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Chigusa, Yoshi:おはよう東京。
Yoshi: ヨシです。
Chigusa: チグサです。
Peter: Peter here, survival phrases #44. Okay, Chigusa san, today’s topic, what do we have?

Lesson focus

Chigusa: Today, we are going to talk about お土産(おみやげ).
Peter: Souvenirs. Now we got the idea for this lesson from the forum. For those of you who have not been to the forum, you can access the forum through our home page, japanesepod101.com. There, you can talk to other listeners, find out what’s going on in Japan, and all the different topics that are really heating up in the forum. I mean, to date we have over 4,500 posts – 4,500 about travelling in Japan, what’s hot, about what techniques to use studying, lots of different things going on there. Also, we have PMing, so you can talk directly to other members of the forum. Now, one of the topics, as we said, is lesson suggestions, and we got this idea from a person who had a kind of difficult experience buying souvenirs in Japan. Now, Yoshi san, you travel to the US, right?
Yoshi: Hi
Peter: Now, the first time you were there, did you have any trouble buying souvenirs or kind of finding out what was good, and what was not? Pretty much, did you get the right souvenirs the first time back?
Yoshi: You know, I’m a person who’s so indecisive so in any situation I have trouble choosing, but I got lots of souvenirs and actually the disappointing thing was that I came back to Japan and I saw a bunch of the same stuff I got in the US that I could get here in Japan.
Peter: That’s happened to me many times too
Yoshi: You know?
Peter: I know. Yep, I know that feeling. Chigusa san, any experiences you want to tell us about buying souvenirs?
Chigusa: Um, it’s really hard to pick out souvenirs because you know you don’t want, like, keychains, if you were to get some souvenir from somewhere.
Peter: I always buy keychains!
Chigusa: Oh really!
Peter: What are you trying to say?!
Chigusa: It’s so common, you have so many of them, and it’s useless
Yoshi: Do you remember I brought you one keychain?
Peter: I think what red Chigusa wants to say is, I think, alright let me compose myself here, and Yoshi wants to say too, is that, yes, you can be indecisive, what’s selling, what’s not. What we’re going to do today is look at a conversation about asking what’s selling, what’s the most popular thing, so that way you don’t strike out with your souvenir. Huh-hum. Chigusa?
Chigusa: The one Yoshi gave me was special.
Peter: Yeah right, okay.
Yoshi: Sorry, I have to go.
Peter: So what we are going to do now is take a look at the conversation. As always, we are going to go through the conversation one time fast, one time slow, then we are going to give you the English translation, then we are going to break it down for you. Now, in here today we have a lot of really good information, so please listen, see what you can get, whatever you can get, then don’t worry, we are going to go through it all. Today’s conversation is going to take place at a kind of touristy shop. It’s not going to be in a shop in a very small village somewhere in the boondocks. We are going to cover that in the discussion. We are just going to give you some useful phrases for if you were to make it all the way out to the boondocks, the countryside, where the souvenirs might not be standardised. Okay, here we go.
Chigusa: いらっしゃいませ。
Yoshi: 家族にお土産を買いたいんですが、どれが一番人気ですか?
Chigusa: こちらです。
Yoshi: いくらですか?
Chigusa: 2000円です。
Yoshi: 見せてください。
Chigusa: はい、どうぞ。
Peter: はい。これ、お願いします。
Peter: One more time, slowly please.
Yoshi: もう一度お願いします。ゆっくりお願いします。
Chigusa: いらっしゃいませ。
Yoshi: かぞくに、おみやげを、かいたいんですが、どれが、いちばん、にんきですか?
Chigusa: こちらです。
Yoshi: いくらですか?
Chigusa: 2000えんです。
Yoshi: みせてください。
Chigusa: はい、どうぞ。
Yoshi: はい、これ、おねがいします。
Peter: This time, Chigusa san and Yoshi san will give you the Japanese and I’ll give you the English. Here we go.
Chigusa: いらっしゃいませ。
Peter: Welcome
Yoshi: 家族にお土産を買いたいんですが
Peter: I want to buy a souvenir for my family.
Yoshi: どれが一番人気ですか?
Peter: Which one is the most popular?
Chigusa: こちらです。
Peter: This one.
Yoshi: いくらですか?
Peter: How much is it?
Chigusa: 2000円です。
Peter: 2,000 yen
Yoshi: 見せてください。
Peter: Please show me
Chigusa: はい、どうぞ。
Peter: Here you are.
Yoshi: はい、これ、お願いします。
Peter: Yes, this please.
Peter: A very typical conversation and not just for souvenirs, but for any time you want to buy something at a shop. okay? So what we are going to do now is take a look at the vocabulary inside this conversation. Chigusa san, what’s the first word?
Chigusa: お土産
Peter: Souvenir. Break it down.
