レンタルおにいちゃん - Week 5 Discussion (Absolute Beginners Book Club)

レンタルおにいちゃん Week Five: Pages 47-58

Start Date: 5th September

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Vocabulary List

Created by @ChristopherFritz. Please read the editing guidelines in the first sheet before adding any words!

*Created by @nfive. Contains list of grammar points for the week with links to Bunpro explanations.

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Page 47


Having trouble understanding what this is literally saying. The dictionary definitions of しっかり and 姿 don’t make much sense to me. Is there a fixed expressions or common phrase at work here?

Page 56


Wow that’s a mouthful.

Here’s my breakdown:

兄のことを書きたくても - Even if she wanted to write about her brother

楽しい想像 - fun imagination (fantasy?)
すら - even (the only thing needed?)
できず - Without being able to do
捻り出した嘘 - Thought up lie
が particle so that entire block was a single noun phrase: Something like “a thought up lie without even being able to imagine even [something/anything] fun [with her brother]”

俺との一日 - a day with me
イメージした - imagined?
仮想の話 - imagined story

That’s a lot of imagination and making stuff up. All together we have something like:
Even if she wanted to write about her brother, her thought up lie without even being able to imagine anything fun with her brother is an imagined story about a day with me…

Feedback and discussion would be greatly appreciated.

Page 57

What is 癒せれば conditional form doing here? Just an incomplete thought?


It’s getting a bit more difficult this week, isn’t it? Thankfully not all weeks will be like this. There will be room to breathe a bit later.

Page 47

For context, the teacher (if I understand correctly) has just said to the parents that this is an uncommon chance for them to see their kids working hard in class. That is to say, trying to do something difficult like stand and read out to the class the composition they wrote.

From there, she says:


The very core of this is:

「その姿を見る」 “Look at that form.”

Said a little longer (bundling in the context), “Look at the form of your children working hard in class, as this is a rare opportunity for you.”

Now, let’s start building this sentence back up again.

見る (to look) is in the て form, which means we’re expecting something to be joined onto it. We have あげる. The て form of a verb + あげる means you are doing the action of the verb for someone else’s benefit, like you’re doing them a favor.

It’s a bit difficult for me to explain in English because we don’t use words like くれる (receive a favor) and あげる (perform a favor) like they’re used in Japanese. A family member may ask to receive a favor from you, “Can you mail this letter for me?” or may offer to do a favor for you, “I’ll water your plants for you while you’re on vacation.”

In this case, the parents are being asked to do their kids the favor of watching them (as they present). (Please don’t be looking at Facebook on your smartphone during your kid’s presentation!)

Putting that into the て form means we’re expecting something else to come after, which is ください, making it a polite request. “Please do…”

That brings us up to:

「その姿を見てあげて下さい」 “Please watch your kids (doing their presentations) (as it’s a rare opportunity to see them trying hard at school).”

The last bit we have is a couple of adverbs. I always struggle with these because I feel like they are adjectives modifying the noun after them, but I believe they modify the verb. (Yes, they’re called adverbs, but that’s an English grammar term used to give a sense of what the Japanese grammar is, so I never know if I can trust it.)

  • ぜひ:“Certainly. Without fail.”
  • しっかり:I believe in this usage, it has a meaning along the lines of “Surely. Unwaveringly.”

“Watch over them unwaveringly, without fail.” Sort of a “Be sure to watch over them.”

That’s what I get out of it, but if anyone with more experience than me sees any flaws or issues, don’t hesitate to point them out!

Page 56

I think this page has the most crazy use of furigana in the book, placing that 作り話 (つくりばなし) beside 嘘 (うそ).

Let us not be discouraged! If anyone is struggling with some of these longer strings of text, it’s okay to ask for a translation to help you get past the more difficult areas, so you can properly focus on the easier areas. It’s better to push through the hard parts in whatever way is necessary, even if it feels like cheating a bit, so that you can get to the simpler parts.

But @tomwant’s challenging this line head-on, so let’s see what we have here =D Some of what I write below will mirror what @tomwamt wrote, as I’m writing this reply to be a bit general for all readers.

