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Natsuko, Yoshi: おはよう東京。
Natsuko: ナツコです。
Peter: ヨシです。
Peter: Peter here. Survival phrases #43. Natsuko san, what are you doing here for survival phrases?
Natsuko: Oh, oh you don’t need me?
Peter: No, no we need you. Don’t say anything like that.
Natsuko: Thank you.
Peter: It’s just been so long.
Natsuko: Yes.
Peter: Well we brought you in for a special reason.

Lesson focus

Peter: Natsuko san, what are we talking about today?
Natsuko: Lost and found.
Peter: Perfect, yes. This one we hope, we hope you don’t have to use it but in the case that you do, it will come in really handy.
Natsuko: Now I know why you need me.
Peter: Why is that?
Natsuko: I always lose things.
Peter: I didn’t want to tell you that, you know. Sorry I had to lie to get you into the studio. Well you are in good company because I lose things too. I have a really good story that we are going to get into related to losing things on the train but that’s going to be after we get into this conversation. Yoshi san is also here. So what we are going to do is, we are going to give you a conversation. If someone is looking for something that they lost, they will first make contact with someone in the vicinity of the lost and found, then the person working at the lost and found desk, okay. So it’s a three person conversation. Here we go.
Natsuko: すみません。忘れ物を探しているんですが。
Yoshi: こちらへ。はい、こんにちは。忘れ物ですか?
Natsuko: あ、はい。傘を……。
Yoshi: 何色ですか?
Natsuko: 赤です。
Yoshi: これですか?
Natsuko: はい! ありがとうございます。
Peter: One more time slowly please.
Natsuko: すみません。わすれものを、さがしているんですが。
Yoshi: こちらへ。はい、こんにちは。わすれもの、ですか?
Natsuko: はい、かさを。
Yoshi: なにいろですか?
Natsuko: あかです。
Yoshi: これですか?
Natsuko: ありがとうございます。
Peter: This time Natsuko san and Yoshi san will give you the Japanese and I will give you the English. Here we go.
Natsuko: すみません。
Peter: Excuse me.
Natsuko: 忘れ物を探しているんですが。
Peter: I am looking for something that I lost.
Yoshi: こちらへ。
Peter: This way.
Yoshi: はい、こんにちは。
Peter: Yes hello.
Yoshi: 忘れ物ですが?
Peter: Did you lose something?
Natsuko: はい。傘を……。
Peter: Yes, my umbrella.
Yoshi: 何色でかす
Peter: What color is it?
Natsuko: 赤です。
Peter: It’s red.
Yoshi: これですか?
Peter: Is this it?
Natsuko: はい。ありがとうございます。
Peter: Yes thank you. Now this conversation must happen every day across Japan millions of times on rainy days.
Natsuko: Yes.
Peter: Now Natsuko san, what do you think about this conversation?
Natsuko: I had the same experience about 2 or 3 times in the past.
Peter: That’s it. You are a lightweight, two or three times.
Natsuko: Well I lose other things as well.
Peter: Ah but I think the umbrella is a good litmus test.
Natsuko: Yeah.
Peter: Unlike double, maybe triple digits with umbrellas, oh boy! Yoshi san, how about you?
Yoshi: I don’t think I do things much but it’s only because I don’t have things. I don’t have anything on me usually.
Natsuko: You don’t take any belongings with you?
Yoshi: Umm no I don’t have many stuff to carry anyways.
Peter: See, my problem lies with the fact that the Japanese train is designed for you to lose things.
Natsuko: What!
Peter: It’s like it was purposely intended that way.
Natsuko: Why?
Peter: Well you know you sit along the window, right?
Natsuko: Uhoo…
Peter: So you sit with your bag to the window.
Natsuko: Yes.
Peter: So you have seven people sitting next to each other, all with their bags to the window.
Natsuko: Yes.
Peter: So there is no place to put your things except for above you.
Natsuko: Right.
Peter: Or below you. So I usually put my umbrella because I don’t want to get anybody wet, I don’t want to get myself wet. So I usually put the umbrella under my legs.
Natsuko: Oh yes.
Peter: Like on the ground. So it’s gone.
Natsuko: It disappears.
Peter: Yeah.
Natsuko: From your site.
Peter: Oh yeah. Second, I don’t know why but it’s very easy to fall asleep on a Japanese train and usually by the time my eyes are open, it’s my stop. So I just run off the train and third, I never put anything above me because that’s just lost. I never remember to stand up, take what I put there and leave.
Natsuko: You must remember but I know what you mean.
Peter: Right, you can understand?
Natsuko: Yes.
Peter: So watch out. I think they did it on purpose. Yoshi san, you know what I am talking about?
Yoshi: Yeah thank you Peter. I thought that you left an umbrella for me on a rainy day.
Natsuko: Well Yoshi, how nice!