Chigusa: お・み・や・げ、お土産
Peter: Now, the actual word for souvenir is
Chigusa: 土産
Peter: but we put the prefix
Chigusa: お
Peter: to make it more polite. Have you heard it referred to without the お?
Chigusa: Yes
Peter: So what type of situations?
Chigusa: I think it’s more often used by older men, or it’s a really manly word.
Peter: Without the お
Chigusa: Without the お
Peter: But for everybody out there, we definitely recommend to use the お, it makes it much more polite
Chigusa: Yes, and softer
Peter: Alright, there it is. Yoshi san, what do you have next?
Yoshi: 一番人気
Peter: Most popular. This is made up of two words. First word?
Yoshi: 一番
Peter: First, number one. Break this down.
Peter: い・ち・ば・ん、一番
Peter: Second word?
Peter: 人気
Peter: Popular. Break it down.
Peter: に・ん・き、人気
Peter: So the little translation here is number one popular and we interpret it to be ‘most popular’. Give it to us one more time.
Peter: 一番人気
Peter: okay, now the 一番 can be used with other words too, so Yoshi san, how can I say favourite?
Yoshi: 一番好き
Peter: Give us the second word.
Yoshi: 好き
Peter: So the only thing that changes is the second word, the first word stays the same, so give us that word ‘to like’ one more time?
Yoshi: 好き
Peter: Again, we literally translate here and it comes out to ‘number one popular’, ‘number one like’ and we interpret it to be ‘most liked – favourite’ so you’ll come across this 一番 quite often. Also, a lot of you foreigners, you’ll see this shirt, they sell these shirts with 一番 on them. You’ve seen those, right Chigusa san?
Chigusa: Right. Many times.
Yoshi: Only foreign people wear them though.
Chigusa, Yoshi: (Laughter)
Peter: Come on Yoshi san. I see with the headband, come on the headband?
Yoshi: On the foreigners?
Peter: Yeah, um, alright, I’ll admit it too. It’s a very popular novelty item with the foreigners. They have these shirts with Chinese characters meaning ‘number one’, Next we have:
Chigusa: 見せる
Peter: To show
Chigusa: み・せ・る、見せる
Peter: Okay, now that we’ve covered the vocabulary words, let’s take a look at the conversation. Chigusa san, start us off, what do we have?
Chigusa: いらっしゃいませ。
Peter: We have been through this many times in previous Survival Phrases – Welcome.And a couple of lessons ago we established that it’s used with places where you are going to spend money, so ‘Welcome – your money’ is kind of the translation we came out with. Okay, any shop you go into, you’ll hear this scream, in certain cases, or said in other cases, but a common greeting for going to a place where you’re likely to spend money. Next we have:
Yoshi: 家族に、お土産を買いたいんですが
Peter: I want to buy a souvenir for my family. First we have:
Yoshi: 家族
Peter: Family, marked by the particle
Yoshi: に
Peter: Family, for. Again, we don’t know the exact translation of に until we hear the rest of the sentence, taken in context, but think of it as kind of the direction where something will go. Next:
Yoshi: お土産
Peter: Souvenir. Family, for, souvenir.
Yoshi: を(vo)
Peter: Object marker を(vo)
Yoshi: 買いたい
Peter: What to buy? This comes from the verb:
Yoshi: 買う
Peter: Now, conjugation is beyond the scope of this lesson but if you’re interested you can find out on JapenesePod101.com. We have several lessons specifically focussing on the conjugation of verbs and in this case we conjugate to say desire, so we have:
Yoshi: 買いたい
Peter: Want to buy, and this is followed by:
Yoshi: んですが
Peter: which here is acting to soften your request, so let’s have the phrase all together:
Yoshi: 家族に、お土産を買いたいんですが、
Peter: Literally: Family, for, souvenir, want to buy. We have to reverse it here. The speaker is obviously the subject. I (take the verb from the back) want to buy a souvenir for my family. Start from the back and work your way. I want to buy a souvenir for my family, exactly back to front. Now, we want to point out here is, if the person who you want to buy that souvenir for changes, the only thing that would change in the sentence is in the position where family is. 家族に, what comes before the に, what precedes the に is the only thing that would change. For example, Chigusa san, what’s the word for wife?
Chigusa: 妻
Peter: So if I wanted to buy a souvenir for my wife, I would say?
Chigusa: 妻にお土産を買いたいんですが。
Peter: And just break down the word 妻
Chigusa: つ・ま、妻
Peter: Yoshi san, if I want something for my husband…Chigusa, do you want to ask Yoshi about this one?
Chigusa: Yoshi, if I want to buy a souvenir for my husband, what would I say?
Yoshi: 夫に、お土産を買いたいんですが。
Peter: Break down husband?
Yoshi: おっ・と、夫
Peter: Let’s just cover a few more people that you may buy something for. Chigusa, boyfriend?
