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Yoshi, Chigusa:おはよう東京。
Chigusa: チグサです。
Yoshi: ヨシです。
Peter: Peter here, Survival Phrases #47, Okay, we are back with another Survival Phrases and today we’re working on a survival phrase that may or may not work. We’d love to hear your feedback, because recently in Japan, a lot of places are refusing to do this. Chigusa san, what are we talking about today?

Lesson focus

Chigusa: We’re talking about breaking large bills.
Peter: That’s it, now as we said, in Japan they don’t have the equivalent of a 20 so Chigusa san, can you just refresh our memory, can you list all the Japanese currency for us?
Chigusa: 1円
Peter: 1 yen.
Chigusa: 5円
Peter: 5 yen.
Chigusa: 10円
Peter: 10 yen.
Chigusa: 50円
Peter: 50 yen.
Chigusa: 100円
Peter: 100 yen.
Chigusa: 500円
Peter: 500 yen. Okay, we’ll stop right there. Now in the past, before the cell phone generation, this phrase may have been needed much more but now we’re getting into the bills and here’s where it may come in handy.
Chigusa: 1000円
Peter: 1,000 yen.
Chigusa: 5000円
Peter: 5,000 yen.
Chigusa: 1万円
Peter: 10,000 yen. So, are we going to include the 2,000 yen in there?
Chigusa: 2000円
Peter: So, they brought this one into circulation a while ago but now we hear that they’re not making any new ones which means that it doesn’t have a promising future. Okay, so today we’re going to work on breaking a larger amount of money into a smaller one, and we’re going to kind of focus on bills, so today’s phrases will give you the tools to break whatever amount you have into a smaller amount. So please listen to the following two conversations. They’re very short, listen, see what you can pick up. Afterwards, we’ll give it to you one more time slowly, then we’ll give you the English, then we’re going to break it down. Alright, here we go.
Chigusa: すみません。両替をお願いします。
Peter: 申し訳ございません。両替はお断りしています。
Staff(Chigusa , Yoshi): いらっしゃいませ。
Chigusa: すみません。これをくずしてください。
Yoshi: はい、かしこまりました。
Peter: One more time, slowly please.
Chigusa: もう一度お願いします。ゆっくりお願いします。
Peter: もうしわけ、ございません。りょうがえは、おことわりしています。
Chigusa: すみません。これをくずしてください。
Yoshi: はい、かしこまりました。
Peter: This time, Chigusa san and Yoshi san will give you the Japanese and I’ll give you the English. Here we go.
Chigusa: すみません。
Peter: Excuse me.
Chigusa: 両替をお願いします。
Peter: Change this money please.
Yoshi: 申し訳ございません。両替はお断りしています。
Peter: I’m terribly sorry.
Yoshi: 03:15
Peter: We refuse to change money.
Chigusa: すみません。
Peter: Excuse me.
Chigusa: これをくずしてください。
Peter: Please break this.
Yoshi: はい、かしこまりました。
Peter: Yes, understood.
Okay, so we gave you two ways of asking to have your money broken into smaller denominations, but only one worked. Now, Yoshi san, do you think it’s the phrase, or just the way we set it up?
Yoshi: Just the way we set it up.
Peter: Yes. Both phrases are perfectly acceptable. We’re going to break them down in a minute but first let’s just give you some of the key vocabulary in there. Chigusa san, first word please?
Chigusa: 両替
Peter: Exchange money.
Chigusa: りょ・う・が・え、両替
Peter: Now this is the same word you use when you are exchanging one currency into another, for example when you first get to the airport, Narita airport, what would you say to exchange dollars to yen, for example, or Euros to yen?
Chigusa: 両替お願いします。
Peter: Please exchange – and whatever currency you have. Okay, so same here, same word for exchanging one currency into another and for breaking larger denominations to smaller denominations. Then we have...?
Yoshi: くずす
Peter: To break. To destroy.
Yoshi: く・ず・す、くずす
Peter: And we’re going to take a look at this in context in a minute. Now let’s jump back to the conversation. Chigusa san, can you give us the first line one more time?
Chigusa: すみません。両替お願いします。
Peter: What’s the first part of that?
Chigusa: すみません。
Peter: Excuse me. And when getting someone’s attention, this is the phrase you want to use. This is followed by?
Chigusa: 両替、お願いします。
Peter: First we have the word for ‘exchange’. That is?
Chigusa: 両替
Peter: Okay, notice the え syllable at the end. Break it down one more time?
Chigusa: りょ・う・が・え、両替
Peter: Followed by the expression?
Chigusa: お願いします。
Peter: Exchange please? So when saying this you have the money out in your hand and you’re showing them the money, you can even say ‘this’. Our expression was ‘exchange please’, literally and what’s inferred is the bill so if we were to interpret it into English, ‘Can you make change please?’ But if we wanted to put in the word for ‘this’ in Japanese, how do we do that Chigusa san?
Chigusa: これを、両替お願いします。
Peter: And what’s the word for ‘this’?