This text is a perfect example of where I trip up in Japanese: is できず the end of a sentence, or it is the end of a clause that modifies the next word? I think a clause cannot directly modify a verb (without being turned into a noun with の). If that’s the case (and I could be mistaken), that would suggest to me we’re dealing with multiple sentences. (Why are mangaka so afraid of using 。 at the end of a sentence???)

Edit: As it turns out, ず is the connective form of ぬ. This is like なくて to ない. It’s two separate clauses, joined together essentially with by the て form of a verb. This rest of this post is unedited from before I knew that ず was the connective form.

  • 「兄のことを書きたくても楽しい想像すらできず」

  • 「捻り出した嘘が俺との一日をイメージした仮想の話…」

Now, I could be wrong about this separation of sentences, so I’m moving forward hoping I’m not!

The first sentence, I see a ても, which tells me from experience, “a clause ends here”:


First clause:


The core of this sentence is the verb 書く (かく) “to write”, but it’s turned into an adjective by having たい added to it. This たい changes it from being the action “to write” to being the adjective 書きたい “want-to-write”. Want/desire works a bit differently from English (where it’s a verb). In Japanese, it’s an adjective, similar to the words ほしい and 好き (すき) used in chapter 1.

Essentially, Kanami is being described (in this clause) as wanting to write. Consider it a descriptor:

  • Kanami is a girl.
  • Kanami is a younger sister.
  • Kanami is a student.
  • Kanami has long hair.
  • Kanami wants to write (something).

It’s still difficult for me to completely grasp this as an adjective, so don’t worry if that all just went over your head. It’s fine to consider that when たい is attached to a verb, it reflects the desire to do the action of the verb.

What is it that, in this clause, Kanami is wanting to write about? 「兄のこと」 As seen before, こと is a “(conceptual) thing”. What concept is this thing? It is 兄 (あに), her big brother. Kanami wants to write about her big brother.

You can connect an adjective with something else after it, much like the て form of verbs. For an adjective, the final い is replaced by く, and then て is added. 書きたい becomes 書きたくて.

Since this reply is so long, I’ll skip the details of も and say that @tomwant’s “even if” for the -ても portion is a good go-to translation. Rather than saying “she wanted to write”, it’s “even if she wanted to write”.

I agree with @tomwant’s translation for this clause: “Even if she wanted to write about her brother …”

When you say “even if I wanted to (do something)”, it’s pretty clear what will come next: there’s going to be a reason why you couldn’t do that something.


The core here is the verb できる “to be able to do”, except it’s in a negative form. A common negative form is attaching ない (できない), but another way to make a verb negative is to attach ず (できず “to not be able to do”).

What is it that cannot be done? The particle すら is used to cite an extreme example, and is similar to saying “(not) even” in English. “Even though I wanted to win the pie-eating contest, I could not even finish the first pie. I couldn’t even go so far as to do that much.”

I’ll admit, I don’t know the particle すら very well in usage, so I don’t fully understand how 「noun + すら + できる」 properly fits together. I do know that できる is the potential form of する, and there are nouns that can have する attached to them to turn them into verbs. 想像 (そうぞう “imagination”) is one of those nouns, where 想像する is “to imagine”.

Putting 楽しい (たのしい “happy”) and 想像 together, think “happy thoughts”, or a “pleasant mental image”. Adding the verb する gives “to think happy thoughts” or “to have a pleasant mental image”. But since it’s the potential form できる, it’s “to be able to think happy thoughts”, “to be able to have a pleasant mental image”. To be able to imagine something pleasant. (Then make it the negative of that.)

Both clauses being fit back together, I get (a bit loosely translated), “Even if she wanted to write about her brother, she wasn’t able to imagine anything pleasant.”

Here’s where I’m choosing to end one sentence and begin another, because of my uncertain belief that する (できる) being a verb cannot be a direct modifier for another verb (捻り出す).


I want to break down this sentence from left to right, as that’s the order it’s spoken.


捻り出す (ひねりだす “to think up”) is in the past tense 捻り出した (“thought up”), and it modifies 嘘 (うそ “lie”). It’s a “thought up lie”, “a lie (she) came up with”. And うそ is marked by が, so we know its the subject of the clause it’s in. Let’s set this subject aside in our mind for a moment, and look at the next words.


