三ツ星カラーズ — Week 5 Discussion (ABBC)

I’ve linked the panda mailbox before, but I notice that the real one is positioned in the garden bed, not on the paved walkway…

@ChristopherFritz, you seem to be pretty good at finding the shops. There’s a real bakery named Andersen, though it doesn’t particularly resemble the one here (aside from anything else, Andersen isn’t outdoors).

Page 34, it amuses me how Kotoha joins in the sentai pose without standing up from looking at the safe.


The key to understanding particles is the verb itself, which determines which argument gets which treatment. The argument that is the subject in English may not be the subject in Japanese. Unfortunately, the translations WK uses are often not very helpful (especially as they don’t indicate which argument means what).

From my research, it seems that there are two possibilities:

  1. “to be stuffed/blocked”: 鼻が詰まる (jisho example sentence)
  2. “to fill up/stuff”, where the thing that is filled is marked with に: 魚の骨が喉に詰まっちゃった (WK example sentence)

The two seem to work in completely opposite ways, so not sure how you would determine which one to choose in a particular situation. Maybe 1 is limited to things like throat, nose etc.


Hey guys!
How do you understand って in the following line from page 34 (panel 3, character: Saitou)?



Page 33, Panel 1, Unknown Character (possibly Sa-chan)

Having difficulty with knowing how many sentences there are and what な is doing

I’m kinda there with the meaning but struggling with the layout. I’ve laid it out on the lines like the manga
うんこ - poop
じゃなくて - is not
きんこ <end of sentence?> safe
な - at a loss tbh

So I followed beginner’s japanese standard practise and ignore the bits that were troubling me
2 sentences:
‘it’s not poop, its a safe’
‘you’ve mistaken it on purpose’


If we start out with the bottom panel of page 36 being over here, it becomes a short walk to Andersen bakery, which could be indoor in the comic as well.

Visual Comparisons



My best guess for the stairs on page 35 back when I looked up locations was this area, but it doesn’t look quite the same. At the time I didn’t consider tracing a path from the police box to the bakery to see if I could find the proper staircase.

って is short for と()う, and is used for quoting what someone is saying. (Note that it doesn’t have to be a direct quote.) I’ll get back to this in a moment.

何ができる means “What is possible to do” or “What can be done”, where (なに) represents an unknown subject.

てめえ (you) + ら (makes it plural) + に marks the girls as the ones that “what can be done” by.

Together, 「てめぇらに何ができる」 essentially gives us, “What can be done by you (to open the safe).”

Back to って, it’s marking this clause as an indirect quote. He’s not quoting exact words, but rather the gist of what they’re saying: “You are saying what can be done by you.”

Finally, the のだ structure is used to seek or provide missing information from a situation. Starting an English sentence with “It is that” gives roughly the same meaning, although this isn’t common English, so it sounds a bit awkward in a translation: “It is that you are saying what can be done by you.”

If I wanted to stray from the Japanese a bit to make the English sound smoother, I might go with, “What is that you are saying can be done by you?”

One thing you’ll find is that Sacchan does her 「あはははは」 laugh often. It appears beside the word balloon here, which is an extra indicator that it’s her talking.

I’m just guessing, but I think the spacing is because 金庫(きんこ) is written in kana, and that the な is the “seeking confirmation” sentence-ending particle. “Not, うんこ, it’s きんこ, right?” I could be mistaken.

Since these appear in two different parts of the word balloon, you can think of them as separate sentences: “I made a mistaken. Even though it was on purpose.”


Thank you for taking your time to explain the whole sentence. Now that I know it’s supposed to mean “とう” it makes much more sense to me. I appreciate your help!


I have been doing much better getting through this chapter on my own, the thing I struggle with are the minor changes to some words that I assume are to make it sound more like people speaking. I compare this how and English language author might write the word something as “sumthin’” to show how a character speaks.

I think the thing I am stuck on is one of those. Page 36 Panel 4 When Saito is trying combination on the safe is んすよ just a really him saying んですよ? I just haven’t seen that as a sentence ending before. I can’t find it so I am getting it is just him no fully pronouncing every syllable when speaking.


You are correct on this す being a shorting of です. In some cases, you’ll see it as っす, but not here possibly because it ん.

This “written the way it’s said” is probably one of the most difficult aspects for first-time manga readers. (Not just first, but even second and third manga read.) It’s something that book learning alone doesn’t prepare one for.

詰まる discussion

To be clear, that’s not Jisho’s example sentence. It’s a separate phrase/expression that they link to in the second definition because it’s related. They also don’t actually post “to be stuffed” in the definition list for 詰まる that I can see.

