Gakkō-no toire-wa washiki-da-kara tsukaenai-tte. (She says she can’t use the Japanese-style toilets at school.)

Situation 1: Mrs. Okubo is at home, chatting with her friend Mrs. Yamashita, when Mrs. Okubo’s little daughter, Mariko, comes back from school and rushes to the restroom.

大久保:  あんなふうに、帰宅するといつもトイレにダッシュするの。学校のトイレは和式だから使えないって、がまんしているらしいの。

山下:  最近、そういう子どもが増えているみたいね。

Ōkubo: Anna-fū-ni, kitaku-suru-to itsumo toire-ni dasshu-suru-no. Gakkō-no toire-wa washiki-da-kara tsukaenai-tte, gaman-shite-iru-rashii-no.

Yamashita: Saikin, sō-iu kodomo-ga fuete-iru-mitai-ne.

Okubo: When she comes home, she always dashes to the toilet. It’s as if she’s holding it in because she can’t use the Japanese-style toilets at school.

Yamashita: Yeah, recently, the number of children with that problem seems to be on the rise.

Today we will explain the differences between the compound nouns X式 (しき) and X風(ふう), both of which mean “in the style of X.” In the compound noun 和式(わしき)Y, 和 means “Japanese” and Y is made or organized according to the Japanese style, form or method. A 和式トイレ is a Japan-style squat toilet, as opposed to the sit-down 洋式(ようしき)トイレ (Western-style toilet). Other examples of this kind of compound noun: 充電式(じゅうでんしき)ひげそり (a rechargeable shaver), 電動式自転車(でんどうしきじてんしゃ) (an electric bike), 軍隊式訓練(ぐんたいしきくんれん) (military-style training), etc. X式の can also be used to modify Y.

Situation 2: Mr. Sere and his girlfriend, Yuri, are on the phone.

ゆり: 今度、新宿にできたイタリアンに行かない?あそこの和風パスタが、すごく美味しいんだって。

セレ: いいよ。週末に行ってみよう。

Yuri: Kondo, Shinjuku-ni-dekita Itarian-ni ikanai? Asoko-no wafū-pasuta-ga, sugoku oishii-n-datte.

Sere: Ii-yo. Shūmatsu-ni itte-miyō.

Yuri: Why don’t we go to that new Italian restaurant in Shinjuku sometime? The Japanese-style pasta over there is really tasty, I heard.

Sere: OK. Let’s go there on the weekend.

X風(ふう)Y implies that Y may not really be X although it looks or feels like it, as is the case with Yuri’s 和風(わふう)パスタ (Japanese-flavored pasta) in Situation 2. In another example, 和風喫茶(きっさ) (Japanese-style tea shop), waitresses may wear kimono and serve green tea. Similarly, a 和風ハンバーグ (Japanese-style Hamburg steak) may be seasoned with soy sauce. Again, X風の can modify Y, as in 関西(かんさい)風のうどん (Kansai-style noodles).

Bonus Dialogue: Section chief Mr. Okubo talks to his trainee from the States, Adam.

大久保:  アダムくんは、何(なん)でも和風(わふう)が好きなんだって?

アダム:  はい。特(とく)に和風の家(いえ)に憧(あこが)れて います。日本式(にほんしき)の建築(けんちく)で、 床の間(とこのま)のある家に住(す)みたいです。

大久保:   へえ!最近(さいきん)は、床の間のある家なんか 少(すく)ないよ。

アダム:  床の間の前(まえ)で毎晩(まいばん)日本酒(しゅ)を 飲(の)むのが夢(ゆめ)です。

大久保:  アダムくんは、日本人より日本人らしいね。

アダム:  はい。ぼくは日本の文化(ぶんか)が大好(だいす)きで、将来(しょうらい)は日本で暮(く)らしたいんです。 あのう…、お正月(しょうがつ)にお会(あ)いした、姪(めい)のえりさんは、お元気(げんき)ですか?

大久保:  えりは今(いま)アメリカに留学(りゅうがく)していて、アメリカ式にすっかりなじんだから、もう日本には 戻(もど)ってこないと言(い)っているよ。

アダム:  そうですか。がっかりです…。

Okubo: Adam, I hear you like anything that’s in the Japanese style.

Adam: Yes. Most of all, I long for a Japanese-style house. I’d like to live among Japanese-style architecture and with a Japanese-style alcove.

Okubo: Ah! But few homes have alcoves like that these days.

Adam: It’s my dream to drink sake every night in front of the alcove.

Okubo: Adam, you’re more Japanese than Japanese.

Adam: Yeah. As I love Japanese culture, I want to live in Japan in the future. Anyway, uh … your niece Eri who I met on New Year’s Day … how’s she?

Okubo: She’s been studying in the U.S. and got completely accustomed to the American way of doing things. She says she won’t come back to live in Japan again.

Adam: Really? That’s too bad …

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