I was reading a lesson in Japanese and they translated this phrase like this:


= Edamame, itsu dekiru kanaa.

I wonder when I can harvest Edamame.

kanaa = I wonder
dekiru = be able to
itsu = when

Where is the "harvest" here?


This できる is a simple intransitive verb that means "to form", "to be made/completed/ready". Thus 「枝豆、いつできるかなあ。」 literally means "I wonder when edamade will be ready."

There is no word that corresponds to "harvest" here. Edamame is both the name of the beans and the name of a dish. Depending on the context, this sentence can mean both "I wonder when edamame (beans) will be ready (for harvesting)." and "I wonder when edamame (dish) will be ready (for eating)."


According to 明鏡国語辞典:

できる【出来る】🈩❶ 事物が新たに生じる。
㋒ 作物が(立派に)育つ。また、立派に育って収穫される。「今年は特別に甘みの強いナシができた」「この地方ではいい米ができる」

Other than "be able to do (some action)", the verb できる has several other meanings, and one of its primary/basic meanings is "for something to come into existence." できる can be used to mean "to grow (well)" or "to grow well and be harvested", hence the translation "I wonder when I can harvest Edamame."

Of course the できる in your example sentence can also be interpreted as "to be cooked / prepared" "to be ready to eat", as @naruto has pointed out.

As an aside, dictionaries will tell you that できる can also be used to say "to be made / produced / born / formed / organized" "to be finished / completed" "(for someone) to be quick / excellent / competent / mature" "to do well (in exams etc.)" "to be in relationship", etc.

  • 1
    Where is the "harvest" here? --> 確かに、"I wonder when I can harvest Edamame." をそのまま和訳するなら 「枝豆、いつ収穫できるかなあ。」にしたくなるよね~ – Chocolate Mar 15 '17 at 5:41

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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