Animation - or Anime - is becoming a hugely popular part of Japanese culture nowadays. Movies by STUDIO GHIBLI are spreading especially quickly all over the world. The director Hayao Miyazaki has a good working relationship with people at the Walt Disney company, and they invite each other to see previews. Today, we will learn Japanese phrases from one of their famous animes called Kiki’s delivery service.

The first phrase is:
暮らすって物入りね (kurasu tte mono iri ne).

Kiki is a witch who is a 13-year-old girl. The rule of witches is that they have to leave their parents’ house and find a new city to live in by themselves when they become 13. She left her hometown and is trying to find a place to live. Luckily, she met a kind married couple who are running a bakery. The wife provided a room for Kiki to sleep in, and Kiki will help out with the work at the bakery instead of paying rent for her room. She had to clean up the room and go shopping to buy some kitchen stuff. She found a frying pan, looked at the price and said 暮らすって物入りね.

暮らす is “to live”.
って is one of the particles and used as “は (wa)” or “と”. 暮らすと=暮らすって. って is more casual speech.

物入り is expense. 物入り is originally from a different kanji 物要り. 物 is things, 入 means enter or get, and 入り is the conjugated form of 入る (to enter, to get). 要 means need, and 要り is the conjugated form of 要る (to need). We changed the kanji because 入り is easier to write than 要り even though the meaning of kanji is different. We have, actually, many other words of this type. 物入り is “things” “need”, which means when you need things, it has an expense.

ね is also the particle, put at the end of a sentence and used when you want agreement.

So the whole sentence means, “It’s a living expense, isn’t it?”.

Next, Kiki was trying to think of what she could do besides being a cashier at the bakery, and finally, she decided to start a delivery service. She knows that she can fly on her broom, and flying is much faster than driving a car. One day, she had a customer for delivery, but on the same day, she got an invitation to a party from her friend. Kiki was in a hurry to deliver and make it in time for the party, but unfortunately, it began to rain on the way. When she was done with her job, she still had time to make it somehow, but she gave up going to the party because she was all wet. Then she said:


こんな is “like this”.

なり is “appearance” or “looking”

じゃ is a particle. では is the formal particle and じゃ is casual and more like spoken language. Not every time, but the most of the time, じゃ implies something negative.

行けない is “cannot go”. 行く is “to go”, and ない is a negative word. 行けない is a short cut form of 行くことができない. ~ことができない means “cannot to do”. When you make a short cut word, you have to conjugate, so 行く goes to 行け and then add the negative word ない, 行けない.

もん is one of the sentence final particles, and its primary meaning is “because” or “reason is”. It indicates an excuse, too.  もん is a casual form of もの. This is used by mainly children and women in casual conversation.

The meaning of the whole sentence is:
“I can’t go looking like this…”

I hope you enjoyed this article as an example of the good Japanese you can learn from anime!


Image by JCT(Loves)Streisand* (CC by 2.0)