Ep. 5 Commentary - Ordering Drinks


Dialogue

ディエゴ:

まだ注文()してない?
まだ ちゅうもん してない?
You guys haven’t ordered yet?

カナコ:

うん、みんなが()るの()ってた。
うん、 みんな が くる の まってた。
No, we were waiting for everyone to get here.

店員:

失礼()します。
しつれい します。
Excuse me.

注文()はお()まりですか?
ごちゅうもん は おきまり ですか?
Are you ready to order?

ディエゴ:

()放題()がいいよね?
のみほうだい が いい よ ね?
We should get all-you-can-drink, right?

ミキ:

ほかに()があるの?
ほか に なに が ある の?
Do you even have to ask?

ディエゴ:

そうだよね。
Yeah, I guess not.

みんな()むもの()めた?
みんな のむ もの きめた?
Does everyone know what they want?

トビ:

()はビール。
おれ は ビール。
I’ll have a beer.

ケンタ:

()も。
ぼく も。
Me too.

ミキ:

あたしも!
Me too.

カナコ:

ウーロンハイ。
Oolong tea highball.

マナミ:

ハイボール。
Highball.

トビ&
ケンタ:

可愛()い!
かわいい!
Kawaii!

店員:

注文()()はこちらの()()ボタン()をお使()いください。
ごちゅうもん の さい は こちら の よびだしボタン を おつかい ください。
Please use this call button anytime you’d like to make an order.


Commentary Transcript

Okay so in this episode of Toby’s story, we get to see what it’s like ordering at an izakaya in Japan. For those that don’t know, izakaya are basically just restaurants, but at the same time they’re kind of the Japanese equivalent of bars… maybe. Think “restaurant for drinking.” They’re also my second home and one of my favorite things about Japan.

Japanese people rarely drink alcohol without eating something at the same time, and I think that izakaya are kind of a result of that.

As we saw in the first meeting at the station, everyone arrived before Toby, Diego and Miki, and that’s why Diego says…

ディエゴ:

まだ注文()してない?
まだ ちゅうもん してない?
You guys haven’t ordered yet?

カナコ:

うん、みんなが()るの()ってた。
うん、 みんな が くる の まってた。
No, we were waiting for everyone to get here.

First, let’s look at what Diego says: [まだ注文してない?]

We already saw まだ in one of the last videos, and it means “yet,” or “(not) yet” in this example.

Don’t freak out, but for this next part, I’m going to use the term “auxiliary verb” a bunch. An auxiliary verb is basically just any verb that attached to another verb. So if we say 食(た)べている (= “is eating”), then いる, the second verb in this phrase, is the auxiliary verb. If we say 食べていない (= “isn’t eating”), then いない is the auxiliary verb. I like to think of them as “ax verbs” that have been stuck into other verbs. I’m not sure if that’ll help you remember, though.

The main reason I’m pointing this out, though, is that you don’t need to worry if you don’t know what a grammatical term means. If I say something like “present perfect tense,” and you don’t know what that means, then don’t worry about it. Just look at the Japanese and the English being presented, and do your best to get a feel for it. You don’t have to understand everything at once, you just need to understand everything over time, at your own pace. Also, you can always pause and look up words you don’t know, if that’s your thing. Okay, okay, okay, moving on…

注文 is the word for “order,” like an order at a restaurant. And if we add する to it, then we get “to order.” The way Diego used it was by saying 注文してない. This is the present progressive negative tense… I think… Normally it would be 注文していない, but you’ll notice that Diego drops the い off of that auxiliary verb, to just get 注文してない? This will almost always happen in casual conversations. If you’re at school, they’ll tell you that the plain from of the present progressive negative is ~していない, but after a few hours with friends in Japan, we realize that ~してない is just as, if not more, common. I’ve actually developed a very bad habit of dropping off the auxiliary verb’s い even when it’s being used in more formal situations, where I shouldn’t be dropping it. We’ll look at those some other time, though.

You might remember from the last lesson, when I said that the plain past tense of Japanese often becomes the present perfect in English. Haha, that sentence is really confusing. I’m referring to how I said that something like 来(き)た!, which is directly translated to “(He) came.” is actually closer to the present perfect tense in English, “(He) has come.” I’m not saying that this is always the case, but it happens quite a bit.

