Posted by: yoko | January 30, 2004

Words From Childhood 2.4

Today’s phrase: tonde mo nai!

I associate this phrase with something that has absolutely nothing to do with its meaning. Tonde mo nai! can be used in response to a sentence such as, “You did a great job on that project,” in which the responding phrase would mean something like “Pshaw!” or “Oh please!” But used as an adjective, such as tonde mo nai hito (hito means person), it means someone who is worthless.

I first heard my mom used the phrase in the first meaning when I was about 6 or 7. At the time, a family friend and the friend’s friend were visiting our house. The friend’s friend was named Tomoko, and she was wearing a brown and orange flowery skirt. I don’t remember why my mom exclaimed tonde mo nai, but I do remember that Tomoko said the same, and later on in the evening, she gave my mom the skirt as a present. So the phrase always reminds me of Tomoko and the skirt.

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