レンタルおにいちゃん - Week 10 Discussion (Absolute Beginners Book Club)

Oof, this chapter was hard on the feelings, between 叶実(かなみ) recalling the warm good ol’ times with お(にい)ちゃん and the tension he built with the whole レンタル thing, I think it was my favorite one so far!

I have a few questions:

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How is (ひと)に grammatically working in this sentence? Especially the に particle, since なる (なってた) is an intransitive verb, I could not figure out how に fits here.

My translation: (Rental) Brother has become someone I can trust.

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I think I understood the gist of this sentence, but I was not able to put it in proper/understandable English; so I would like to see what was your take on it.

I understood it as saying something like that’s just how this relationship is or something…

この(つな)がりはただのレンタル 叶実(かなみ)のわがまま

I feel like this sentence is missing something, or is it me that’s missing the point? Like, what is the core of this sentence? Shouldn’t it have a copula/verb/i-adjective to rule it all? Maybe it is indeed purposefully missing something because of the casual context of it, but I just wanted to make sure.

I ended up translating as: As for this relationship, it is an ordinary rental. I’m selfish.


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I´ve just started this week´s pages so I still haven´t got personal feedback on the other pages, but I was currently working on this specific point (since its right at the beginning) so maybe I can help you with the ひとに. As far as I know, the verb なる, because it´s an intransitive verb, can´t take the を particle. This means that it has to be attached to another particle. In Japanese, “to become” has an implicit direction-movement nuance, because when someone or something becomes something else, there is a sense of a transition (although it´s not always physical) from one point to another point. For example:

I became an doctor

Here you started from a specific point X (not being a doctor) and reached a new point Y (becoming a doctor).

So in the sentence:

信頼しんらいできる ひと なってたんだ

The movement nuance comes from the fact of transitioning from the state of not being a person you can trust to the state of being a person you can trust.

Because the に particle is used in Japanese to imply movement or direction, なる takes it. I hope to have been helpful in some way! :smile: :muscle:However, maybe one of our experts can corroborate what I´ve just said just in case it´s not correct.


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And now considering @rafascar ´s question, I have one myself. In the quoted sentence above:

おにいちゃんが叶実かなみにとって信頼しんらいできる ひと なってたんだ

I was having problems fitting in the 叶実かなみにとって not in regards to the grammar, but to the question of who is actually speaking. I saw that @rafascar has interpreted is at being Kanami talking, but since these thinking rectangular blocks start in the 叶実の家には of page 116, where it was Rental Brother speaking, I assumed this sentence was also said by him, since it´s like his continued thoughts. Having said that, even if it actually was Rental Brother speaking, the translation just doesn´t make sense to me:

For Kanami, her brother has become someone she can trust.

Anyone can shed some light? :pray: :pray:I´d also love to hear @rafascar ´s thoughts, since he translated it as being Kanami speaking.


Tracking speakers in the narration box can be difficult. Main thing to note is that it doesn’t change from one person to another partway through.

Earlier in this chapter (week 9, page 105), narration-in-a-box begins with Kanami noting how nice her (rental) big brother is. This boxed narration continues for the next couple of pages, until the flow goes back to Kanami and Rental talking (and the flashback).

After the flashback, there’s more box narration. Who is narrating? It’s easy to guess in either direction, but mention of 「パパとママ」 sounds to me like something Kanami would say in her mind, not Rental Big Brother.

That brings us to week 10, where the narration continues as 「でも今は」 and Kanami recalls some things her real big brother said previously. She’s able to apply the to Rental Big Brother in narration in the quote in question.


That makes a lot of sense! Your whole explanation was spot on all the way, I’m sure I’ll remember this concept with ease next time I encounter it in the wild. Thank you!

Actually… I did not put that much thought into it. In fact, I just noticed that whenever I see the rectangular boxes I automatically assume it is Kanami’s thinking (including page 116, which I also translated as Kanami’s), maybe because we are usually experiencing the manga from Kanami’s point of view. Now I’m curious to see how the others are interpreting it. :smile:


A little more on になる, copying something I wrote in another book club thread:


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I think I understood the gist of this panel, but I’m having trouble sorting out コンコンしてると思ったら. コンコンしてる is “the act of knocking,” right? But I don’t understand this conjugation of 思う.


I´m glad to have been helpful! :smile:

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That´s a great hint, I´ll definitely use it from now on! It´s really frustrating to understand all the grammar and not being able to decipher something apparently so easy (because at this point I´ve noticed it´s by no means easy) as who is talking, at least for me :joy::sweat_smile: I´ll have to re-read some pages, though, because maybe I´ve adscribed to Rental Brother what Kanami was saying or viceversa.

Many thanks for your help!!

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This コソコソ (because katakana likes to be like that). The line probably makes a lot more sense for you when the word means “sneakily; secretly; stealthily”.

