よつばと!Vol 1 Discussion Thread (Beginner's Book Club)

Welcome to Yotsuba&!

Yotsuba&! Reading Club


We read this as the Beginner Book Club!

We’ve finished reading this volume, but you’re very welcome to continue using this thread as a resource, and also to ask new questions - please just search the thread before posting to check your question hasn’t already been answered :slightly_smiling_face:

If you want more, check out the Yotsuba&! Reading Club which is continuing with further volumes of the series. You can also check out the Beginner Book Club to see what we’re reading now!

Discussion Guide

  • Please check before posting a new question that it hasn’t already been answered: you can use the forum search in the top-right to search by page number

  • When posting a question, please mention page / paragraph / speech balloon as appropriate for your version (physical / digital)

  • Don’t be afraid of asking questions - all of us are here to learn

  • Have fun :slight_smile:

We’re discussing: grammar, vocabulary usage and its context, reading comprehension, interesting plot / character development, etc.

Character List

  • Yotsuba Koiwai - a quirky, energetic girl
  • Yotsuba’s father, Yousuke
  • Jumbo, a friend of Yotsuba’s father
  • The three sisters of the Ayase family (綾瀬) who live next door:
    Fuuka (風香), the middle sister
    Asagi (あさぎ), the oldest sister
    Ena (恵那), the youngest sister


:arrow_right: The first two chapters are available online from the publisher for free (scroll down to the section titled 「よつばとおためし版」 and click 「第1話」 for Chapter 1).

:arrow_right: You can pre-study the vocabulary from the series through this Memrise course.

:arrow_right: Or through this reading pack, including Anki sets for both words and sentences.

:arrow_right: You can also download the complete vocabulary list.

:arrow_right: For an introduction to the manga to get you started, watch this video.

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Last updated: after the 143rd post


Yes! I’m already half way through the first chapter, so I have lots of questions!

On page 8 (2nd panel), the black-haired guy (I don’t know his name or relation to Yotsuba yet, I’m not sure if it’s mentioned) says: あんまりのり出すと危ないぞー and I can’t figure out what he’s saying.

I’ve got: あんまり - Not very, のりだす - To set out/To lean forward, と - Quotation particle (maybe?), 危ない - Dangerous.

So I’d guess it’d be him telling Yotsuba that leaning out of the window is dangerous, but I really can’t piece it together.


The black haired guy is Yotsuba’s father.

As for the sentence, I translated the same as you but not sure why it’s that

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That’s her father. He identifies himself in the third panel on the page: とーちゃん.

Your interpretation is correct, though, when I read it, I took のり to be a shortened form of 乗り物 : のりもの, vehicle, and him telling her to stay inside. If it’s a vehicle, it’s a noun, so, と fits. As @rodrigowaick points out below, while the kanji in the expression this derives from is the same, it has nothing to do with vehicles, even though 乗 is found in both.

Edit: reflecting on this, that doesn’t explain と. Because whether it’s exiting a vehicle or leaning out of something, it doesn’t change the fact that the verb is 出す. It seems that the と is the natural-consequence conditional, first section on http://www.guidetojapanese.org/learn/grammar/conditionals.


I didn’t mean to say that bit. it’s 2 a.m and I’m just trying to wake my brain up enough to do some reviews. Fixed it up now.

Oh right, I noticed that in the next panel, but I didn’t understand that she was addressing him (I guess the idea of Japanese indirectness goes out of your head at 11pm).

Also, と being used as “if” does make a lot of sense. I completely forgot it could be used like that. Also I think I figured out the use of あんまり, since Jisho lists it can be used to mean “too much” (which is confusing since it also means “not much”). So then, the sentence becomes:

If you exit the vehicle too much, it is dangerous.

Or perhaps more naturally:
It is dangerous to lean out of (go out of) the vehicle too much



The way she’s saying it is pretty informal. While indirectness will play a part in some conversations you’ll see before too long (though the characters are, in general, pretty casual), Yotsuba’s sense of politeness is very much in-line with what you’d expect from a six-year-old kid and she addresses people rather directly. This is pretty similar to how a North American kid might say “Dad, you do it, too!”, with the father responding using the same third-person pronoun and disassociating it from the first-person for consistency: “Dad can’t, he’s busy right now.”

The expression is 身を乗り出す - to lean out, to lean forward.

Yotsuba is leaning out of the window, so he’s saying: “Leaning out too much is dangerous”.

