By Jackson Pietsch
Today you get two scoops: a few words that might come in handy for saying goodbye to graduating kids, and, to celebrate GMA’s 50th Issueversary, a brief roundup of things you might say to other people on their 50th anniversaries of things.
Otsukaresama deshita! Look around. It’s March! You’ve helped your gang of ragtag kiddos/lovable doofuses/perfect geniuses/larvae through an(other) academic year. Now is the time for enjoying brief vacations, fulfilling office duties, starting your taxes, refreshing the cherry blossom forecast page, and… oh, whoops, saying goodbye to all these wonderful kids. How’re you supposed to pack all the pride you surely feel into just a few words?
You should, of course, feel free to mix in actual original and personal thoughts, maybe even some English. I personally feel weird spouting verbal form letters at people, but even those are preferable to saying nothing or waving awkwardly.
Anyway, here are some good stock phrases to keep in mind. They might come in handy at more than just graduation.
- 卒業 sotsugyou
- おめでとうございます。Omedetou gozaimasu.
- お疲れ様でした。Otsukaresama deshita.
Nice work; you must be tired
- 素晴らしい（１・２・３）年間でした。 Subrarashii (ichi, ni, san)nenkan deshita.
It’s been a wonderful (1, 2, 3…) years.
- これからのみんなさんの健康と幸せを祈っています。Kore kara no minna-san no kenkou to shiawase wo inotteimasu.
I pray for your continued health and happiness.
- 一緒に過ごした時間を考えると胸がいっぱいです。 Issho ni sugoshita jikan wo kangaeru to mune ga ippai desu.
When I think of the time we spent together, I get all choked up.
- 成長したみなさんにまた会える日を楽しみにしています。Seichou shita minna-san ni mata aeru hi wo tanoshimi ni shiteimasu.
I’m looking forward to the day when I can see you again all grown up.
- （何何の行事）がいつも思い出に残っています / 忘れません。(Nani-nani no gyouji) ga itsumo omoide ni nokottoeimasu / wasuremasen.
I’ll never forget the time (X happened).
Sorry. Teared up. Moving on.
A very, very happy Issueversary to GMA and hearty otsukaresama to the wonderful staff! Let’s try out some ceremony-type speech:
- 一緒に過ごした９か月は本当に、あっという間でした。 Issho ni sugoshita kyuukagetsu wa hontou ni, a tto iu ma deshita.
The nine months I’ve spent with you have gone by in the blink of an eye.
Knowing that Japanese is big on set phrases (kimari monku), I decided to try and dig around a bit and see what kinds of things are said on other 50th anniversaries. A prominent one, happily and fittingly given the aging population (GMA is getting older too… soon our childblog rates will decline and all the posts will move to Tokyo and then where will we be?), is the 50th wedding anniversary. This is kind of fitting, because in a (binding, legal) way, it’s sorta like you’re married to GMA (read your contracts).
We call the 50th wedding anniversary the “golden anniversary” in English, and Japanese shares in that tradition with the word 金婚式 kinkonshiki, literally “gold wedding anniversary.”
Here are a few suggestions from a newspaper concerning messages to print to your spouse on that special day.
- 50回目の結婚記念日。 Gojuukaime no kekkon kinenbi.
金婚式を過ぎ、次はエメラルド婚式に向けて Kinkonshiki wo sugi, tsugi wa emerarudo konshiki ni mukete
お互い元気で仲良くやっていきましょう！！ otagai genki de nakayoku yatte ikimashou!!
It’s our 50th wedding anniversary.
We’ve passed our golden anniversary, so looking toward the emerald anniversary, let’s both be healthy and get along well!!
- いつも先走ってしまう私と itsumo sakibashitte shimau watashi to
どっしりと構えているあなた dosshiri to kamaeteiru anata
すごく調和がとれていると感じています sugoku chouwa ga toreteiru to kanjiteimasu
あと１００年は一緒に居ようね ato hyakkunen wa issho ni iyou ne
よろしくね。 yoroshiku ne.
To you, who always stoutly cares for
my constantly impertinent self:
I feel that we are in great harmony.
Let’s be together for another hundred years.
Thanks (in advance).
I found that the most common phrase among the congratulatory messages to a school on the fiftieth anniversary of its founding is especially useful if you’re congratulating a formal acquaintance in writing:
- （～の５０周年を）心（から / より）お礼申し上げます。kokoro (kara/yori) orei moushi agemasu.
I offer my congratulations from the heart.
So hey, real congratulations to the people who work much, much harder and more frequently than me to make GMA a high-quality newsletter with real standards! You’ve all done an awesome job, and since the staff will inevitably go through some changes in the months to come, to the new people: don’t drop the ball. Is this a good time to mention that I’m looking for a replacement?
Kidding. You will all do wonderfully and I look forward to it (serious about looking for a replacement though). If the idea of writing for Voracious Vernacular excites you, then by all means get in touch with me or the GMA staff; there are hungry minds to feed!