Language | WELL SAID

Learning how to use 'ureshii' and 'tanoshii' is an enjoyable experience

by Akemi Tanahashi and Hitomi Tashiro

Contributing Writers

Taihen ureshiku omoimasu. (I am very pleased.)

Situation 1: The company president rewards Mr. Okubo for his performance as section chief.

社長: 大久保課長のチームは、今回とても良い結果を出しましたね。大変うれしく思います。

大久保: 社長から直接そのようなうれしいお言葉をいただき、大変光栄です。スタッフも喜ぶでしょう。

Shachō: Ōkubo-kachō no chīmu wa, konkai totemo yoi kekka o dashimashita ne. Taihen ureshiku omoimasu.

Ōkubo: Shachō kara chokusetsu sono yō na ureshii o-kotoba o itadaki, taihen kōei desu. Sutaffu mo yorokobu deshō.

President: Section Chief Okubo, your team has produced very good results this time. I am very pleased.

Okubo: To receive such wonderful praise from the president directly, I feel very honored. I’m sure my staff will also be happy.

Remember the adjectives うれしい and 楽(たの)しい for the moments that matter in life. Both express the speaker’s feeling of happiness. うれしい is used to express the speaker’s happiness and gratitude toward someone who has done something for the speaker’s sake, or at a point in time when something good has happened to the speaker. うれしい describes a momentary feeling of happiness, as in:

大学(だいがく)に合格(ごうかく)できて、とてもうれしい。 (I’m very happy I passed [the university entrance examination].)

Situation 2: Mariko’s grandmother visits her and asks Mariko if she’s enjoying school.

祖母: まりちゃん、学校、楽しい?

まり子: うん。ゆかちゃんがいるから、すごーく楽しい。

Sobo: Mari-chan, gakkō, tanoshii?

Mariko: Un. Yuka-chan ga iru kara, sugooku tanoshii.

Grandma: Mari dear, is school fun?

Mariko: Yeah. Yuka is there (in my class), so it’s really fun.

Unlike うれしい, 楽しい does not express the feeling of gratitude for someone or a specific matter or event. Rather, it expresses a long-lasting feeling of enjoyment that pervades the atmosphere of a situation, as in:

今日(きょう)のパーティーは、とても楽しかった。 (Today’s party was a lot of fun.)

好(す)きな人(ひと)と楽しく暮(く)らせれば、他(ほか)には何(なに)もいらない。 (I want nothing more than an enjoyable life with the person I love.)

The verb form of 楽しい is 楽しむ, a transitive verb that can be used as such:

どうぞごゆっくり[お食事(しょくじ)を]お楽しみください。 (Please make yourself at home and enjoy [your meal].)

Since no one is able to experience someone else’s true feelings, it is impossible to say something like: 彼(かれ)は楽しい/うれしいです。 (He is happy.) You can only use your own judgement in a situation like this by saying: 彼は楽しそう/うれしそうです (He seems/looks happy.) or something along those lines.

Bonus Dialogue: Mr. Mita is speaking with his colleague Mr. Sere who seems to be happy.

三田(みた): セレくん、何(なん)かうれしそうじゃない?いいことでもあったの?

セレ: あ、わかる?実(じつ)は、週末(しゅうまつ)にゆりと小(しょう)旅行(りょこう)することになったんだ。

三田: そうか、仲直(なかなお)りできたんだね。よかった。

セレ: 三田くんのアドバイスのおかげだよ。男女(だんじょ)の話(はなし)なら、三田くんのアドバイスは、いつも的確(てきかく)だ。

三田: ぼくもそう思(おも)う。それなのに、何で自分(じぶん)のことはうまくいかないんだろう?あーあ、何か楽しいこと、ないかなあ。

セレ: じゃあ、今日一緒(いっしょ)に飲(の)みに行(い)く?

三田: 気持(きも)ちはうれしいけど…。二人(ふたり)じゃなくて、女性(じょせい)陣(じん)も一緒だったらもっと楽しいだろうな。

セレ: そうだね。じゃあ、田町(たまち)さんとグレイさんも誘(さそ)おうか。

三田: うーん、そのメンバーだと仕事(しごと)の延長(えんちょう)だよ。まあ、一人(ひとり)で飲むよりは楽しいだろうけどね。

Mita: Sere, you look rather happy. Did something good happen?

Sere: Ah, you can tell? Actually, this weekend, Yuri and I decided to take a short trip.

Mita: I see, so you were able to make up. That’s great.

Sere: Thanks to your advice. When it comes to men and women, your advice is always spot on.

Mita: I think so, too. But then, why do things not go well when it comes to myself? Oh, won’t something good happen to me!

Sere: Well then, why don’t we go drinking together tonight?

Mita: I’ll be happy to but … not just the two of us, it’d be even more fun if women came along.

Sere: That’s right. Then, should we invite Ms. Tamachi and Ms. Gray?

Mita: Hmm, those members are like an extension of the office. Well, it’ll be more fun than drinking alone in any case.