Category Archives: JAPANESE

How to use 済む( = sumu), 済まない( = sumanai)

Kiki: 「わたしのおやつをとったらただではすみませんよ。」

= Watashi no oyatsu wo tottara tada de wa sumimasen yo.

= If you steal my snack, you are not going to get away with it.

Jiro: 「早くこのレッスンを済ませて遊ぼうよ!」

= Hayaku kono ressun wo sumasete asobou yo!

= Let’s finish up this lesson and play!

Hi everyone!

We are your guest teachers, Kiki and Jiro. We are going to help Maggie Sensei with her lesson today.

Today we are going to learn how to use the verb 済む = すむ ( = sumu)

* intransitive verb form:

済む = すむ = sumu

something finishes

* transitive verb form:

済ませる = すませる = sumaseru = transitive verb

済ます = すます = sumasu= transitive verb

to finish something

This verb has several usages.

Let’s look at them one by one. Ready?

1) finishing

(1) something finishes, ends: ( = 終わる= owaru)

Basic pattern: with intransitive verb forms

something + * ( = ga) + 済む ( = sumu)/(past tense) 済んだ (= sunda)

* Note: You also use the particles,

( = wa) in a question or to show the contrast.

Ex. 試験が済んだ

= Shiken ga sunda.

= The exam is finished.


A: 「旅行の準備は済みましたか?」

= Ryokou no junbi wa sumimashita ka?

= Did you finish packing (for your travel)?


= ie, mada sunde imasen.

= No, I haven’t finished yet.

Ex. 仕事が済んだら飲みに行こうかな。

= Shigoto ga sundara nomini ni ikou kana.

= When I finish work, I’ll go out for a drink.

Ex. 父の手術が無事に済みました

= Chichi no shujutsu ga buji ni sumimashita.

= My father’s surgery finished without any problems.

Ex. 済んだことは仕方がない。

= Sunda koto wa shikata ga nai.

= What’s done is done. (What’s done cannot be undone.)

Ex. 用が済んだら連絡するね。

= You ga sundara renraku surune.

= I will contact you when I’m done.

Ex. 会議は3時には済みそうだ。

= Kaigi wa sanji ni wa sumisou da.

= The meeting seems to be …continue reading


Kanji Cheat Sheet: Buying Hay Fever Medication in Japan

Source: Gaijin Pot

My favorite season in Japan is definitely spring. You’ve got cherry blossoms, fair weather, and the official end of winter. The only problem is that with spring comes hay fever. You know the deal, constant sneezing, a runny nose, and itchy eyes that that can only come from an overabundance of pollen.

So these bastards are the ones responsible for my itchy eyes.

So with hay fever hell just around the corner, it’s time to stay ahead of the curve with some potent hay fever medicine. The only problem? Navigating through all those labels. After all, drugstores literally have entire sections dedicated to fighting off that pesky pollen.

Know the basic language surrounding hay fever

Here are some kanji found on over-the-counter medicine to look for depending on your symptoms.

English Japanese Romaji
Hay fever 花粉症 kafunshou
Cedar-tree pollen スギ花粉 sugi kafun
Sneezing くしゃみ kushami
Runny noses 鼻水 hanamizu
Itchy eyes 目がかゆい me ga kayui
A general word for anti-allergy treatments 抗アレルギー薬 kouarerugiyaku
Medicine for itchy eyes 花粉症目薬 kafunshoumegusuri
Non-drowsy medicine 眠くならない薬 nemukunaranaikusuri
Medicine for stuffed nose 鼻炎薬 bienyaku
Anti-histamine 抗ヒスタミン薬 kouhisutamingusuri
Herbal medicine 漢方薬 kanpouyaku

Should OTC not be enough to relieve your symptoms, Japan has a whole host of hay fever products that help with those itchy eyes.

Looking at the package

One thing that I never appreciated before coming to Japan is that there are many different ways to take your medicine. After all, not all of us are okay swallowing pills the size of a reasonably big beetle. Here are a few different types.

English Japanese Romaji
Tablet form ~錠剤 ~jyouzai
Swallow 飲み薬 nomigusuri
Liquid form 液体 ekitai
Nasal drops 点鼻薬 tenbiyaku
Eye drops 点眼薬 tenganyaku
For internal use only 内服 naifuku
Containing fexofenadine hydrochloride フェキソフェナジン塩酸塩 fekisofenajin ensanen
Containing epinastine hydrochloride エピナスチン塩酸塩 epinasuchin ensanen

Medicines that contain fexofenadine, are mainly used to alleviate allergies related to skin conditions like dermatitis or eczema. Those with epinastine hydrochloride are used to treat bronchial asthma or food allergies.

