Kotoshi-no natsu-wa, toku-ni atsui-desu (This summer is extraordinarily hot)

Situation 1: Mr. & Mrs. Shiba are at home on a hot Sunday.

妻: 今年の夏は、特に暑いんじゃない?

夫: うん。まるで日本じゃなくてインドみたいだな。

Tsuma: Kotoshi-no natsu-wa, toku-ni atsui-n-ja nai?

Otto: Un. Maru-de Nihon-ja nakute Indo-mitai-da-na.

Wife: This summer is extraordinarily hot, isn’t it?

Husband: Yeah. It’s really not like Japan — more like India.

Today we introduce three different あつい i-adjectives. As in Situation 1, 暑(あつ)い is used to describe the air temperature, especially climate. When it is hot, it’s 暑い; warm is 暖(あたた)かい, cool is 涼(すず)しい and cold is 寒(さむ)い. For describing hot, humid weather — like Japan in summer — 蒸(む)し暑い is used. 蒸し is the adverbial form of 蒸す (to steam). Another reading of 暑 is しょ, as in 猛暑 (もうしょ, terrible heat), 残暑 (ざんしょ, late-summer heat), 暑中(しょちゅう)見舞(みま)い (“summer greeting”), etc.

To express that something is physically hot, 熱(あつ)い is used, e.g., for a 風呂 (ふろ, bath), お茶 (おちゃ, tea), 屋根 (やね, roof), etc. Its antonym is 冷(つめ)たい, and not hot enough is ぬるい, such as for a lukewarm bath or tepid tea. Another reading of 熱 is ねつ , which is used to gauge the temperature of a body or a thing, as in: おでこが熱(あつ)いよ。 熱(ねつ)があるんじゃない? (“Your forehead’s hot. You’ve got a fever, surely?”). It is also used in 高熱 (こうねつ, high fever) and 解熱剤 (げねつざい, fever medicine). 熱(あつ)い and 熱(ねつ) are used metaphorically, too, as in 熱(あつ)い恋(こい) (passionate love), 熱(あつ)く語(かた)る (to talk passionately about something), 情熱的 (じょうねつてき)な (passionately), etc.

Situation 2: Mitsuo finds his father reading a big, thick dictionary.

光男: お父さん、まだそんな厚い辞書を使っているの?ネットの辞書を使えばいいのに。

父: これで調べると、勉強しているという実感があって、 気分がいいんだよ。

Mitsuo: Otōsan, mada sonna atsui jisho-o tsukatte-iru-no? Netto-no jisho-o tsukaeba ii-no-ni.

Chichi: Kore-de shiraberu-to, benkyō-shite-iru-to-iu jikkan-ga atte, kibun-ga ii-n-dayo.

Mitsuo: Dad, are you still using that thick dictionary? You should use an online one.

Father: I actually feel like I’m studying when I use this dictionary. That makes me feel good.

Here is another あつい, this time meaning “thick” and written as 厚い in kanji. Its accent is low-high-high, while that of 暑い and 熱い is low-high-low. Its antonym is 薄(うす)い (thin).

Bonus Dialogue: Mr. Mita comes back to the office before noon.

三田: いやあ、外(そと)は暑かったよ!むし風呂(ぶろ)みたいだ。

グレイ: お帰(かえ)りなさい。お疲(つか)れ様(さま)

三田: こう暑いと、昼(ひる)には厚いステーキでも食(た)べたくなるよ。

田町: ふつう、冷(つめ)たい麺(めん)でも食べたいって言(い)わない?

三田: いや、夏(なつ)こそステーキだよ。それとも、クーラーの効(き)いた部屋(へや)で熱いなべを食べるのもいいな。

グレイ: それはぜいたく。みんなで節電(せつでん)しなくちゃ。

田町: 私は暑い道端(みちばた)で、かき氷(ごおり)を食べるのが好(す)き。

グレイ: うん、暑いときは、外でかき氷を食べるのが最高(さいこう)ね。前(まえ)に、あんまり暑かったから喫茶店(きっさてん)に入(はい)ってかき氷を注文(ちゅうもん)したら、すごく時間(じかん)がかかって、すっかり体(からだ)が冷(ひ)えちゃったことがあった。

三田: ほんとは、暑いときは、クーラーで部屋(へや)を冷やさないで、かき氷を食べて昼寝(ひるね)をするような生活(せいかつ)がいいのにな。

グレイ: 文明(ぶんめい)が進(すす)むと、なかなか自然(しぜん)のままには生(い)きられないものね。

Mita: Woah, it was so hot outside! Like a steam bath!

Gray: Welcome back! You must be tired.

Mita: When it’s this hot, I want to eat a thick steak for lunch.

Tamachi: Normally, wouldn’t people say they want to eat cold noodles instead?

Mita: No, it’s because it’s summer that a steak is good. Or, a hot pot cooked in front of you in a room where the air-conditioning works well.

Gray: That’s too extravagant. We have to save electricity.

Tamachi: I like to eat shaved ice when it’s hot on the streets.

Gray: Yeah, it’s great eating shaved ice outside when it’s hot. The other day it was so hot that I went into a tearoom and ordered shaved ice. But it didn’t come for so long that my body had already completely cooled down.

Mita: Actually, it would be a nice life if we could just eat shaved ice and take siestas so that we wouldn’t need to turn on air-conditioners to cool down our rooms.

Gray: Civilization has reached a point where we really can’t live a natural life any more, can we?

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