Language | WELL SAID

Vent in Japanese about bother and hassle with ‘mendo’ and ‘yakkai’

by Akemi Tanahashi and Hitomi Tashiro

Contributing Writers

Iroiro mendōna tetsuzuki o shinakucha naranai. (I have to go through a bunch of annoying procedures.)

Situation 1: Mr. Sere and his colleague Mr. Mita are chatting about moving house.

セレ: お金がかかるし、大変だし、そのうえ、いろいろ面倒な手続きをしなくちゃならないから、なるべく引っ越しはしたくないな。

三田: うん、あれはめんどくさいよね。

Sere: O-kane ga kakaru shi, taihen-da shi, sono ue, iroiro mendōna tetsuzuki o shinakucha naranai kara, narubeku hikkoshi wa shitakunai na.

Mita: Un, are wa mendokusai yo ne.

Sere: It costs money, it’s tough, and what’s more, you have to go through a bunch of annoying procedures. If I didn’t have to, there’s no way I’d want to move.

Mita: Yeah, all of that’s a pain.

Today we’ll introduce 面倒(めんどう)な, 厄介(やっかい)な and some related expressions. The na-adjective 面倒な means “troublesome,” “difficult” or “complicated.” Example: もう一度(いちど) 会社(かいしゃ)に戻(もど)るのは面倒だ。 (It’s a hassle to go back to the office again.) Colloquially, people tend to use the i-adjective めんどくさい (troublesome/tiresome), as in めんどくさい仕事(しごと) は、つい後回(あとまわ)しにしてしまう。(I can’t stop putting off bothersome work.) 面倒 can be used as in 1) 面倒をかける (to bother) or X(person)の面倒を見(み)る (to take care of X), 2) ご面倒をおかけして申し訳(もうしわけ)ありません (I’m sorry to trouble you) and 3) 長女(ちょうじょ)は弟(おとうと)の面倒をよく見ている。 (My eldest daughter takes good care of her little brother.)

Situation 2: Ms. Tamachi and her colleague Ms. Gray are chatting about their client.

田町: もう少しでCC社の加藤さんを怒らせるところだったんだけど、なんとか納めることができたの。

グレイ: それはよかった。以前、あの人を怒らせたとき、厄介なことになったのよ。

Tamachi: Mō sukoshi de CC-sha no Katō-san o okoraseru tokoro datta-n dakedo, nantoka osameru koto ga dekita no.

Gurei: Sore wa yokatta. Izen, ano hito o okoraseta toki, yakkaina koto ni natta no yo.

Tamachi: I almost made Mr. Kato of CC Co. angry. But I managed to settle it.

Gray: That’s good. When I made him angry before, it became a real issue.

The na-adjective 厄介(やっかい)な means “troublesome” or “burdensome.” 厄介な and 面倒な are similar in meaning, but 面倒な implies that the speaker expected the trouble before it happened and therefore was reluctant to get involved. 厄介な also suggests something more serious than 面倒な. Example: 祖父(そふ)の遺産相続(いさんそうぞく)をするときに、厄介(やっかい)なことに巻(ま)き込(こ)まれてしまった。 (When I inherited my grandfather’s estate, I got caught up in a troublesome state of affairs.)

Bonus Dialogue: Mrs. Okubo tells her teenage son, Mitsuo, to clean his room.

母: 光男(みつお)、部屋(へや)を掃除(そうじ)しなさい。

光男: めんどくさいなあ。今(いま)、忙(いそが)しいんだよ。

母: だって、こんなに片付(かたづ)いていなかったら、勉強(べんきょう)ができないでしょう?

光男: だいじょうぶ。これでちゃんと勉強できるよ。…今(いま)、部活(ぶかつ)で後輩(こうはい)の面倒(めんどう) を見(み)なきゃならないんだ。

母: でも、それは学校(がっこう)ですればいいでしょ?

光男: いろいろ問題(もんだい)があって、厄介(やっかい) なんだよ。

母: それはしょうがないけど、自分(じぶん)のこともちゃんとしなさい。

光男: よくわからないくせにそんなことを言(い)わないで くれよ。[部屋のドアを閉(し)める]

母: どうしてこんなに厄介な子(こ)になっちゃったの かしらね。[ためいき]

Mother: Mitsuo, clean up your room.

Mitsuo: What a pain. I’m busy right now.

Mother: You can’t study in this mess, can you?

Mitsuo: It’s OK, I can study in like this. … Right now, I’m looking after the junior members of our club.

Mother: But shouldn’t you do that at school?

Mitsuo: There are some problems with that, and it’s a hassle.

Mother: I know, but you should take care of yourself too.

Mitsuo: Don’t talk about things you don’t properly understand! [Slams the door]

Mother: I wonder how he got to be such a troublesome child. [Sighs]