Japanese Sayings: "It's just one problem after another."

Contributors
Niko

In 2014, I moved to Bangkok, Thailand with my then-girlfriend, now-wife Rei.

Those first several days in Thailand were quite a roller coaster.

1. A convenience store ATM machine ate our bank card. We'd been using the same Japanese bank account to withdrawal our money (trying to save on wretched banking fees)... and that backfired pretty swiftly when we lost our card. Yikes! On a side note, when googling what to do in Japanese, Rei wrote 海外 カード 紛失 (kaigai kaado funshitsu), which literally translates to "overseas card loss." Japanese speakers usually don't write full sentences when using search engines. Anyways, I'm getting sidetracked. Point is, we lost our banking card. Then, the next day...

2. Rei woke up with her knee in tremendous pain, and she couldn't even walk. We were worried it was something serious. Doctors are always an adventure in foreign countries, right? Luckily, though, it seems she had just pulled a muscle or something, and the next morning it felt much better. This is the same morning that...

3. Rei's retainer broke. She has a fixed retainer, and the wire came off of one of her teeth. So we were blessed with the opportunity to find and telephone dental clinics in Bangkok.

4. While walking to the dentist we found, a bird pooped on Rei's head.

In light of her string of mishaps, she used a Japanese phrase that I hadn't heard before:

一難去ってまた一難!
ichinan satte mata ichinan!
It's just one problem after another!

The literal translation of this phrase is something like "One problem goes away and yet another problem [surfaces]." I guess it kind of has the nuance of "I just can't catch a break." Japanese-English dictionaries like this Weblio one like to translate it as "Out of the frying pan and into the fire."

So, if you ever have a string of mishaps, you might want to try remembering this one.

一難去ってまた一難!

I'm sure you'd surprise your Japanese friends with your effortless, fluent production of native-sounding Japanese.

If you'd like to find more useful idiomatic Japanese phrases — within a system where it's easy to remember them — head over to NativShark.

In 2014, I moved to Bangkok, Thailand with my then-girlfriend, now-wife Rei.

Those first several days in Thailand were quite a roller coaster.

1. A convenience store ATM machine ate our bank card. We'd been using the same Japanese bank account to withdrawal our money (trying to save on wretched banking fees)... and that backfired pretty swiftly when we lost our card. Yikes! On a side note, when googling what to do in Japanese, Rei wrote 海外 カード 紛失 (kaigai kaado funshitsu), which literally translates to "overseas card loss." Japanese speakers usually don't write full sentences when using search engines. Anyways, I'm getting sidetracked. Point is, we lost our banking card. Then, the next day...

2. Rei woke up with her knee in tremendous pain, and she couldn't even walk. We were worried it was something serious. Doctors are always an adventure in foreign countries, right? Luckily, though, it seems she had just pulled a muscle or something, and the next morning it felt much better. This is the same morning that...

3. Rei's retainer broke. She has a fixed retainer, and the wire came off of one of her teeth. So we were blessed with the opportunity to find and telephone dental clinics in Bangkok.

4. While walking to the dentist we found, a bird pooped on Rei's head.

In light of her string of mishaps, she used a Japanese phrase that I hadn't heard before:

一難去ってまた一難!
ichinan satte mata ichinan!
It's just one problem after another!

The literal translation of this phrase is something like "One problem goes away and yet another problem [surfaces]." I guess it kind of has the nuance of "I just can't catch a break." Japanese-English dictionaries like this Weblio one like to translate it as "Out of the frying pan and into the fire."

So, if you ever have a string of mishaps, you might want to try remembering this one.

一難去ってまた一難!

I'm sure you'd surprise your Japanese friends with your effortless, fluent production of native-sounding Japanese.

If you'd like to find more useful idiomatic Japanese phrases — within a system where it's easy to remember them — head over to NativShark.

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