Let’s set aside the conjugation for just a moment, and look at the sentence without it. This will give us a baseline for understanding.

Marking the Indirect Quote


と here is marking an indirect quote, and 思う conveys that it’s what Big Brother had thought.

The sentence 「コソコソしてる」 is based on the verb する. It’s connected to いる (which for する, becomes している, and the い is often dropped when speaking).

The verb する means “to do”, and してる makes it a continuous action, “to be doing”.

Because する is a generic verb (like “to do” in English), there’s no indication of what is being done. However, the adverb コソコソ tells us how the action is being done. Something is being done “secretly”.

With that in mind, we can translate 「コソコソしてる」 as “To do secretly.”

The verb 思う, “to think”, is in its completed/past tense form: 思った, “thought”.

By adding と思った to the sentence, we have “I thought [indirect quote]”, so 「コソコソしてると思った」 becomes “I thought you were doing something secretly.”

Making it a Conditional

Next, we add ら to the end of the verb: 思ったら. This is one form of conditional used in Japanese.

What’s conditional? It’s where you have a condition. An example of a conditional in English is: “If I wash my car, it’ll rain.”

But we’re working with a completed/past tense action here, so a better English example is: “When I washed my car, it rained.”

My understanding is that when ら goes onto the completed/past tense of a verb, it has a sense of “When I did this in the past, I didn’t expect this other thing to happen.”

Let’s put this ら back on Big Brother’s sentence:

「コソコソしてると思ったら (I didn’t expect it was something like this.)」

“When I thought you were doing something secretly (I didn’t expect it was something like this).”

The part in parentheses isn’t being spoken. It’s simply implied. He’s leaving the sentence unspoken (as seems to be done often in Japanese). He doesn’t need to say the second half, because Kanami knows what he’s talking about.

If I was too rambling and unclear, let me know and I can try to simplify it a bit.


I believe you are on the right track. My understanding is the following:

所詮 = In the end,
その程度 = that grade, that level, that kind of
の = possessive particle
繋がり = connection, relationship
なんだ = explication tone-の
よ = emphasis ending particle.

Putting them together:

In the end, that’s the kind of connection (that you have)

Evidently this is pretty abstract, and it’s linked to what Real Brother is saying before and after: that the relationship is just Rental Brother using her to get money, and that if she stops calling him, he won’t come anymore.

I feel that the way the manga is displaying it, kind of gives a hint that there’s a pause or separation between the first part and the second, and are not really like one long continued sentence.



They are two sentences that share the same topic (the topic being この繋がり, “this relationship”). The verb here is certainly the copula, though it’s just implicitly there.


Note that the topic of the second sentence is still この繋がり, so “I’m selfish” doesn’t quite fit properly as a translation.

“This relationship is just a rental. It’s my selfishness.”

EDIT: The implicit mentioned above is probably missing because adding it would make it come too strong as an affirmation. Adding です wouldn’t have that effect, but it doesn’t really make sense to talk politely inside your own thoughts. So just skipping it makes the most sense.


Oh, dang it. ン and ソ will be the death of me.

And for the rest of your explanation, thank you very much. There was a lot going on in that ら.

Week 11 thread is up!


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I think I understand what Kanami is saying, but I can´t make complete sense of the grammar. I know the させてもらってて is the causative form of する in the て form preceding もらう. I assumed もらう was also in the て form because it´s the ている form, which is also in the て form due to the connection with the next sentence, but how does は and が work here?

The thing is I heard that the particles implied in the causative form were は and に, where は marked the subject and に the recipient of the causative action (e.g: In the sentence, "Mark made Louise do the housework, Mark would be followed by は and Louise by に). So why is there a が after Kanami?

And also, this confusion is hindering me from grasping the exact nuance for the translation. Something like, “That young boy was rented by me” (?)

This, however, doesn´t make much sense to me because I can´t get the nuance of the もらう, which should lead to something like: “That young boy offered himself to be rented to me”. To put it bluntly, I can´t discern subject and object in this sentence.

If anyone can shed some light I would really appreciate it! Thanks! :pray: :smile:


は marks the topic, and が marks the subject.

Sometimes you’ll read about は marking the subject. From a grammar perspective, this is directly false, but indirectly true. When the topic and the subject are the same noun, there is no reason to state both of them. However, you can only determine if the topic and the subject are the same noun from context.

The topic forms the topic/comment structure. The part before は here is the topic (the thing being talked about), and the part after is a comment made on that topic:

  • Topic being commented on: 「あのお兄さん」
  • Comment about the topic: 「叶実がレンタルさせてもらってて」

Within the comment, we have the subject/predicate structure. Here, we have a subject marked by が. We also have a verb, which is an action being performed by the subject.