It’s specifically “to be blocked(road, pipe, nose, etc.); to be clogged; to be plugged up” for the definition that includes that link for 鼻が詰まる, which I do think makes it pretty clear by the context of the sentence that this can’t possibly be the intended meaning in the text.

No matter which definition of it you choose, 思い can’t be blocked, clogged, or plugged up in the way that is meaning, which seems to me to be, basically, obstructing the flow of something on or in something else (traffic on roads, water in pipes, mucus in nose, etc).

If we get a bit whimsical, you could say that the flow of thoughts can be blocked, but then the thing that would take the が in that would be your brain, not the thoughts themselves, if we were trying to match the pattern.

I would also caution against wording the other definition as “to fill/stuff.” That’s not correct because it would change the verb from intransitive to transitive. 詰る is the verb which means that. Using that definition would be put them at direct odds with each other.

The other definition of 詰まる that we are looking at in the context is “to be packed (with)”.

That (with) in parentheses seems to be targeting whatever precedes the が in every example sentence I can find that takes the “to be packed (with)” definition.


The box is being packed with stuff.


The photo album is being filled/packed with memories.


The throat is being packed with fish bones.


パン that cannot be eaten, even though it is being packed with everyone’s love/affection.

It seems somewhat similar to the way わかる is used:


The Japanese is not being understood (by me).

The usage notes on this page might help make this a bit more clear.

As for picking the definition… I think context is king. There is probably some rule that I don’t know and can’t find information on (I’ve spent way more time on this than I probably should have, honestly), but in the context, with this phrasing, the “to be packed (with)” definition is the only one that makes sense, in my (not nearly educated enough) opinion.

Hopefully somebody else comes along with some light bulb moment that makes this all make more sense, because I honestly feel like I’m walking in circles as I try to explain myself here. :sweat_smile:


I considered tracing their path:

Middle of page 35
Top of page 36

Which puts them on the wrong side of the station for the panel at the bottom of page 36 that you found, so my attempt to follow their path stopped dead at that point. So sneaky.


After so much time spent looking for those stairs on Google Street View, it’s nice to finally see them!


I understand the point but I find translations that change the argument structure personally problematic, they just confuse me. That’s why I would also insist that 分かる means “to be understood” and not “to understand”, otherwise you have to bend over backwards to explain why the argument is marked with が.

But of course, this is just an argument about teaching methods and not about the Japanese language itself…

In the case of 詰まる and 詰める:

The way I understand it it’s
stufferがstuffed-thingを詰める = stuffer stuffs stuffed-thing,
fillingがfilled-thingに詰まる = “filling” is filling up filled-thing = filled-thing is full of filling

The two verbs differ in their argument structure (one takes が and を, the other が and に), and they also differ in meaning in that the first one is more about the act of filling and the second one is more about the state of being filled.

Meanwhile the 鼻が詰まる case, where the filled-thing is the が (and not the に) seems like a totally different pattern that Japanese just decides to throw in for no good reason except to confuse us. :frowning:

Is my understanding correct?

Final Thoughts on 詰まる

Which I 100% agree with, and that’s how I translated it for my comparison. Jisho translates it differently, though, which I think also leads to a lot of confusion with that verb in particular. It follows a similar use-case as the 1st definition of 詰まる, though, hence the comparison.

You got it.

詰める, as a transitive verb, is allowed to take direct objects (marked with an を particle), and が clearly delineates that the preceding noun is doing the stuffing.

詰まる, as an intransitive verb, is not allowed to take direct objects. It can only interact with subjects (marked with が) and agents (marked with に).

And yes, the primary difference is one is doing the filling (詰める), the other is in a state of being filled by something (詰まる).

This article talks about transitive and intransitive verbs in more detail.

Maybe another way of approaching it might help make it a little more clear:

If our sentence in the manga were actually a sentence, instead of a noun-modifying phrase, the thing being filled (the agent) would be marked by に, like so: 思もいがパンに詰まっているのに食べられない。(This would also read more like, “Even though it’s full of love/affection/thoughts/feelings/pick your flavor of 思い, (Subject) can’t eat the パン).” But since it’s a noun-modifying phrase, and not an actual sentence, パン is moved to the end of the sentence, and に is no longer necessary.

Either way, I think you have the correct understanding, yes.

鼻が詰まる fits a different pattern, likely because of the fact that while in English, we have to change the word entirely (“to be packed with” changes to “to be blocked”), in Japanese, you can just move particles around and allow context to do the work of saying which meaning of 詰まる is being used.

So it’s a different word entirely if you need to translate, but in Japanese, you just need to swap around some grammar bits to get a different meaning, and context will tell you which is the correct meaning.

