Welcome to Week One of Big Brother Rental: レンタルおにいちゃん
A couple of quick points to get us started…
1. Ask Questions!!
This group works best when people ask questions - so please ask! No question is silly - this is the Absolute Beginner’s Book Club so people are expecting Absolute Beginner Questions. The questions drive the discussion, and there’s a good chance if you are wondering, there are several other people wondering the same thing.
When asking a question:
Please include the page number for every question you ask
Check whether your question has already been asked / answered before posting
Remember to utilise the vocab spreadsheet
Blur out any major events when posting, however early in the ‘week’ they occur (like so: [spoiler]text here[/spoiler])
2. Useful Resources
Jisho is a popular online Japanese-English dictionary, and the usual source for populating the spreadsheet
ichi.moe is a popular tool for parsing out sentences. It’s not infallible but it can be really useful when you don’t recognise the conjugation of a word, or when a set of words form a set expression.
The Jaded Network is a useful resource for looking up the little sound effect words in the pictures which are often not in Jisho
Deepl will translate a sentence from Japanese to English. It’s not going to be right all the time, but when you are struggling with a sentence it can sometime help to point you in the right direction.
And finally another poll (multiple selections allowed):
This is my first time trying to read a Japanese manga
This is my first time trying to read any Japanese book
I’ve tried reading a book in Japanese before but wasn’t able to complete it
It’s not my first book in Japanese but I’m looking forward to reading this one!
At the bottom right of the page there’s the sentence: " プリンとかどう？". It may be because I don’t know what とか and どう mean, but from what I figured out (with help from the docs sheet), it means “how about pudding or something like that?”.
I case I’m right with the translation, the second part of the sentence is the one that confuses me the most.
“4個入りをお土産に”, or (in a “rough sketch version”) according to the docs sheet and my understanding: “containing 4 articles for souvenirs” (???)… Sorry, the sentence hasn’t clicked the “make sense” switch for me yet…
I’m sorry if this came out weird, I’m not a native English speaker, and trying to express myself in 2 different languages is a bit harder than I originally thought…
Yes, this sentence completlely threw me off as well. Specifically about what is the role of both を and に particles here?
To my understanding, I’ve seen “お土産に” in other parts of sentences before, as in “I am going to buy this shirt as a souvenir.” The 4個入りを is specifying what we are getting as a souvenir. All that is missing is a verb, which has been left out and is being implied in the sentence. You could assume that this sentence, more completely, might be written as:
4個入りをお土産に買います - “I will buy a four pack as a souvenir.”
Other verbs could go here, but that’s just an example. You can also switch the 4個入りを and お土産に parts around so long as they stay with their particles since Japanese is largely pretty modular.
I struggled with this a bit. I couldn’t tell if it was meant to be an observation, or if it was meant to be more of a gentle command that isn’t written in a command form. It also could be him commenting on her chewing it well, but I’m not the best with onomatopoeia so I couldn’t tell if he’s chastizing or praising. I’m assuming more of a gentle reminder: “Chew properly while eating,” so that she doesn’t choke.
~んだ marks things that have an explanatory tone. Like if someone told you your shirt was cute, you could say “昨日買ったんだ” (I bought it yesterday) as explaining something further related to the original statement. Sometimes the original question is implied as well though, so it has more of of a tone of explanation rather than serving as an explicit one, if that makes sense. Like, you might get up to go to the bathroom and tell the people around you “トイレに行くんだ,” explaining where you are going without being asked because you’re pretty sure people are going to wonder why you’re getting up. I think from the pictures, it looks like she’s wolfing food down, so he’s explaining that she should chew up her food well while she eats.
Yeah, that’s pretty much how I read it. In the previous panel he asks if there’s anywhere else Kanami wants to go, and this sentence is an add-on to that. So, it’s like: “You know, we don’t come here often, so is there anywhere else you want to go (before we leave)?”
I’m not super familiar with the actual grammar at play here, but しか is often used to emphasize how little an amount is (such as saying something like “I only ate one M&M”). も is the opposite, which can emphasize how large an amount is. Maybe this is a completely separate grammar in this instance (in which case, ignore me), but I guess しか and も can also be used in regard to frequency of events?
Some of the questions have already been answered, so my responses may be duplicates. (As @_Marcus said in the other thread, lots of activity up front!)
