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Lesson Transcript

INTRODUCTION
Natsuko: おはよう東京。Natsukoです。
Yoshi: Yoshiです。
Peter: Peter here. End of the year special, #4. As always, brought to you by Erklaren, the translation and interpretation specialists. Natsuko san and Yoshi san, joining us..well we are in the studio with Natsuko san and Yoshi san.
Natsuko: こんにちは。
Yoshi: こんにちは。
Peter: Now, today we are talking about a topic. Actually Natsuko san, we didn’t cover last year.
Natsuko: You are right.

Lesson focus

Peter: So Yoshi san, can you give us that topic.
Yoshi: 大掃除(おおそうじ)
Peter: And how can we translate this? Big cleaning day?
Natsuko: Yeah.
Peter: Yeah. Okay and on this day, I think it’s pretty straightforward what you are going to be doing.
Natsuko: Uhoo.
Peter: Lots and lots of cleaning. Okay so first things first. Can we get that day one more time? The name of that day one more time?
Yoshi: 大掃除。
Peter: Break it down.
Yoshi: おおそうじ。大掃除。
Peter: Okay. Natsuko san, Yoshi san, help me out here. As when I was single, I didn’t practice this day and…
Natsuko: You didn’t.
Peter: I didn’t. I’ve heard about it. It sounded very interesting.
Natsuko: But you haven’t tried.
Peter: Yeah I haven’t tried. So can you tell me what is this day all about?
Natsuko: Fairly simple. You just clean up everywhere.
Peter: Everywhere.
Natsuko: Everywhere.
Peter: So Yoshi san, what’s the word for cleaning in Japanese?
Yoshi: そうじ
Peter: Now what comes in front of this?
Natsuko: おお(大)
Peter: Big cleaning.
Natsuko: Yes.
Peter: So Natsuko san, it’s got to be a little different than your everyday cleaning.
Natsuko: Yes.
Peter: How is it different?
Natsuko: Big.
Peter: Yoshi san, help me out here. What makes it big?
Yoshi: So it’s like you know, you are supposed to make clean everything, all the mess from this year and just you know, get things organized and get ready for next year.
Natsuko: So to greet a new year in a very clean room.
Peter: To get ready to make it dirty for next year.
Natsuko: Well it depends on your lifestyle.
Peter: What are you trying to say there Natsuko san? Well you are right. Whatever you are trying to say. Okay so let’s straighten out a few points. When do you do this?
Natsuko: Usually around 28th or 29th.
Peter: Today?
Natsuko: Yes.
Peter: You tint everybody out there. Hint, hint! Yeah towards the end of the year but the kind of the deadline is before the New Year.
Natsuko: Yes.
Peter: Now Natsuko san, have you done yours already?
Natsuko: Oh oh!
Peter: Relax, I am with you this weekend. That’s what the weekend is for. It’s just – it’s still Thursday, Friday and then yeah, the 30th looks nice.
Natsuko: Yeah maybe.
Peter: Yoshi san, how about you?
Yoshi: Yeah I am trying.
Peter: Now I think in my personal opinion, I like – as I said, I didn’t practice at home but at Erklaren, they have 大掃除 a few years in a row.
Natsuko: Every year.
Peter: Umm.
Natsuko: You do it every year.
Peter: Yeah.
Natsuko: Yeah.
Peter: Now I think the difference between 大掃除 and regular 掃除 is with regular 掃除 a vacuum is used and papers are straightened up but 大掃除 everything goes into the garbage bag. Everything gets thrown away.
Natsuko: Well, nearly everything.
Peter: Yeah. So is a throwaway day kind of a better definition?
Natsuko: Well usually it becomes a throwaway day.
Peter: Yeah I think more than actually straightening up and making things tidy, it’s kind of like what’s going to go and what’s going to stay.
Natsuko: Right.
Yoshi: Don’t forget to recycle.
Natsuko: Sure.
Peter: Excellent point because throwing away garbage in Japan especially big things like TVs can be quite a troublesome process.
Natsuko: Yes.
Peter: You have to call city hall for some things, get special stickers, buy them and then if things have that sticker on it, then they will be taken away. So yeah, this is quite a process. Now Natsuko san, how long is an average 大掃除 day for you, the big cleaning day?
Natsuko: In my room?
Peter: Yeah.
Natsuko: I live in a very small room. So it won’t take so much time like 3 hours.
Peter: Really. Do you also help your family, your parents?
Natsuko: No.
Peter: You are very quick with that answer.
Natsuko: Because my parent’s house is always clean. They don’t need to clean up at yearend.
Peter: So if you do it a little bit the whole year, at the end of the year, it’s not so big.
Natsuko: Right.
Peter: Yoshi san, how about you? I like that laugh at the start of the answer.
Yoshi: It never ends to clean up. You know, I don’t have a room right now.
Peter: What’s going on?
Natsuko: What happened? Where do you sleep?
Peter: Where do you sleep?
Yoshi: Because I am staying at my sister’s and I sleep in a living room.
Natsuko: I see.
Yoshi: But right now, I am supposed to be in Nagasaki and I am supposed to help my mom. So…
Peter: Ah!
Yoshi: So I’d be helping to clean this messed house.
Peter: It’s going to be a battle.
Yoshi: Which you know never ends.
Peter: What’s like the room of rooms? In the US, we have the garage and the basement. You know, definition of cleaning is moving items to there.
Yoshi: Umm…
Peter: It’s like all right, the house is clean. Everything is in the basement now. Everything is in the garage and you just never, ever, ever go in there. What’s like the room of rooms in Japan?
