三ツ星カラーズ — Week 1 Discussion (ABBC)

no, didn’t see, thanks for pointing it out. I did check the post near the top of the post and nothing was linked there. will endeavour to search better next time

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pretty sure it will if you keep on reading and asking questions here, your method sounds fine don’t worry.

interesting anecdote

this thread is for the absolute beginners book club half a year ago, where many who are explaining grammar points right now started reading for the first time, or were still fairly new to reading

Teasing Master Takagi-san 😝 ・ Volume 1, chapter 1

and here the last volume with posts saying how amazed we were seeing our progress (also notice the greatly reduced post count lol)

Teasing Master Takagi-san 😝 ・ Volume 1, chapter 9

good times


Ah, good times indeed! And not so long ago either! To all of you who feel like you’re barely keeping up, keep at it. There’s no perfect method, and there’s no wrong way to approach this. Keep being interested, keep working at it any way you feel suits you, and keep asking questions (and follow-up questions if the answers you get aren’t enough). You will get better, and faster, before you even notice it. ABBC was for me like magic - the progress I made in Japanese in those few short weeks reading my first manga with the book club was far greater than in all my previous studying combined (and we’re talking years of on-and-off Japanese learning).


When read my first manga, I was putting in about two hours for four panels.

I remember struggling with 「verb+て+いる」. It would come up a lot, but something about the concept just didn’t connect for me. I had to look it up the grammar and thoroughly read about it every time, and even then I still felt like I didn’t “get it”.

Eventually, I reached a point where I was able to remember it, just from repeated exposure. (Sort of like kanji and SRS/WaniKani.) But it still took time to comprehend it each time I saw it.

I kept reading.

Without me noticing, the time to recognize that 「verb+て+いる」 slowly decreased, little by little.

These days, I recognize it without even thinking of it, because I’ve seen it so many times. My brain’s pattern recognition does its thing. Even if it did take a whole lot of repeated exposure for me to reach that point.

It really is being thrown into the deep end of the pool to learn how to swim. That’s where the book club comes in as a support system, to help keep your head above water initially.

I think this is the part that gets a lot of people to give up. While it’s easy to overestimate what one will learn from reading just one volume, it’s also very easy to underestimate what you’ll be absorbing over this time.

By the way, I fully support voicing one’s difficulties (or concerns). It gives others a chance to give a bit of assurance. My first attempts at reading, I had no idea what do to, and what would or would not get me results, and I ended up delaying starting reading by something like a decade, across multiple givee-ups. (Don’t be like that former me!)

We need a thread specifically for people to tell what their first ABBC club was like going in, and how things were at the end of it. I’ve thought about this from time to time.

Searching Replies

One thing that might help, especially in a thread which has been active as this one, where responses get buried fairly quickly, is that the forums do have a built in search. At the top of the page is a magnifying glass, and when you click it, there is a checkbox labelled Search This Topic which narrows the search to specify this thread.

From there, type in part of the sentence you want to check, and it will show any replies within the thread that have that sentence. For the ま だから捕まえようもんならこの街の平和は守られることになるかもな sentence, for example, typing: “ま だから” without the quotes and including the space that the manga has, pulls up 3 (now 4 when this is posted) results.

I don’t recommend searching for an entire sentence, because somebody may have typed it out differently than you formatting wise. In this specific instance, excluding the space between ま and だから only pulls up the discussion you and @omk3 had, and not the previous one, for example, so if you don’t find it with an initial search, try picking a different part of the sentence and using that to search.

It’s not perfect, but still faster than manually scrolling through 100+ replies.

Structure Finding

One resource I wish I had known about at the beginning to try and help get a start on breaking down structure:


You type a sentence into the bar on that site, submit, and it will attempt to break down the sentence structure for you. It’s not infallible, but helps, and it can help catch certain word combinations that are set phrases and the like that Jisho may not have listed.

Agreed, for sure! Great times, and not long ago at all. I’m turning into a bit of an evangelist regarding the book clubs. They have been the most significant catalyst for my progress, and helped me go from zero confidence in my reading ability, to a point where I’m regularly reading a number of things on my own, in addition to the 3 (soon to be 4) book clubs I’m involved in here. Sticking with it through the struggles really makes a difference!


What currently frustrates me is that, even beyond having trouble understanding the literal meaning of sentences (which is definitely the case), I struggle equally trying to connect the literal meaning of the sentences with what their function is in the narrative. I suspect that this is in part due to the fact that I have no idea about all the nuances between different sentence ending particles (of which there are a lot) and other “filler” words.


