Bilingual

Finding the best way to chill out with the verb 'ochitsuku'

by Akemi Tanahashi and Hitomi Tashiro

Contributing Writers

Dō shita no? Mā, ochitsuite. (What’s wrong? Come now, relax.)

Situation 1: Mrs. Okubo’s young daughter Mariko returns home in a hurry. Her mother asks her why.

まり子: ねえねえ、お母さん、大変なの。どうしよう、どうしよう。

母: どうしたの? まあ、落ち着いて。まずコートを脱いで、かけてきなさい。

Mariko: Nē nē, o-kāsan, taihen na no. Dō shiyō, dō shiyō.

Haha: Dō shita no? Mā, ochitsuite. Mazu kōto o nuide, kakete-kinasai.

Mariko: Hey, Mom, it’s terrible. What should I do, what should I do?

Mother: What’s wrong? Come now, relax. First take off your coat, go hang it up and come back.

There are many ways to use the verb 落(お)ち着(つ)く, which means to calm down, relax and be comfortable. For example:

入試(にゅうし)の結果(けっか)がわかるまで落ち着かない。 (I won’t be able to relax until I know the results of the entrance examination.)

彼女(かのじょ)といっしょにいると落ち着くんだ。 (When I’m with her, I feel comfortable.)

落ち着く also means “to settle” and can indicate that something is changing such as the condition of a sickness, the political or economic climate, or weather patterns: 為替市場(かわせしじょう)は最近(さいきん)落ち着いてきた。 (The exchange market has recently settled down.)

落ち着く is also used to convey that a person’s life or job has started to settle, as in 引(ひ)っ越(こ)しから一月(ひとつき)経(た)って、生活(せいかつ)が落ち着いてきた。 (One month has passed since we moved and our lives have now calmed down.)

We also use 落ち着く when something under discussion has become settled after various twists and turns: 話(はな)し合(あ)いの結果、プランAに落ち着いた。 (As a result of the discussion, we settled on plan A.)

Situation 2: Mrs. Shiba is shopping at an interiors store for curtains. The shop clerk approaches to help her.

店員: こちらの色も人気があります。

グレイ: ああ、落ち着いた色ですね。こんなカーテンなら気分も落ち着きそう。

Ten’in: Kochira no iro mo ninki ga arimasu.

Gray: Aa, ochitsuita iro desu ne. Konna kāten nara kibun mo ochitsukisō.

Shop clerk: This color is also popular.

Gray: Oh, it’s a calming color, isn’t it? If I go with these curtains, my mood will also be calm.

落ち着く is used in its noun-modifying form, 落ち着いた, in Ms. Gray’s response to the shop clerk. 落ち着いた describes an item’s delicate, quiet (as in color) and subdued (as in style) character, the opposite of something that’s showy or bright:

私(わたし)はこのナレーターの落ち着いた声(こえ)が好(す)きだ。 (I like this narrator’s soothing voice.)

Bonus Dialogue: Ms. Gray and Ms. Tamachi are chatting.

グレイ: この前(まえ)、小川(おがわ)さんに会(あ)ったの。引っ越しも終(お)わって落ち着ついたから、また会いましょうって。

田町: ああ、彼女(は先月(せんげつ)結婚(けっこん)したんだよね。

グレイ: うん、今(いま)は鈴木(すずき)さんになったのよ。彼(かれ)は若(わか)いころはいろいろあったけど、結婚して落ち着いたんだって。

田町: そうなんだ。ああ、つぎつぎみんなが結婚すると、あせるなあ。子(こ)どもを生(う)むなら、タイムリミットもあるし。

グレイ: まあ、落ち着いて。あせって変(へん)な人(ひと)と一緒(いっしょ)になったら、後悔(こうかい)するでしょ。

田町: それはそうだけど。

グレイ: 私は子どもはどっちでもいいと思(おも)っているんだ。この前、知(し)り合いの人が50歳(ごじゅっさい)同士(どうし)で結婚したの。落ち着いたカップルでいい感(かん)じだったよ。

田町: そうなんだ。落ち着いて考(かんが)えると、そんなにあせらなくてもいいかも。あ、でも、来週(らいしゅう)の合(ごう)コンには、参加(さんか)してみよう。

Gray: I met Ms. Ogawa some time ago. She said that the move is over and she has settled down in her house, and she wants to meet up again.

Tamachi: Oh, she got married last month, right?

Gray: Yes, she’s Mrs. Suzuki now. Her husband was a bit wild when he was younger, but he has calmed down since marrying.

Tamachi: Ah, really. Oh, one after the other, everyone is getting married and the pressure’s on me. If I want to have a child there’s a time limit.

Gray: Come now, relax. You’ll regret it if you’re pressured into marrying some strange person.

Tamachi: You’re totally right.

Gray: I don’t care if I have a child or not. Some time ago, acquaintances of mine got married at 50. They’re a cool couple, it’s nice.

Tamachi: I see. Thinking about it more calmly, I don’t have to be in a hurry. But I’ll still try to join next week’s matchmaking party.