The essential meaning is that Big Brother is reminding Kanami is chew her food thoroughly.
To begin with, we have a verb sentence:
「よく噛んで食べる」 “chew well and eat” although in English we would say “chew your food before swallowing it”.
Japanese likes to take verb sentences, and turn them into a noun with の (which often becomes ん when spoken), and make it into a “noun1 is noun2” sentence (which ends in だ).
Here’s an example of this in English:
Question: “Why were you late to work today?”
Verb Sentence Answer: “My car caught fire.”
“It is” Sentence Answer: “It’s that my car caught fire.”
What is “it”? “It” points back to the reason for being late. In English, we’d more likely says, “The reason (I’m late) is because my car caught fire.”
You get similar from Japanese by adding のだ or んだ to the end of a verb sentence. Rather than making a statement of an action, it gives the sense of answering a question, for giving a reason, or an explanation.
It’s for this reason that you may see grammar lessons talk about the “explanatory の” (as @minikui mentioned).
In this case, Big Brother isn’t responding to a question. He’s giving an explanatory statement, like “remember, you have to chew your food thoroughly before you swallow it.”
This concept took me a while to get used to. It will come up more in the manga, so we’ll have plenty of opportunities to see the explanatory の in action.
Your understanding is correct. 「どう」 is like saying “How about this?” in English. (“This” is the プリン.) 「とか」 is like “something like” in English, such as “something like プリン”. Put together, you get “How about something like pudding?”
You’ll see both どう and とか later in the comic.
Note on English souvenir vs Japanese お土産
In English, a souvenir is usually bought on a special trip, so you have something to remember it by. It can also refer to gifts you buy from others on your trip. If you were to visit Hawaii, for example, you might buy some local Hawaii items as gifts for friends and family.
In Japan, an お土産 has more uses. You can bring an お土産 (gift) when you visit someone’s house, like if a grandmother is visiting her son and granddaughter. But you can also buy someone an お土産 when you go shopping.
Here, an お土産 is a gift that Kanami will take home with her.
In the prior line, Big Brother had asked Kanami if there’s anything else she wants to do, then in this line (ending in から, so he’s giving the reason why he asked her the question), he’s saying “because we’re not able to come to places like the department store often” or said another way “because we can only come to places like the department store occasionally”. The overall meaning is, “Since we don’t go shopping at stores like this often, is there anything you wanted to do while you have this chance?”
しか essentially means “more than”. When paired with ない, you have “not more than”.
たまに is “occasionally”, so たまにしか is “more than occasionally”. With a negative sentence (ない), it becomes “not more than occasionally” (which may get translated as “only occasionally”).
I like that use of “you” in your translation. Although the Japanese dialogue is a bit vague, Big Brother can visit the mall any time, so Kanami is the one who can’t visit as often. I thought of it as “we” because they can’t visit the mall often together, but I feel like “you” is a better fit.
Thanks! I figured I would think of it as possibly being both since they both can be accurate, but with her being so young, “you” seemed a bit more likely. Also, “you” pulled at my heart strings a bit harder and I’m a glutton for punishment!
I picked up “it’s that” from Japanese the Manga Way. With as different as Japanese is from English, I like when there’s something in English grammar can at least loosely match the Japanese grammar, even if it’s uncommon in the English language.
I feel my use of explanation for page 5 is a bit frail, especially knowing how difficult the のだ concept was for me to grasp. (I lacked in other areas of knowledge/information that made it harder, as well.) But we’ll see のだ/んだ come up more later in the volume, so anyone who’s still confused by it will have plenty more exposure.
Now that I’m on a computer with a Japanese keyboard… (I was typing words I knew had certain characters in them into google translate to get certain hiragana characters earlier XD) I did have a question about a section on Page 7:
Seeing as how there would be a lot left over, the use of 足りない here had me puzzled. I’m not sure if お兄ちゃん is talking about himself here or her actual older brother as you see if you go a few pages beyond this section, but I had it translated as:
“If you and [I / your older brother] eat them together, there just might not be enough.”
I guess I had the expectation that there would be enough - that it would be just enough if you share it! Perhaps he is trying to imply that he likes pudding so much that there wouldn’t be enough because he would eat a lot of it?