10 Minute Biographies Chapter 5 (Absolute Beginner Book Club)

10 Minute Biographies Chapter Five: Seton

Start Date: 8th January (JST)

Previous Chapter: Chapter 4
Next Chapter: Chapter 6
Home Thread: Link


We are reading at the pace of one page per day. If a sentence crosses two pages it is read as part of the first page.

Daily reading schedule

Page turns at midnight JST.

Date Page Last Line of Page
Jan 8 71 Chapter title page
Jan 9 72 そこは、 自然ゆたかな 森が 広がる 土地でした。
Jan 10 73 思いがけない 体けんを、たくさん したのです。
Jan 11 74 シートンが 心配を した、そのときです。
Jan 12 75 きずつきながらも、ついに おいはらったのです。
Jan 13 76 ますます どうぶつの かんさつが、楽しい ものに なりました。
Jan 14 77 ゆう気や あいじょう、ちえには、ずっと かんどうさせられました。
Jan 15 78 「わかりました。やってみまそう。」
Jan 16 79 あざわらうかのように、わなの 上に フンを していきました。
Jan 17 80 ひっしに さがしまわる あまり、いつもなら
Jan 18 81 シートンは 思いました……。
Jan 19 82 どんどん へっていったからです。オオカミが
Jan 20 83 『シートン動物記』の 名前で、親しまれています。
Jan 21 84 End of chapter


These spreadsheets are put together by the bookclub to help other readers. Feel free to contribute but do read the vocab sheet guidance on the first page before adding any words.

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I needed a bit of research to find out who this シートン might be and what was the title of his book.

title page

He loved nature and wrote “Animal Chronicles”.

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I needed to research too, never heard of him before.

Hehe, same here :sweat_smile: Now I’m wondering whether there are any other Germans (or maybe even Europeans) in this thread who knew the name and the person already?

I must say I’m quite glad that we will finally learn about a person I’ve never heard about before…

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I did the same! I was born and grew up within 10 miles of where he was born, still never heard of him :slight_smile:


I feel like I’d probably heard of him before but forgotten about it. I’m just basing this on having been in Boy Scouts though, and I do remember Baden-Powell so maybe I never learned about Seton. There’s a nice E.T. Seton Park in Toronto that I’ll have to visit next time I’m nearby visiting family.

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As a fellow German I also hadn’t heard of him. Now the cliffhangers will be actual cliffhangers!


Ernest Thompson Seton was born in an English port town.
Since infancy he was an amazing animal lover.
No matter how much he cried, when he was shown a chick, he stopped crying and got in a good mood.
When he was six, his family moved to Canada.
There, it was a wide-stretching land with abundant natural forests.


Maybe it would make sense to translate this like „When he was six, it came about that the family moved to Canada.“? This is at least the way I interpreted ことになりました.

There was a land where woods full of nature spread out.
I think the woods are the subject of 広がる and therefore stretching out. 自然 on the other hand seems to be directly connected with 豊かな, which is here used as a suffix.


I read those two sentences like…


When Seton was around the age of six, his family decided to move to Canada.


There, abundant natural forests were spread across the land.

DeepL actually has it as “It was a land of lush forests” which I appreciate the simplicity of. I also actually had to read up on ことになる. It’s one of those grammar points I’m sure I’ve come across before but haven’t internalized.

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  1. I’m not sure if this is correct but I had the impression that ころ/ごろ only means „around“ or „about“ when it’s combined with a time expression that gives a specific point in time. Otherwise it’s closer to 時 (とき) and for example here just means „when he was six“ or „at the age of six“.

  2. I thought ことになる is used to avoid expressing volition, so I’m not sure „decided“ here is the best option if you want to stick close to the tone of the Japanese text.

  1. The examples on bunpro seem to have both (“When I was a child…” but also “Around the time I was an elementary student…”). Either way, I screwed up and ended up using both. Using “when” does sound a lot more natural, even for that bunpro example (“when I was in elementary school” is less verbose and sounds like more natural English).

  2. Having just looked it up for the first time today… not sure why I went with decided. A lot of the example sentences I saw use “ended up” which probably would fit the tone better. Like, When Seton was six, his family ended up moving to Canada.. Since it’s 引っ越す and not 引っ越している I was trying to not translate as “moving”, getting too caught up in translating literally.

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Maybe equating the plain form with „to VERB“, and the ている form with „VERB-ing“ is not that helpful. Sometimes it works but often it does not. I think the grammatical concepts are quite different. :v:

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I can’t say much about Bunpro or the quality of their example sentences. But I checked the Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar and asked two Japanese native speakers. They said 6歳のころ means „at the the age of six“, „when he was six“ etc. If you wanted to express that he was around the age of six you would say something like 6歳くらいだった時. :v:

p. 73

“Surely, aren’t there many living things I don’t know?” At this thought, he was getting excited.
Living in the wilderness, Seton encountered many animals.
And he had many unexpected experiences.


I don’t really understand why you translated this as a question. I interpreted this as: I’m quite sure here are many animals I don’t know yet!


I thought that んだろうな expressed some uncertainty.

I know that park. It is right behind Science Museum. But I have never heard of Mr Seton until now.

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Hmm, but maybe you are mixing different meanings of だろう here. I think together with probability adverbs it expresses things like „quite sure“, „almost certain“ etc. Of course, with a rising intonation だろう is used to ask for agreement. But there is no hearer here, it’s just the boy’s inner monologue. Feel free to correct me, だろう confuses me again and again. :v::sweat_smile: