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Friday, December 12, 2003


When you go to a department store, shop or even your neighborhood 7/11 in Japan and present them a ¥1000 bill to pay for your purchase, the cashier will respectfully say: 「千円お預かりします。」 Which, literally, means: "¥1000 will be honorably kept/taken charge of." In other words, they will honorably take care of your ¥1000 while they calculate and then give you your honorable change.

My trusty kanji dictionary (compiled by Wolfgang Hadamitzky and Mark Spahn) interprets the Chinese character 預 (azu or yo) as "entrust or receive for safekeeping". Thus it makes sense that cashiers would employ it in their rituals.

Here are some other everyday examples of the character in use, which I have found around town:

預金 -- Yokin -- Bank account, deposit.
預かり所 -- Azukarisho -- Depository, warehouse.
手荷物一時預かり所 -- Tenimotsu ichiji azukarijo -- Place for temporary (lit. "one hour") handbaggage storage...

(Anyway, for more of my Japanese lessons and observations on the language, click here!)

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