Chigusa: これ
Peter: Break it down.
Chigusa: こ・れ、これ
Peter: And marked by the object marker.
Chigusa: を(vo)
Peter: And we put the whole sentence together.
Chigusa: これを、両替お願いします。
Peter: Literally: This exchange money please. Now, again we have to interpret here. Change this please, or please change this. Just start from the back and work your way forward. Final word is ‘please’, second to that ‘change’ and we have ‘this’. Please change this. Now, the answer here is one that is becoming more and common, and in many stores you’ll see signs even saying this, that they refuse to make change. Yoshi san?
Yoshi: 申し訳ございません。
Peter: I’m sorry. Now, there’s a lot of grammar and things about the language that go into this expression, but it’s a fixed expression that’s equivalent to ‘I’m sorry’. So please just remember it this way. One more time, slowly please?
Yoshi: もうしわけございません。
Peter: With the first part being?
Yoshi: 申し訳
Peter: Roughly translates into two English words: say reason. Followed by?
Yoshi: ございません
Peter: A very polite form of the verb あります, to exist. And this is the negative form, so ‘there doesn’t exist’. To say the reason there doesn’t exist. Literally, there is nothing I can say, and if there is nothing you can say, you’re sorry, and this is what it should be interpreted as, as this is what it means – I’m sorry. Again, the grammar behind this expression is very complex but the expression itself you hear often, especially if you are a customer, if you are coming to Japan, you hear it in many places, but if you remember it just as the expression, at this level you’ll be okay. I’m sorry.
Yoshi: 両替は、お断りしています
Peter: I’m terribly sorry. We’re not in the policy of making change. We refuse to change money is the interpretation. Now, first give us the first word – give us the expression one more time then give us the first word.
Yoshi: 両替は、お断りしています。
Peter: What’s the first word in there?
Yoshi: 両替
Peter: We had this – exchange money. This is marked by?
Yoshi: は(va)
Peter: Topic particle は(va) here, as this is what’s being discussed. Notice how it doesn’t take the object marker. This is followed by?
Yoshi: お断り
Peter: お断り Can you break this down?
Yoshi: お・こ・と・わ・り、お断り
Peter: This is ‘refuse’. It’s actually conjugated and again the grammar behind this is beyond the scope of this lesson but it comes from the verb…
Yoshi: 断る
Peter: …to refuse. To finish off this expression, we have?
Yoshi: しています
Peter: Present progressive of the verb する so it literally translates to ‘exchange we are refusing’, literally that’s what it means. Again, you have to take it from the context. The person speaking is someone working at the store. Here, the employee is representing the store – kind of – so ‘we refusing exchange’, again literally, but here in Japanese the present progressive can represent an existing state and they are in the state of refusing so once that’s established, ‘we don’t make change’ is how it should be interpreted. Again, we are going to walk you through this. There’s a lot inferred in Japanese but that’s the beauty of it, you can say so much with so little and once you pick up these subtle nuances it’s really going to come together. So, Yoshi san, can you give us what the store person said one more time?
Yoshi: 申し訳ございません。両替はお断りしています。
Peter: I’m sorry, we don’t change money. That’s it, that’s all they’re saying, it’s just in a very polite format, it’s like it’s in this big box and once you open that big box there’s really not that much in there, it’s just a very very polite, formal way of saying it. Okay, so Chigusa moves on to the next store, and in this store, she tries a different way of saying it. Again, both are okay to use. This time, Chigusa says?
Chigusa: すみません。
Peter: Excuse me?
Chigusa: これをくずしてください。
Peter: Please break this? First part of that expression?
Chigusa: これ
Peter: This. Again, intentionally, in the previous example we introduced これto show you what it would be like to have this here. So we have ‘this’, marked by the object marker…
Chigusa: を(vo)
Peter: …followed by?
Chigusa: くずして
Peter: Which is the て form of the verb…
Chigusa: くずす
Peter: To destroy, but in the case of money it means to break. Think about it this way, you’re breaking the money apart into smaller denominations, breaking the money, followed by?
Chigusa: ください
Peter: Please. So, literally: This, break, please. Again, start from the back: Please break this. That’s all there is to it – please break this and Yoshi san, which way do you use?
Yoshi: I’m not sure which one I use, I think I use both.
Peter: And that’s what we want to get at – both are perfectly okay to use. Chigusa san, how about yourself?
Chigusa: Hmm, depends on which mood I’m in.
Chigusa, Yoshi: (Laughter)
Chigusa: I use both.
Peter: Okay, and in this case this one worked.
Yoshi: はい、かしこまりました。
Peter: Yes, understood, and this one again we have given you over and over. It’s the extremely polite way, it’s just a very formal way of saying ‘understood’. And if you come to Japan, you’ll hear this a lot, because you are the customer and the customer gets elevated. Very polite manner in dealing with the customers, but again, this word is just a very formal way of saying ‘understood’. Yoshi san, give it to us one more time?
Yoshi: はい、かしこまりました。
Peter: And break down the word for ‘understood’?
