Ep. 12 Commentary - Conbini


Dialogue

マナミ:

カラオケ行かないの?
カラオケ いかない の?
Aren’t we going to karaoke?

カナコ:

ミキが持ち込みできる店知ってるんだって。
ミキ が もちこみ できる みせ しってる んだって。
Miki knows a place where you can bring your own food and drinks.

マナミ:

へ~じゃあなんか買わないと!
へ~ じゃあ なんか かわないと!
Really? Then I should get something!

トビ:

これで足りる?
これ で たりる?
You think this’ll be enough?

ディエゴ:

さぁ~
Who knows…

ケンタ:

お店の中で飲んでいいの?
おみせ の なか で のんで いい の?
Is it OK to be drinking in the store like that?

トビ:

顔赤っ!
かお あかっ!
Your face is so red!

ディエゴ:

酔っぱらってんの? ケンタ君。
よっぱらってんの?ケンタくん。
Are you drunk, Kenta?

ケンタ:

まあ、ちょっとね。
Yeah, I’m kind of buzzed.

ミキ:

それじゃ足りないでしょ。
それじゃ たりない でしょ。
That’s not enough.

トビ:

ほら!
I told you!


Commentary Transcript

So this video is the shortest one we’ve seen so far, and it’s taking place at one of my favorite places in the world: a Japanese convenient store. The first line of dialog is a question that you might have been wondering yourself, as Manami says…

マナミ:

カラオケ行かないの?
カラオケ いかない の?
Aren’t we going to karaoke?

  • Karaoke
  • not go
  • [genuine question]

This sentence is pretty straightforward, “Karaoke / not go?” And I translated it to “Aren’t we going to karaoke?”

Kanako explains by saying...

カナコ:

ミキが持ち込みできる店知ってるんだって。
ミキ が もちこみ できる みせ しってる んだって。
Miki knows a place where you can bring your own food and drinks.

  • Miki
  • [identifier particle]
  • carry in
  • can
  • shop
  • knows
  • is (of explanation)
  • [quote marker]

Wow, that’s a lot of words. Maybe it’ll help to start with the translation that I used in the dialogue, which is, “Miki knows a place where you can bring you own food and drinks.” You might be thinking, “I don’t see anything about food and drinks here.”

Well, we have “Miki.” And then we have “knows,” and this middle part, 持ち込みできる店 is the part getting translated to “a place where you can bring your own food and drinks.” 店, means “shop,” or “store,” or “restaurant,” or, in this case, “karaoke place,” so that’s why it’s getting translated to “place.” Next we have できる, which is “can,” or more specifically, “can (do),” the potential form of する. That means that this one word 持ち込み is getting translated to “bring your own food and drinks.”

持つ means “to carry,” and the –masu stem of this verb is 持ち, and in this word it’s getting attached to the word 込み, which is the –masu stem of the word 込む, which means a bunch of things, such as “to be crowded,” or “to be complex,” or, the meaning that we’re seeing here, “to go into.”

So connecting 持ち “carry” and 込み “go into,” we have 持ち込み “carrying in” or “bringing in,” and, like in the dialogue, it is sometimes used for karaoke places where you are (or aren’t) allowed to bring in your own food or drinks. Sometimes in Japan, you’ll see signs at karaoke places that say things like 持ち込み可能, and this meaning “carrying in” and “possible,” in other words, 持ち込みできる, which is what we saw in the dialogue, a 持ち込みできる店, a place where you can bring in your own food and drinks.

So that whole first part of the sentence is ミキが持ち込みできる店知ってる, “Miki knows a place where you can bring in your own food and drinks,” and then at the end Kanako adds ~んだ, because this statement is meant to be an explanation for Manami’s question about why they’re at a conbini and not at karaoke, and then she adds the “casual quotation marker” って to illustrate that this is reported speech. Miki told her about this karaoke place, but Kanako personally does not know of its existence.

Manami then says…

マナミ:

へ~じゃあなんか買わないと!
へ~ じゃあ なんか かわないと!
Really? Then I should get something!

  • Really?
  • Then
  • Something
  • don’t buy
  • and

Some of you that have been studying Japanese for a while maybe recognize that this 買わないと is actually an abbreviated version of the construction 買わないといけない, which means something like “(one) must buy.” The key to this construction is the particle と. We’ve already seen this being used to mean “and,” and we’ve seen it used as a quotation marker (which in casual speech becomes って), but here it’s actually being used as a “conditional marker,” which might be a bit confusing, but I’ll try to explain.

There are lots of ways to make “if” statements in Japanese (four way, actually), and one of them is using the particle と. The construction goes like this:

[Sentence A] と [Sentence B (is inevitable)]

Sentence A is the “condition” and Sentence B is the “result” that will definitely occur if Sentence A is true.

So, for example, we could say “If you don’t eat, you will starve.”