Subject: 「叶実」
Action: 「レンタルさせてもらっている」

You’ve done a good job of unpacking the verb. There’s a lot going on in there that you get used to over time as you get more exposure to it in various native materials.

We have the noun レンタル which becomes an action thanks to する, “to rent”.

It’s in causative form, させる. This is often translated as “make” or “let”, but I’m going to try using “allow”: “allow to rent”.

I use “allow” because of the もらう. When you have “causitive + て + もらう”, it gives a sense that you’ve been allowed to do something, and you appreciate it. “allow to rent (done for me).”

And then the final いる makes it a continuous action, so “to do” becomes “doing”: “allowing to rent (done for me),” or “allowing letting me rent.”

Regaring Oniichan, Kanami is doing the action of being allowed to rent. This doesn’t translate into English directly, so don’t try to match the grammar between the two:

“Oniichan is letting me rent (time with him).”

が will always mark the subject.

There’s no を stating an object, who or what is being rented.

There’s no に stating…I think who is facilitating the rental. It’s simply said that Kanami is renting, without actually stating what is being rented.

My apologizes if that’s a bit rambling. If I had more time, I’d have written a shorter reply. If I missed out on anything or left things confusion, just let me know!


Many many thanks!! Your explanation is spot on! :pray::blush: I´m happy though to have at least identified some of the complex grammatical structures even though I wasn´t able to stick them together. I´m sure that as I progressively come across with similar sentences or constructions in the future it will end up being assimilated almost unconsciously in my head. I also take note of the fact that sometimes it´s just impossible to translate directly into English and one has to be more free.

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Wow! That was another emotionally intense chapter! Work made me lag a bit, but finally I´ll start week 11. Thanks everyone for another great thread!! Just a small question.

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Regardless of the interpretation (all of your feedback on this panels was awesome I must say), could anybody help me a bit with the grammar in:


I´ve read しとく is a casual contraction of ておく (auxiliary used for preparation in advance or future actions) but I can´t grasp the exact nuance here with the する.

I got something like:

Kanami and Oniichan´s clock will from now on be like this.

Many thanks in advance!!

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Edit: I agree with @2OC3aOdKgwSGlxfz’s post below.

I'll leave what I originally wrote for the curious

This line is a bit of a difficult one, isn’t it?

For the first part of the word balloon, I read 「おにいちゃん」 as Kanami (although alone and speaking to herself) addressing her rental big brother. Sort of making a statement to him even though he’s not there to hear it.

Next, the 「かなみ」 I think is her setting the topic, and there’s just no は after it. Thus, everything in the second part of the word balloon.

I could be wrong on either of those parts. But if we go ahead and assume that I have it write, then we have the following comment made regarding Kanami:


The verb in this sentence is, as you said, しておく. おく means to place something, when attached to a verb, it means to put an action into place.

に marks a destination. Here, the destination is 「このまま」 or “(in) this unchanged condition”.

The action is placing something into “this unchanged condition”.

I’ll admit that I don’t know fully how to pull it all together here. There need to be some more particles for me to be able to do that. I don’t know how 時計 and この can be side-by-side like that without a particle (dropped in conversation).

But the general gist that I get from it is that Kanami is saying (addressed to her rental big brother who is not here) that she is has been placed into an unchanging condition like that clock. That is to say, just as the clock is in a state of not moving forward, so is it true for her as well.

まま and て+おく are a couple of areas I still need more exposure and conscious consideration of to better understand and grasp them.


I’m not particularly confident myself, but my interpretation is similar but slightly different.

ておく, while often can be used to express that something is done in advance for future convenience, it can also be used to express that someone or something will be left as it is, according to the Dictionary of basic japanese grammar. I believe that’s the nuance being used here.

What I get from what Kanami is saying is simply that she is just going to leave the clock as it is; it’s also my impression that the starting おにいちゃん is a way to address her Rental Brother even though he’s absent.

Certainly there are some subtle implications (e.g., their time together has stopped), but I don’t think she’s consciously trying to make a metaphor or anything. I think she’s just more straightforwardly saying “I will leave this clock as it is, because repairing it would require renting my brother again and I’ve decided not to do that”.


Many thanks @ChristopherFritz and @2OC3aOdKgwSGlxfz for your feedback!! :smile: :ok_hand:Now the meaning works in my mind perfectly. I agree that it´s still difficult though to understand why where so many particles dropped in this sentence, especially, as @ChristopherFritz said, the one that should be in between 時計 and このまま. I guess it´s something that can happen and I shall take note of it just in case it appears again in some other sentence. It´s also interesting because it makes me thing to what extent should particles be used when using colloquial speech.

By the way, just in case you don´t know, I´ve just noticed Jisho has a separate entry for にしておく. It says: “to leave as; to view as; to maintain the status quo”.