These may be joined with the kanji 入(い)り, meaning inside the packet, so don’t be confused if you see this mark next to any of …continue reading


Kanji Cheat Sheet: Using the ATM in Japan

Source: Gaijin Pot

Living in Japan can be confusing sometimes, especially when it comes to daily tasks like going to the bank. A lot of what you might do at a bank in your home country with the assistance of a teller is often done at the ATM in Japan. While some ATMs in Japan have an English option, others do not.

I can still remember my first time going to the bank to sort out my affairs by myself and how intimidated I felt by all the unfamiliar kanji. Pretty much the only words I could read were the English origin words キャッシュカード (cash card) and クレジットカード (credit card).

Your typical Japanese ATM menu.

Despite a relatively successful trip, I left the bank a little nervous that I had told the banker the wrong thing or pressed the wrong button and sent all of my money to some stranger in a remote part of Japan by mistake!

Not to worry, with these four words you can do everything you need to do at the ATM:

English Japanese Romaji
Deposit money 預け入れ azukeire
Withdraw money 引き出し hikidashi
Send money to someone 振込 furikomi
Transfer money 振替 furikae

Getting paid

Now that you know the basic words for withdrawing and transferring money, the next thing you need to know is how to check your account balance (残(ざん)高(だか)).

残()高() is an interesting word because it is made up of the kanji found in the words 残(のこ)る(left over) and 高(たか)いいい (high), presumably because the amount of money you have left (残る) is high (高い) in your account (残高). Banking humor… you’ve got to have a memorization method, right?

If you want to check your account balance, you are going to have to learn some common Japanese banking terms. Luckily, most of this information can be found by simply looking at your bank card.

On the bank card, you’ll find …continue reading


Phrases For Dating In Japan

Image courtesy of, CCO

Did you meet a Japanese girl or guy but have no idea what to say to them in Japanese? I have come to rescue you. Here are a few basic Japanese dating phrases that you can use for that special someone.

Good afternoon (こんにちは).

When starting a conversation with that cute Japanese person across the room, you’ll need to first introduce yourself. You can start that by first saying, “good afternoon”, “good evening”, or, if leaving at night, “good night”. “Konnichiwa” (こんにちは) is a word that generally means “good afternoon”, but it can also be used at other times of the day. If you are meeting your potential dating partner specifically in the evening, you can use “Konbanwa” (こんばんは). You’d use these words like you would in English. For example, “Good evening, I’m Phil” would be translated to, “こんばんは、僕はフィルです).

My name is … (私のなめは …)

Let’s break the grammar down for this one, because understanding this sentence is really important because you are going to use this sentence a lot.

There are several ways to say “I” in Japanese, and “watashi” is probably the most neutral and polite way to do so. It is used by both men and women and is commonly used in formal situations. If you are a girl, you’ll probably be using this or the variant “Atashi” (あたし) quite a lot. If you are a guy, you have two additional options for the word “I”: “boku” (僕) or “ore” (俺). “Ore” is considered rougher and more informal (also more manly), while “boku” is more childish, polite, and demurring. Great, so “I” is covered. Next in the sentence, you’ll add the “no” (の) particle which is a possessive particle. This, when combined with “I”, essentially makes the word “my”. The next word, “namae” (名前) literally translates …continue reading


March 20th: Spring Equinox in Japan

Photo by Philip Gregory

Image courtesy of, CCO

March 20th is fast approaching, and with it comes the annual spring equinox. In Japan, this event is a national holiday called “Shuubun no HI” (春分の日).

In technical terms, an equinox is “either of the two times each year (as of about March 21 and September 23) when the sun (太陽) crosses the equator and day (日中)and night (夜) are everywhere on Earth of approximately equal length” (Merriam Webster). Simply put, it’s the time of year, in spring, when day and night last about the same amount of time.

In Japan, the holiday (祝日) is generally celebrated on March 20th or 21st, depending on the actual equinox, and it is celebrated in a few ways. First, most people have the day off from work. Secondly, though it is now a non-religious holiday that focuses on nature(自然) and the importance of all living things, it also retains much of its Shinto (神道)roots. Much like in the past, Japanese families today often visit the burial sites (墓) of their ancestors, gleaning the gravestones (墓石) and offering flowers(花) and incense (線香) in reverence of those who have passed. Family reunions are also a common occurrence, during this holiday.

Since the Spring Equinox occurs at the end of the Japanese school year, many graduating students hold their graduation ceremonies (卒業式) at this time. The spring equinox marks the first day of spring, so it is no surprise that the cherry blossoms (桜) are flowering at this time, and thus “Hanami”(花見), or flower viewing, is a common activity. On the days just preceding the spring equinox and for three days after, people often make rice dumplings, “Higan Soba”(彼岸そば), or “Udon”(うどん). It is said that, during this time, meat(肉) and alcohol (酒)are forbidden. On the actual equinox holiday, people are found eating “Botamochi”(牡丹餅), a rice …continue reading