しろくまカフェ: Week 7 Discussion (Chapter 14)

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Chapter 14


Start date: April 24th
Previous Chapter: Chapters 11-13
Next chapter: Chapters 15 and 16

Page numbers


Vocabulary list

You can also check the page numbers for new and old versions here. If you have an old version, chapters 24-28 are in the second volume!

Translations/Grammar Breakdown

Expand for a nested list of links covering each panel

Discussion Rules

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This universe is weird. “No polar bears allowed to enter the polar bear exhibit”…


Fun with numbers:

If you’ve reached WaniKani level 2, you will know 12% of the unique kanji in chapter 14.

By level 3, you can read 21% of the chapter’s unique kanji.

At level 8, you’ll recognize nearly half of the unique kanji in the chapter.

At level 18, it’s nearly 75%.

Level 30 gets you up to 92%.

At level 44, you should know all the kanji in chapter 14.

The chapter has 75 unique kanji, and 136 kanji total (if I didn’t miss any).


I’m curious about this. I’m only level 42 right now, but I didn’t notice any kanji I didn’t know in the chapter. I’m assuming I missed some. Which kanji require 44 (and/or 43)?

edit: Figured it out. It was 叱. I must have picked that up somewhere other than Wanikani without remembering…

Especially since it seems like all the animals in the zoo are sentient just like all the other animal characters. So it’s not like it’s a problem with people getting confused between the intelligent animals and the regular zoo animals or something.

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page 72 box 3

おやつタイム - snack time
行う - perform, do

Is the bear tired because there the zoo is too big and he wants to take a snack break?
Why not simply 食べます or します? Why “perform”?

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That’s the zoo’s PA speaking. Does that help with your understanding of the verb?

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I think i see it now. It is not our friend シロクマ さん who is performing snack break, it is the real “full-time” シロクマ in his enclosure.


I was doing some spring cleaning and finally found my 4 volumes of Shirokuma (the 5th wasn’t out yet at the time). Has it been confirmed whether or not the book club will be continuing with the other volumes (alongside Chi’s sweet home)? Because otherwise it looks like this was the last week :sweat_smile:

What? We’re only just halfway through the original-edition volume, much less the larger bis version that we’re actually reading.


Ah in the Reading schedule on the Shirokuma home page this was the last discussion week listed, but I didn’t realize they were being added as each week started. my bad :woman_facepalming:

In that case I’ll be joining from this week onwards!

Following my write-ups for some pages from chapter 13, here’s one for the first page in chapter 14. It’s mostly looking at a grammar point and stats on this page’s kanji and WaniKani levels.

Chapter 14 Page 71 (bis)

Page 71 (bis) begins with パンダ receiving a 電話(でんわ) from しろくま. Following パンダ’s invite in chapter 13, しろくま is going to visit the 動物園(どうぶつえん).

シロクマ says, 「(あそ)()ー」

The grammar here is structured 「Verb + に + 行く」, and is N5 level grammar. It means “to go in order to [verb]”. It is formed by taking the stem of the polite form of the verb (遊ぶ -> 遊びます -> 遊び) and appending the particle に and the verb 行く.

Putting the pieces together, this means “to go out to play”. However, 「遊びに行く」 is also a set expression in Japanese, having meanings different from what one may expect. It is also used to mean:

  • to go on a trip
  • to go and visit (a friend)

There is a related grammar point, 「Verb + に + ()」, which means “come in order to [verb]”. パンダ could greet シロクマ and ペンギン at the zoo by saying:


“Thanks for coming to visit me.”

(This use of て-form verb + くれる comes up on page 75 (bis) in this chapter.)

Edit: On page 77 (bis), 遊びにくる is used by ラマ.

This page contains 15 unique kanji. Aside from recognizing kanji from earlier in the book, how many should you recognize by your WankKani level?

Level Kanji % on Page
1 2 13.33%
2 4 26.67%
6 5 33.33%
7 6 40.00%
8 8 53.33%
9 9 60.00%
12 11 73.33%
13 12 80.00%
16 13 86.67%
18 14 93.33%
30 15 100.00%

Looks like most people reading along will have recognized more than half of the kanji this page has to offer. It was actually fairly easy for a low-level hatchling such as myself, as I learned 電話 and 動物園 back in first year Japanese class in high school way back when. I wouldn’t be able to write them out on paper, but I can point them out in a police lineup with 100% confidence.