Peter: All right. Now, the reason we are on this whole rant is, the Japanese train system, while it’s so prone to losing things, they have a really efficient system of getting things back. Now if you get off at a station and you figure out you lost something, you can actually tell the person at the station you lost something and they will call the other stations.
Natsuko: Yes.
Peter: They will put out an APB, an All-Points Bulletin on whatever it is you lost whether it be an umbrella, a package, your wallet.
Natsuko: Or maybe your boyfriend, sorry, sorry. Forget that. No, I don’t think so.
Peter: Natsuko, it’s all yours, take over. So…
Natsuko: Sorry, sorry about that.
Peter: So they have a really good system of getting things back. Now today’s dialogue is designed to get you into that system whether it be in this case a train which probably is most likely where you did lose something because if it’s on the train, you have a pretty good chance to get in the back.
Natsuko: Yes.
Peter: If not, I mean you could have lost it on the street, go to the police and then in department stores, they will have a lost and found. So give you these kinds of options but out of all of them, we think that the train is the highest, probably where you lose something and get it back.
Natsuko: Yeah right.
Peter: Okay. So what we will do now is we are going to go through this conversation and break it down, break it apart for you. Okay let’s start out with the vocabulary. Natsuko san,
Natsuko: 忘れ物
Peter: Lost thing, something forgotten.
Natsuko: わ・す・れ・も・の、忘れ物
Peter: Now this comes from a verb and a noun, merged together, feels together. Natsuko san, what is that verb that this first part of the word comes from?
Natsuko: 忘れる
Peter: To forget. Now what I’d like about this word so much is the Chinese character.
Natsuko: Oh yes.
Peter: There is a really good story behind this one. Now with Chinese characters, they have what you call radicals, basic characters such as there is one for heart心. This radical, it can be a standalone character or it can be combined with other radicals to make one kanji. Now this one, this character for ‘to forget’ has really interesting radicals that make up the one Chinese character. Natsuko san, what are those two radicals?
Natsuko: One is heart.
Peter: Heart, mind.
Natsuko: Yes, feeling.
Peter: Yeah.
Natsuko: And the other is like lose, gone, die.
Peter: So if we do some creative selection, we can take out lose mind, lose one’s mind. Lose one’s heart, lose one’s feeling or that thing to be gone. So let’s just slightly interpret this as a slip of the mind.
Natsuko: Oh yes.
Peter: And when something slips your mind, you forget.
Natsuko: Very easy to memorize.
Peter: Not only easy, so logical and it gives you such great insight into where these words come from.
Natsuko: Right.
Peter: Makes perfect sense to me. So this is where we get to forget. Now we take this forgetfulness and we add it to.
Natsuko: 物
Peter: Which is thing? Break it down.
Natsuko: も・の、物
Peter: Forget things. And that’s it, lost something.
Natsuko: 忘れ物
Peter: Something forgotten and that’s all there is to it. Makes perfect sense. Yoshi san, next up we have
Yoshi: 色
Peter: Color.
Yoshi: い・ろ、色
Peter: And speaking of color, which color do we have today?
Yoshi: 赤
Peter: Red.
Yoshi: あ・か、赤
Peter: There is also an E adjective version of this which is
Yoshi: 赤い
Peter: And they are both red. Now subtle differences between these which we do cover in other lessons, okay. So with that said, let’s get into today’s conversation. Natsuko san, first line.
Natsuko: すみません。
Peter: Excuse me.
Natsuko: 忘れ物を探しているんですが。
Peter: Literally lost thing I am searching but again we have to interpret the subject. It’s inferred. Natsuko san, who is the subject?
Natsuko: 私は
Peter: The speaker. So we have I in there. Again when we translate it into English, we take the verb and we put it in its rightful English place. Again just translating, we get
Natsuko: 探している
Peter: Looking for, searching for. So we have the subject first. Next, we have to take the verb from the end because remember, in Japanese the verb comes at the end. We take it in English, the verb comes after the subject, we take the verb which is in Japanese.
Natsuko: 探している
Peter: Searching for, looking for. So I am looking for, I am searching for
Natsuko: 忘れ物
Peter: Something forgotten, something lost. A lost thing. So this is the literal translation. Now when we interpret it into English, I am looking for something that I lost. Again lots of interpretation going on. Let’s just go through the grammar in this sentence. We have 忘れ物 This is marked by the object marker
Natsuko: を(vo)
Peter: Then we have the verb. Let’s give you the dictionary form first.
Natsuko: 探す
Peter: Break it down.
Natsuko: さ・が・す、探す
Peter: To search, to look for. Here it’s in its present progressive form which is the て form plus いる
Natsuko: 探している
Peter: Then we have
Natsuko: んですが
Peter: That lets the listener know that participation is wanted on his end. The rest is inferred. I am looking for something I forgot. Can you help, do you have it? Again step in please and this is where this phrase comes in. The ん is actually a contraction of the particle の which is used when asking for input by the listener. Then we have ですか which is the copula followed by が and this か is but, but here it’s used to let the listener know that there is more inferred. Give me some feedback. Then we have the first person
Yoshi: こちらへ
Peter: This way gives us the first word in there. We have a word and a particle
Yoshi: こちら
Peter: Break that down.
