大海原と大海原 ・Wadanohara and the Great Blue Sea Absolute Beginners Book Club Prologue Thread

One of the best problems to have =D


Coming in a bit late to the party, I actually wanted to start early a couple weeks ago but was super put off by the first page haha. So glad it’s an exception, the rest was very enjoyable. I only wish my eyes weren’t so quickly drawn to the furigana. Thanks to everyone for the breakdowns! This is my first book club and it’s really nice having in depth grammar explanations :grin: Looking forward to the next chapters.


I have the same issue with furigana! This time I’ve actually noticed I’m getting better simply by how many times I’ve read this chapter over and over (lol), and it’s making it easier to infer the pronunciation of the same kanji when people post sentences here without furigana attached (since so much of the kanji is new to me).

I’m planning on occasionally starting from the beginning and rereading everything as we advance to see if it continues to help :blush:


Ive translated page 9 roughly to

“It won’t be good if I don’t change back. If I don’t return to that sea.” Or possibly? “It won’t be good to return to that sea if I don’t change back.”

The grammar is really unfamiliar to me. I couldnt find it in Bunpro which is currently my go to grammar resource, so I was going off ichi.moe 's definition double checked with a japanese dictionary on my phone. Where would be a good place to read about the conjugation going on?


Hmm, here is how I translated that…

I cannot turn back now. I must return home to that sea…

I was going off ichi.moe as well, and think I might be getting confused here too.


Huh, these are very different.
Hopefully someone who is more familiar with the grammar will come along!


Where do you get “change” from?
Which particular conjugations do you want more details on?

Here is my quick translation for page 9 and some grammar links, apologies for any mistakes. I’ve edited it a few times to try tidy it up.

page 9 translation


I / As for me

戻らなければ Provisional negative to turn back
いけない Wrong, not good, of no use

To not go back / return would be bad → I must go back / return

Verb-neg + いけない is a double negative (to not X would be bad) and is used to mean “I must X” see here and also here

9.4 (see below for clarification)

To not return home



To that sea

Whole page

I must return / go back
To not return home
To that sea

Putting it all together
I think 帰らなくちゃ…あの海に is clarifying what was being referred to by 戻らなければいけない
So a better translation might be

I have to return
I have to return home
To that sea


My one addition to what you wrote is that I believe 帰らなくちゃ is provisional as well, but with the いけない unspoken. “As for me, if I don’t go back, it will be bad. If I don’t return…to that sea.” Or rewritten to common English, “I…must go back. I have to return. To that sea.”


Thanks for checking :pray:, it was a bit nerve-wracking writing that out as I’m still very new to this :sweat_smile:


When writing this out I was left with the impression that 帰らなくちゃ somehow also had the same connotations as いけない but I wasn’t sure what the exact way it got that was, as I was kind of inferring it from context. Double checking with both Deepl and Google Translate they seemed to agree.

I went with it being a clarification of the previous line (refining return to return home), but I much prefer your implicit いけない.


Sorry I am not following this book but I happened to check out this page and it seemed interesting.
However I have one question that I deeply desire to be answered.

How and why is 大海原 read as Wadanohara?

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To extrapolate on the last couple pages currently being discussed - my take on meaning:

Since there are two consecutive sentences basically saying the same thing, I took it as an important emphasis.

The first line is basically stoic, logical, “I must got back.”

The second instance gives nuance/emotion specifically to returning. 帰る is so commonly used when returning home specifically. Also the grammar, coupled with the success kid pose, implies taking responsibility.

So it’s almost like she was catching herself at the end, and could non-literally be translated to something like “I have to go back. I must go home, in order to defend it.”

Also emphasized was the collective naming- 私たちの海市国, so she’s not thinking just about herself, at least another member of the presented characters is also from where she’s from, this “ocean city country” as I’m taking it lol.

Anybody else primarily on mobile and struggling with line breaks in spoiler blurs?? :sob::sob:


My understanding is わた is an old word for “ocean”, and (わた)(はら) is an old way to refer to a vast ocean.

I’m under the impression it’s been replaced by 大海原(おおうなばら), but you can use the old reading with the current kanji for 大海原(わだのばら).

At least, that is the basic information I’ve been able to piece together.


I’m ill-equipped to link anything right now, but it was discussed (if not in this thread than the main thread for this book club) that わたのはら was an accepted name-reading for this kanji. So this is a variation from that, the た becomming だ.

Curious if anyone knows if there is any importance in that though, the た to だ portion. Does it make it cute? More old-timey? Mysterious?