However, the plain past tense of verbs in Japanese does NOT becomes the negative present perfect in Japanese. What I mean is that plain past 来た can sometimes become present perfect “(He) has come,” but plain past negative 来なかった does not become present perfect “(He) hasn’t come.” It (as would be expected without all of this confusing grammar stuff) becomes “(He) didn’t come.” If we wanted to say the negative present perfect English, “He hasn’t come,” then we would need to use attach the negative auxiliary verb (=いない) to the て form: 来ていない (= “He hasn’t come.”) And in very casual versions the first い of the auxiliary verb will fall away, giving us 来てない “hasn’t come.” Or we could add まだ to it and get まだ来てない, “He hasn’t come yet.”

Well, if that makes any sense at all, then we can understand why, when Diego says, [まだ注文してない?], it gets translated to “You guys haven’t ordered yet?” or “You all haven’t ordered yet?”

Kanako then responds by saying [うん、みんなが()るの()ってた]

There is so much going on in this sentence, that I almost don’t even know where to begin. Overall, it’s getting translated to “No, we were waiting for everyone to get here.” Let’s look at why.

The first thing that you might notice is that “Yeah,” うん, is getting translated to “No” in English. Say what?! Before you go blaming “crazy Japanese grammar” for this one, I think you should stop and look at the English, which actually makes less sense.

Typically, when we ask a negative yes or no question in English, “No” is affirmation:

You guys haven’t ordered yet? → No, (we haven’t).
You haven’t done your homework yet? → No, (I haven’t).
The coffee wasn’t good? → No, (it wasn’t).

According to Japanese, negative question plus negative answer equals double negative. To avoid that, they’ll show affirmation with words like うん, “yeah,” and はい, “yes.”

まだ注文してない? → うん(していない)
まだ宿題(しゅくだい)をしてない? → うん(していない)
コーヒーは美味(おい)しくなかった? → うん(美味しくなかった)

Confusing, right? And if that seems to make sense now, just try answering negative question in the middle of high-paced difficult questions. I mess this up all the time. But whatever, I’m improving… maybe.

So, yeah, Diego’s negative question is まだ注文してない?. You HAVEN’T ordered yet?

And Kanako’s answer, in agreement, is うん(してない). Literally, “Yeah, (we HAVEN’T). Yikes. Let’s look at the rest of her sentence: みんなが()るの()ってた

みんな mean’s everyone or everybody, right? Cool. And at the end of the sentence we have the verb 待つ, “to wait,” which is translated to the past progressive, 待ってた (was waiting). Here again the い of the auxiliary verb is getting dropped. So the accurate conjugation would be 待っていた, but it becomes 待ってた, “were waiting.”

Perhaps the trickiest part of this sentence is 来るの. As with pretty much every phrase we ever see in casual Japanese, something is getting dropped here. Can you guess what? The full phrase would be: 来るのを

Ugh, how do I explain this? Haha.

So in a nice, clean, grammatical sentence in Japanese, when we’re trying to say “wait for [someone or something], then we’re using “wait” as a transitive verb (as if that means anything to anyone). What I mean is that we mark the thing that we’re waiting for using the word “for.” If I said “I’m waiting my friend,” then English grammar nerds would probably strangle me. We’re supposed to say “I’m waiting FOR my friend!”

We can’t match these sentences up to each other, because Japanese and English are fundamentally different. That said, the object marker for transitive verbs in Japanese is always を, so anytime we want to say that we wait “FOR something or something,” we should say “[something] を待つ”

So if Kanako were speaking totally accurate, full Japanese, then she would sayみんなが来るのを待っていた

  • Everyone
  • Come
  • For
  • Were waiting

→ “We were waiting for everyone to come.”
That is → “We were waiting for everyone to get here.”

Nice. But wait a second, what about that の that’s coming after 来る? Well, that’s because verbs in Japanese do not ever attach to the particle を or to separate (as in, not auxiliary) verbs. So we can’t says 来るを and we can’t say 来る待つ, so の steps in to make sure that everyone treats each other nicely, because 来るのを is no problem, and 来るの(を)待つ is also no problem, if we’re speaking casual Japanese that drops out the particle を.

Yeah, that’s why, altogether, we get:

ディエゴ:

まだ注文()してない?
まだ ちゅうもん してない?
You guys haven’t ordered yet?

