ( = “want to [verb]” ) construction, ~たくない. Since 働きたくない means “I don’t want to work,” もう, when it is attached, means “anymore,” and もう働きたくない means “I don’t want to work anymore.”

That might be really confusing if you’re not familiar with this “want to [verb]” construction, so I’ll also take a few moments to explain that.

This type of conjugation is built upon the –masu stem of verbs. However, if some of you are anything like I was in the beginning stages of my studies, then you might not know what that means, even if you’ve been studying for a while.

At some point, I’ll add an explanation about different –masu verb conjugations in the Bunkai Beast Grammar Guide. For now, though, I’ll shoot for the ten second version.

There are two groups of verbs in Japanese. In order to make things as confusing as possible, Japanese linguists have named them Group 1 and Group 2… so I can never remember which one is which. I’ll look at ways of distinguishing them and all that fun stuff in the Bunkai Beast Grammar Guide, but for the purposes of this dialogue, let’s just look at verbs that end in く (which are Group 1 verbs, by the way):

  • 働(はたら)く “to work”
  • 行(い)く “to go”
  • 着(つ)く “to arrive”

In the –masu form (think “polite present tense,”) く becomes き, and then –masu gets stuck onto the end

  • 働き+ます
  • 行き+ます
  • 着き+ます

The –Masu Stem of these verbs is what comes before ます. So…

  • 働き+ます
  • 行き+ます
  • 着き+ます

Then whenever we want to say “(I) want to [verb]” in Japanese, we just take the –masu stem and then add the auxiliary adjective ~たい to the end of it:

  • 働き+たい → 働きたい → I want to work
  • 行き+たい → 行きたい → I want to go
  • 着き+たい → 着きたい → I want to arrive

The negative form of ~たい is ~たくない. If you’re a grammar nerd like me, you can see that this makes sense, because the auxiliary verb ~たい is an i-adjective, just like, for example, 安(やす)い, “cheap,” and the negative form of i-adjectives is ~くない, like 安くない, “not cheap.” If grammar makes you nauseous, though, then you can just learn this separately, and you’ll get accustomed to it over time with lots of Japanese exposure anyways…

  • 働きたくない → I don’t want to work
  • 行きたくない → I don’t want to go
  • 着きたくない → I don’t want to arrive

Like I said before, this is a negative verb form, and that’s why adding もう makes it “I don’t want to work anymore,” もう働きなくない. Since Miki is being dramatic, she draws out the な~ sound. To get a better feel for this, just check out the shadow loop for this dialogue.

Wow, that line took a line time to explain. Sorry. Let’s keep moving…

ミキ:

趣味()()べることです。
しゅみ は たべる こと です。
My hobby is eating!

We’ve already seen the construction 趣味は[Noun]です, which means “My hobby is [noun].” But before, with Diego and Toby, the 趣味 in question was already a noun… 料理(りょうり) (cooking) for Toby and 読書(どくしょ) (reading) for Diego. But here Miki wants to use the verb “to eat” as her hobby, 食べる. In order to do this, she needs to turn it into a noun, and she does that by adding こと to the end of it. 事(こと) usually just translates to “thing,” and you’ll see it in about a thousand different Japanese words. There’s no way that I can explain it in depth in this video alone, so for now let’s just learn that こと, “thing,” can be added to verbs in order to make them into nouns, much like we do with “-ing” in English. So, 食べる (to eat) + 事 (thing) = 食べること (eating [literally: to eat things]).

Much in the same way, Diego, for example could have said 趣味は本(ほん)を読(よ)むことです, which we could translate directly as “My hobby is (the act of) reading books.”

Anyways, that’s why I translated Miki’s statement 趣味は食べることです to “My hobby is eating.” As soon as she says this, she clearly starts thinking about food, and the next think you know, she’s listing off her favorite foods. She says…

ミキ:

()きな()()はカニとお寿司()とラーメンとおそばとうどんとカレーライスとオムライスと焼肉()です。
すき な たべもの は カニ と おすし と ラーメンと おそば と うどん と カレーライス と オムライス と やきにく です。
My favorite foods are crab, sushi, ramen, soba, udon, (Japanese) curry, (Japanese) rice omelets, and yakiniku.

