Ki o tsukete！
Today I would like to introduce a common misunderstanding in Japanese.
A few days ago, an American friend of mine came to see me at my house.
When she was leaving, she said to me:
「気をつけて」(Ki o tsukete; be careful)
This is a common mistaken usage of these words in Japanese.
In Japanese, people leaving on a trip are often told “ki o tsukete,”
as in “O-ki o tsukete, itterasshai”(お気をつけて、いってらっしゃい).
In short, it is a phrase which signifies that one is praying for the safe trip of another.
As such, it is a phrase that only the person watching someone else go is able to use.
The person leaving cannot say it to the person staying behind.
Originally, “ki o tsukeru” (気をつける) means “to be careful.”
For example, mothers say “ki o tsukete ne” to their children when they are using
scissors, and when one is walking on a steep mountain path, someone else might
“you could slip easily, ki o tsukete ne.”
When you use “ki o tsukete,” please remember to “ki o tsukete,” OK?
Would you like to try reading this article in Japanese?
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