One thing I’m aware of when I read native material is that that I may pass over a grammar point I don’t know yet (and there’s a lot of them) without giving it much attention (especially when I’m disconnected from the Internet with no way to look it up). And sometimes I’ll think I know the meaning of what I read, but it actually has a separate meaning I’m unfamiliar with (such as the first time I learned that 遊びに行く doesn’t necessarily involve playing).

Hopefully these bits that I write will help others discover new grammar or help reinforce grammar they’re in the process of learning.

Page 72 (bis) grammar, and origin of おやつタイム

Upon enter the zoo on page 72 (bis), ペンギン says, 「(おも)ったより(ひろ)ね」

Here, the N4 grammar pattern 「Verb + より + Adjective」 is used to state something is “more than”. In this case, it is more 広い (spacious) than something. The something is 思った (thought), the past-tense of 思う (to think). ペンギン expected the 動物園 to be smaller than it is, but it turns out it is more 広い than he 思った it would be.

シロクマ says, 「まずパンダ(かん)へいこう」

There are a few grammar points to be familiar with here.

The first is the N4 grammar point, placing まず before a phrase. This has the meaning of “first” or “to start with”.

Next, the N5 pattern 「Noun + へ + いく」 is used, meaning “to go to/toward Noun”.

Finally, いく (行く) is in its casual volitional conjugation (N4). In grammar, volition is “the act of using your will to make a conscious decision”. Think, “I will”, “I shall”, “let us”. This conjugation is done by changing the final う sound into おう, so いく becomes いこう. (Note that for る verbs, る is replaced with よう, such as ()べよう.)

If we translate 館 as exhibit, we get, “First of all, let’s go to the panda exhibit.” To be a little less stiff in English, I might write this as, “Let’s head over to the panda exhibit first.”

The overhead speaker mentions おやつタイム for the zoo’s polar bear.

According to the Japanese Wikipedia page on おやつ (which I am blindly trusting without looking up any sources), the time of day spanning from 2PM to 4PM used to be as 八つ時 (8 o’clock) from an older way of counting time. Thus, the やつ is the number eight, and in this usage coincides with the afternoon hours.

Back when Japanese typically had two meals a day (rather than the standard three meals of our current age), workers such as farmers would have a snack in the afternoon. Thus, おやつ came to refer to this afternoon snack. In moden times, おやつ still refers to a snack, but it can be during any time of the day, and can be used to refer to any meal other than breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

(Thank you Google Translate for helping me through that. You’re crazy more often than not when translating Japanese to English, but you were a big help here.)

シロクマ is interested in seeing the zoo polar bear diving for snacks. For context, imagine you’re visiting the zoo and an overhead announcement says, “Zoo staff will be taking their snack break at 1:20 PM. Please head over to the food court to enjoy the staff standing in lines and sitting at tables.” Who among us wouldn’t head over to see that?

His response to the announcement is, 「()たい! スゴそう」 This give two more grammar points to know.

First is the たい form of a verb, which is N5 level. This is used to express your own desire to do something. Since シロクマ “wants to see” the polar bear’s diving form, he says 見たい. For this conjugation, you take the stem of the polite form of the verb and append たい (見ます -> 見 -> 見たい).

The second is そう. This is appended to an adjective to say something “seems” to be that adjective. The adjective here is スゴイ (すごい), meaning “amazing”, so シロクマ is saying the announced event “seems amazing”. In English, we might say “sounds amazing”. This conjugation involves dropping い at the end of the adjective, and appending そう (すごい -> すご -> すごそう).


This’ll be my last one for chapter 14.

Page 75 (bis): じゃない and なくちゃ


At the bottom of page 75 (bis), ペンギン says, 「もー (しか)られたじゃない」 This was a new usage of じゃない for me to learn.

叱る (to scold; to reprimand) is passive (叱られる) and past tense (叱られた), meaning “was scolded”.