The trouble comes in with us non-native speakers who haven’t seen the pattern and come in with outside grammar rules that we are desperately trying to shoehorn in on a language that doesn’t have the same kind of grammar, which leads to confusion because we aren’t fully confident about how the pattern works yet.

One last note:

One thing that might help with understanding the “to be packed (with)” definition of 詰まる, and maintain the argument structure you are using, is to tweak the definition slightly: “to be packed into”

皆の思いがパンに詰まっている would then be = “Everyone’s 思い are being packed into パン,” to treat it as a sentence, or to treat it as the noun-modifying phrase:

皆の思いが詰まっているパン = “パン into which everyone’s 思い are being packed.”

This maintains the “Item Being PackedがDestination of Packingに” argument structure quite a bit better and makes it sound like the Item Being Packed is actually the subject in the same way as the English translation (obviously with allowances for the noun-modifying phrase factor).


This comes down to have multiple definitions/uses for a word.

()まる for example has the following definitions:

  1. To fill up without leaving any space. (This refers to the subject in the state of filling something.)
  2. To be clogged, so a passageway/pipe/etc. cannot be passed through. (This refers to the subject in the state of being filled.)

Among other definitions.

(You get used to it over time.)


That makes a lot of sense. For the reference, I find it easier to reason about more abstract concepts like agent, patient, subject, direct object etc. than about loose translations or analogies, but I realise that not everyone feels the same (especially if you haven’t had linguistic training).

Unfortunately it feels like neither WK nor Jisho break down the argument structure of a verb in such a systematic way. Maybe you would have to rely on japanese-to-japanese dictionaries for that.


I will keep that in mind if I go to answer any of your questions in future, then! I tend to default to using analogies and translations first because sometimes grammar terms and abstract concepts can start to feel like too much, and I never know how much education with those kinds of concepts any given person has, but I’m also able to talk systems. I’ll just shift my brain to “grammar talk” if we have another discussion. :grin:

This x10000. If you can get to a point where you can use JP-JP dictionaries, that will usually be the best way to clear up confusion. Getting there just takes time. I’m barely reaching a point where I will check a JP dictionary for clarity, and oftentimes it’s still too much for me, to be honest.


In any case, this has been very helpful so far. Sometimes you just have to deal with the struggle, I guess it will help me remember it better.


Page 34, Panel 2, old geezer

ああ 商品として 置いてた 金庫なんだが

back the nan up..

please could you help me with なん

I’ve got it as
‘it’s being left out as a product’
'it’s a safe, however … ’
‘(next bubble)… who’s action/deed (is it) in this way’


This involves the explanatory の, which is used to fill in information missing from a situation.

Consider the following sentence:


This is a statement: “It is a safe placed out (on a shelf) as a product (to sell).”

The reason he’s saying this is to explain the situation of the safe. Prior to this, Saitou and the kids already were aware that there was a safe, but they didn’t know why there was a safe.

When taking a situation with incomplete information (there’s a safe, but why is there a safe?), and adding in the missing information (this is why there is a safe), Japanese has specific grammar for this. This is done by turning the sentence into a noun, and adding だ, resulting in a noun sentence that reads as 「It is (sentence).」 Here, “it” refers to the missing information which is being presented.

Adding の+だ to this results in:

「商品として 置いてた 金庫だのだ

However, this is not proper grammar. Instead, that original だ becomes な:

「商品として 置いてた 金庫なのだ

Now we have proper grammar.

In speech, it’s common for this の to be pronounced as ん:

「商品として 置いてた 金庫なんだ

This changes the sentence from simply a statement of fact, to a statement that fills in the missing information: “It is that it is a safe placed out (on a shelf) as a product (to sell).”

As is common when comparing Japanese with English, we don’t quite have this structure in English. (Starting an English sentence with “It’s because…” is very close, though.) For the most part, this is something you’ll get used to over time, so long as you take notice of のだ and (な)のだ and their spoken counterparts んだ and (な)んだ, and ask yourself, “What is the partial information, where this のだ line is the missing information being provided (or asked for)?”

Edit: Just to be sure, I should mention so that 「商品として 置いてた」 is a modifier for 金庫. It’s giving information about the 金庫. Rather than simply “a safe”, it’s “a safe that was placed out (on the shelf) as a product (to sell)”. If you see a verb followed by a noun, it means the noun is being modified by the clause (partial sentence) that ends up that verb.


thank you for the write-up; appreciated as always

It’s the trailing が in the sentence that is causing disruption…

I’ve most often come across it as a subject marking particle, and it’s a funny place for that use, so I’ve thought it’s だが (even though now when I read that it says it’s for formal written… definitely not manga then)

and then the only other が that I know is a formal ‘but’

edit: said or, meant but , confusing with か