Age related lesson! :さばを読む=saba wo yomu

September 21, 2010 in Vocabulary



= Maggie sensei, ikutsu?

= How old are you, Maggie Sensei?


= Nisai!

=Two years old!

Hi, everyone!

Yesterday, September 20th was my birthday! Many people sent me nice messages, saying,


=Otanjoubi omedetou!

=Happy Birthday!!

For more expressions, please go check this lesson again!

:rrrr: Mini Lesson : お誕生日おめでとう!= Otanjoubi omdetou

Now, some “brave” person asked me,


= Maggie sensei ikutsu? (very casual)

= How old are you, Maggie Sensei?

(Don’t ask ladies their age!)

And I answered,


= Nisai!

=Two years old!

Shhhhhh!!! Don’t tell anybody but I’m actually 5 years old now.

So today’s key idiom is,

:l: さばを読む = saba wo yomu.

=さば=サバ =chub mackerel

読む=yomu = to read

It is an idiom and it means

to fudge a number or numbers or to fudge one’s age.

Ex. マギーはさばを読んでいる。

= Maggie wa saba wo yonde iru.

= Maggie is fudging her age.

OK, let’s study lots of age related expressions and words today!

Reaching certain age,

〜才(歳)になる=~ sai ni naru = will be /turn/reach~ years old

〜才(歳)になった=~ sai ni natta= to have turned/reached ~ years old

“How old are you?,



= Nansai desuka?


= (Otoshi wa) oikutsu desuka?


:rrrr:「(年) いくつ? 」(Very casual)

=Toshi ikutsu?

You can answer,


=(Ima) Nijuu go (sai) desu.

=I’m 25 (years old) (now).


=Juugatsu de juuhassai ni narimasu.

=I will be 18 years old in October.

Ex. 「今年、20歳(才)になりました。」

=Kotoshi hatachi (nijussai) ni narimashita.

=I turned 20 (years old) this year.

(Remember, 20歳=20 years old can be read either nijussai or hatachi)

:k: Age,

* / = toshi = age, years

*年齢 / 年令 = nenrei = age

:n: Young and old,

*若い = wakai = young

adverb 若く= wakaku = young


=Itsumademo wakaku ite kudasai.

=Please stay young forever!

noun 若さ=wakasa =youth

Ex. 若さを保つ

= Wakasa wo tamotsu

= to preserve youth

Ex. 若さの秘密は何ですか?

= Wakasa no himitsu wa nan dedsuka?

=What is your secret to keeping young?

people 若者 = wakamono = young people

Ex. 最近の若者は礼儀を知らない。

=Saikin no wakamono wa reigi wo shiranai.

=Young people these days don’t have manners.

*中年 = chuunen = middle-aged people

adjective 中年の = chuunen no

*中高年 = chuukounen = middle-aged and elderly people

adjective 中高年の = chuukounen no

*(お)年寄り=(o)toshiyori = elderly people

adjective お年寄りの(=otoshiyori no)


年を取った(= toshi wo tottta)

*高齢者 = koureisha = elderly people

Older than 75 yeas old we call 後期高齢者=kouki koureisha (This is not an expression you would use in daily conversation. You’ll most often hear this when discussing insurance brackets or in official discussions.)

*老人 = roujin = old people

“The Old Man and the Sea” by Ernest Hemingway → “老人と海”(= roujin to umi)

*(ご)年配 (者)= (go)nenpai(sha)= elderly  people

•ご年配の方=gonenpai no kata (sound a bit more polite)

!to right! plural 方々(=katagata)

*シルバー=shirubaa= (from silver): to refer elderly people.

Ex. シルバーシート=shirubaa shiito =seats for the elderly and/or the disabled

Ex. シルバーエイジ=shirubaa eiji=old age

Note : When you talk about elder people, 年寄り(=toshiyori) and 老人(=roujin) sounds very cold and rude.

And a lot of aged people hated to be called them “old” and treated as an old person.

Ex. 年寄り扱いしないで欲しい!

=Toshiyori atsukai shinai de hoshii!

=I don’t want you to treat me like an old person.

We should treat them with respect. They are our 人生の先輩 = jinsei no senpai. (先輩=seniors, elders, mentors. In this case, mentors of life.)

:n: aging, to get old(er)

:rrrr: 歳(年)を取る = toshi wo toru

Ex. 年を取るにつれ涙もろくなってきた。

=Toshi wo toru ni tsure namida moroku natte kita.
=As I get older I have become more sentimental.

:rrrr: 歳(年)を重ねる = toshi wo kasaneru

Ex. 歳を重ねると何事にも動じなくなる。

=Toshi wo kasaneru to nanigoto nimo doujinaku naru.

=The older you get,  you get more immune you get to everything.

:rrrr: 老いる = oiru or 年老いる=toshioiru

Ex. (年)老いた母=(toshi)oita haha= aged mother

:rrrr: 年(歳)(=toshi) means age but it also means “getting old” or “aging”

Ex. うちの父も、もう年(歳)だから労ってあげないと。

=Uchi no chichi mo, mou toshi dakara itawatte agenaito.

= My father is getting older so we have to take care of him.

:kkk: Other age related words,

若作りをする = wakazukuri wo suru = make oneself look young

Ex. 彼女は若作りをしているから本当の年がわからない。

=Kanojo wa wakazukuri wo shiteiru kara hontou no toshi ga wakaranai.
=She has made herself look young so nobody can tell her real age.

若返る=wakagaeru = to rejuvenate

Ex. 若返りの薬が欲しい!

=Wakagaeri no kusuri ga hoshii!

=I wanna rejuvenation pills!

年を取らない = toshi wo toranai = ageless, stay young

Ex. 彼は全然、年を取らない。

=Kare wa zenzen toshi wo toranai.

=He stays young. / He never seems to get old.

老ける = fukeru = put on years

Ex. 最近、父は、めっきり老けてきた。

= Saikin chichi wa, mekkiri fukete kita.
= Recently my father has got older noticeably.

老化 = rouka =growing old, process of aging

Ex. 適度な運動は老化を遅らせる

= Tekido na undou wa rouka wo okuraseru

= Proper exercise delays the process of growing old.

若くみえる = wakaku mieru = look younger

老けてみえる = fukete mieru = look older

Ex. マギーは年齢よりも若く(or 老けて)見える。
=Maggie wa nenrei yori mo wakaku (or fukete)  mieru.
=Maggie looks younger (or older)  than her age.

:maggie-small: Did you like my birthday cake? It is Hello Kitty cheese cake!

I loooove kitties! boucingheart! Yum! Yum!!! :)

maggie-sensei マギー先生より=Maggie Sensei yori=From Maggie Sensei


=Hai hontou wa gosai ni narimashita.

=Yes, I  actually just turned five years old.


=Ningen dattara ikutu nante keisan shinaidene.

=Don’t even try to calculate my age in human age!