I’m really excited - got notice that my hard copy is set to ship out of Japan, and since it was sent via FedEx, I am assuming it is flying which means it might get here soon… I noticed that it came from Sennan-shi - which I just learned in Level 3 means Sennan City! I have been reading along with the comments in this thread and keeping up reading more about grammar, along with pushing my vocabulary along with WK (yes! hit level 4!) I have to say - I am looking forward to the end of week summary. I am already learning so much! I have to say that I have been at this for about 6 weeks and feel like I have learned more than in my entire college year of Japanese.

My plan (so as not to get too far behind) is to parse out a few of the sentence with notes from this thread and see if I can do some on my own next week


Yeah, manga often uses spaces in places of commas (which is a little bit annoying - I mean, you’ve got a perfectly servicable comma you could be using) and omits full stops (which is particularly annoying when it comes in the middle of a bubble).

Heh, and right afterwards, here’s the perfect example of what I’m talking about. I reckon it’s two sentences without a full stop.


That line specifically has me very curious. Since か is at the end of one line, it looks like it can be two separate sentences in one word balloon.

But then, the subtitle for the anime goes:


As in, it’s all on one line in the anime subtitle.

So, is it a question, stop, then a statement (command)?

Or, is the question a modifier modifying the verb?

For now, I’m assuming the latter, but I need to pay more attention to this sort of thing in my daily reading.

The good news is that whether it’s two sentences, or one, the general meaning is still effectively the same, so it doesn’t matter too much. For first-time readers, there’s a lot of other grammar to put more focus into learning. (And you all will recognize them as they’ll come up again and again.)


thank you for all the kind words and encouragement, sorry for the moaning.
another resource that I have been using is bunpro’s grammar points - mainly because I’ve been using it for a bit (halfway through n4). Just checked and it’s searchable without signing in.


What I did with my first manga is pretty similar to your google doc. I would copy every sentence into a document, break apart every word in the sentence and add a definitions / grammar info. That info goes in bullet points right below the sentence. Then I would try to put together a meaning from it all before moving to the next sentence.

Over time, maybe during the second manga I read, after getting a grasp on grammar I felt like literally copying down every definition every time was getting in the way of me remembering words. I wasn’t reading the Japanese when understanding the sentence, I was be putting together the English bits that are my notes into a meaning. So I started to write down less and less definitions and grammar. Nowadays if I can keep enough in my head to understand the sentence only looking at the vocab sheet, I only write down an English translation.

I still write down a fair amount of definitions, but not at a “sentence breakdown” level of defining most every word. Well… unless it’s a hard sentence, which still happens fairly often :sweat_smile:.

That’s just what worked for me. I’m sure others have different methods. Everybody has to find what works for them. Just keep asking questions and reading replies in the book club and you’ll find that eventually you’re asking a lot less questions. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

Tagagi-san was my first manga! I can confirm it gets a lot easier, even if it takes a few books to notice a big difference.

I struggle with this too. Sometimes I’ll translate a sentence but not really think the meaning makes sense in a story, then go through the forums to find out that I had the meaning right but wasn’t confident enough to think it actually makes sense in the story. I can’t remember any particular examples now, but this for sure happens when characters make jokes.

Something that I’ve been trying to keep in mind lately: even if this whole manga were in English, I wouldn’t quite understand all the nuance. Who is speaking in that bubble? What exactly does that person mean? Maybe it’s clarified later, maybe it just went over my head, or maybe it’s just unclear. Of course that happens a lot more when reading in Japanese, but I know it will get better over time!

I don’t really have a solid grasp on many sentence ending particles and filler words myself. I think you’re right that it can help with determining a character’s intent. Like the difference between よ and ね (linking to a Tofugu article because I’m probably oversimplifying a lot): either assuming the listener doesn’t or does already know what you mean can have a lot of impact on how forceful something sounds, depending on the situation. Speech styles can help distinguish characters too, which somebody talked about earlier in this thread.


This is now available here:

I opted to go with a narration rather than line-for-line translation, so that the focus is on what’s happening, and not the specific dialogue. (Questions for week one dialogue can still be asks here in the week one thread!)

Just wait until you see my week one summary. I tried to keep it short.


And speaking of week two, the week two thread is up:


Notes on Page 8!