Yoshi: こ・ち・ら、こちら
Peter: This direction. Again beyond the scope of this lesson but can be used for many different things referring to actually a person, place, a direction, many things and it’s a very polite form. In Japanese, being polite is not directly referring to something. So that’s why this direction. In this direction, we have Yoshi. In this direction, we have Tokyo. Many different things, various cases. And we know the usage of what they are talking about through the following particle.
Yoshi: へ(é)
Natsuko: In this direction, to. To this direction is the little translation. We interpret it as this way, as in when you go to a hotel or a Maitre ‘D will see you, this way and a lot of times you will hear please also inserted in this expression.
Yoshi: どうぞ、こちらへ。
Peter: Please this way. All right, next up.
Peter: はい、こんにちは。忘れ物ですか?
Peter: Third person speaking here. First he starts off with the greeting because he knows the reason people come to his desk and he is the lost and found person. So he greets them with yes, hello.
Yoshi: 忘れ物ですか?
Peter: Literally is it something lost, is it something forgotten but when we interpret it, it becomes, did you lose something. Is it something you lost because it’s your something lost. This is followed by
Natsuko: はい。傘を。
Peter: Yes. An umbrella and here we keep it very simple. We have the word for yes followed by the word for umbrella.
Natsuko: 傘
Peter: Break it down.
Natsuko: か・さ、傘
Peter: Marked by the object marker.
Natsuko: を(vo)
Peter: Now Natsuko san, if this wasn’t just a short answer, how would the sentence go?
Natsuko: はい、傘を忘れました。
Peter: Yes I lost an umbrella. That’s the full sentence. The verb in the past tense is left out and all we have is just what was lost marked by を(vo) and this is enough. This is what we want to point out to you. You can use the word plus を(vo) and it will get through. You don’t have to worry about adding everything in. We want to give you, again, these are survival phrases. We want to give you the most simple direct way to get what you need and in this case, you need your umbrella back as there are lots of umbrellas there.
Yoshi: 何色ですか?
Peter: What color is it? This is very straightforward. What color is it? Again same as English here, same order and everything. The answer to this is
Natsuko: 赤です。
Peter: It’s red followed by
Yoshi: これですか?
Peter: So you have to visualize here that he looked through a bunch of umbrellas and took out a red one. Then he says
Yoshi: これですか?
Peter: Is this it? We have the word this is it, is this it. Now let’s take a look at this phrase again because we have to do some more interpreting. First we have the word for this
Yoshi: これ
Peter: Followed by a question, is it. This ‘is it’ is the literal translation but we have to again interpret here and we get, is this it. Natsuko san
Natsuko: はい。ありがとうございます。
Peter: And it is, yes thank you. Okay and this is how a conversation will go. Now what we want to do here is introduce a few items that could really, really cause you problems if you lose. Now today we did the umbrella for argument's sake. Let’s start off with a passport. Now I feel, this is going to be quite problematic. So let’s start off with the important one. Natsuko san, what’s the word for passport?
Natsuko: パスポート
Peter: Break it down.
Natsuko: ぱ・す・ぽ・お・と、パスポート
Peter: Yoshi san, I am looking for my passport.
Yoshi: すみません。パスポートを探しているんですが。
Peter: Notice how we substituted here passport for something you forgot. If you know the name and you know where the lost and found is, you can just insert what you are looking for. And in today’s conversation, we probably ran into somebody who is not working at the desk but may know where the thing I lost was, maybe like the person working at the station. So you could either ask, I am looking for something I lost which would be followed up by the thing you lost or you could start off right away I lost something. Okay wallet, Yoshi san?
Yoshi: 財布
Peter: Break it down.
Yoshi: さ・い・ふ、財布
Peter: I am looking for my wallet.
Yoshi: すみません。財布を探しているんですが。
Peter: Okay and last but not least, cell phone.
Natsuko: 携帯
Peter: Break it down.
Natsuko: け・い・た・い、携帯
Peter: And as it is possible to rent one in Japan, this is a problem that you may come across. And then again, you could just call the number and ask too and maybe somebody picked it up. Let’s just get that sentence.
Natsuko: すみません。携帯を探しているんですが。
Peter: Perfect. Now finally, let’s just take a quick look at that last phrase. Now this phrase 探してるんですが is one that we’ve gone over before but in case you haven’t heard the previous lessons, let’s just break it down for everybody. Natsuko san, one time just the expression, break it down and one more time.
Natsuko: 探しているんですが、さ・が・し・て・い・る・ん・で・す・が、探しているんですが


Peter: Perfect. And that’s going to do for today.
Natsuko: じゃあ、またね。
Yoshi: また明日。


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