Wow, You’re Getting Old!


The very last time you see someone in any given year you are supposed to say, “Yoi otoshi o!” (良いお年を) This could be translated for feeling as ‘Happy New Year’. It is basically wishing someone well in the year to come. My polite friends and students take this quite seriously so I am now checking my calendar each day to make sure I don’t miss anyone.

On Tuesday night I had a class near Takachaya Station (高茶屋駅). The student who drove me home will not be present at the last class in December, so I remembered to wish her well, but… I kind of scrambled it a bit. “Otoshi yori o!”, came out of my mouth very smoothly. (お年寄りを) An immediate burst of laughter was the response.

This is not a complete sentence; having no verb. The previous sentence also had no verb, but the feeling is kind of implied. Perhaps in this case we could throw some ideas out for what ever verb comes to mind. “You’re getting old!” “Please get old!” Maybe you get the gist.

Many years ago I had a similar experience with ‘onaka ga ippai’ (お腹が一杯); meaning, ‘my stomach is full’: and ‘inaka ga oppai’ (田舎がおっぱい); meaning, ‘the countryside is a breast’. Note that wasn’t ‘abreast’ but ‘a breast’. Embarrassing moments like this really help one keep their syllables straight.


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