なぜ?どうして?Finished! (But open for post-bookclub discussions)


Here’s what it looks like in the book for anyone who doesn’t have a copy.

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Just asked the resident expert… and she has no idea! “Something to do with Chinese pronunciation” is her best guess!

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Page 97

ぎゃくに、汽車や 電車は、中国では 「火車」と 書きます。

Conversely, in China words like 汽車 (train) or 電車 (train) are written “火車” (fire car).

ほかに、中国では 「湯」と 書くと、スープの ことです。

In addition, when writing “湯” (hot water) in China it means soup.

また、「大丈夫」と 書けば 中国では 一人前の 男と いう いみに なります。

Again, if writing “大丈夫” (all right) in China, it takes on (becomes) a meaning something like “an established man” (a gentleman or a man of character according to Chinese dictionary).



I asked my Chinese neighbor about this and he said it’s a regional difference in pronunciation between northern China and southern China. If I remember correctly, he said in northern China it’s pronounce with the ア sound at the end.

You can get some idea of how the word sounds different (at least on my computer) if you listen on Google and Bing translators. Type 汽車 on both Google Translate and Bing Translator, making sure you have it set to Chinese (not Japanese) and click on the speaker button to listen to how it sounds on both. On mine, the word has the ア sound at the end on Bing but not on Google.

You can even hear how the word sounds in Cantonese on Bing (but not Google).



Also, the image caption reads:

火車は、 中国語では 「火车」 とも 書きます。

In Chinese, 火車 is also written as 火车. [It’s simplified]

Chinese words appearing in this text, for those without a dictionary on hand:
火車 = huo(4)che(1)
湯 = tang(1)
大丈夫 = da(4)zhang(4)fu(0)

Aye, I was thinking we’d need a resident Chinese expert rather than a resident Japanese expert. :slightly_smiling_face:



Page 98

大きな 石の お金を つかっていた 国が、あるんだって!

There are countries that used to use big stones as money!

日本の 国内で これまで 発行された、いちばん 大きなお金は、どのくらいの 大きさか、知って いますか。

If we are talking about the largest money issued internally in Japan, do you know roughly what size it is?

今から 百年ほど 前に 発行された おさつの 「改造百円券」は、この 本と ほぼ 同じくらいの 大きさです、日本一 大きな お金です。

A banknote issued one hundred years ago, the “remodelled one hundred yen note”, roughly the same size as this book, is Japan’s largest money.



Wanted to say that I just happen to see a difference in the middle of the third sentence between the print and e-book versions.

Print version:

"…おさつの「改造百円券」は、 この 本と ほぼ 同じくらい の 大きさで…"

e-book version:

"…おさつの「改造百円券」は、 ノートや教科書の よこ 半分くらい の 大きさで…"

今から 百年ほど 前に 発行された おさつの「改造百円券」は、 ノートや 教科書の よこ 半分くらい の 大きさで、 日本一 大きな お金です。

About a hundred years ago, a currency bill called “Kaizouhyakuenken” was issued being about half the size of a notebook or textbook, and is Japan’s largest size money.

(By the way, I was excited to watch Naomi Osaka (born in Osaka and mother’s name is Osaka) win the Australian Open and become the #1 ranked women’s tennis player in the world. The Japan media must be going crazy right now like it did when she won the US Open.:partying_face:)



Ah! Fun! Wouldn’t make sense to say “this book” in the ebook version, so love how they thought of that =)



English Wikipedia is oddly lacking in information on this, but here it is on the Japanese Wikipedia:

It looks like this:

By comparison, this book is 211mm x 150mm.

Hah, I’m impressed they thought to change that for the e-book.

As I understand it, the Japanese media treats her about the same as the Brittish media treats Andy Murray - he’s only British when he’s winning, but he’s Scottish when he’s losing. Osaka’s father is Haitan, and she lived in the US until she was three, so in their eyes, she’s basically a gaijin.



For 汽車 I have stream train, and for 電車 I have electric train.

And for 一人前 I have adult, or grown-up person.



Also means “fully fledged; established; qualified​”. We’ve been seeing it used in that sense a lot in Aria. :slightly_smiling_face:

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One day I’ll have to try reading that! (But my pile of unread Japanese books is huge!)

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Page 98

この 本 ほぼ 同じくらいの 大きさです

Is that と our old friend the quotation particle? If so, why is it necessary here?



No, it’s the と which marks a reciprocal relationship - in this case, the relationship is 同じ, so in other words, it’s the “as” in “about the same size as this book”



I see! Is that the same と as the one usually translated as “with” (eg.私はベルタささん勉強しています). Thank you Belthazar!



Basically, yeah. The grammar dictionary lists them together.

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Thank you!



I agree that’s the literal kanji readings. Jisho says that 汽車 can mean just “train”, especially referring to a long distance train. There’s apparently also 列車 as well (lit. row car) according to this link.

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Page 99: (I’m back!)

しかし、せかいには、もっと 大きな お金が ありました。

However, in the World there was bigger money

しかも、 その お金は 紙では なく、金ぞくでも なく、石で できていたのです。

Moreover, that money is neither paper or metal, but made of stone

太平洋に うかぶ 国、ミクロネシアに、ヤップ島と いう 島が あります。

In a country that rises over the Pacific Ocean, there is an island called “Yap island” int the Micronesia

この 島では、まん中に あなが あいた きょ大な 石が、 多く 見られます。

In this island, many gigantic stones with a big hole in the middle can be found (seen) I couldn’t find the meaning for あいた

はばが ミメートルを こえる、 とても 大きな ものも あります。

With a width that goes beyond the 3 meters, it’s a pretty big thing Not sure how to translate も in もの .I went for emphasis



Welcome back!

Maybe: In Micronesia, a country floating in the Pacific Ocean, is an island called Yap Island.

It’s 開いた - from 開く - to open

Lit: Gigantic stones with a hole opened in the middle