Vegetables are No Good

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Dame (駄目・だめ) is a word that can be heard often. It can have many meanings: done for; I’ve had it; nothing doing; no good; no way; useless; vain; hopeless; …

Out for dinner at an izakaya (居酒屋) we ordered up a host of foods. One member requested some kind of vegetables. Another said something like, “Vegetables are no good!” I found this odd, since they own a tofu company and eat vegetables quite regularly.

Naturally, my curiosity forced me to get to the bottom. They hadn’t said, “Yasai dame!“, but rather, “Yasai itame.” (野菜駄目 vs. 野菜炒め) Itameru (炒める) is a verb that can be translated as “stir-fry”, “fry”, or “saute”; in this case we’ll go with stir-fry. This has become one of our standard plates and a running joke.

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