Yoshi: So it’s like living in the garage.
Peter: Got it. Natsuko san, how about your room? Is there like one corner or one place that you just never go, the desk. Everything is piled on the desk.
Natsuko: Yeah there is a shelf in my office that I don’t want to touch.
Peter: Now do we have a name for this in Japanese?
Natsuko: I don’t think so.
Peter: Yoshi san, you want to make a name for it in Japanese?
Yoshi: Umm no.
Natsuko: Better not.
Peter: Okay so this is one custom and many people throughout the country honor this custom. Now what’s another custom that happened that takes place towards the end of the year, not the end of the year, not the 31st countdown or the New Year, we are going to cover that in a different lesson but what’s another event that almost everybody in Japan takes part in towards the end of the year.
Yoshi: We do 忘年会(ぼうねんかい)
Natsuko: Ah I like that one.
Peter: Yes everybody likes that one. Now we mentioned this in a previous podcast. What’s most interesting about this is, the characters, the Chinese characters. So Natsuko san, can you give us the word one more time?
Natsuko: 忘年会
Peter: Okay break it down.
Natsuko: ぼうねんかい。忘年会。
Peter: Now what does the first character in this word mean?
Natsuko: Forget.
Peter: The second character.
Natsuko: Year.
Peter: And the last character.
Natsuko: Party.
Peter: So forget year party. A party to forget the year. What are we to make of this?
Natsuko: Forget all the bad things that happened in the year. Forget all the troubles.
Peter: That’s pretty pessimistic.
Natsuko: But we are going to forget.
Peter: But we should have the other one to remember all the good things that happened in the year.
Natsuko: Yeah you will naturally remember that without a party. So in order to…
Peter: So the point…
Natsuko: So in order to forget all the troubles, we need to party. We need alcohol.
Yoshi: Right.
Natsuko: Got it?
Peter: Got it, yes ma’am but I got it. All right, when is our 忘年会?
Natsuko: Well all company has it on 28th. Hey that’s today.
Peter: Yeah.
Natsuko: We got to get ready.
Peter: Natsuko, we know where to shop. We have lots of bottles from [*]00:08:44
Natsuko: Really?
Peter: [*]00:08:46 Tequila.
Natsuko: Oh yes.
Peter: Yes. Well have fun in Nagasaki. How is it down there Yoshi san?
Yoshi: I have a 忘年会 by myself.
Peter: That’s why we sent Marvin down there for. We dispatched Marvin.
Natsuko: For 忘年会?
Peter: For the 忘年会. Okay so what happens at the 忘年会?
Natsuko: Everybody gets drunk and forget.
Peter: Natsuko is already in 忘年会 mode.
Natsuko: Yes.
Peter: Yeah I think although it sounds very crude and we could probably build it up like co-workers, friends, family. Not so much family…
Natsuko: Not so much family, yeah.
Peter: Friends and co-workers gather…
Natsuko: Yeah.
Peter: At restaurants or usually 居酒屋s places, they gather, they eat together, they drink together to forget the previous year. Doesn’t that sound much better Natsuko san?
Natsuko: Yes. I think you know in reality, it’s used almost like an excuse to get together.
Peter: Yeah.
Natsuko: Because we don’t have many occasions. So usually we hold several 忘年会s.
Peter: Yeah.
Natsuko: Towards you know, the end of the year and sometimes we get together with people who we usually don’t have the occasion to meet.
Peter: I think that’s the best point so far that there is many of them.
Natsuko: Yeah.
Peter: You have one for your friends, one for your company.
Natsuko: Yeah.
Peter: One for the school if you are in school like…
Natsuko: Yeah.
Peter: Just party season.
Natsuko: Yes.
Peter: So December is the month to get together with people like you said, you haven’t met in a long time. So yeah, these 忘年会s are quite fun too. End of the year, it gets very interesting. The streets of Tokyo are very friendly at about 11:30 PM.
Natsuko: Yes and the Karaoke store will be very crowded.
Peter: Ah yes. Right after the 忘年会 it is straight to Karaoke into your box.
Yoshi: But you know, I am actually having 忘年会 with my friends.
Natsuko: In Nagasaki?
Yoshi: In Nagasaki, I just remembered yeah.
Natsuko: Sounds nice.
Peter: Yeah.
Yoshi: With my old boys and old girls.
Natsuko: So friends when you went to school?
Yoshi: Umm like who I grew up with.
Natsuko: Sounds nice.
Peter: Yeah. So what kind of parties you are having out there? We’d love to know and everybody if you can make it from where we are in the world to our home office in the next few hours from the time we released this, until the end of the party are more than welcome to join us.
Natsuko: Sure definitely.
Peter: All right, 忘年会、大掃除 with a hangover. Two of Japan’s finest customs. All right, so that’s going to do it for this end of the year special. We will be back with another one tomorrow and then kind of close the year out because actually yeah today is the last day that I will be in Tokyo because I am heading out on my trip too.
Natsuko: Oh really?
Peter: Yeah Natsuko.
Natsuko: What!
Peter: It’s up to you. You will be publishing, you will be editing.
Natsuko: No way.
Peter: Well it’s a better answer than I hope for. No way means it is a chance you will do it. Great news.
Natsuko: No!