じゃない is used when complaining. See Maggie-Sensei’s post on じゃない and search for the text “2) When you complain, accuse someone.”

Along with もう, which here strengthens ペンギン’s expression of exasperation, you get: “Geez, I told you you’d be scolded.” (Or, “Geez, didn’t I say you’d get in trouble?”)

Edit: As per @jaearess’s response, there’s no verb for “told” here, so my translation is off. Perhaps “Geez, were were scolded” (complain) or “Geez, we were scolded (because of you)” (accusatory) would be more accurate, if I’m correct about the meaning of this usage of じゃない.


Rather than paying any attention to the remark, シロクマ says, 「パンダ館へ行かなくちゃ」

なくちゃ is N5 grammar, meaning “has to be done”. In this case, “We have to go to the panda exhibit.”

This is a shorted form of なくては. Knowing this makes it a little eaier to see what is going on:

行かなくちゃ -> 行かなくては

  1. Start with the verb “to go”: 行く

  2. Make it negative, “to not go”: 行かない

  3. The sentence isn’t over, so it needs to be in its connective form: 行かなくて

Typically, there is an unspoken いけない (“no good”) following verbs in the なくちゃ form. It’s understood without being said.

If you only say いけない, it is unknown what you are talking about. The topic you are speaking about is marked with the particle は, resulting in 「行かなくてはいけない」. “It’s no good if I don’t go” which has a meaning of “I must go” or “I have to go”.

Dropping off the assumed いけない and shortening なくては into なくちゃ results in 「行かなくちゃ」

“It’s no good if we don’t go to the panda exhibit.”

“If we don’t go to the panda exhibit…”

“We have to go to the panda exhibit.”


I read this as something more like “Jeez, you got us scolded, didn’t you?” or “Jeez, we got scolded, didn’t we?” or something like that (with the じゃない being something like the ね sentence ender.) More naturally, “…got in trouble…”, etc.

I do see the the “I told you,” in the examples on the page you linked, but it seemed specific to the sentence that actually used 言った. You interpretation may well be the correct one, but I’m curious if there’s more examples of the generic “I told you so,” use of じゃない.

I’m really liking all your posts :slight_smile: Keep up the good work.

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You’re right, my translation would require the 言った to be accurate. It may be more accurate as, “Geez, we got scolded” either as a complaint that it happened or complaint that it’s シロクマ’s fault that it happened.

Thanks, glad to hear it. I’ve long wished someone would write “guides” to go along with various manga, so someone reading the manga could read the guide to learn the vocabulary, kanji, grammar, etc. within (supplementing whatever knowledge they already have). But something like that is very time consuming and requires a high level of knowledge, so my writings here are the closest I can get for now =)

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I am not sure I understand well page 79 box 3. Let me know if you disagree with me below.
Panda wakes up after sleeping through his friends visit with the following sentence:

Translation with the help of ichi.moe:

ずーっと - all along
持ってたのに - i wish to keep
なんできて - to be able to do that
くれなかった - to be given
のー - a confident conclusion

The same can be said:
I wish i would able to do this (sleep and being paid for it) all my life.

It’s 待, not 持. “Even though I was waiting”.

This one’s mis-parsed. It’s なんで + きて not なん + できて.

“Even though I was waiting the whole time, how come you never showed at all?”


Thank you. Now it makes much more sense.
I wonder how much of what i thought i perfectly understood is also off. :slight_smile:

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When using ichi.moe, you can see alternate parsing options if you click on the copy of the sentence that shows underneath the input box. I use it only rarely, but if a sentence doesn’t seem to make sense, sometimes I try a different parsing, and suddenly it makes sense.

Regarding 待 vs 持, this is a pair I used to get confused all the time. At one point, I noticed that the left half of 待 (wait) was the same as the left half of 行, which put to my mind that that radical relates to movement. (Whether this will be true for other kanji I learn, I have yet to find out.) When I started using WaniKani and the left half of 持 (hold) was assigned the mnemonic “fingers”, that helped me ensure I knew which was which. It’s because of this that when I see one or the other, I’m inclined to take careful note of that left-side radical.


Well, it also helps that WaniKani calls the left side of 待 “loiter”. :slightly_smiling_face:

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