Shimekiri-ni maniau yō-ni, minna-de ganbarimashō. (Let’s all work hard to meet the deadline.)

Situation 1: Ms. Gray encourages her colleagues at work.

グレイ: しめきりに間に合うように、みんなでがんばりましょう。

三田: うん、分担してやれば、なんとかできると思うよ。

Gray: Shimekiri-ni maniau yō-ni, minna-de ganbarimashō.

Mita: Un, buntan-shite yareba, nantoka dekiru-to omō-yo.

Gray: Let’s all work hard to meet the deadline.

Mita: Yeah. I think we can manage if we share the task.

Today we introduce some uses of the verb がんばる that can be used in various situations. がんばる means to do one’s best, to make an effort, as in がんばって勉強(べんきょう)して希望(きぼう)の大学(だいがく)に入(はい)りたい (I’ll study hard to enter the university of my first choice); ご期待(きたい)にそえるようがんばります (I’ll do my upmost to live up to your expectations); がんばってもなかなか優勝(ゆうしょう)できない (No matter how hard we try, it’s almost impossible for us to become the champion team). がんばる also means to stick with something without quitting. For example: あきらめずにがんばれば、いつか成功(せいこう)するよ (If you don’t give up and keep trying, you’ll work it out someday.)

Situation 2: Mr. Sere talks to Ms. Tamachi about running a marathon.

セレ: あした、市民マラソンに出るんだ。

田町: へえ、すごい。がんばってね。

Sere: Ashita, shimin-marason-ni deru-n-da.

Tamachi: Hē, sugoi. Ganbatte-ne.

Sere: I’m going to do the city marathon tomorrow.

Tamachi: Oh, great! Good luck!

がんばって(ください)is often used to encourage the person who is going to do something challenging such as an examination, sports match or presentation. For example あしたの試験(しけん)、がんばってね (Good luck in the exam tomorrow). がんばって or がんばれ is used to spur athletes on as in がんばれ、日本(にほん) (Come on, Japan!). But, if we say がんばって(ください) to people who have suffered from disaster, sickness or a serious problem, it sounds a bit insensitive and they may feel that they cannot make anymore effort. So, care should be taken in this case. がんばる also means to insist on one’s opinion or will as in お父(とう)さんは絶対(ぜったい)に病院(びょういん)に行(い)きたくないと言(い)ってがんばっている (My father insists that he’ll never go to hospital).

Bonus Dialogue: Mrs. Okubo is talking with her son Mitsuo, who is a high school student, about his university entrance exam.

光男: やまと大学(だいがく)はどんなにがんばっても無理(むり)だから、自分(じぶん)の実力(じつりょく)にあったところを選(えら)ぶことにするよ。

母: ええっ、あそこなら、がんばればだいじょうぶよ。この夏(なつ)にちゃんと予備校(よびこう)に通(かよ)って、勉強(べんきょう)すれば入(はい)れるって、先生(せんせい)が言(い)っていたじゃない。

光男: でも、がんばっていい大学を出(で)ても、いい人生(じんせい)が送(おく)れるとは限(かぎ)らないよ。それより、この夏はサッカーをがんばりたいと思(おも)っているんだ。がんばれば、きっと夢(ゆめ)は実現(じつげん)するよ。

母: そうはいっても、サッカーでやっていけるのはほんの一握(ひとにぎ)りよ。

光男: いや、気持(きも)ちは変(か)わらないよ。自分の決(き)めた道(みち)を歩(ある)きたい。[でていく]

母: いやだ、そんなところでがんばらないでほしいのに。まあ、光男(みつお)の決心(けっしん)はいつも長続 (ながつづ)きしないんだから、すぐにあきらめるでしょう。

Mitsuo: No matter how hard I try, it’s impossible to get into Yamato University. So, I’ll choose a school that fits my ability.

Mother: What? I think you can enter that university if you study hard. Your teacher also said that you can get in if you go to cram school and study hard this summer, right?

Mitsuo: But we don’t necessarily live a better life if we graduate from a good university. Instead, I want to focus my efforts on playing soccer this summer. If I stick with it, I’ll be able to make my dream come true.

Mother: At the same time, only a handful of people can make a living as a soccer player.

Mitsuo: No, I’ve made up my mind. I will walk the path that I have chosen. [Goes away]

Mother: On no! I hope he doesn’t persist with that dream. Well, he never sticks to his resolutions, so he’ll probably give up on this one soon.

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