Chigusa: 彼氏
Peter: Break it down?
Chigusa: か・れ・し、彼氏
Peter: Yoshi – girlfriend?
Yoshi: 彼女
Peter: Break it down?
Yoshi: か・の・じょ、彼女
Peter: And last one, friend?
Chigusa: 友達、と・も・だ・ち、友達
Peter: This is followed by?
Yoshi: どれが一番人気ですか?
Peter: Which, most popular, is. First word:
Yoshi: どれ
Peter: Which, followed by?
Yoshi: が
Peter: Marking particle here, next we have:
Yoshi: 一番、人気
Peter: Most popular. Which, most popular – followed by?
Yoshi: ですか?
Peter: And that か is showing that this is a question. Which, most popular, is. Again, we just have to arrange it a bit here. Which is the most popular? As in, which souvenir is the most popular? Chigusa san, this is followed by?
Chigusa: こちらです。
Peter: First word?
Chigusa: こちら
Peter: This direction. This is an extremely polite way, again in Japanese, you don’t want to directly refer to something, so this direction, but actually it’s pointing to an object, but in order to be polite here, the employee is not focussing directly on it. Sometimes, a way to be more polite, like ‘this general direction’ but it actually means ‘the good’, which is the most popular. Followed by?
Chigusa: です
Peter: Then we have?
Yoshi: いくらですか?
Peter: How much is it? First part of this is?
Yoshi: いくら
Peter: How much. Followed by?
Yoshi: ですか?
Peter: Very straightforward: How much is it, Chigusa san?
Chigusa: 2000円です。
Peter: 2,000 yen. Now, unfortunately, as one US dollar equals 120 yen now, I believe, and maybe 150 Euros, you are going to have to know a lot of numbers to really understand some high-priced goods, you know they get up there fast. Right, Chigusa san?
Chigusa: Right.
Peter: So I mean if you buy something in the US that’s 50 dollars, or in Europe that’s going to be 65 dollars, you’re already looking at 7,000 yen, so once you get into the hundreds, you are going to be looking at tens of thousands of yen. That’s why we give you this next sentence. Yoshi san?
Yoshi: 見せてください。
Peter: Please show me, and in addition to handling the good, we really want you to look at the price tag. It should be marked somewhere on there, so before we get in to that, and give you another technique, Yoshi san, can you just break this phrase down?
Yoshi: み・せ・て・く・だ・さ・い、見せてください
Peter: This comes from the verb
Yoshi: 見せる
Peter: To show, to display, which is just taking the る and turning it into て for this particular class 2 verb, but again beyond the scope of this lesson, turning it into the て form and add ください. Please show me. Now, if there’s no price tag on it, you have a few options. You can ask the person to repeat the price again which would be:
Chigusa: もう一度お願いします。ゆっくりお願いします。
Peter: Sounds familiar? Yes, you should be very familiar with this phrase, we use it all the time. okay? Or, you can have them write the price and that expression would be?
Chigusa: 値段を書いてください。
Peter: Now, we covered this one in a previous one of our phrases and we’re running short on time so you are going to have to check the PDF for this, but this is another way to get that price. Okay, followed by:
Chigusa: はい、どうぞ。
Peter: Here, please. Now, if we take the literal translation, はい is yes, どうぞ is please: yes please is the literal translation but when this is said you have to visualise the staff person passing the good to the customer. This is quite common when passing something to somebody. はい、どうぞ. Say you are out eating in a restaurant and someone asks to pass the soy sauce, Yoshi san, while you’re passing it you can say:
Yoshi: はい、どうぞ。
Peter: Very polite way, okay, and this is followed up with?
Yoshi: はい。これ、お願いします。
Peter: Yes, this please. Now, that’s the literal translation and how it would be interpreted. Yes, this please, or just ‘this please’. Yoshi san, give us the first part?
Yoshi: はい。
Peter: Yes, followed by:
Yoshi: これ
Peter: This
Yoshi: お願いします。
Peter: Please. That’s it. Very straightforward.


Peter: Okay, now in today’s lesson we plan on giving you more phrases. This conversation I could see taking place at maybe a very commercial souvenir shop or in a very touristy town such as Tokyo or Kyoto, one of these big towns. Again, if you’re heading to the countryside or a place more off the map, I don’t think these phrases will cover it, and even if they do cover it, there’s a few more we want to give you because in Japan, so many different places have things they are known for, so what we are going to do next week, we’re going to give you a conversation where we actually talk about going to a souvenir shop in a small town. Okay, we’ve covered the big town but for all you people out there who headed to small towns, or the adventurous type out there, next week’s lesson is going to be for you. Okay, we ran long today, that opening took a while, so that’s going to do for today.
Chigusa: またね。
Yoshi: またね。


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