hajiMete

 ↑ Borobudur sunrise, 2012

What does hajimete mean?

hajimete is the gerund of hajimeru, to begin.

thus, “hajimete iru” or “hajimete imasu” means “i, you, we, etc. am beginning.”
and “hajimete” (which can be followed by “kudasai”) is the command “begin.”

hajimeru must have an object, though; it’s a transitive verb. hajimaru is the intransitive verb for “to begin.” therefore:

Kurasu wa, hajimaru. = The class will begin.
Kurasu o hajimeru. = I will begin the class.

i’ve often seen hajimeru used after an infinitive, meaning “to begin to ~.” for example, kagayakihajimeru means “to begin to shine,” since kagayaku (the infinitive of which is kagayaki) means “to shine.”

so, to say “Begin to eat.”, use taberu, to eat, the infinitive of which is tabe, to form tabehajimeru–”to start to eat”–and make a command out of it:

Tabehajimete (kudasai). (Polite)
Tabehajimenasai. (Less polite)
Tabehajimero. (Abrupt)

 

 ↑ on the way to Las Vegas, USA (1988)

FROM LEFT: MIRI, PERTH, MELBOURNE, BATAM, BALI, MEKAH, PHI PHI ISLANDS, BEIJING, SIEM REAP