食(た)べないと餓死(がし)する

That’s pretty obvious, but we can also clarify for people that Sentence B will definitely result given certain conditions that are less obvious. For example, I could say:

貯金(ちょきん)しないと後悔(こうかい)するよ

Sentence A (condition) = You don’t save money. / 貯金しない

+ と / if

Sentence B (result) = You will regret it. / 後悔するよ

The English translation then would be “If you don’t save money, you will (definitely) regret it.”

Altogether, this explains the grammatical construction of “Sentence A といけない.” If we think of the literal meaning of いけない, it’s something like “cannot go,” as it’s the potential, negative from of the verb 行く, “to go.” If you look up いけない in some dictionaries, there will even be an entry that says “must not do” or “should not do” or “be no good.” Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. We can just remember it as the English phrase “It’s a No-Go,” shortened to just “No-Go.”

So if we have “Sentence A (conditional) といけない” it therefore means, “If A, definitely cannot do.” In other words, we “Must do the opposite of A.” This is where it gets a bit confusing, because usually A, in this type of sentence, will be a negative verb. For example…

行(い)かないといけない

“don’t go” と “No-Go”

➔ If I don’t go, No-Go.

➔ ➔ I must go.

食(た)べないといけない

“don’t eat” と “No-Go”

➔ If I don’t eat, No-Go.

➔ ➔ I must eat.

And finally, the example we saw in the dialogue…

買(か)わないといけない

“don’t buy” と “No-Go”

➔ If I don’t buy, No-Go.

➔ ➔ I must buy.

Kind of a cool thing is that in casual conversations it’s the norm to just drop the last part and end your sentence with と, that’s why Manami says only 買わないと, which, after all that stuff we just talked about, means “I must buy.”

Looking at her whole sentence, she said: [へ~じゃあなんか買(か)わないと!]. Literally, this is, “Really? Then, something must buy!” But I just translated it to “Really? Then I should get something.” In other words, she needs to buy some food and drinks so that she can bring them into the karaoke place.

Next, the scene cuts to Toby and Diego, who are at the register with all of their food and drinks…

トビ:

これで足りる?
これ で たりる?
You think this’ll be enough?

  • With this
  • be sufficient?

I’m not sure if this is how Japanese professors would explain this, but in my head, thisで is technically the copula だ being used as a conjunction, meaning something like “is + and.” It’s hard to put this into an English phrase that matches up nicely with the Japanese, but we can look at it like this:

A~でB? meaning something like “Is A B?” Usually this is used to get someone’s opinion or permission, though. We’re not saying “Is A B?” in the sense of “Is she your girlfriend?” or “Is this chicken?” Rather, we’re saying something like “Is this OK?” which we would translate to これでいいの? For example, if you’re designing a poster for your friend’s business, and you show it to him, you could ask これでいいの? “Is this OK?” Or you could even say これでどう? “How’s this?” Literally, “This is how?”

We have already seen this grammar actually. One example is when everyone was introducing themselves, and Toby said: [みんな名前(なまえ)言(い)うだけでいいんじゃない?], which was translated to “It’s probably enough to just say our names, yeah?” It is enough, or “it is good,” literally, is coming from でいい? only.

This time, in the dialogue, we had [これで足りる?] Which is literally “This is be sufficient?” But I translated it to “You think this’ll be enough?” Or I could have also put “Is this enough?” or “Will this be enough?”

And then Diego responds with…

ディエゴ:

さぁ~
Who knows…

  • Who knows…

Feel free to say this anytime you want to say “Who knows…” or “I wonder…” Here’s Diego saying it five times in a row [insert track].

Next Kenta comes up and, being the straight-laced guy that he is asks…

ケンタ:

お店の中で飲んでいいの?
おみせ の なか で のんで いい の?
Is it OK to be drinking in the store like that?

  • Store
  • Inside
  • At
  • Drink
  • Good
  • [genuine question]

Okay, so here we have the exact thing we just saw with Toby when he said これで足りる? Kenta says 飲んでいいの? “Is A B?” Is “to drink” “good?” If we want to look at the stiff, grammatical version, which I was kind of hoping to avoid in this video, it would be 飲んでもいいですか or something like that (which I think we’ve already seen before). Anyways, we’ll see similar grammar to this a lot in the future, so if you haven’t quite gotten a grip on it, no worries. We’ll deal with it later.

お店の中 means “in the store,” and then we add で, which often gets translated to “at” or “in,” which can make it kind of hard for native English speakers to distinguish from に. Long story short, when we are talking about doing an action at or in a place, we use で, and when we are talking about going to a place, we use に. Since we’re talking about doing an action (drinking) in this example, the construction looks like this…We have お店の中 “in the store” and then we have an action 飲んで, and we want to connect this action to this prepositional phrase, “in the store,” and we connect it with で, お店の中で飲んで. This probably deserves a much longer, in-depth explanation, but I’m going to save it for another day.

Altogether, I translated [お店(みせ)の中(なか)で飲(の)んでいいの?] to “Is it OK to be drinking in the store like that?” Everyone ignores Kenta’s question, though, and Toby says…

トビ:

顔赤っ!
かお あかっ!
Your face is so red!

  • Face
  • red!

