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Yoshi, Takase:おはよう東京。
Yoshi: ヨシです。
Takase: タカセです。
Peter: Peter here, Survival Phrases #46, The Nagasaki connection, joining us for two weeks in a row, Takase san, it’s great to have you back.
Takase: ありがとうございます。
Peter: Now, this is Survival Phrases #46. 46, I think if you are up to this number you’re doing okay, you are going to make it in Japan. What do you think, Takase san?
Takase: Well, I hope they are doing okay?
Peter: Yoshi san?
Yoshi: I hope they are doing okay too.
Peter: Okay, now today’s lesson will be really useful if you are going to a place like Akihabara and Takase san, can you tell us a bit about Akihabara?
Takase: Inside Akihabara there’s a 電気街.
Peter: Electric town. Now, Yoshi san, what can we find there?
Yoshi: Lots of girls in costumes.
Peter: I think you took a wrong turn.
Takase: I said 電気街.
Yoshi: Ah, all sorts of appliances.
Peter: Not just appliances, some of the most progressive, innovative products in the world. People from all over the world come here to shop and when you come here to shop, you're going to be spending thousands of dollars – well, maybe not… hundreds… you never know what’s going to happen, and usually when you start dealing with this amount of money, you’re going to use what, Yoshi san?
Yoshi: カード
Peter: Which is?
Yoshi: Card.
Peter: As in ‘credit card’. Now, the Japanese, they simplify and abbreviate so many things, so ‘credit card’ becomes simply:
Yoshi: カード
Peter: Break it down?
Yoshi: か・あ・ど、カード

Lesson focus

Peter: In today’s conversation, we are going to learn how to ask if it’s okay to use a credit card which you can use not only here, but also in restaurants and other locations, because still in some places in Japan, credit card use is not that common. In big cities you won’t have a problem but in some of the local areas this may become an issue so first you want to know is it okay to use a credit card. Two, we are going to teach you about something very unusual, very peculiar to the Japanese credit card, so with that said, please listen to today’s conversation. We’ll give it to you once, then we’ll give it to you slowly, then we’ll put the English translation, afterwards we are going to break it down line by line. Plus we are going to tell you about using a credit card in Japan because when you use a card in Japan, Japan’s system, the credit card system, has some very peculiar features and issues. So, we’re going to go over those too. So first, we’re going to give you the conversation, then go over that. Okay, here we go.
Yoshi: すみません。カードは大丈夫ですか?
Takase: 大丈夫です。何回払いですか?
Yoshi: 1回です。
Takase: はい、かしこまりました。
Peter: One more time, slowly please.
Yoshi: すみません。カードは、だいじょうぶですか?
Takase: はい、だいじょうぶです。なんかいばらいですか?
Yoshi: 1かいです。
Takase: はい、かしこまりました。
Peter: This time Takase san and Yoshi san will give you the Japanese and I’ll give you the English. Here we go.
Yoshi: すみません。
Peter: Excuse me.
Yoshi: カードは大丈夫ですか?
Peter: Is a credit card alright?
Takase: はい、大丈夫です。
Peter: Yes, that’s fine.
Takase: 何回払いですか?
Peter: How many payments?
Yoshi: 1回です。
Peter: One.
Takase: はい、かしこまりました。
Peter: Yes, certainly.
Okay, if you remember, in one of the previous episodes, we gave you the first expression here, Yoshi san asking if it’s okay to use a card. What was that again?
Yoshi: カードは、大丈夫ですか?
Peter: Now, in a previous episode, leaving the restaurant we gave you this but today the latter part of this conversation is new, and for good reason we’re introducing it in this lesson. Okay, let’s just go through the conversation from the top to bottom, and let’s just take it apart. Yoshi san?
Yoshi: カードは、大丈夫ですか?
Peter: So first we have the word for credit card. Yoshi san?
Yoshi: カード
Peter: Break it down?
Yoshi: か・あ・ど
Peter: This is marked by the topic particle.
Yoshi: は(va)
Peter: Followed by?
Yoshi: 大丈夫
Peter: Alright. So, so far literally we have ‘credit card, alright’, followed by?
Yoshi: ですか?
Peter: Is it? Credit card, alright, is it, so we have the elements there for the sentence. Now, to make it into proper English we just have to reverse a few things – Is a credit card alright? That’s it. Is a card alright? Is a credit card alright? This is what the sentence means. There are other ways of course to ask, but this is the most simple, compact way to say it, and most easy to remember. Okay? Yoshi san, just give it to us one more time?