カナコ:

うん、みんなが()るの()ってた。
うん、 みんな が くる の まってた。
No, we were waiting for everyone to get here.

Let’s hope that makes at least a little bit of sense. If not, I’m sorry. Maybe in another video. Or maybe check this video’s transcripts so that you can read all of this confusing stuff that I’m saying.

After a few seconds, their server (who just so happens to be dressed in a maid outfit for some reason) walks in, and we get this Japanese…

店員:

失礼()します。
しつれい します。
Excuse me.

注文()はお()まりですか?
ごちゅうもん は おきまり ですか?
Are you ready to order?

When Japanese people are being super polite, and they enter a room, they say 失礼します. This is probably up there in my top ten favorite Japanese phrases. I think it’s because imagining the direct translation, it would be “I’m behaving rudely.” Or even, “I’m about to behave rudely.”

失礼 means “rude.” The characters, kind of explain this, as they means “lose” and “thanks.” When we “lose thanks,” we get rude people, and when we add the verb する to it, します, we get “doing rude!” That is, “behaving rudely!” Magically, in English, this becomes just “Excuse me.” Although, in English, I kind of wish we said, “I’m behaving rudely” sometimes.

The second sentence that the server says is quite a bit more difficult, because it’s a verb form that most lower-level students of Japanese aren’t likely to know. Specifically, it’s that dreaded “polite Japanese” of legend, the honorific form, 尊敬語(そんけいご).

Taking a closer look, though, it’s not that difficult to understand. First we have a word we’ve already seen: 注文. Only, for an extra dash of politeness, the character ご is attached to the front of it. For some of those in the know, we only put ご in front of some works, where as we put お in front of other words. So 注文 is order, and ご注文 is “order” said politely, whereas sushi is 寿司(すし), and お寿司 is “sushi” said politely. There is a rule for this, technically: words of Japanese origin get お attached to them, but words of Chinese origin get ご attached to them. Really, though, you probably don’t need to worry about these rules, for two reasons. The first reason is that you will almost never need to use this level of politeness in Japanese. Second, if you do eventually have a reason that you need to use this Japanese (for example, for a job), then your Japanese will already be good enough to where you will have gotten a sense of which words get ご and which words get お naturally. No sweat, yo.

The verb that we’re looking at in this sentence is 決まる, which means “to be decided.” Well, the –masu form of this verb is… 決まります, yeah? So all we need to do is take that, drop off the masu, then add お to the front of it: お決まり. Then after that, we have ですか? Which, in stilted direct translation means “state-of-being plus question.” In other words, we’re just asking “Are you in a state of having decided?” In human English that becomes “Are you ready to order?”

[ご注文はお決まりですか?]

You don’t really need to be able to make sentences like this unless you have a Japanese-speaking job, especially in the service industry. However, people use it at restaurants and stuff all the time, so it’s something that you’ll probably encounter even if you’re only in a Japan for a matter of hours. We’ll see a bit more of it at the end of this dialogue, too.

Moving on, we have…

ディエゴ:

()放題()がいいよね?
のみほうだい が いい よ ね?
We should get all-you-can-drink, right?

ミキ:

ほかに()があるの?
ほか に なに が ある の?
Do you even have to ask?

ディエゴ:

そうだよね。
Yeah, I guess not.

This first sentence, [飲み放題がいいよね] has one of the best words that Japanese people ever invented: 飲み放題, which means all-you-can-drink, a super-awesome option at most izakaya. Usually nomihoudai comes with a set time limit (commonly two hours) in which you can order as many drinks as you want from the all-you-can-drink alcohol menu. It can be a seriously great deal if you want to drink a lot, but you do have to watch out for lots of clauses that the menus tend to include, such as last order being after an hour and a half, and a common requirement that every person present must order at least one or two food dishes.

Word-for-word, Diego says

  • All-you-can-drink
  • Good
  • [assertion]
  • [you feel me?]

I translated that to: “We should get all-you-can-drink, right?”

I want to take a second to look a bit more closely at this word-construction: ~放題. If you’re in Japan, the ~放題 you’ll come across most often are 食べ放題, all-you-can-eat, and 飲み放題, all-you-can-drink. But actually, you can stick ~放題 onto the –masu stem of a bunch of different verbs in order to say “all-you-can-[verb].”