That might have been a bit confusing for some people, because it’s such a long sentence, but it’s actually a very simple construction. Maybe it will help if we look at it like this. She says…

好きな食べ物は

カニ

お寿司

ラーメン

おそば

うどん

カレーライス

オムライス

焼肉

です

So the real structure being used here is just AはBです, (“A is B”), which I talk about like a hundred times in the Bunkai Beast Grammar Guide. In this example, A is 好きな食べ物は...です, which we could translate directly to something like “The food that I find favorable is...” But instead for this translation it became “My favorite foods are...”

For B, Miki names off a long list of foods. Now, this is not a normal thing to do, obviously, and this sentence is kind of silly in the English translation, as well. I’m guessing that most people would just say one food, something like, 好きな食べ物はお寿司です, “My favorite food is sushi” or “I like sushi.” However, it seemed more like Miki to give a long list of all the foods that she likes, and she’s definitely getting carried away.

I’ll give some pictures of the food she lists, because I know that for me personally it took long time to learn which Japanese food is which. She mentions…

  • カニ, which is “crab.”
  • お寿司, which is, uh, yeah. Sushi. It would also be okay for Miki to drop the “o” in front of sushi and just say すし, but in my experience, it’s pretty common to say it with an “o.” Usually it’ll be referring to this kind of sushi, not the ridiculous, eccentric rolls that you see all over America. You do sometimes come across sub-par California rolls and Philadelphia rolls in Japan, though.
  • ラーメン is “ramen,” which is noodles in a pork broth. I hear that it’s starting to get pretty popular in other countries these days, too.
  • おそば is “soba.” If you look it up in a dictionary, says something like “buckwheat noodles,” which has absolutely no meaning to me. Instead, my brain classifies “soba” as the grey noodles that are healthy and sometimes served cold. Not always, just sometimes.
  • うどん are fatter, less healthy noodles than soba. If you ever run out of things to say when talking to a Japanese person, ask them which they like more, soba or udon, and chances are they’ll probably have a lot to tell you about both of these. I’m on team soba, personally. But to each his own.
  • カレーライス is “curry rice,” and it refers to Japanese curry. I’ve found that “curry,” in English is one of those word that Japanese people have a hard time pronouncing and hearing, as they’re used to カレー. So maybe you should be careful with your pronunciation, too, if you feel like it.
  • オムライス is “omelet rice.” It’s just rice inside of an omelet with a ketchup-like sauce on top. I wish we’d had this where I grew up when I was a kid, because I would have loved it.
  • 焼肉 translated to something like “grilled meat.” But if you say “yakiniku restaurant” to a Japanese person, they picture a very particular type of restaurant, where you grill little strips of meat (mostly beef) at your own table.

The main thing that I want to point out in this line of dialogue, though, is Miki’s intonation as she lists these things. Notice that there is a bit of a pause after each と, which means “and.” Every time I hear Japanese people list things using と, this is the type of intonation they use. But sometimes I hear us gaijin spacing our words a little differently, and it sounds unnatural. It might help to listen to the shadow track a bunch of times, and then the next time you’re listing a bunch of things, you can try to mimic the rhythm and intonation used there. It’s not カニ と  おすし とラーメン, or anything like that. It’s カニと、お寿司と、ラーメンと… and , yeah, you get the idea. Don’t use my example, though, use the shadow tracks and the dialog tracks, because native speakers have better pronunciation than me. Here’s a sample:

[insert sample].

Next Miki says…

ミキ:

焼肉()はまじで大好()きです。
やきにく は まじ で だいすき です。
Seriously, I love yakiniku.