俺(おれ)と “with me” の’s 一日 (いちにち “one day, all day long”), “the day with me”. This is marked with を, meaning it’s the object of the verb. The verb is being done to a noun, and that noun is a day Kanami spent with her rental big brother.


Here we reach the end of a clause. イメージ “mental image”. する, turns the noun before it into a verb, “to (have a) mental image”. した is the past-tense of する, “had a mental image”.

What was the mental image of? The を-marked noun, the day Kanami spent with her rental big brother. And what’s the subject that performed the act of being such a mental image? The が-marked noun うそ. The “thought up lie” was a mental image of Kanami’s day spent with her rental brother.

However, this all modifies the noun after it.


The noun is 仮想 (かそう “imagination”), and it modifies 話 (はなし “story”). It’s an “imagined story”, but then trails off into 「…」.

Putting this all together (and rewording it a bit because we normally don’t leave out the verb in English quite like this):

“Even if she wanted to write about her brother, she couldn’t imagine anything pleasant. Her imagined story is a lie based on the day she spent with me…”

The subject here is 嘘 (うそ “lie”), and the type of lie is covered by the modifier prepended to it.

Page 57

That is correct. Since there’s a と思ってた “was thinking” here, you can put quotes around what he was thinking to visualize it better:

「せめて少しの時間でも 傷を癒せれば」と思ってた

That makes is a little more clear that his thought is left unfinished.


Page 47:

Is it alright if I try to break this one down here to see if I’m doing it right?

学校で - at school
頑張る子ども達 - children who are doing their best
を - verb is happening to those children
見られる - to be able to see
機会 - opportunity
というのは - means (?)
なかなか多くは - very many
ない - don’t exist
と思います - I think

So roughly, “There are not very many opportunities to see children who are doing their best at school.” But I’ve no clue what the というのは is supposed to add to the sentence.

Page 48:
Probably a simple one, but 立花 is her family name, right? At first I thought the 立 was something to do with the teacher asking her to stand up though, so I thought I’d double check.

Page 50:
How come she uses さん with the shops? Is this used regularly?


You’re amazing, I wish I could dump 50 likes into this post.

So I did some reading about ず form and it turns out it is a form of the ないで connective form, meaning without doing X. So while I like your English translation breaking it into two sentences, and the two pieces you broke it into are great, technically the Japanese is one long sentence, so there isn’t actually a 。 left out.

As a more direct translation, but with slightly less natural English, I think I’d like to revise to:

Even if she wanted to write about her brother, without being able to imagine even anything fun, the lie she thought up is an imagined story based on the day she spent with me…


I know what I’ll be reading up on later today. Thanks for the info!

Edit: A quick peek at page 149 of “Japanese Verbs at a Glance” (Naoko Chino, Kodansha) says ず is like ない. Likewise page 108 of “The Handbook of Japanese Verbs” (Taeko Kamiya, Kodansha). I’ll still look more into it later.

Edit 2: According to this grammar site’s page on ない/ぬ (Japanese), ず is the connective form of ぬ, and is a counterpart to ない’s connective なくて.

While ず (なくて) and ずに (ないで) are two different things, ず definitely is joining two clauses together. I’ll update my prior post when I have a chance later today.


Page 48:
Yes, 立花 (Tachibana) is Kanami’s surname. It comes up more in next week’s reading.

Page 50:
Yes, the use of -さん at the end of general store names (本屋さん) is normal. You can also add -さん to the end of a specific store or company’s name, although not if it’s your own workplace.

I agree with your general breakdown of the sentence of page 47, and also hope someone else can explain というのは.


Page 48:


What is up with this speech bubble? I’m not even sure what all the kana are. I tried typing a few wild guesses into Jisho and DeepL, but didn’t come up with anything reasonable.


I read this as はっはい with a small つ. I think she’s saying はい with a stutter.


Oh, I didn’t think of that. It would make sense, and I guess the font sort of suits it. Thank you!


Yeah, I’d say the stiffness of the font helps convey the nervousness in her voice.

1 Like

は marks a topic. I like to think of this as the context in which the sentence is said.

I think (could be wrong) that the topic has to be a noun. If that’s the case, when if you are making a sentence the topic, you would put の after the sentence.