Yoshi: カードは大丈夫ですか?
Peter: So if you’re in a restaurant, and you want to ask if it’s alright to use a credit card?
Yoshi: カードは大丈夫ですか?
Peter: If you’re buying お土産 and you want to know if it’s okay to use a credit card?
Takase: カードは大丈夫ですか?
Peter: And again, if you’re buying some electrical appliances, you can also use this phrase too, as we did in the dialogue. One more time, Yoshi san?
Yoshi: カードは大丈夫ですか?
Peter: Okay, and this is followed by?
Takase: はい、大丈夫です。
Peter: First we have the word for yes.
Takase: はい。
Peter: Followed by?
Takase: 大丈夫です。
Peter: Alright, it is. And again we just have to reverse the order. Yes, it’s alright. Now, Takase san, if it’s not okay, say for instance that this store doesn’t accept credit cards – what would we hear?
Takase: カードは使えません。
Peter: Okay, the first part’s the same. カードfollowed by?
Takase: は(va)
Peter: Topic marking particle. Followed by?
Takase: 使えません
Peter: Okay, this is the potential form of 使う, to use, again beyond the scope of this lesson but the translation is you can’t use a credit card, and here is implied. Okay, one more time, nice and slow, Takase san?
Takase: カードは使えません。
Peter: And just one more time, nice and slow? Maybe you could even break…you know what, break down 使えませんfor us.
Takase: つ・か・え・ま・せ・ん、使えません
Peter: One time the whole phrase
Takase: カードは使えません。
Peter: So if you hear that, you’re out of luck, but luckily in this dialogue we’re okay, and this was followed by the following expression:
Takase: 何回払いですか?
Peter: Which literally translates to ‘How many payments?’ Now, actually we are going to finish this dialogue and we’ll explain about this concept but they’re asking how many times do you want to break the payment into and they’ll give you a bunch of options but we’re going to talk about this in a minute but let’s just take a look at the Japanese first. Takase san?
Takase: 何回
Peter: What times? And we have to interpret here that this means ‘how many times?’ Takase san, can you break that down?
Takase: な・ん・か・い
Peter: And one time fast?
Takase: 何回
Peter: Again, how many times, followed by?
Takase: 払い
Peter: Payment. How many times payment? Break down that last word?
Takase: は・ら・い、払い
Peter: And it’s followed by?
Takase: ですか
Peter: Will it be? Okay, in Japanese, there’s the past, and non-past – just two forms. In English we have the future, present, past. In Japanese, it’s the non-past and past, so here, previously we gave you ですか as ‘is it?’ but it can also be interpreted as ‘will be’. How many times payment will it be? Literally. We interpret it here as ‘How many payments will it be?’ ‘How many times do you want to pay?’ is the final interpretation. Now, I know you’re probably shaking your heads – what does this all mean? Just wait two minutes, we’ll explain it all after this conversation. Next we have?
Yoshi: 1回です。
Peter: One time. Yoshi san, give us one time?
Yoshi: 1回
Peter: Here, same exact as the English. We have ‘one time’, just the verb is placed at the end. One time. And in English we would probably say, can be interpreted as one, one payment, one time. Yoshi san, what’s the word for time?
Yoshi: 回
Peter: As in time going by, but time, so ‘one time’. This is followed by?
Takase: はい、かしこまりました。
Peter: Yes, understood, and again, the second word – we already have the word for yes, Takase san, what was that?
Takase: はい
Peter: This is followed by?
Takase: かしこまりました。
Peter: An extremely polite form of ‘understood’. Certainly, I got it. Comprehended. Takase san, can you break it down?
Takase: か・し・こ・ま・り・ま・し・た、かしこまりました。
Peter: Now this is the past tense. Takase san, can you give us the non-past tense?
Takase: かしこまります
Peter: Which is the non-past polite form, and finally, can you give us the dictionary form of this word?
Takase: かしこまる
Peter: There it is. Okay, so there’s the whole conversation. Let’s just go through the conversation one more time.
Yoshi: すみません。カードは大丈夫ですか?
Takase: はい、大丈夫です。何回払いですか?
