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Uchi-no ka-wa saikyō-desu. (Our section is the strongest.)

Situation 1: Mr. Tachikawa is transferred from Singapore to Mr. Tian’s section.

立川:みなさん、今日からよろしくお願いします。ティエン さん、3年前は、シドニーでお世話になりました。

ティエン:こちらこそ、よろしく! 立川さんが来てくれたので、うちの課は最強ですよ。

Tachikawa: Minasan, kyō-kara yoroshiku onegai-shimasu. Tian-san, sannen-mae-wa, Shidonii-de osewa-ni narimashita.

Tian: Kochira-koso, yoroshiku! Tachikawa-san-ga kite-kureta-no-de, uchi-no ka-wa saikyō-desu-yo.

Tachikawa: Everyone, I am a member of this section from today. Mr. Tian, thank you for taking good care of me in Sydney three years ago.

Tian: Nice meeting you again! Now that we have Mr. Tachikawa, our section is the strongest.

Various kanji attach to 最 (さい, most) to form a number of compound words. Today we will introduce some of these, especially those that are quite similar in pronunciation and therefore easily confused. 強 (きょう, strong) attaches to 最 to make the compound word 最強 (さいきょう, strongest), as in Mr. Tian’s sentence. Its pitch accent is low-high-high-high. Be careful not to confuse it with 最高 (さいこう, best), which has the same pitch accent as 最強. The antonym of 最高 is 最低 (さいてい, worst). Example: きょうは最高のデートにしようと思(おも)っていろいろ準備(じゅんび)していったのに、彼女(かのじょ)とけんかをしてしまい、最低の一日(いちにち)だった。( Today, I wanted to make it the best date ever, and had put in all sorts of preparation. But we quarreled and, in the end, it turned out to be the worst day.)

Situation 2: Continued from Situation 1.

立川: ここで定年を迎えることになりますので、最後の御奉公として、精一杯務めさせていただきます。

Tachikawa: Koko-de teinen-o mukaeru koto-ni narimasu-no-de, saigo-no go-hōkō-to shite sei’ippai tsutomesasete-itadakimasu.

Tachikawa: I am supposed to reach the age of retirement here. So, with this being my last job, I will do my best.

最後 (さいご) means “the last” and its antonym is 最初 (さいしょ, first). The pitch accent of 最後 is high-low- low, whereas that of 最初 is low-high-high. Do not mix it up with the compound word 最古 (さいこ, oldest), since it has the same pitch accent as 最後. Its antonym is 最新 (さいしん, newest).

Bonus Dialogue: Mr. Tian visits his old landlady Mrs. Mori. They are chatting, eating dinner.

ティエン:夏休みの最後(さいご)は、奈良(なら)へ行ってみようと 思(おも)っているんです。京都(きょうと)には出張(しゅっちょう)で何度(なんど)か行っているんですが、 奈良にはなかなか行くチャンスがなくて…。

森:ぜひ、行(い)ってらっしゃい。京都もいいけど、私(わたし)は奈良が最高(さいこう)だと思いますよ。あ、奈良に 行ったら、法隆寺(ほうりゅうじ)を見(み)るといいですよ。世界(せかい)最古(さいこ)の木造(もくぞう)建築 (けんちく)ですから。

ティエン:はい、ぜひそうします。森(もり)さんは、夏休みは…?

森:お盆(ぼん)のころに、孫(まご)たちが1週間(いっしゅうかん)泊(とま)りに来(き)たんです。最初(さいしょ)はかわいくて楽(たの)しかったんですけど、最後は、すっかり疲(つか)れてしまって、帰(かえ)ってくれてホッとしましたよ。ところでティエンさん、奈良へは彼女(かのじょ)とご一緒(いっしょ)に?

ティエン:彼女なんていませんよ。一人(ひとり)で行きます。

森:そんな…、そのお歳(とし)で、一人?! じゃあ、私の親戚(しんせき)の娘(むすめ)と会(あ)ってもらえませんか。

ティエン:あ、そろそろ帰(かえ)らなくちゃ。どうも、ごちそうさまでした。

Tian: I’m thinking of going to Nara at the end of my summer vacation. I’ve often visited Kyoto on business, but I had no chance to go to Nara.

Mori: I recommend it! Kyoto is nice, but I think Nara is the best. Oh, if you visit Nara, be sure to see Horyuji Temple. It’s the oldest wooden structure in the world.

Tian: I’ll be sure to. Mrs. Mori, how was your summer break?

Mori: Around the Bon festival period, my grandchildren came to stay with me for a week. At first, I enjoyed staying with the lovely children, but by the end, I was quite tired and was happy when they left for home. By the way, are you going to Nara with your girlfriend?

Tian: No, I don’t have a girlfriend. I’m going alone.

Mori: Wha—? Alone, at your age? So, how would you like to meet my relative’s daughter?

Tian: Oops, it’s time I should be going. Thanks for the wonderful dinner!

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