133 - The Age You Can Eat Anything

Reflecting on yesterday's lesson, I was trying to think of other phrases that I use a lot when first meeting people, and I found that one phrase I use a lot is...

たべれない もの ある?
Is there anything you can't eat?
Literally: "cannot eat + thing + there is?"
Note: 食べれない is a very common shortening of the full negative potential form 食べられない. The shortened positive potential form would be 食べれる, short for 食べられる.

You could also say:

にがてな もの ある?
Is there any food you don't like?
Literally: "bitter / disliking + thing + there is?"
Note: We talked about 苦手 (and saw this exact sentence) back in Lesson #47.

I can't count how many times I've been asked one of these two questions. And as a result, I find myself asking them all the time, too.

Just this morning, I came across a sentence in my flashcards from a few years ago. It was an answer to this very question, 食べれないものある?, which I'd asked to a Japanese language exchange partner on Line (if I remember correctly, I think it was a girl doing a working holiday in Australia). Well, actually,she had asked me this question, then I just repeated it back to her.

Anyways, she answered:

私もなーーーんもない♪ 食いしん坊だから 笑
わたし も なーーーんもない ♪ くいしんぼう だ から わら
There's nothing I can't eat, either. LOL
Literally: "I + also + nothing. + glutton + is + because + lol."
Note: なーーーんもない is just a playful way to say なんもない, which is a casual shortening of なにもない, which means "nothing."

There are three specific times I have come across this word 食いしん坊, which means something like "a person who eats a lot."

1) That message above.
2) There was a steak restaurant in Shimokitazawa (an area of Tokyo) called 食いしん坊.
3) One time I heard Rei's mom call her 食いしん坊.

Real-life experiences truly make remembering words easier, don't they?

Anyways, what if there is something you can't eat? Maybe then you should say something like...

ピーマン と きのこ たべれない。
I can't eat piman or mushrooms.
Literally: "pimento + and + mushroom + can't eat."
Note: Dictionaries say that ピーマン is "bell pepper," and as a result I was incorrectly using the word ピーマン for all types of "bell peppers" for years. But what we call "bell peppers" where I'm from are actually called パプリカ, "paprika," in Japanese. ピーマン, are the somewhat bitter, small green bell peppers you see in Japan.



Rei and I were discussing questions we could ask kids and teenagers in Japan, and this one came up:

いま なんねんせい?
What grade are you in?
Literally: "now + what year student?"

I hate the answers to this question, because they have a different system for grades in Japan than where I grew up.

Here is the simplest way I know of to answer the above question:

([school level]) + [number] + ([year]) + ([student])

For example, 中学2年生(ちゅうがくにねんせい // 8th grade; 2nd year of middle school):

中学(ちゅうがく)// ([school level])
2() // [number]
年(ねん) // ([year])
生(せい) // ([student])

Now the confusing part: You only need to say the number and at least on other thing.

For example, all of the following would be acceptable answers to the above question...

Note: Before we look at these examples, I should point out that for "school level," we can say:

小学(しょうがく // elementary school
中学(ちゅうがく // middle school; junior high school
高校(こうこう // high school

...or we can shorten them to just 小(しょう), 中(ちゅう), and 高(こう).)

(For the items below, the space in the kana breakdown is where the + [plus sign] is in the English breakdown... so the spaces are not marking words, which is what they normally do.)

# + year + student
いち ねん せい。
First grade.
Note: Context will inform us if this person is in elementary, middle, or high school. The same goes for all of the examples below that don't include "school level."

# + year
に ねん。
Second grade.

school level + #
しょう さん。
Third grade.

# + year + student
よ ねん せい。
Fourth grade.

# + year
ご ねん。
Fifth grade.

school level + number + year + student
しょうがく ろく ねん せい。
Sixth grade.

school level + #
ちゅう いち。
Seventh grade.
Literally: First grade of junior high school.

school level + # + year + student
ちゅうがく に ねん せい。
Eight grade.
Literally: Second grade of junior high school.

school level + number + year + student
ちゅうがく さん ねん せい。
Ninth grade.
Literally: Third grade of junior high school.
Note: In the U.S., this would be the age/grade of a freshman in high school.

school level + number
こう いち。
Tenth grade.
Literally: First grade of high school.
Note: In the U.S., the age/grade of a sophomore in high school.

school level + # + year + student
こうこう に ねん せい。
Eleventh grade.
Literally: Second grade of high school.
Note: In the U.S., the age/grade of a junior in high school.

school level + # + year
こうこう さん ねん。
Twelfth grade.
Literally: Third grade of high school.
Note: In the U.S., the age/grade of a senior in high school.

Hopefully I didn't make that too confusing! ^_^