Peter: 1回です。
Takase: はい、かしこまりました。
Peter: Okay, now that we’ve got the conversation worked out, we’re going to talk a bit about credit cards. Actually, credit cards and how they function in Japan. So maybe we can say Japan’s credit card system. Now, Yoshi san, in the conversation they asked us how many times do you want to pay. Can you give it to us one more time?
Yoshi: 何回払いですか?
Peter: Now, in Japan, there are three ways to pay with a credit card. So you hear this question ‘how many times do you want to pay?’ Now there are three systems. The first system is what we used – one time. In the conversation we said:
Yoshi: 1回
Peter: This is also known as?
Yoshi: 一括払い
Peter: Which means one time or full payment i.e. you pay everything at once. Now when you use this system, like it says, no matter what you put on your card you are going to pay that amount next month, so you’ve got to be really careful here. If you come to Japan, you go and slap a TV, one of those…Yoshi san, you know what I’m talking about, the big, like 6-foot flat panel TVs on your credit card,
Yoshi: Mm-hmm.
Peter: And if you say ‘one time’ 一括を1回 when you get back the next month you are going to get a bill for 4 to 5 to 6,000 dollars.
Yoshi: Right.
Peter: So, this is one of the main reasons we are introducing this today. That’s the1回. The second system they have is, again related to this, 分割払い. Yoshi san, can you give us a pronunciation one more time?
Yoshi: 分割払い
Peter: This is multiple payments, or multiple payment plans, so basically it’s the same thing. They would ask you ‘how many times do you want to pay?’ Then you can ask them ‘How many times is possible?’
Peter: 何回まで大丈夫ですか?
Peter: Up to how many times can I pay? And it can vary from 1 to 12, depending on the item, depending on how much it costs. You can sometimes…I’ve bought items that have two payments, I’ve bought items with three payments, four payments, so with this type of system there is interest. On the first type there’s no interest, you just pay it all at once. The second time it gets divided up and there’s interest added. For example, I bought some jewellery, it’s about 1,200 dollars and I split it into three payments. So when the store clerk asked me:
Yoshi: 何回払いですか?
Peter: 3回 Three times. 3回、お願いします. So I got three payments, so three payments of 400 dollars, with interest added. And it kind of works out nice this way, you know your payments, you know when you have to make them by. Now the final system is similar to what we have, at least in the US, and this is calledリボ払い. Yoshi san, give it to us one more time?
Yoshi: リボ払い
Peter: Now, this is similar to the US, you put something on your credit card and you’re only obliged to make the minimum payments. If we go back to our flat panel TV, you can put it on your credit card and just make the minimum payments, which means it’s going to be on your card for a long long time. So, to kind of clarify it and bring it all together, let’s go back to that TV. Say you come to Akihabara, you buy a huge 4,000-dollar TV, if you use 一括払いyou’re going to get a credit card bill for 4,000 dollars. If you buy the same TV but you use 分割払い which is multiple payments, and you break it into four payments, you’ll be responsible to pay 1,000 dollars on your credit card for the next four months. One month comes, you pay 1,000 back. Next month comes, you’ll pay a thousand. Finally, you buy the same TV, you useリボ払い. You’ll be responsible for just the minimum payments so the thing can stay on your credit card for years, you’re just responsible for making those minimum payments. Now, Yoshi san, have you had any interesting experiences with this system?
Yoshi: No, I usually do 1回払い.
Peter: Just the one payment?
Yoshi: Right.
Peter: Yes, I found out about this system the hard way. I’m very used to the minimum payments so in the US I’d put 500 on my credit card and then just pay 50 dollars or whatever the minimum is. When I first used my credit card in Japan, the first time I got a Japanese credit card and I used it, I bought something for 500 dollars and I was like ‘Alright, I’ll pay it off slowly in the coming months.’ The following month I got a bill for 500 dollars, so yes, you really want to pay attention when using a credit card in Japan. Alright? So I think that’s going to do for today’s lesson. Now this one, we should move this up in the order because this is a really important lesson. Yoshi san, you’ve been to Akihabara right?
Yoshi: A few times, yes.
Peter: So there, there’s just so many electronic goods, so many gadgets and that’s where a lot of foreigners go to buy this stuff.
Yoshi: Mm-hmm.
Peter: So when you go there, you definitely want to pay attention when they ask you about the payment.
Yoshi: Right.


Peter: Alright, that’s going to do for today.
Yoshi: またね。
Takase: またね。


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