by studio tdes
CHANCES are, you came to Niseko for the snow – and so did the person sitting opposite you in the gondola. So, if you want attempt a conversation, talking about the snow is probably a good place to start. And since we’re guessing you’ll spend most of your holiday on the mountain, in this lesson we give you some language to use when you’re on the mountain talking about – and enjoying – the snow.
1. Ii – Good
Ii is one of many words you can use to describe the amazing run you’ve just had or the yuki (snow). Ii yuki da ne means: the snow’s good, isn’t it? Also try: saikou da ne (it’s awesome), kimochi ii (feels great!), ii condition da ne (the snow’s great today, isn’t it?), kyou sugoku ii, (it’s really good today).
2. Dou? how, what
You can ask questions in Japanese just by raising your voice at the end of a statement, or attaching ka. Dou is also useful. When you meet your friend at the bottom of the run, ask them: dou datta? (how was it?). If they’ve just bought new boots and are wearing them for the first time, ask: boots dou? (how are your boots?). You ordered soba for lunch and your friend is slurping down a bowl of udon – ask them how it is: dou? oishii? (is it good?)
3. Samui – cold
It’s winter in Niseko, of course it’s cold! Still, sometimes it’s colder than usual, especially when it’s windy and you’re sitting in a chairlift without a hood. Samui ne! (it’s cold, isn’t it?). Ne, sugoku samui (yeah, it’s really cold). Note: if you’re talking about a particular body part, you need a different word for cold: tsumetai. Tsumasaki ga tsumetai (my toes are cold.) Yubi ga tsumetai (my fingers are cold). If you’re not feeling cold, here are some other things to complain about: tsukareata (I’m tired), onaka suita (I’m hungry), harahetta (I’m hungry – boys version).
3. Matte – wait
Your friend rides off while you’re still adjusting your boots and you want them to wait. Yell: matte! (wait). Later you’re standing at the top of the mountain and they ask if you’re ready to take off: ikou ka? (shall we go?). You’re almost ready, but just need to put away your camera. Say: chotto matte (hang on a sec). When you’re ready, say: ikou! (let’s go!).
4. Doko? – where
You stare at your map and up at the mountain and back at the map … and still have no idea where you are. Try taking your map to one of the mountain staff and asking: koko doko? (where are we on this map?). When they show you, say: domou arigatou gozaimasu (thank you very much). When you’re busting for the loo, ask someone: toile wa doko desu ka? (where is the toilet?). After you strike up a conversation with someone about the weather, they’ll probably ask you something like: doko kara kitano? (where are you from?).
5. Daijoubu? – OK
If you come across someone lying in the snow and you’re wondering if they’re injured, ask them: daijoubu? (are you OK?) They might just be having a rest, in which case, they’ll answer: daijoubu (yeah, I’m fine). If someone asks you and you’re not OK, you can say: daijoubu janai (I’m not OK). If you need help, you can say: tasukete (help me). If you’re injured and want to get your point across in the simplest way possible, try pointing to the injured body part and saying: itai (it hurts).
6. Dame! – Don’t … !
If someone skis after you yelling “dame!” – chances are you’ve done something against the rules. Dame is used for telling someone not to do something, or telling someone off. If you want to tell someone off for almost poking your eye out with their ski pole, say: abunai! (that’s dangerous!).
7. Suberu – ski, snowboard
Suberu means slide and is also the verb most commonly used to talk about skiing or snowboarding. Subetta? (did you go boarding/skiing today?) Subbetta yo (yes). Mada (not yet). The roads in Hirafu are very slippery, so people will warn you: suberi yasui kara kiotsukete (be careful, it’s easy to slip over).
9. Furu – to snow
There is certainly a lot of snow in Niseko – but it doesn’t always snow 24/7, and when it starts and stops it’s always something to talk about. Yuku ga futteru (it’s snowing). Futteru? (Is it snowing?). Yannderu (it has stopped). Gangan futteru (it’s snowing hard). Futtenai (It’s not snowing). Furanai kanaa (I wish it would snow).
10. Akeome! – Happy New Year!
If you want to be with a crowd of people on New Year’s Eve, standing on the slopes watching the giant flaming 09 is the place to be. After the countdown wish everyone a happy new year: akemashite omedetou gozaimasu! (happy new year!) If you can’t remember the whole thing, try the shortened version: akeome! Special bonus points if you can remember the full new year greeting: akemashite omedetou gozaimasu. Kotoshi mo yoroshiku onegaishimasu.
Pronunciation guide: Since this magazine can’t talk, your best bet is to find a Japanese person and ask them to say the words and repeat after them. Then buy them a beer.
studio tdes produces a daily online English language show, based in Kutchan: www.thedailyenglishshow.com