The only word we haven’t seen yet here is まじで. This means something like “seriously,” or “really.” It’s basically just a more casual form of 本当に. I’d talk about it more here, but there’s a lot that I could say about this phrase, and I think I’m gonna save it for another time. For now, just now that it’s pretty much just as versatile as the English word “seriously.” Like, all of these would be okay…

  • 焼肉はマジで大好きです。
    Seriously, I love yakiniku.
  • マジで。焼肉が大好きです。
    No, seriously. I love yakiniku.
    (The nuance I get here is that this conversation was already about yakiniku. That’s why I used が [acting as a pointer] instead of は [which introduces topics] and inserted “No” in front of seriously in the English translation.)
  • 焼肉は大好きです。マジで。
    I love yakiniku. Seriously.

Don’t worry if you haven’t wrapped your head around まじで just yet. It’s one of those things that you’ll hear often enough to get a feel for naturally over time.

So Miki says that she seriously loves yakiniku, but then she seems to start having some doubts about what her true favorite food might be, saying…

ミキ:

焼肉()はまじで大好()きです。
やきにく は まじ で だいすき です。
Seriously, I love yakiniku.

でもしゃぶしゃぶも()きなんだよな~
でも しゃぶしゃぶ も すき なんだよな~
But I also love shabu-shabu…

Before I get into the meaning of this sentence, here’s a picture of shabu-shabu. Shabu-shabu is a lot like yakiniku… only instead of grilling our meat, this time we boil it. There’s also a food called sukiyaki in Japan, that is pretty much the same thing as Shabu-Shabu, only sukiyaki has a sweeter broth than shabu-shabu, which is more savory. Japanese people will tell you that there are other differences, but as far as I can tell the only undeniable difference between shabu shabu and sukiyaki is the level of sweetness. But, yeah, I don’t know.

Anyways, Miki says [でもしゃぶしゃぶも好きなんだよな~]

I have a feeling that trying to explain this sentence is going to cause me a lot of problems. Directly translated, we have…

  • But
  • Shabu-shabu
  • Also
  • Favorable
  • Nan
  • Is
  • Na~

If this sentence had just been でもしゃぶしゃぶも好きだ, then I could probably explain it, because that would mean, simply, “But I also like shabu-shabu” without any complicated feelings or nuances.

But this is a language, and languages always have complicated nuances and subtleties. I’ll start with な~. Note, first of all, that this な~ sound is drawn out. Saying a short な is just like saying ね (for the most part), only it sounds just ever so slightly rougher. Also, that version of な seems to almost always come after よ. For example…

明日(あした)は仕事だよね “(You) have work tomorrow, huh?” (Literally, “Tomorrow / work / is / yo / ne).

We could also use な here, and it would have just a slightly rough sound, which is why men tend to use it (though females can use it to):

明日は仕事だよな “(You) have work tomorrow, huh?”

The na that Miki is using, though, is the drawn out な~ sound, and this is like saying ね to yourself, not to the person you’re with. For example…

美味(おい)しいね “(It’s) good, huh?” or “(It’s) delicious, huh?” By saying this I am seeking your affirmation that it is good. However…

美味しいな~ “This is good.” By saying this, I am not seeking any affirmation. In fact, I might even be alone when I say this. I’m simply thinking, out loud, that this is good. If you’re with someone, then this can give 美味しい a slight boost, making it sound extra good. You can perhaps imagine someone eating something with you, and they say to themselves, “Ah, this is good.” 美味しいな~

Going back to Miki, she says: [でもしゃぶしゃぶも好きなんだよな~]. So Miki is talking to herself here, and な~ helps us to understand that.

Last but not least, we have the problem of 好きなんだよな~. I… don’t know how to explain this. It would sound strange if Miki said でもしゃぶしゃぶも好きだよな~. I have talked to a few Japanese people about why this sounds strange, but I’ve yet to get a satisfactory answer. The close thing that I’ve gotten to an answer is that this usage is (probably) just an offshoot of ~んだ, which, to quote A Dictionary of Basic Grammar, is:

A sentence ending which indicates that the speaker is explaining or asking for an explanation about some information shared with the hearer, or is talking about something emotively, as if it were of common interest to the speaker and the hearer.

