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Dec 19, 2006 04:07 PM

How to ask for "no shellfish"

We are taking our 16-year-old cousin to Tokyo this week; none of us have ever been. He can eat fish but not shellfish, no meat, no poultry. (I am hoping he takes a don't ask, don't tell approach.) Our phrasebook doesn't have a word for "shellfish" -- how might we say this?

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  1. shellfish = 貝

    I am allergic to shellfish


    (watashi-wa) kai-ni arerugī-ga arimasu.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Tuttle

      Yep, the word "arerugī" (アレルギー) is a Japanization of the word "allergy". You may also want to consider using the word "taberaremasen" which means "can't eat"- as in "Kai ga taberaremasen. Arerugī ga arimasu." "I can't eat shellfish. I have an allergy."

    2. How about "or meat?" I will print out the whole sentence in Japanese characters and my cousin can carry it with him. Thanks!

      3 Replies
      1. re: sweetpotater

        Watashi wa niku, tori niku, seafoodo no kai ga taberaremasen. Sakana wa OK desu.

        "I cannot eat meat, poultry, and shellfish. Fish is OK."

        ...Just some advice- if these are health related dining requirements, you're going to have to be very careful about many things such as broths, sauces, condiments, side dishes, etc. Also, at most places, you don't order one dish and eat it yourself. It's more toward communal style dining.

        1. re: Silverjay

          I'm splitting hairs, but I'd simplify Silverjay's phrase to this:

          Watashi wa niku, tori niku, seafoodo ga taberaremasen. Sakana wa OK desu.

          Also: good advice on the broths, sauces, etc. Since sweetpotater wasn't the one that brought up allergies, I'm assuming there's no medical imperatives, just dietary preferences for the cousin in question.

          貝 "kai" refers specifically to clams, not shellfish in the broader sense that includes shrimp, crabs, etc.

          シーフード "seafood" is transliterated directly from English, and is commonly used instead of some other native word.

          1. re: Professor Salt

            Fair hairs to split. Thank you for the emendations.

      2. Here's the ultimate in clarity and politeness:


        Watashi wa sakana ga taberaremasu ga, kai, ebi, kani ga taberaremasen. Sore kara, mata nikurui mo issai taberaremasen. Doozo yoroshiku onegai itashimasu.

        I can eat fish. However, I cannot eat shelled fish, shrimp, and crab. On top of that, I cannot eat any type of meat. Thank you for your understanding.

        1. The restrictions are because he keeps kosher, not for any medical reason. He is not super-religious, though, so I am not going to mention that minefields lie everywhere. If he cared enough, he'd look into it. But I think just avoiding the obvious will suffice.

          You guys are the best - thanks!

          1. Ah, in that case unagi (eel) is also out. Just in case you need it, the Jewish Community Center in Tokyo has a list of kosher and non-kosher foods with Japanese translations: