09 - Smoking, Steaming Goodness

I've heard stupidity is contagious.

And I think it's true.

I make so many mistakes in Japanese, the native speakers around me get worse at the language.

Yesterday, Rei was complaining that I mix up Japanese words so often, that she forgets which one is correct.

In particular, she was talking about the words 湯気 (yuge), "steam" and 煙 (kemuri), "smoke."

Since I always forget that the word 湯気 (yuge), "steam" even exists, I always end up just saying 煙 (kemuri), "smoke."

Over time, making this mistake planted seeds of stupidity in Rei's brain, too, and now she continually mixes up the two words.

Just yesterday, we were walking past a 焼き鳥 (yakitori / "grilled chicken skewers") shop in the 商店街 (shoutengai / "shop street") near our place, and there was steam coming off of the chicken skewers, and Rei said something like:

yuge mieru?
Can you see the steam?

Then half a second later she said:

kemuri? yuge? niko no sei de wasurechau.
Smoke? Steam? I forget because of you.

By the way, saying "Name + の (no) + せい (sei)" is how you say that something is someone's fault.

So next time you spill hot coffee all over yourself, look your friend in the eye and say:

omae no sei da!
It's your fault!

Well, maybe don't say that, because it's really rude.

Long story short, let's remember that 湯気 (yuge) is "steam" and 煙 (kemuri) is "smoke:"

On a side note, I have no idea what verb to use with 湯気 (yuge).

Normally, I'd just ask Rei, but she's sleeping right now (that's what I get for writing these at like 6 in the morning.

My dictionary seems to think that it goes with one of these:

to stand; to get up

yuge ga tatsu
give off steam


to (make) stand; to get up

tetsubin ga yuge wo tateteiru.
The kettle is steaming

(Note: I'd never seen this word for "kettle" before, 鉄瓶, tetsubin.)


to exit; to come off

yuge ga deteiru


to go up

yakitate no gyouza kara yuge ga agatteiru.
The pot-stickers are giving off steam.

(Note: 焼きたて, yakitate, means "freshly cooked," as in, "just finished grilling/cooking/etc.")


Maybe they're all okay? I don't know.

Next time I'm with Japanese people, I'll just say all of them, like this:

mite, yuge ga... tatteru? tateteru? deteru? agatteru?
Look, steam is... standing? being stood up? coming off? going up?

Then they'll say which verb is accurate, and I'll log it in my brain (i.e. immediately forget).

Bonus Phrases:

やきとり かう。
I'm gonna get yakitori.
Literally: yakitori + buy

しょうてんがい よらない?
Wanna stop by the shopping street?
Literally: shopping street/district + won't stop by?
Note: There's no good English for 商店街, so I just put "shopping street."