Outro

Peter: All right. That’s going to do it for today.
Natsuko: じゃ、また明日ね。
Yoshi: またね。

Kanji

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14 Comments

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JapanesePod101.com Verified
December 28th, 2006 at 06:30 PM
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Mina-san, About 煤払い (susuharai, mentioned in the PDF; in Japanese): http://www.jinja.or.jp/faq/answer/09-13.html Some statistics about bounenkai and shinnenkai: http://www.japan-guide.com/topic/0101.html Yoroshiku onegai shimasu!

Jason
October 17th, 2010 at 11:35 AM
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I really like this idea. Stuff really piles up in drawers and on shelves at my house. We could really use this tradition.

ラウリ
October 16th, 2010 at 05:40 PM
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This lesson is part of the category Throwback Thursday. They pick up old lessons and send them again. This one was originally published December 28th, 2006.

Andrew
October 15th, 2010 at 12:04 PM
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I thought today was the 14th? Why did they say today was the 28th?

David
May 28th, 2007 at 07:24 AM
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This is gonsalez music site - best music site in da world.

annie
December 30th, 2006 at 09:21 PM
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Cleaning while hungover sounds far better than snowboarding while hungover.


I was invited to 2 bounenkai this year... and I ditched the 2nd one (with the board of education) so that I could hit the slopes a day earlier.


At my school's bounenkai we played some games and there were skits. And we all won prizes. Probably only 60-70% of the teachers who came drank alcohol. (a lot of people drove themselves to the party) The price tag... 6000yen :shock:


大掃除 would be easier for me to do, if recycling weren't such a troublesome activity here. Where I live you're supposed to go so far as to empty out plastic packets of wasabi and wash the plastic before placing it into the "recyclable plastic" trash bag.

Lulu-chan
December 29th, 2006 at 11:37 PM
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hey peter-san...



what's the chances of Kazunori doing a show as an anniversary treat? i bet a lot of people are wondering what the Alpha male is up to.:wink:


hope you are enjoying your respite! you all DEFINITELY deserve it! you all work so hard to help us learn japanese! thanks!:razz:

Peter
December 29th, 2006 at 10:24 PM
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Mina-san, thanks for posting! :grin: 11 bounenkai!! I know Take had 7, and he was looking pretty rough after 4!:shock: What a bounenkai we had!! The Alpha-male Kazunori lived up to his title! What a party it was. I had to leave to catch the bus to Nagoya. We're here now, and it is really nice! Today we even had snow!! Tomorrow we're off to Fukui, so I'll do my best to keep you posted.:grin:

As for cleaning...I'll worry about that next year.:wink:

Yoroshiku onegai shimasu!

Asahi_NySurf
December 29th, 2006 at 08:48 AM
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Natsuko is definitely in ぼうねんかい mode.


"We need alcohol." :razz:


Gonna have a ぼうねんかい with some friends in Osaka. woop woop

Liz21
December 29th, 2006 at 08:11 AM
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Re: Bounenkai :mrgreen:

I have a friend in Japan who has attended 11 (eleven!) bounenkai this year!:twisted::shock::cool:

Lulu-chan
December 29th, 2006 at 04:29 AM
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that is soo interesting about Ousouji...the past couple of days I have been getting this urge to just gut out my home and do a major clean-up. I think it's a great thing that the japanese do. Get rid of the old and start the new, neh?


really enjoyed this. NOw I am even more inspired to clean up...especially my studio. :neutral: