あん 👵🏻 - Week 1 (Intermediate Book Club)

あん :older_woman:t2: Week 1

Week 1 24 June 2022
Start Page 5
End Page 14
Chapters 1 and 2
Pages 10
Next week Week 2
Home Thread あん


あん Vocabulary Sheet

Please read the guidelines on the first page before adding any words.

Discussion Guidelines

Everybody should feel free to post and ask questions–it’s what makes book clubs fun! But please do not post until you are familiar with Spoiler Courtesy!

Spoiler Courtesy

Please follow these rules to avoid inadvertent ネタバレ. If you’re unsure whether something should have a spoiler tag, err on the side of using one.

  1. Any potential spoiler for the current week’s reading need only be covered by a spoiler tag. Predictions and conjecture made by somebody who has not read ahead still falls into this category.
  2. Any potential spoilers for external sources need to be covered by a spoiler tag and include a label (outside of the spoiler tag) of what might be spoiled. These include but are not limited to: other book club picks, other books, games, movies, anime, etc. I recommend also tagging the severity of the spoiler (for example, I may still look at minor spoilers for something that I don’t intend to read soon).
  3. Any information from later in the book than the current week’s reading (including trigger warnings that haven’t yet manifested) needs to be hidden by spoiler tags and labeled as coming from later sections.
Instructions for Spoiler Tags

Click the cog above the text box and use either the “Hide Details” or “Blur Spoiler” options. The text which says “This text will be hidden” should be replaced with what you are wishing to write. In the case of “Hide Details”, the section in the brackets that is labelled “Summary” can be replaced with whatever you like also (i.e, [details=”Chapter 1, Pg. 1”]).

Hide Details results in the dropdown box like below:


This is an example of the “Hide Details” option.

The “Blur Spoiler” option will simply blur the text it surrounds.

This is an example of the “Blur Spoiler” option.

Posting Advice
  • When asking for help, please mention the page number, and check before posting that your question hasn’t already been asked. As the threads get longer, it becomes more convenient to use the Search function, which is located in the upper right corner of the forum. It is the magnifying glass which is near your profile picture! The best way to search is usually to type part of the sentence you are confused about, and select “in this topic”. This will show you all posts within the current thread which has that string of text.

  • Be sure to join the conversation! It’s fun, and it’s what keeps these book clubs lively! There’s no such thing as a stupid question! We are all learning here, and if the question has crossed your mind, there’s a very good chance it has crossed somebody else’s also! Asking and answering questions is a great learning opportunity for everyone involved, so never hesitate to do so!

If necessary, include an explanation of any discrepancies in the Ebook page numbers from physical page numbers. If there is an easy shortcut for some ebook versions to relate back to physical page numbers, it would be worth it to include it as a third bullet here, or if you want to use chapter page numbers instead of volume page numbers, as is the case with some manga. For example:

For the Kindle version of this manga, the page numbers and the location number are always 3 apart. If you subtract 3 from the location, this will give you the accurate page number!


Please use the chapter page numbers, instead of the volume page numbers. These are located in between the panels!

Proper Nouns

Feel free to add to this as new characters / places get introduced throughout the book.

Name Reading Notes
千太郎 せんたろう Main character
吉井徳江 よしいとくえ Main character


Will you be reading along with us this week?

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Don’t forget to set this thread to Watching in order to stay up to date with the discussion!


Yaay! I read it today morning on a train ride, it’s nice to be part of a book club again. ^^

Edit: Also since I live in Japan, one day early is the correct date for me :wink:


I hope you’re enjoying it so far! I also started chapter 1 on the train this morning - I really love the dialogue between the characters!

1 Like

I just finished Chapter 2. I actually cheated a bit and read Chapter 1 on Thursday before the week started, because I was itching to start and see how difficult it would be for me.

I was a bit confused throughout the first half of Chapter 1, util I realized 吉井徳江 was asking for a job – the paper on the door was a ‘help wanted’ sign. After I picked up on that, I re-read the entire chapter. Took me only about 5 min the second time (of course, having already looked up the vocab I needed), and I felt pretty confident with my understanding of it.