For example, I remember one time, I was talking to a friend about how I was living in うのき, which is way by down 玉川(たまがわ) in southern Tokyo, but I was working in Shinjuku, and my company was paying for my 定期券(ていきけん) (which is a “commuter pass ticket”). I told her that it’s great, because with a “commuter pass ticket” you can go to any stations between the start and end of your journey for free as many times as you want. So this meant that I could go to Shinjuku, Harajuku, Shibuya, Daikanyama, Nakameguro, and even Jiyugaoka for free, essentially. For those that know Tokyo, that is one awesome free train ticket. And I think I said something like…

新宿(しんじゅく)でも、原宿(はらじゅく)でも、渋谷(しぶや)でも、自由ヶ丘(じゆうがおか)でも、どこでも降(お)り放題だ[からすごく便利(べんり)だよ]
I can go to Shinjuku, Harajuku, Shibuya, Jiyugaoka—anywhere!—so it’s really convenient.

The verb 降りる technically means “to go down,” but it also means “to get off (a train).” Using the ~放題 construction that we’ve talked about, this means that a direct translation of this sentence becomes: “Shinjuku, Harajuku, Shibuya, Jiyugaoka, and anywhere are all all-you-can-get-off-the-train.”

In other words, I can go to all of these places as much as I want for free. She looked at me, and she said, in Japanese, something along the lines of, “You’re really good at Japanese.” I suppose that it’s because it’s not super common to make constructions like this one, 降り放題, but it does make sense to a Japanese speaker. So maybe you should try one of your own sometimes… you might make a fool of yourself, like I do all the time, or you might pull it off and sound really cool. Who knows…

Anyways, Diego says [“()放題(ほうだい)がいいよね” ]
We should get all-you-can-drink, right?

And then Miki responds by saying:
[ほかに何があるの?]
“Do you even have to ask?.”

Word-for-word, that’s:
ほかにBesides (that)
なに What
ある there is

So as a direct translation, we get something like “What else is there beside that?” And I translated this to “Do you even have to ask?”

Pronunciation of this sentence is extremely important in order to express the correct meaning. The first time that I sent this line to the voice actress for Miki, she said it like this: [ほかに何があるの?] Notice that she draws out the sound of the の at the end. This does two things: one, it sounds really feminine. Two, it sounds like she is genuinely asking: “What else is there besides all-you-can-drink?” Miki is not genuinely asking, though. She thinks that it’s obvious that they should be ordering all-you-can-drink, and that’s why I had to get the voice actress to retake this line, pronouncing it like this: [ほかになにがあるの] Here, notice that the の at the end is not as drawn it, making it sound less feminine and less genuine, and instead, she puts a heavy intonation on the あ in あるの. The nuance that we get form this pronunciation is a more sarcastic “What else is there beside that?” which I translated to “Do you even have to ask?” It might help to check out the shadow looping track that puts both of these right next to each other. Here is a sample: [insert shadow track].

If that all sounds too confusing still, I wouldn’t worry about it too much. You’ll pick up things like natural intonation for these nuances naturally over time. Also, I’ll point them out as often as I can.

Diego then responds to her with [そうだよね]. Which means something like “Yeah, you’re right.” So altogether we have:

ディエゴ:

()放題()がいいよね?
のみほうだい が いい よ ね?
We should get all-you-can-drink, right?

ミキ:

ほかに()があるの?
ほか に なに が ある の?
Do you even have to ask?

ディエゴ:

そうだよね。
Yeah, I guess not.

After that, Diego turns to everyone else asking if they’re ready to order, and the following dialog ensues…

ディエゴ:

みんな()むもの()めた?
みんな のむ もの きめた?
Does everyone know what they want?

トビ:

()はビール。
おれ は ビール。
I’ll have a beer.

ケンタ:

()も。
ぼく も。
Me too.

ミキ:

あたしも!
Me too.

カナコ:

ウーロンハイ。
Oolong tea highball.

マナミ:

ハイボール。
Highball.

トビ&
ケンタ:

可愛()い!
かわいい!
Kawaii!

We’re almost finished! Let’s start with this question by Diego: [みんな()むもの()めた?]. Word-for-word that’s

  • Everyone
  • Drink
  • Thing
  • Decided?