  • From the entry のだ (which is the formal equivalent of んだ) (page 325)

Wow. If that didn’t just make you 400% more confused than you were thirty seconds ago, you’re amazing. Here’s my dumbed down version:

Putting ん before だ means:

“[Blah blah blah] is [blah blah blah], (and this is an explanation for something).”

So Miki is talking to herself, right? And she says

ミキ:

焼肉はまじで大好きです。
やきにく は まじ で だいすき です。
Seriously, I love yakiniku.

でもしゃぶしゃぶもきなんだよな~
でも しゃぶしゃぶ も すき なんだよな~
But I also love shabu-shabu…

So if んだ is supposed to be pointing out that this is an explanation or something, then what it is it? My guess lies in the nuance of this second sentence. Notice that I put an ellipsis at the end of it. That’s because I think that んだ is expressing something like

“But I also love shabu-shabu… (maybe even more than yakiniku!)”

I presented this theory to my Japanese editor, and… well… she wasn’t totally convinced. But she also couldn’t give any better explanation for it. If you can, then please, by all means, email me about it!

The good news about all of this, though, is that I was able to write the correct sentence without being able to explain it. It’s almost like you can learn a language without totally understanding its mechanics. Because, yeah, you can. So don’t fret when stuff is confusing. Just get a feel for it, yo.

As a result of Miki’s monologue about her favorite foods, the host or moderator or whatever (司会) tries to get her to wrap it up. He cuts in, saying…

司会:

あの~そろそろ時間()が...
あの~ そろそろ じかん が...
I’m sorry, but, we’re running short on time…

As we’ve seen before, あの~ means “Umm…” and, among other uses, it can be said when trying to cut in with something. Then we have そろそろ時間が..

そろそろ, in this case, means “soon.”
And 時間 means time.

Without explicitly saying it, the host is just saying that time is running out. A literal translation would be “Um, soon time (is)…” and the translation I used was, “I’m sorry, but, we’re running short on time…”

Miki pretty much lives in her own world, though, so she misses the unspoken nuance of that sentence (which should be very hard to miss, by the way, if you’re Japanese), and she says…

ミキ:

ううん、大丈夫()ですよ。
ううん、 だいじょうぶ です よ。
No, it’s no problem.

今日休(みだもん。
きょう やすみ だもん。
Today’s my day off.

One more time, we have,

[ううん、大丈夫()ですよ。]
[ううん、 だいじょうぶ です よ。]
“No.” // “OK” or “Alright” // “Is” // [assertion particle]
→ No, it’s no problem.

[今日休()みだもん。]
[きょう やすみ だもん。]
“Today” // “holiday” // “is” // “because.”
→ (Because) Today’s my day off.

I think that the only bit of grammar here that we haven’t seen so far is ~だもん. This is pretty much the same thing as saying ~だから, “(is) because,” only with one major exception: When we say だもん, it’s super casual. So sometimes it gets translated to just ‘cause.

So maybe I could have (or should have) translated 今日休みだもん as “Cause today’s my day off.”

Okay, only two more lines left!

ミキ:

あとは...もうない!
Let’s see, what else… that’s all!

We’ve seen は before as a “topic particle.” In other words, it’s used to switch topics. In this case, Miki is switching back to the topic of her self-intro.

あと means something like “after” or “later.” In this example, though, あとは… just means something like “Let’s see, what else…”

Then she says もうない!

A direct translation of this might be something like “anymore / is not.” In other words, “there is not anything more to say.” And in the translation, I put “That’s all!” So altogether あとは…もうない! is something like “Let’s see, what else… that’s all!”

She then finishes it off with the same phrase that everyone uses to finish off self-intros…

ミキ:

よろしくお()いします!
よろしく おねがい します!
Thank you!

We’ve seen this a bunch already, but in the translation I just put “Thank you!”

Anyways, this really short video now has a really lengthy explanation track, so I’m going to go ahead and end it here. Let me know if there are some difficult bits, and I’ll try to address them in other videos. Thanks!

Discussion

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