Japanese Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Japanese language. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

やる時{とき}やるじゃん! (Yaru toki yaru jan!)

I think the meaning is something like "When you want to do something, you do it".

Or maybe, "When you are about to do something, you just do it."

This is a positive expression?

Does it mean you have confidence in what you do? Or that you do it without thinking first?


share|improve this question
@Flaw what is じゃん in this instance? – Karl Knechtel Nov 5 '11 at 17:25
I think you misheard "やる時はやる". – user458 Nov 5 '11 at 17:55
@KarlKnechtel: 「じゃん」 is a short form of 「じゃない」, often used to confirm something, like saying "isn't it?" in English. So in this case I would take it as ending the sentence with "right?" – Questioner Nov 6 '11 at 1:45
I thought it might be short for 「じゃない」 but didn't realize that had use as a question... I guess it makes sense, the way informal language typically works. @sawa what is the pronunciation for 「時は」 ? – Karl Knechtel Nov 6 '11 at 6:42
@KarlKnechtel: 時は is pronounced as ときわ, but it can sound like ときゃ in a fast (and a little sloppy) speech. – Tsuyoshi Ito Nov 6 '11 at 23:03

やる時はやる means "When [you/I] (really decide to) do things, [you/I] do them". The nuance is that you don't just try to do them, you do them and do them well.

The expression conveys that a person has the ability to do things well when they put their minds to it, even if they are slow to act in the first place.

share|improve this answer

I think it means to get things done when necessary. Here is an example taken from here:


Hanako seems quiet, but she get things done when it's necessary.

share|improve this answer
OK, maybe not just when necessary but also with an emphasis on "well", as pointed out by Hyperworm. – Rudy the Reindeer Nov 5 '11 at 20:49

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.