Introduction:
[Kota, a junior high student, has just returned home from school. He is very hungry after his “bukatsu” - his after-school club.]

◆Conversation
こうた: お母(かあ)さん、おなかがすいて死(し)にそう。今日(きょう)の夕飯(ゆうはん)は何(なに)?
Kota: I’m starving, mom. What’s for dinner today?

母親(ははおや):今日(きょう)は鰻(うなぎ)の蒲焼(かばやき)よ。土用の丑の日(どようのうしのひ)だから。
Mother: I’m making eel kabayaki* - it’s “doyo no ushi no hi”* today.

こうた: おいしそう。早(はや)く食(た)べたいな。ところで、ちょっと暑(あつ)いんだけど、冷房(れいぼう)つけてもいい?
Kota: Sounds great. I can’t wait. By the way, it’s a bit hot. Can I turn on the air conditioner?

母親:だめ、扇風機(せんぷうき)で我慢(がまん)しなさい。節電(せつでん)しないといけないから。
Mother: No, make do with the fan. We need to save electricity.

こうた: また、それ?もうその言葉(ことば)聞(き)き飽(あき)たんだけど。
Kota: There you go again. I’m sick of hearing that phrase!


*Notes
kaba-yaki
A way to cook Japanese fish dishes, in which the fish is boned, filleted, skewered, dipped in sweet sauce, and then grilled.

doyo no ushi no hi
The “day of the ox”, according to the Chinese zodiac. “Doyo” is 18 days before “risshuu(立秋)”, the first day of fall according to the traditional Japanese calendar. People traditionally eat eel on this day.

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◆Natural Japanese Expressions
「おなかがすいて死にそう」onaka ga suite shiniso “be starving, extremely hungry, ravenous”

Example
Ichiro:
まだお昼食べてないじゃない。
Mada ohiru tabete nain janai?
You haven’t had lunch yet, have you?
Haruki: 
うん。忙しくて、お昼の休憩取ってないんだ。おなかがすいて死にそうだよ。
Un. Isogashikute ohiru no kyukei totte nainda. Onaka ga suite shiniso dayo.
I’ve been too busy to get a break for lunch. I’m starving.
「ところで」 tokorode “by the way”

Example
Ryota:
ところで、好きな食べ物は何? 
Tokorode sukina tabemono wa nani?
By the way, what’s your favorite food,?
Mayumi:
肉料理なら何でも。
Niku ryori nara nandemo.
Anything with meat.
「~で我慢する」de gaman suru “content oneself with~, settle for~, make do with~”

Example
Yuko:
豆を切らしちゃってるの。インスタントで我慢してくれる?
Mame wo kirashichatteru no. Insutanto de gaman shite kureru?
We’re out of coffee beans. Can you make do with instant?
Takashi:
ぜんぜん構わないよ。
Zenzen kamawa naiyo.
I don’t mind at all.
「節電する」setsuden suru “save electricity”

Example
Akira:
今年の夏は電力が不足するらしいよ。
Kotoshi no natsu wa denryoku ga fusoku suru rashii yo.
They say there’ll be an electricity shortage this summer.
Takahiro: 
そうらしいね。みんなで節電しないといけないね。
So rashi ne. Minna de setsuden shinaito ikenai ne.
Looks like it. We’re all supposed to try to save electricity.