Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Can it be helped?

Posted by kuri, ping, the pinglet, & mini-ping on 6/21/2006
If you've been wondering where I've been, wonder no longer. It's taken me this long to thaw out my fingers due to the lack of hot water in my apartment.

We have no hot water. We've tried everything...going through the water department, gas companies, you name it...but nothing doing. And not only that, the water is colder than it's ever been before.

Have you ever tried to take a cold shower? It rattled my bones, made my muscles hurt, and had me clenching my jaw in pain, all because they can't find the reason why we don't have hot water. I wonder if anyone else in my building's been affected because I haven't heard people cry out in pain while they're showering.

But it was E7's first reponse to this that got's my all-time favorite phrase in Japanese: "shoganai": It's can't be helped.

I'm the first to admit that there are things that can't be helped: having your face break out on the morning of your wedding (*oooh! me, me!*), having the rain pour down when you have no umbrella and nowhere to wait it out (*oooh! me, me!*), not being chose to star in the next best on-Broadway show (*oooh! me, me!*...oh, sorry. I got carried away there for a minute).

Anyway, so I know that things just don't work out how you want them sometimes. But "shoganai" is used so much in Japan that it's finally driven me batty...which has manifested itself in the form of me using it even more than it should be used.

"I wish the light would change." "Shoganai, we'll just have to wait."

"Don't you think they should put something new on the menu?" "Shoganai, I guess we'll just have to deal with what they have now."

"Don't you think that we have to make sure we don't get mold in the apartment this rainy season?" "Shoganai, if the mold comes, it comes. Nothing we can do about it."

So, it can be used with pretty much every kind of situation. Hmmm...maybe I'm on to something here.

I'm off to the Big Tomato* this weekend for work(!) but will be back raring to go on Monday!

*Big Tomato = Tokyo

5 of you feeling verklempt. Tawlk amongst yourselves:

montchan said...

and in this part of the world, they don't even have such a handy word, even though it seems to embody the national spirit. But then, what can you expect from a language that doesn't have the word "please"? shoganai...

??? said...

Odd–we can no longer get hot water with the gas water heater set on the low setting, but we get hot water when it's set on really super hot setting (before, we had only used that once in the middle of winter, but now it's the only way to get hot water). But, I assume you would have tried that if you have a second setting... (^_^)

I should have learned shoganai a long time ago, but I think I'd have definitely over-abused it.

Hope I can see you before I leave (Friday). I have several books for you.

L. said...

I do so hate it when people say "Shoganai" about things that CAN be helped!

Mojibake said...

Hi! We called about the hot water not working right and now they've installed a new gas heater. (^_^) Too bad it's only for our last two days! I hope you have hot water again soon, too!

kuri & ping said...

Montchan: They don't have the word "please" in Sweden??? Wow...

L.: Yes! That is exactly my annoyance with the whole thing.

Mojibake: I know who you are! :) Hope your packing is going well...should you be online right now??? Aren't there some boxes with you name on it calling you?? :)


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