This expression is used in the example sentence for level 18 word 座席.

Edit: This expression has nothing to do with 乗り物. It can be used for leaning out of a window or balcony, for example. In this case, it’s just a coincidence that they’re in a car.


On the page just after the one being discussed above, also in the second panel, Yotsuba’s father says: どこってそりゃおまえ. I know って can be a shortening of 言ってso it seems like he is saying, “You say where. Thats you.” But that’s not a sentence that makes any sense, so I must be wrong. Anyone have a better grasp of what’s actually being said there?


They translate it as “Where do you think” in the official translation. I see the どこ - where, そりゃ - that, and おまえ - you. Not sure about the って part… Guessing from the English I would say a form of think or opinion, but I don’t recognize it in this form.

I see そりゃ used as a question, “that is” as shown here: Linguee


I read the おまえ as superfluous, like an abrupt, direct way of saying “you”, in addition to what was actually meant to be conveyed. In this case, the father is expressing disbelief that Yotsuba doesn’t know where “here”, the place they arrived, is. This is contextually relevant to how the rest of the chapter plays out: Yotsuba doesn’t fully understand what’s happening right now.

“You’re really asking where we are?” is roughly how I’d interpret it. He has a somewhat unrefined manner of speaking. Not especially impolite, but prone to casual slurs and non-prescriptive speech.

Regarding the おまえ being tacked on to the end, consider how you’d interpret 可愛い、その猫 (かわいい、そのねこ : cute, that cat). It’s not really a well-formed sentence, rather two related thoughts, but you know what it means: the speaker’s adding context after the main statement, when it would more formally be その猫は可愛いです. Her father structures stuff like that from time to time, as does almost everyone else.

More literally, どこってそりゃおまえ could be parsed as “‘where?’, you said… what’s with you?”

そりゃ, used as a suffix, expresses concern or surprise with whatever preceded it, at least in every case I recall hearing (and that Linguee link).


Ah I see. That actually makes a lot of sense in context.

I found this helpful video with some good tips for reading the よつばと!series.


Yes, I missed the relationship too, because I didn’t recognise とーちゃん which よつば uses on page 6.
とーちゃん is a very casual form of とうさん, which is a casual form of お父さん / おとうさん.
I call my father-in-law お父さん, my wife calls him とうさん, but no one in the world calls him とーちゃん!


As a beginner, and as someone who has never even read a manga before, this is a steep learning curve for me. But what is most surprising is that not only is the vocabulary and grammar difficult (I expected that!) but also the casual level, which is really unfamiliar! For example, again on page 6, よつば says すけぇ, it took me a while to understand this was すごい! I was so happy on page 16 when the girl on the bike came along with lots of language I could easily understand!


The best advice I can offer to you is to try to sound out anything that doesn’t make sense, especially the stuff that looks exaggerated or just seems like it would be fun to say.

If you’ve watched much anime, you’ll probably find that a lot of it sounds familiar and hearing it will help you make connections.

Also, by the time you reach the conversation with that girl, you’ve passed the hardest stuff you’ll see until the second chapter of volume 2. It’s smooth sailing from here!


That’s good to know! Thank you! :smile:

One thing I really like about the series is how sometimes Yotsuba will say something and you’ll have no idea she means, since it’s all in kana and sometimes she just says things funny/wrong. Then the adults come along and in answering her will use kanji and correct what she says. For me it’s both fun and educational guessing what Yotsuba means and then finding out if I’m right soon after!


Do we just spend two weeks on the chapter, or should we set a specific page for first week to contain most comments to the first half? I think page 29 is a good place for the pause, just finishing a scene and gives almost equal amount of pages (as it doesn’t really start on page 1, 29 is more like 24 actual pages and rest of chapter 21 pages)

I was also wondering how this’ll work. I’ve already completed the chapter (or the whole volume as my tired self accidentally revealed yesterday). So far we have only mentioned early pages, which both makes sense and I believe is important for this first chapter. For lot’s of people, this will be their first attempt at proper reading. It is very difficult and easy to give up claiming it is above your level. Which is why so many higher level people are still useless at reading … myself partially included (I’m still low and have read a bit but am still pretty pathetic).

Conversations will always take a life of their own but in this case, I really think it needs to be guided sequentially through the chapter. Make it as easy as possible and hopefully get the largest uptake we can.

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