Grammar Info

N2 Lesson 4: 5/18


When, At the time of, In case of, On the occasion of


Verb[た]+ (さい)(に)(1)
Noun + + (さい)(に)

(1) Verb[る]


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About 際に

(さい) is a noun in Japanese that means 'verge'. This is as in 'to be on the verge', and translates mostly as 'on the occasion of (A)', 'at the time of (A)', 'in case of (A)', or 'when (A)'. In the same way as 'verge' in English, it implies a fairly big or somehow important event, and will not be used with standard occurrences.
(さい) will appear after verbs in either their dictionary or past-tense forms, and after nouns. In the case of nouns, it will be preceded by の.
  • この建物(たてもの)(はい)(さい)は、(かなら)ずヘルメットを(かぶ)ってください。
    When entering this building, please wear a helmet.
  • この薬品(やくひん)(あやま)って(はだ)()()った(さい)は、()ぐにかかりつけの医者(いしゃ)相談(そうだん)してください。
    If this chemical accidentally splashes onto your skin, consult your physician immediately.
  • 明日(あした)面接(めんせつ)(さい)は、印鑑(いんかん)()ってきてください。
    Please bring your stamp when you come to the interview tomorrow.
While (A) is likely to be a temporary or one-off event, (さい) is not limited to one-off situations. It may also appear with regularly occurring events, but the way of reacting to that event may change depending on some one-off circumstances.
  • 商品(しょうひん)(なら)べる(さい)注意(ちゅうい)しないといけない(こと)はなんですか。
    Is there anything I should be careful about when arranging the products?
  • (くるま)(うご)かす(さい)は、(まわ)りに子供(こども)がいないか確認(かくにん)してください。
    When moving your car, please make sure there aren't any kids around.
Caution - Although (さい) and (とき) may overlap in certain situations, (さい) will sound unnatural when the situation involves something that typically does not change, or always happens the same way.
  • 日本(にほん)では(いえ)()(とき)()ってきますと()う。
    In Japan we say, 'I'm leaving,' when we leave the house. (Natural Japanese)
  • 日本(にほん)では(いえ)()(さい)()ってきますと()う。
    In Japan we say, 'I'm leaving,' when we leave the house. (Unnatural Japanese)


  • 炎天下(えんてんか)(はたら)(さい)帽子(ぼうし)などを()ってきてください。

    When working under the scorching sun, remember to bring things like a hat.

  • (はじ)めて沖縄(おきなわ)()(さい)綺麗(きれい)景色(けしき)(ランドスケープ)に(おどろ)きました。(いま)までそのような景色(けしき)()たことがなかったと(おも)いました。

    When I visited Okinawa for the first time, I was surprised by the beautiful landscape. I had never seen anything like that before.

  • 鼻血(はなぢ)アレルギー反応(はんのう)どの症状(しょうじょう)(さい)は、(ただ)ちに最寄(もよ)りの病院(びょういん)にご連絡(れんらく)ください。

    In case of symptoms like a bloody nose or an allergic reaction, please contact the nearest hospital right away.

  • トラブルと対策(たいさく)など質問(しつもん):「海外旅行(かいがいりょこう)(ちゅう)にビザを()くした場合(ばあい)は、どうすればいいですか?」

    FAQ: 'What should I do if I lose my visa while traveling abroad?'
    Answer: 'In that case, please contact the nearest embassy.'

  • 看病(かんびょう)(さい)自分(じぶん)感染(かんせん)しないように万全(ばんぜん)体制(たいせい)(ととの)えている。

    I am putting in place flawless systems to not get infected when I am caring for someone.

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