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There was some brief discussion on this in the main thread, a quick search for “reading” in there gave me some posts, here is possibly a good starting point for that discussion

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It’s just an abbreviation; you can do it with ~ないと・~なきゃ as well (really any of these patterns can have the second half omitted, but with the others you usually write out the whole thing).

I don’t know how often you use MTL to check things but I really must impress upon you that it’s a terrible idea. Putting aside the obvious nonsense…

(From the JP translation of Undertale, “You are filled with determination”)

…I’ve seen loads of examples of stuff that’s totally wrong in a much more believable way, which is where they really get you. GT and Deepl are not authorities. They are in fact pretty terrible at Japanese.

Here are a few where it just gets the meaning totally wrong:

(should be something like “enough already, just shut up”)

(should be “shut up, you b****d”; this one is sort of dangerous because I can easily imagine a context where the google translation would also make sense if you didn’t know any better)

(“Anya wants a pistol that doesn’t make sound”)

These are just a small selection from my collection; it’s really truly terrible.


This is brilliant, hilarious insight :joy::joy:

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When you say ‘any of these patterns’ what do you mean? Just any suffix pattern?

Naively that might lead to ambiguity, I guess you just infer which longer form is being contracted from context?

I think this comes down to what is meant by ‘check’. I completely agree that MTL carries risks, but I also think they can be a useful tool if used very carefully.

I tried to be specific with ‘double checking’, as I already had an expected meaning from breaking down the grammar and from the context, but I wanted to see if Ichi.moe/DeepL/GTranslate gave me something completely different in which case I might try dig into why.

Concretely for 帰らなくちゃ, MTL was able to infer the ‘must’ component from this isolated fragment without context - which added weight to this fragment being provisional and implying some other component (いけない) - but since I hadn’t encountered this before I didn’t add that to my initial response as I would need to learn that from somewhere more authoritative before I consider it correct.

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Any of the “have to” patterns, like ~なければならない・~ないとだめ・~なくてはいけない and so on. If you see なくちゃ or anything similar at the end of a sentence, it means “have to…” 100% of the time.

There’s no ambiguity because there’s basically no difference between them. In super-formal scenarios where you need to use the exact right form for the particular nuance (which is an imprecise science to put it mildly), you would be using the whole form anyway and not abbreviating anything.

I mean, fair…but it’s hardly inference at all, it’s just one word in a very common form. If this kind of one-word query is all you’re ever searching for then I guess I won’t push it but I’ve seen so many plausible yet wrong results come out of MTL services, I really really feel like you would do better looking literally anywhere else. Whenever I come across a new pattern I don’t know, I just google it with the word “JLPT” after it and in the majority of cases I get a hit like this:

…which brings me to this page on the excellent jlptsensei blog, complete with lots of example sentences and explanations on how this particular piece is used.

Bonus foolishness

Came across this in 呪術廻戦 immediately after posting and knew that GT would serve me something delicious; was not disappointed:

Deepl is never worse than google translate, but it’s not reliable either:

(Actual translation: “I’m not a teacher, so stop with the 'sensei’”)


That grammar was new to me too. I found some Bunpro links for reference:



Oh now I get you, I wasn’t sure if “any of these patterns” meant more than just the “have to” - thanks for taking the time to explain and clarify!

I thought maybe you were saying something about a larger pattern of contractions, so I was asking about ambiguity. Say if we encountered 心配して in isolation we couldn’t necessarily infer it was てもいい. Now I understand you just meant the ‘must’ patterns, it makes much more sense :slight_smile:

Fair, ‘inference’ is probably not a good word choice on my part.

I was meaning that I don’t think I’d encountered the なくちゃ form without something following it (at least not consciously), so I hadn’t yet made the connection that from なくちゃ we can just infer “must not” (even though from context I thought that seemed right), I was thinking maybe this was an informal / manga grammar thing rather than a more well-known rule.

(‘infer’ is still probably not a good word, maybe ‘uncontract’ is better?)

I will also search for very short snippets of like word + attached things (after attacking it with a dictionary and ichi.moe). For example earlier the double negation of 戻らなければいけない - on a bad day I might put this into MTL to double-check my phrasing of the double negation, or for another string if I find my translation is too literal and I can’t seem to summon a softer English phrasing.

I appreciate the sentiment behind your warning, MTL is a very sharp tool.

I should have Googled for it, in my private breakdown notes I have an outstanding TODO covering this but I hadn’t got around to it yet, thanks for the link.

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