This sets the topic.


This is a comment being made about the topic.

By the way, you may find Japanese grammar documents that refer to Japanese sentence as following a topic-comment pattern. This separate of “topic” and “comment being made about the topic” is what that refers to.

Because the topic is just given context for the comment, it does not add any new information. You can review the comment portion completely on its own when translating, and see if you understand that by itself. And you can review the clause set as the topic independently as well.

Looking back at the topic clause, we have:


The と is essentially marking a quotation, and the いう is 言う “to say”. Since I’ve marked the line in quotes, let’s pull that という out of them to show what’s is “being said” by that いう:


On the topic of saying 「学校で頑張る子ども達を見られる機会」, the teacher is making the comment 「なかなか多くはないと思います」. In slightly literal English, this might be, “Talking about ‘the opportunity to see your child working hard at school’, I don’t think there are very many (such opportunities, for you as a parent).”


The basics is that the nominalizing の is being used here, but you can only use that on verbs, not noun phrases. What’s a way to turn a noun phrase into a verb phrase? Quote it with という!

Now why do you want to turn a phrase that’s already a noun phrase into a verb phrase then back into a noun? My understanding is that it’s a way of talking about the quoted phrase as a whole concept. In this case it might be something like the idea of the opportunity to see your children hard at work at school is uncommon. I guess in this way it adds a bit of emphasis.

Oh I see @ChristopherFritz typing, maybe I’ll let the expert handle it. Edit: sniped!


I’m willing to wait for the experts to weigh in before I can! (I’m still a lower-mid level learner who’s watched too many Cure Dolly videos, and spent not enough time on kokugobunpou.com.)


Thanks for the explanation :slight_smile:

「というのは」is a common phrase that acts like は/とは/って, but leads in an explanation or detailing of the marked topic. I’ve added a bunpro link to the grammar sheet.

In short, it goes from
“As for the chances of seeing your hardworking kids at school…”
with just は to something maybe more like
“When speaking of the chances of seeing your hardworking kids at school…”
The meaning is essentially the same, just more emphatic.

As Christopher, how long did that monster of a reply take for you to type out up there?? Awesome.


I originally noted it at the bottom of the post, but edited it out this morning due to being irrelevant =P

Between typing it up, looking up things to ensure I wasn’t going off in a wrong direction, and then editing typos after posting, I think it was about an hour and a half. But I benefited from it greatly, so it was similar to a normal grammar learning/reviewing session for me, just with typing added.


Thank you for your tireless efforts, @ChristopherFritz! There were some real doozies in this week’s chapter, especially that inner monologue at the bottom of page 56. Thank you for helping us sort it all out!

According to my translator partner, some grammar points used in that construction (すら、できず ) are more “literary” in tone, so it’s no wonder they’re difficult. I’m not going to stress too much about learning them deeply just yet, but it’s nice to get some initial familiarity.

I got a bit exhausted just parsing that one panel and barely had energy left for the rest! I’m happy with the pace we’ve set here, so there’s time to recover and tackle more next week. A lot of pages have been much easier to understand, and that’s been an awesome feeling! I can sense my reading ability leveling up already. :blush:

Oh yeah, I also went in and added a bunch of terms to the vocab sheet. There’s still more if people want to be thorough, but I grabbed the ones I didn’t already know at least.


Based on my limited manga-reading experience, I agree with simply knowing of ず for now, and waiting to see if it comes up again to become more familiar with it.

Of course, back when I first learned about ず, and that it was a form of ぬ (I missed at the time that it was the connective form), suddenly I found myself seeing ぬ all the time, and also a bit of ず.

At least, from a single character, in Sailormoon.


My blind spot was that ichi.moe says ず is negative, but not that it’s conjunctive, so I’m so glad to have learned that now =D

I just hope we’re not losing anyone with the sudden increase in difficulty. Even with that, this manga volume is still pretty much the easiest I’ve read, thanks in part to a fairly limited overall number of vocabulary words.


I have to be honest that this weeks reading was more difficult. On my first read I try not to look up any words and just read. Well, this week I understood the gist of what was happening but definitely missed out on a lot of vocabulary. Here I go into read number two with help from the vocabulary list and reading the thread!