Though I still never figured out what どら春 means. For now I’m assuming it’s a place name.

The beginning of Chapter 2 was a bit harder for me. I think I mostly got the gist. My understanding is that he’s mixing the あん (right?) by mixing in batches left over from one or even two days before. Which is described as “not illegal”, giving me the impression that it’s considered a pretty poor practice, if not strictly outlawed. I’ll probably go back and re-read this part tomorrow to see if I have a better time with it.

The latter half of Chapter 2, the dialog with 吉井徳江 was easier for me than the first half, and while I definitely just glazed over a word here or there, I don’t feel like I had much trouble following it.

I sort of assumed it was

This prefix usage of どら

plus 春, since that’s the only one that remotely made sense to me. Especially since it is set in the spring, though I suppose it could still be a place name.

I’m definitely not sure, though


It’s the name of the shop. A pun I guess, since it’s selling dora-yaki.

Yes, it’s poor practice. あん only retains its texture if it’s refrigerated for a short time (the book says), so keeping it for longer makes for a poor dorayaki filling. I have a sneaking suspicion that all this is about to change soon though :wink:


Ohhh, that makes sense. I started ch 2 and started questioning my tentative guess, but I dunno why that didn’t occur to me


I have the same suspicion :slight_smile:

Thanks for the help.


I read it last week too, no worries there with the cheating :sweat_smile:

The first half of chapter 2 was also not so easy for me - I think due to the fact that it describes a technical process (and I am still not so used to narratives). Haven’t read the rest of the chapter yet, but I’m assuming it will be slightly easier to follow if I use chapter 1 as a reference.


I intended to start this week’s reading earlier since I was afraid of falling behind. It was a pleasant surprise when I started and finished today in one sitting. It helps that it’s mostly character dialogue right now. And I find the author’s writing style quite pleasant to read.

I’ve only seen the movie once just before I came to Japan about 7 years ago, but it left a lasting impression on me. Even now I still remember the details of the movie vividly, which is odd for me having only seen it once.

While reading, I could recall the scene of the sakura dancing in the wind and the interaction between the characters as I remembered from the movie. It felt nostalgic or something because I felt like crying at the time :sweat_smile:

I already know the plot of the story, so in order to spark some discussion and maybe bring some important points to attention, I’ll write up some discussion questions.

  1. Why do you think Sentaro is so against hiring Tokue at his shop despite her negotiation and potential experience?

  2. Tokue is very persistent about working at ドラ春, even offering to work at a dirt low wage for the opportunity. Why do you think she won’t settle for a no?

  3. Why do you think Sentaro is running a dorayaki business especially when he’s using questionable practices to make his あん?


Just wanted to lyk the link to the home thread in the OP isn’t working because a 4 sneaked in at the end. :smile:


Ugh, it had to be a 4! Talk about unlucky.
It should be fixed now! Thanks for letting me know.

Questions regarding Chapter 1

So I reviewed chapter 1 and looked up some vocab I wasn’t sure of, and some questions came up. Hopefully I’ll have time to do the same for chapter 2 still during this week, but for now:

Page 6: 女性はおもむろにガラスとの貼り紙を指さした。
There are two translations for おもむろに in jisho… one says it means slowly/without haste; and the other that it means suddenly, abruptly (which is less common, if I got that right?). So in this case, the first one would probably be the correct one, right? I’m guessing it’s heavily context based, but as Sentarou is always surprised by what Tokue does, I was wondering if it could be the other meaning too.

What does お係さん mean?

Page 7: 人の手は借りたいんだけど、お歳を召された方にはちょっと。。。
The first part I get it - he is in need of hands (for work), but I am unsure of the second part as a whole (well, except for the ちょっと…).

ch 1

I’m not entirely sure about your first question either. Tokue-san seems like she’d probably move slowly, so is Sentarou surprised that she’s moving abruptly, or that she’s pointing to the help wanted sign at all? That might determine it, but as it is, I think it may be up to reader’s interpretation…

お係さん I think would be a clerk

お歳を召された方 is “someone who’s gotten on in years,” or an elderly person. He’d rather have someone young.


