Ii koto-zukume no ichi-nen deshita. Only good things happened last year.

Situation 1: At a company-wide meeting to mark the new year, the president makes a speech.

社長: 昨年は二つの新製品の特許が取れ、売り上げが上がり、自社ビルも完成し、いいことずくめの一年でした。今年もさらによい年になるよう、みんなで頑張りましょう。

Shachō: Sakunen wa futatsu no shinseihin no tokkyo ga tore, uriage ga agari, jishabiru mo kansei shi, ii koto-zukume no ichi-nen deshita. Kotoshi mo sara ni yoi toshi ni naru yō, minna de ganbarimashō.

President: As for last year, we obtained patents for our two new products, sales rose, our own company building was completed, it was a year filled entirely with good things. To make this year even better, let’s do our best, everyone.

The verb “尽(つ)くす” means to “exhaust” or “run out” and it can be combined with other verbs — 出尽(でつ)くす (detsukusu, to be all out), 燃(も)え尽きる (moetsukiru, to burn out) — to add the nuance of doing something entirely.

It is also used as a suffix (though more commonly written in hiragana) as ~ずくめ, to express “entirety” when attached to nouns and noun compounds. In Situation 1, the president uses the term いいことずくめ to convey the idea that the previous year was filled entirely with good news.

The number of nouns used with ~ずくめ is limited, however, with some of the more common ones being: いいこと (good things), 悪(わる)いこと (bad things), ごちそう (a feast) and 新記録(しんきろく) (a new record). It is also used with the color black, as in 黒(くろ)ずくめ (all black), but is not used with other colors.

Situation 2: Mr. Sere is talking to his colleague Mr. Mita about a restaurant he went to the previous night.

セレ: 昨日、豆腐の専門店に行ってコースを食べたんだけど、まさに豆腐づくしで、デザートのアイスクリームまで豆腐でできていたよ。

Sere: Kinō, tōfu no senmonten ni itte kōsu o tabeta-n da kedo, masa ni tōfu-zukushi de, dezāto no aisu kurīmu made tōfu de dekite-ita yo.

Sere: Yesterday, I went to a shop specializing in tofu and ate the set course. There were certainly all sorts of tofu, even the ice cream for dessert was done with tofu.

Another suffix that uses 尽くす is ~づくし, which is added to nouns (“X”) to express the idea of “all kinds of X,” as we see in Mr. Sere’s description of the tofu restaurant he went to. Conventionally speaking, ~づくし is quite often used with nouns related to dining, such as きのこづくしの料理(りょうり) (cooking with all sorts of mushrooms) and お魚(さかな)づくしのコース (a set course featuring a wide variety of fish):

今日(きょう)は、野菜(やさい)づくしの晩御飯(ばんごはん)よ。 (As for today, we will enjoy a vegetable smorgasbord for dinner.)

Bonus Dialogue: Ms. Gray and Ms. Tamachi are talking about a traditional Japanese wedding that Ms. Gray attended.

グレイ: この間(あいだ)初(はじ)めて日本(にほん)の結婚式(けっこんしき)に呼(よ)ばれたんだけど、新郎新婦(しんろうしんぷ)の親族(しんぞく)の女性(じょせい)がみんな黒づくめの服(ふく)だったので、びっくりしちゃった。

田町: ああ、留袖(とめそで)ね。最近(さいきん)は黒留袖より、色(いろ)留袖を着(き)る人(ひと)が増(ふ)えているし、それより、洋装(ようそう)にする人も多(おお)いのに、そちらはずいぶん伝統的(でんとうてき)なご家族(かぞく)だったのね。

グレイ: そうね、あと新郎のお父(とう)さんは神主(かんぬし)さんだそうで、披露宴(ひろうえん)も、ごちそうづくめの和食(わしょく)で、すばらしかったわ。引き出物(ひきでもの)は和菓子(わがし)づくしのギフトセットで、全部(ぜんぶ)すごくおいしかったよ。私(わたし)もいつか、あのお嫁(よめ)さんみたいに赤(あか)い打掛(うちかけ)を着て、日本風(にほんふう)の伝統的な結婚式がしたいな。

田町: 私は、洋風(ようふう)のウェディングドレスを着て、教会(きょうかい)で結婚式をするって決(き)めているの。クリスチャンじゃないけど。

グレイ: 私たち、着る服は決まっているけど、相手(あいて)がいないよね!

田町: そうなんだよね!

Gray: The other day, I was invited to a Japanese wedding ceremony for the first time and I was surprised that the female relatives of the bride and groom were dressed in all black clothes.

Tamachi: Oh, that’s a formal kimono called a tomesode. Recently, more people wear colorful tomesode instead of black ones, and even more people wear Western clothes, but they must be a more traditional family.

Gray: Yes, also the groom’s father is a Shinto priest. Anyway, the reception was wonderful, an entire feast of Japanese food. The thank-you gift consisted of all kinds of Japanese-style sweets, and it was all so tasty. I want to do a traditional Japanese wedding some day too, wearing a red wedding robe like that bride.

Tamachi: I’ve decided I’m going to wear a Western-style wedding dress and have a wedding ceremony in a church, though I’m not Christian.

Gray: We’ve already decided on our dresses but we have no one to marry!

Tamachi: I know!

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