Introducing the adjective ‘sawayaka’

by Akemi Tanahashi and Hitomi Tashiro

Yatto sawayakana kisetsu-ni narimashita-ne. (We’ve finally reached the season for crisp weather.)

Situation 1: Mr. Okubo and his client, Mr. Suzuki, are chatting before a business talk.

鈴木: やっとさわやかな季節になりましたね。

大久保: ほんとに。今年の夏は雨が多くて大変でしたね。

Suzuki: Yatto sawayakana kisetsu-ni narimashita-ne.

Ōkubo: Honto-ni. Kotoshi-no natsu-wa ame-ga ōkute taihen-deshita-ne.

Suzuki: We’ve finally reached the season for some crisp weather.

Okubo: Yeah. We had so much rain this summer, it was terrible, wasn’t it?

Today we’ll introduce the meaning and proper uses of the na-adjective さわやか(な). さわやか(な) originally expresses the cool, dry and refreshing feeling to describe the climate, weather, air wind, etc. It means “fresh, refreshing, bracing, crisp.” In Japan’s humid climate, さわやか is rare and the word has a positive connotation and conveys a delightful feeling. Example: さわやかな山 (やま)の空気(くうき)を吸(す)っていると、生(い)きかえるような気持 (きも)ちになる (I feel like I’m reborn when I take a breath of the invigorating mountain air). さわやか(な) is also used for drinks or fragrances to show the refreshing feeling. Examples: レモンとミントで作(つく)られたさわやかな飲み物(のみもの) (a refreshing drink made with lemon and mint); この香水(こうすい)はさわやかな香(かお)りがする (This perfume has a refreshing aroma). Derived from these meanings, さわやか can also be used to express a state of mind, as in 一晩(ひとばん)ぐっすり眠(ねむ)ったので、今朝(けさ)はさわやかな気分(きぶん)で目覚(めざ)めた (I had a good night’s sleep last night and woke up feeling refreshed).

Situation 2: Ms. Tamachi and her colleague, Ms. Gray, are chatting about a TV drama featuring a young actor.

田町: あのドラマ、坂口健太郎が出ているから、見ているんでしょう?

グレイ: うん。あのさわやかな笑顔、うっとりしちゃう。

Tamachi: Ano dorama, Sakaguchi Kentarō-ga dete-iru-kara, mite-iru-n-deshō?

Gurei: Un. Ano sawayakana egao, uttori-shichau.

Tamachi: You watch that drama because Kentaro Sakaguchi is in it, right?

Gray: Yeah, I see that clean-cut smile and I’m spellbound.

さわやか(な) can also be used to modify the person’s character, appearance or voice. It shows the person’s clear and pleasant impression or clean-cut wholesome appearance. Example: この番組(ばんぐみ)のナレーターは、さわやかな声(こえ)で、内容(ない よう)にぴったりだ (The narrator of this program has a clear voice, which matches the content perfectly). The idiomatic expression 弁舌(べんぜつ)さわやか expresses that someone’s way of speech is clear and eloquent, as in 上田(うえだ)さんは弁舌さわやかにスピーチをした (Mr. Ueda made an eloquent speech).

Bonus Dialogue: Continued from Situation 2.

グレイ: きょうはよく晴(は)れて、涼(すず)しくて、いい天気(てんき)ね。

田町: ああ、こんなさわやかな日(ひ)にビルの中(なか)で 仕事(しごと)をしなくちゃならないなんて、残念 (ざんねん)だなあ。

グレイ: ほんと。こんな日は、さわやかな笑顔(えがお)の 人(ひと)とどこかに遊(あそ)びに行(い)きたいな。

田町: グレイさんなら、坂口健太郎(さかぐちけんたろう)とね。

グレイ: うん。秋(あき)の高原(こうげん)がいいかなあ。

田町: いいね。最高(さいこう)!

グレイ: さわやかな空気を吸(す)うと、お腹(なか)がすくの よね。お昼(ひる)は何(なに)がいい?

田町: そうねえ。おしゃれなレストランで食事(しょくじ)をして、食後(しょくじ)にさわやかなドリンクを…。あれっ、私(わたし)たちの場合(ばあい)、結局(けっきょく)食べ物(たべもの)の話(はなし)になっちゃう。

Gray: It’s lovely weather today, very clear and cool.

Tamachi: Yeah, it’s a pity we have to work inside a building on such a refreshing day.

Gray: I know. On a day like this, I’d like to go somewhere and enjoy the day with someone who has a clean-cut smile.

Tamachi: Ms. Gray, Kentaro Sakaguchi is your man.

Gray: Yes. I want to go somewhere like the highlands where I can soak up the autumn atmosphere.

Tamachi: That sounds so nice. It’s perfect!

Gray: Taking in fresh air makes me hungry. What will you have for lunch?

Tamachi: Let me see. We can have lunch in a fancy restaurant, and follow that with a refreshing drink and … hang on, we seem to always end up talking about food.