J.S's Blogs for English Village (9)


We asked many people, but although it's a set phrase in America, it's not a common concept in Japan.  Even when we tried a direct translation, the staff members just looked bemused at us, not understanding we were trying to be polite.

Similarly, in America, we would never tell a staff member "otsukaresamadeshita" because we often translate that into English as "good work today", or "well done", or "good job"... but all of those are only something a boss or an equal would have the right to say.  
Therefore, to Americans, it can seem like we are being a littel rude, if we say it to staff members we don't know.

Likewise, in America, I might say "Thanks" to street workers when I walk past them.  In Japan, I sometimes say otsukaresama, but then I worry that I was not ploite.
Or when I exchange emails with my Japanese friends, we alway start messages with Otsukaresama, but at the same time I often think: Does that make sense ?  Today is her day off !
Or, it's only lunch time, I haven't had time to get tired yet !  Also, because Americans dislike saying the same thing over and over, I get worried that if I always say otsukaresama in messages, it will start to sound boring or fake.  Although I know it's a polite thing to say, it still feels impolite !

英会話表現&英単語 その127
set phrase                   対になった決まり文句
direct translation           直訳
look bemused at 〜      困惑して〜を見る
try to be polite             丁寧な言い方をしようとする
similarly                    同様に
boss or an equal             上司かそれに匹敵する人
I worry that 〜       〜じゃないかと心配する
at the same time             同時に
make sense                   意味をなす、理屈に合う
day off                      休日
over and over                繰り返して、何度も
fake                         にせ物、まやかし

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