So my dictionary says that a 2014 survey showed that 44.5% of people used it in the original sense meaning ゆっくりと, and 40,8% percent used it to mean 不意に. Not very helpful. :sweat_smile: For what it’s worth, I believe in this case it means ゆっくりと.

That would be お孫さん. He’s asking if it’s her grandchild who’s interested in the job.

年を食う means to advance in age. 召される is a respectful version of 食う, so お歳を召された方 is just a respectfully phrased “people advanced in age”. The ちょっと shows hesitation. After ちょっと would come all the reasons why older people aren’t suitable for the job, but they will go unmentioned because of politeness.


I like this idea thank you for posting these! My understanding of these sections wasn’t quite the best, and since they seemed to be kind of dancing around the topic and trying to say things without actually saying them it was kind of hard for me to pull much from the text itself. But in trying to think about these questions I ended up going back and re-reading parts to make sure I understood them better, so that’s always nice :laughing:

Discussion Questions

But, if I had to hazard a guess as to the second question: I know it’s not super uncommon elderly people to actually choose to re-enter the workforce, especially in part time/service industry type jobs just because they are honestly bored of retirement haha. It’s generally not out of a need for money, that’s taken care of by pensions or retirement funds and the like. Some people work their whole lives, take a few years off in retirement, and then just decide they can’t actually sit around and live without doing anything. Especially if their partner and/or friends pass away, there’s just not enough stuff to fill up their day. As for why ドラ春 in particular? not sure. Maybe she has some past connection to that particular shop, or just doesn’t want to learn a new skill since she obviously enjoys making あん if she’s been doing it for so long.

I imagine we get real answers in due time, but for now it’s wild speculation :sweat_smile:


No problem! I think they help when you’re going into a reading completely blind and just trying to grasp the meaning. If you have things to look for, it helps you know what details to focus on and understand better.

Your ideas definitely make sense though! I won’t say whether you’re right or wrong, but I will at least confirm that elderly Japanese people, particularly retired folks have a lot of free time on their hands.

My neighborhood is mostly older retired individuals, and they’re the ones out early in the morning cleaning up the street, pulling weeds, and the more wealthy not too older retired guys are polishing their cars.

Often, they’ll be the ones organizing volunteering events like cleaning up the local park or planting flowers or trees to make the neighborhood look nice. They often volunteer as crossing guards in the morning too.

I heard it’s a rule that teachers have to retire when they turn 50 (at least in our district), and I remember one of the JTEs I worked with retired and was unhappy about it so she applied to be a support teacher at a different school because she couldn’t stand not working at a school.


And week 2 is already here. It went by quite fast for me - I’ll probably still hang around the week 1 thread for a while since I didn’t have time to look up all the points I was unsure of!


I’m joining the book club a week late. I read this section this afternoon. I bought the ebook and was reading it on my computer and I couldn’t totally read the furigana, which made looking up the words difficult. And then I realized the book is way clearer on my phone. I was going to come in here to complain about that!

my reading confusion

I was confused about 年齢不問, because when I googled it, I got:
Which I guess must be a legal thing about how old you need to be to work? After March 31st of your 15th birthday is so specific. I was writing down the definitions of words I didn’t know and got caught up in trying to figure out the significance of this longer than I should have.
In this context, I’m just taking it to mean that age doesn’t matter.

I’ll plan on reading this week’s reading tomorrow!

A little context on dates

They make March 31st the cut-off date for all official things because April 1st is officially start of the work/school calendar. The western calendar marks this year as 2023, but for Japan, the Japanese calendar for 令和5 started from April 1st.

That’s why taxes must be filed by March 31st, and each child’s school grade level is determined by whether their birthday falls before or after March 31st.

It makes sense that they specify that specific date because junior high school students cannot have part-time jobs. High school isn’t obligatory, so you can start working from then. Junior high school students are typically 14 when they graduate, so soon after, they can start working depending on their individual situation.