Peter: か・し・こ・ま・り・ま・し・た、かしこまりました
Peter: Alright. So, now you have the ability to ask for change. Whether you are going to get it or not, I do not know. Let’s give you another example when this expression could come in handy. Chigusa san, can you tell me when do you use this expression the most?
Chigusa: Like when you are going out with your friends for dinner and you want a 割り勘(わりかん)
Peter: Which we had a whole JCC on, dividing the bill among all the parties equally.
Chigusa: Yes.
Peter: So you need that money.
Chigusa: Right.
Peter: And everybody has, what kind of bills?
Chigusa: 1万円札 or 5千円札
Peter: 10,000 yen bills or 5, it’s like Murphy’s Law. It’s like, just the way it is. Everybody, if you have four people they are all going to have 1万円.
Chigusa: Yes.
Peter: It’s just the way it is, so this is another case you would ask the person working at the restaurant for change and usually with this, they don’t have a problem at all. It’s fine if you’ve eaten there or paid some money at that place, but walking in off the street and asking for change, but to tell you the truth I haven’t been turned down yet.
Chigusa: Really?
Peter: Yes.
Yoshi: You’re a lucky guy.
Peter: You have? You’ve been turned down, Yoshi san?
Yoshi: A few times.
Peter: It’s all in the way of asking. I guess I could pretend that I don’t understand what they’re saying and maybe that’s why they give it to me. They’re just like, ‘Ah, he doesn’t get it, alright just give it to him!’
Yoshi: Maybe.
Chigusa: Sometimes you feel kind of bad if you’re not buying anything at that store, you just want to exchange money, so you buy the cheapest gum or candy.
Peter: I know exactly what you’re talking about. Walking up with 1万円札. I always go for the 30 yen cookies…
Chigusa: Mmmm.
Peter: …like the strawberry or vanilla ones, yes, those work out quite nice.
Chigusa: Or lollipops.
Peter: Yes, but they don’t have the selection in Japan, but anyway, getting carried away. In the US, it’s really tough to get change without buying anything and sometimes I even get a hard time if I buy something that’s not worth it for them, like if I go in and I buy the cheapest thing with a 100-dollar bill, I’ve been turned down.
Chigusa: Hmmm?
Peter: ‘No, I’m not selling it to you.’
Chigusa: Really!?
Peter: Yes.
Chigusa: Really, you couldn’t buy it?
Peter: Nope, I had to buy more.
Chigusa: Oh no. That’s hostile.
Peter: Really hostile. I was pretty shocked, well, I mean I had a 5-cent piece of gum for a 100-dollar bill so I could understand where the guy was coming from but still…
Yoshi: You know; I can understand why sometimes they have to turn you down because you know as I worked in a soap store, the manager told me to go and get change because everyone paid with big bills, and you know, soon all the dollar bills, five dollar bills, even the quarters went out.
Peter: They were all gone?
Yoshi: Yes. And on the weekend, sometimes I had to go and get change, to the banks and they were closed or it was really hard.
Peter: Did you have, like another store, like a store you kind of had a deal with, like if you couldn’t use the bank. I know a lot of businesses have that – they have like a sister store, they’d run in and break things and change money back and forth.
Yoshi: Yes, if the bank was closed then, or if I had to get the money soon because a customer is waiting, then I usually went to the driving store next door, or the coffee shop on the corner, but the thing was, they were also out of smaller bills.
Peter: When I used to live in prefecture they had this too, small stores, like a lot of Mom and Pop stores – you know, the Japanese economy is kind of misunderstood. There are so many big businesses that are known throughout the world but the majority are a huge part of the economy supported by these small Mom and Pop shops. They have a house and in the front of the house they have a restaurant. They have a house and in the front of the house they have a hardware store, kind of like this. So they were very friendly in between them. I’d be eating and I’d give them the money. ‘Oh, wait, I have to go and change this’, run to the next store, run and come back, so yes, everyone has their own position. Chigusa san?
Chigusa: I guess so!
Peter: Who do you feel sympathy for? The customer or the business? Yoshi is with the business, I’m with the customers. You’re the tie-breaking vote
Chigusa: Um, but, there’s a dance studio I go to, one lesson costs 2,000 yen and they are always out of 1,000 yen bills so there’s a note saying ‘If you have 1,000 yen bills, please pay with them’ so when I do I try to so that it’ll help – do you know what I mean?
Peter, Chigusa: (Laughter)
Chigusa: So I always try to help the shop person, who is in the business.
Peter: Okay.
Chigusa: So they won’t run out of smaller bills, you know what I mean?
Peter: Got it.
Yoshi: Yes. I won this time.
Chigusa: So I always try to become a nice customer.
Peter: Ah, alright, let’s go on. Okay, Yoshi san, anything that you can think of, any tips, tricks?
Yoshi: No, I think these are pretty good, they should work.


Peter: Yes, OK, that’s going to do for this episode.
Yoshi: またね。
Chigusa: またね。


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