We don’t have to be rocket scientists to deduce that this means “Does everyone know what they want?” or “Is everyone ready to order?”

決めた, the past tense of 決める, “to decide.” Is the common way to say that you’re ready to order in Japanese. In English we might say “I’m ready (to order).” But in Japanese they would just say 決めた, “(I’ve) decided.” I actually hear Japanese people say this in English sometimes when in fact they mean to say “I’m ready.”

Before we move onto the other parts of this dialog, let’s place the missing particle game. Seeing as how this is a casual situation, Diego is dropping some particles here. Can you guess which particles are being skipped in this sentence?

[みんな()むもの()めた?]

I’ll give you a hint, there are two of them.

I’ll give you another hint, one particle comes after みんな and one particle comes after もの.

If you guessed は and を, then you’re correct. We say を, because it’s the direct object marker. In other words, it’s best friends with this transitive verb 決めた. And we use は after みんな, because Diego is changing the topic of his sentence to “everyone.” If we said it in weird, directly translated English, then みんなは飲むものを決めた? Would be “As for all of you, have you decided what you want to drink?” Spoken more naturally and casually, though, we say:

みんな飲むもの決めた? and “Are you all ready to order?” or “Do you guys know what you want (to drink)?”

As might be expected, everyone then lists off the drinks that they want.

トビ:

()はビール。
おれ は ビール。
I’ll have a beer. (Literally, “as for me, I’ll have a beer.”)

ケンタ:

()も。
ぼく も。
Me too. (Kenta says 僕, and not 俺, because he’s kind of timid and kind of overly polite. Personally, I would always use 俺 in this type of situation, but that’s just me.)

ミキ:

あたしも!
Me too. (あたし is a pretty common way for girls to say “I.” But it would still be pretty normal, I think, if Kanako said 私, too. It seems that most girls her age would say あたし in this situation, though.)

カナコ:

ウーロンハイ。
Oolong tea highball.

マナミ:

ハイボール。
Highball.

In response to Manami’s unbearable cuteness, Toby and Kenta think:

トビ&
ケンタ:

可愛()い!
かわいい!
Kawaii!

I didn’t actually translate this, but instead I just wrote Kawaii. It seems wrong to translate this to “cute,” which is what 可愛(かわい)い is often translated to. But I think that “cute” is a totally different concept than 可愛い, and I think that some of you out there can probably explain this a lot better than I can. I should get someone to make a guest video or something.

Last but not least, we have a horribly difficult sentence, spoken in the dreaded honorific form:

店員:

注文()()はこちらの()()ボタン()をお使()いください。
ごちゅうもん の さい は こちら の よびだしボタン を おつかい ください。
Please use this call button anytime you’d like to make an order.

As I give a word-for-word breakdown of this sentence in English, I think it might help to also give a word-for-word breakdown of this sentence in normal (that is, not super-polite) Japanese. So…

  • ご注文 is 注文 is “order”
  • 際 is とき is “when”
  • こちらの is ここの is “here”
  • 呼び出しボタン is still 呼び出しボタン is “call button.”
  • お使いください is 使ってください is “please use.”

So altogether we get “Please use this call button anytime you’d like to make an order.” The odds that you will ever need to say a sentence like this are pretty low, but it’s certainly helpful to understand this Japanese, especially if you’re planning on going to any izakaya in Japan.

Aside from the formal substitutes for various words that I just listed here, there is only one grammatical construction worth noting for extra formal Japanese, and it’s one that we’ve already seen before.

Earlier we say お決まりですか where the –masu form of the verb 決まる, “to be decided,” 決まります loses its “masu” to become 決まり and gets an お attached to it: お決まり.

Well this time, we have the verb 使う, “to use.” The –masu form is 使います. So the stem of that is 使い, and then we add お to the front of it to get お使い, and then she just sticks a please onto it with ください. That might sound really confusing, but you might find some solace in knowing that this phrase お使いください is quite common, so there’s a good chance that you’ll see it as a set from time to time, making it much easier to remember. Sweet!

With that, we’re at the end of this dialogue! Nice! We dealt with some dense stuff in this one, so I’m sorry if it was a bit confusing. Feel free to watch through it a few times if it seems too difficult and/or read the PDF transcripts. And if none of that works, then you can always just come back to it at a later date. Good luck!

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