Good Evening, I'm a beginner in Japanese and stack exchange. I'm probably going to ask you all very simple and phrase based questions, so I am happy to give any points or perks of appreciation that I can, as long as you teach me. Anyway, I know how to say one day in Japanese romaji (Aru hi), but I was wondering if someone could teach me how to say "One day at a time". Is there an extension of Aru hi, or is it just some other phrase. Please let me know. Thanks

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    The Japanese word for Latin letters is rōmaji, with no 'n'. – snailplane May 31 '16 at 2:05
  • Minor note: You don't actually say things in romaji. It's a transliteration of the Japanese phonetic alphabets, katakana and hiragana. Of course it's better to learn something than nothing, but if you intend to come to Japan and you have an interest in the language, taking the time to learn both is well worth it... I highly recommend Heisig's Remembering the Kana (he has a series for kanji as well, but that's not something to worry about unless you're really, really interested in reading the language). – kungphu May 31 '16 at 9:18

I think a simple one is 一日一歩{いちにちいっぽ} which in romaji is ichinichi ippo. This literally means "one day one step" and it bears the meaning of "one day at the time" in English.

There is as well another way to express a similar meaning with 一日一日{いちにちいちにち}を着実{ちゃくじつ}に. In romaji ichinichi ichinichi wo chakujitsu ni. This is a bit hard to translate literally as chakujitsu means "steady, sound". The particle ni turns the noun before it in an adverb, so it could be "one day one day (day by day) steadily", that after all means "one day at the time" as well.

By the way, "aruhi" (ある日、。。。) means more "one day" in the sense of "One day... something happened" .. or like in a novel could be "Once upon a time". It does not mean "one day" in the sense of counting days (like one, two, three days etc). (i.e., "on a certain day")

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  • Awesome, thank you for the insight. I looked it up on google translate, and ichinichi ippo in romanji, doesn't translate phonetically into english as expected. Do you think you could give me a phonetic interpretation of this word to help me out with the sound. Thanks a bunch! Also, I was thinking "one day" in the sense of maybe using it like "tokidoki aru hi". Not sure if that would work together well, as I said I have just been learning phrases. I'm trying to get familiar with the language before i dive into it. I find, this is how I learn best. Thanks, and again! – Ricardo Theviscount Medley May 31 '16 at 6:23
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    You're welcome. As pointed out already, is is rōmaji, with no 'n'. Anyway, I'm really not sure to understand what you mean by phonetic interpretation of ichinichi ippo.. Could you explain better? Pronunciation is quite straightforward (as long as you know basic phonetic rules such as that "chi" is pronounced as in the English word "chin", "i" is pronounced as "e" in English etc). As for "tokidoki aru hi", I am not sure if that makes sense. I think people would just say "tokidoki", in case you would like to say some thing like "sometimes there are days..". – Tommy Jun 1 '16 at 2:42
  • Great posts/comments overall Tommy, but I wanted to double check about the "e" in "English".. if I try to pronounce English with the Japanese え it doesn't sound right to me. The following page has phonetic hints for various sounds that occur in Japanese and uses the "e" in "met" as an example. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:IPA_for_Japanese. Also, when English gets 外来語'ed, they use い ("i"), that is: イングリッシュ, which isn't 100% either, but is slightly closer. – WeirdlyCheezy Jun 1 '16 at 6:17
  • Sorry maybe I did not explain myself well. I was not referring to the word "English". I was just saying that the vowel "i" in Japanese, い, is pronounced in the same way as the vowel "e" is pronounced in English (the language). – Tommy Jun 1 '16 at 6:29
  • Oops, I did indeed misread that, my apologies. Hopefully the IPA link will be useful to someone so that at least some good comes from my klutziness. – WeirdlyCheezy Jun 1 '16 at 7:59

For this specific case I actually prefer Tommy's answer (more idiomatic), but it might be worth pointing out that there is a general way to say "N units at a time" in Japanese by using ずつ (zutsu):


一日ずつ ichi nichi zutsu = one day at a time

一人ずつ hitori zutsu = one person at a time

二個ずつ ni ko zutsu = two "small items" at a time (eg, pieces of candy)

Since it is usable with numbers other than 1, and with counters other than people, it is a fairly flexible. If you're curious, Googling "japanese grammar zutsu" brings up additional information.

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zutsu is used as counter for quantity so 一日ずつ one day once (a year/a month/a week)

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    What do you mean by "one day once"? Could you explain in a little more detail, please? – Earthliŋ Jun 1 '16 at 21:48

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