Seeing as how Toby is such an eloquent guy, all he is really saying here is “Face / Red!” and I translated the whole thing to “Your face is so red!” He is referring of course, to the legendary “Asian Glow.” (I’m not totally sure if that term is offensive or not, by the way.) Wikipedia calls this “Alcohol Flush Reaction” or sometimes “Asian Flush Syndrome,” and it refers to how some people’s skin turns red when they drink.

The thing that I really want to look at here, though, is the word 赤っ! So the i-adjective 赤い, which means “red,” is here changing to 赤っ in order to intensify its meaning. You can do this with a number of i-adjectives in order to emphasize them.

For example, if you look at the price tag of something, and it’s ridiculously expensive, instead of saying just 高(たか)い, “expensive,” you could express real shock by saying 高(たか)っ! “It’s expensive!”

If you walk outside, and it’s cold, you might say 寒(さむ)い, “It’s cold” (literally, “cold”) or, if you want to say “It’s freezing!” then you could say 寒(さむ)っ!

You’ll probably hear this a lot once you start getting a solid amount of exposure to Japanese in casual situations, and it’s a pretty fun bit of grammar to use. Here’s a sample from the shadow looping track:

[insert shadow track]

Commenting on Kenta’s red face, Diego then says…

ディエゴ:

酔っぱらってんの? ケンタ君。
よっぱらってんの?ケンタくん。
Are you drunk, Kenta?

  • Are drunk
  • [genuine question]?
  • Kenta-kun

酔っぱらう is the word for “to be drunk” or “to get drunk.” There are actually quite a few words for this, but let’s just focus on this one for now. As we’ve seen before, this casual Japanese has a number of abbreviations in it. Notably, 酔っぱらっているの? is shortened to 酔っぱらってるの? is shortened to 酔っぱらってんの?

I translated the whole thing as “Are you drunk, Kenta?”

He then responds with…

ケンタ:

まあ、ちょっとね。
Yeah, I’m kind of buzzed.

  • Well
  • A little
  • [you feel me?]

Not clarifying the difference between “drunk” and “buzzed” or “tipsy” is a huge pet peeve of mine when teaching English to Japanese speakers. A lot of times, you will hear Japanese people say there were or are “a little drunk,” but this, in my opinion, conveys a much stronger level of inebriation than saying ちょっと酔っぱらってる, which I would translate to something like “I’m feeling a bit tipsy,” or “I’m kind of buzzed.” I actually got into a bit of an argument with an editor one time when I was doing a translation, and the Japanese editor insisted that we put “a bit drunk” when really I was adamant that it should say “kind of buzzed” or “a bit tipsy.”

But, yeah, all you need to take away from this is that the connotations of 酔っぱらってる are not quite as strong as those of “being drunk,” and most people would not hesitate to tell you that they’re feeling ちょっと酔っぱらってる, although in my experience many English speakers would avoid using the word “drunk” in that type of state.

As for this word まあ, it’s kind of hard to translate it as a separate word. One dictionary entry that I saw put it this way: “(when hesitating to express an opinion) well...; I think...; it would seem...; you might say...; Hmmm, I guess so...” It might help to imagine someone shrugging their shoulders when they start a sentence with まあ. The good thing is that you’ll probably get a feel for this naturally.

The full translation that I gave this sentence [まあ、ちょっとね] was “Yeah, I’m kind of buzzed.”

Miki then enters and points at the drinks and food, saying…

ミキ:

それじゃ足りないでしょ。
それじゃ たりない でしょ。
That’s not enough.

  • With that
  • not be sufficient
  • right?

それじゃ is actually short for それでは, and in dictionaries it gets translated to things like “well then…” or “in that situation…” I think that can be kind of misleading, but “in that situation” does help in explaining this word, as it is used in this sentence.

Miki is saying, “That amount of food and drinks will not be enough.” All she is saying for “That amount of food and drinks,” is それじゃ “that situation,” if you will. It makes a lot of sense if we look at each part of それでは. それ means “that,” right? And we’ve seen で a bunch of times, in a bunch of ways, but we can skip all of that and just say that それで means “with that.” Lastly, we have は, the topic marker that, at times, gets translated to “as for.” So smashing all of that together, we might have something like “As for with that.” Or, a bit more naturally, “As for that (amount)…” and then she says 足りない, “will not be sufficient” or “is not sufficient,” and at the very end, she adds でしょ. As we’ve seen a few times now, shortening でしょう to just でしょ increases the casualness and certainty of the phrase.

Taking all of that, we can put this entire phrase, [それじゃ足(た)りないでしょ] into a simple English sentence such as “That’s not enough.”

Toby responds by turning to Diego and saying…

トビ:

ほら!
I told you!

  • Look!

ほら technically means “Look!” or “There it is.” But in this situation, we can just translate it as “I told you so!” Or, the translation that I used in the dialogue, “I told you!”

Anytime you get into an argument with someone about something, and then it turns out that you were right, feel free to turn to them and say, quite simply, ほら! “I told you so!”

With that, this video is finished! Congrats! Please let me know if you have any questions.

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