Saitou's intel

Saitou does an exposition:

‘Regarding this (creature) - it’s a thieving cat.’
‘Recently, reports of items being stolen by this panda-looking cat have increased.’
‘Still, since we would want to catch it if we could, maybe we could arrange for the peace of this district to be protected’

I’m not 100% sure about the translation of the final sentence, or even if it’s Saitou saying it, but I think he’s sorta going ‘well… if you wanted to help, maybe we’d appreciate it’

The girls head off

As the girls walk away, Yui remarks ‘This really is a big incident!’ and Sacchan replies ‘Well, let’s search the high street first’. Then, as they head off to the high street, Sacchan turns back and calls out ‘Hey Saitou, cheers!’. I’m assuming from Saitou’s reaction here that Sacchan is again being rude (presumably with the first-name-no-honourific, and using the shortened version ごくろう instead of ご苦労様でした?

Breaking it down
  • ま = essentially like starting with “well” in English
  • だ = refers back to what he just said in the prior panel
  • から = from
    • だから = from that (that he had just said) = therefore
  • (つか)まえる = to catch
  • よう = intention to do
    • (つか)まえよう = intention to catch
  • もん = もの = thing
    • Similar to how こと represents an intangible thing, もの represents a tangible thing.
  • なら = if

I’m not good at explaining this usage of もの. (I need to form better grasp on it myself.)

But this specific usage of a clause ending in a 「volitional verb + もの + なら」 is used when speaking about if one was to do the action in the clause, with the nuance that it’s unlikely to be doable. We might get a similar nuance of this into an English sentence by using the word “actually”.

Putting all this together, maybe something like:

“Well, because of that, supposing you were actually to catch it…”

The second half of this sentence utilizes Colors’ mission up front:

  • 「この(まち)平和(へいわ)(まも)る」 = to protect the peace of this district
  • られる = the “ukemi” or “receptive” form of the verb (often confusingly labeled “passive” in textbooks).
    • (まも)られる = “(the unspoken subject) receives being protected (by Colors)”
  • こと = as discussed in a prior comment, this makes a noun out the concept that modifies it (the clause just before it)
  • に = marks the noun こと as the dictionary the following verb goes toward
  • なる = to become
  • xになる = to become x

(か+も+な each have long explanations on their own, but due to time constraints, I’ll leave them be for now.)

“…it becomes that the district receives protection.” (The かもな parts add a nuance of “maybe” to this.)

All together: “Well, because of that, supposing you were actually to catch it, then maybe it becomes that the district receives protection.”

Of course, this sounds a bit odd in English. To get something smoother sounding, we need to break away from the Japaneses structure fairly radically. But we’re not learning English, so I’ll skip that.

At a macro level, he’s spoiling them a bit by telling them doing this, it will help support their mission (as opposed to just telling them off like he tried at first).

New term for me! Where I live, the term “main street” is commonly used.

By the expression on her face (especially the eyes), I think the 「ごくろう」 was said a bit smug, as he helped he girls out after all, even though he clearly didn’t want to at first.


Ah, I think I get it, thank you! I did a bit of misparsing there, looks like (reading ま・だ・から as まだ・から etc.

I think maybe high street is a UK-specific term? But yeah it means basically the same thing, ‘the place where all the shops are’


We sometimes use it in Australia, but yeah, it’s mostly UK-specific.


So I have two questions about this sentence on page 8:

1.) I saw the natural English translation above which is really helpful, but I’m still a bit confused about how to go about breaking it down, specifically with how って fits into it. Could someone please look at this and tell me if I broke it down the right/wrong way?





((って) Regarding the said thing of) things stolen by this panda-looking cat,


Consultation (with the police) is increasing.

2.) Why is 増える in the て form?


って is a colloquial version of the quotation particle と. In this sentence, imagine it putting このパンダみたいな猫に物を盗られた into quotation marks to modify 相談. That makes このパンダみたいな猫に物を盗られたって相談 into one unit meaning “things stolen by a panda-like cat” consultations, or more naturally, consultations about things stolen by a panda-like cat.
As for you second question, てんだ is a contraction of ているのだ (reference:List of Japanese Contractions | Japanese with Anime) Basically a whole いる is missing there, mostly because it can be derived from context. The consultations have been increasing recently, they haven’t just increased and stopped, so 増えている, not 増えた.


Thank you so much, this helps a lot! Bookmarking that resource.

So then, would it be ungrammatical to leave it out and just say このパンダみたいな猫に物を盗られた相談 to describe the type of consultations? Like how you’d say 彼に買ったシャツ? I’m thinking it might be wrong to do that but I just want to make sure. Again, thank you!