Whether you’re a new ALT kitting out your first Japanese home, or a Gunma veteran who spent the summer gallivanting around Asia, chances are your bank balance took a hit this summer.
You could have started the new school term counting your yennies. Maybe you’re already spending your evenings two steps behind the guy in the supermarket who wields the ‘reduced’ sticker gun. Perhaps you’ve descended into the realms of the criminal by committing kiseru – dodging train fares. Or are you eyeing up the local pachinko in hopes of a win and your fast track back to financial freedom?
Kechi is the Japanese word for someone who is cheap and it’s time to get stingy! Even if your salary sometimes allows you to be one of our prefecture’s high-rollers, here are some phrases that will help you get more yatta! for your yen:
Sick of getting head? Just utter “awa nashi de” if you don`t want the lather on your lager. Awa means foam and nashi means nothing. But beware… rather than master pouring you a glass brimming with delicious amber brew, you might just get the usual measure but without the froth. This could leave even the most optimistic of money savers looking at a glass half empty.
The golden phrase for all greedy gaijins must be omori. If you’re the kind of diner who’s left slurping for more at the bottom of your ramen bowl, consider ordering with “Miso no omori” next time you want to nibble some noodle. A kind of Japanese ‘supersize me’, “Omori wa deskimasu ka?” might just get you a maxi portion for the minimum price.
Your magic words for an in-store discount are “Makete moraemasu ka?” Makeru means ‘to lose’ and morau means ‘to receive’ – literally, “Can you lose for me?” Try your luck with this thrifty enchantment and even the toughest salesmen could fall under your spell. Besides, it’s always better to be a winner rather than a loser… especially if it keeps your bucks in the bank.
“Tenjihin o kattara, yasuku narimasu ka?” Simply, “If I buy the floor model, can you make it cheaper?” Whisper this in a denki store if you’re splashing out on a new TV. Your cinematic experiences might be at DVD rental prices but could become ‘red carpet’ with this frugal phrase.
Even if you’re not so jouzu with the Nihongo, saving a coin or two might be your motivation to learn some kanji. 割引 is waribiki, and what you need to follow to find your way to the sale. Hangaku is 半額 and your beacon for a half price bargain. You might think the worst sale ever has just hit your supermarket. But rather than a paltry 2% discount, 2割 actually means 20% off, making your tonkatsu a whole lot more tempting.
Whatever your Japanese level, keep it kechi and you’ll be laughing all the way to the bank!