10 Minute Biographies Chapter 5 (Absolute Beginner Book Club)

I’m not sure but isn’t 得意 usually used to express that someone is talented/good at something? Maybe specializing does not convey this meaning as one can specialize in something and still be terrible? :thinking:

jisho says:
3. one’s strong point; one’s forte; one’s specialty​

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Yes, I know but I’m asking myself if there isn’t a difference in something being one’s specialty and someone specializing in something. Also, jisho gives an example sentence, translating it as „good at“:

  1. one’s strong point; one’s forte; one’s specialty​
  • あなたは数学が得意ですか
    。Are you good at mathematics?

If you google for Seton’s paintings you only find animal pictures. So I suppose he was both good at it and specialized in it.

If you specialize in something you are not good at, you will not become famous for it (except Florence Foster Jenkins).

Quick tip is to check out the free samples on amazon if you wanna check out how difficult the language is in the later books.

Also, I hear you with the frustration about seeing words you would recognize if they were written with kanji, but hopefully being able to read the kana and remember the words will also help us recall those words when we hear them being spoken. Power through, stick with it :slight_smile:


I really want to improve reading without kanji so don’t mind the abundance of hiragana. I want to be able to listen to Japanese and understand it from context, so I figure this is at least somewhat helpful practice for that.


For page 78 I have three, count them three questions:

  • the も particle after 三か月以上, what purpose does that serve in this conext?

  • And also the して after ちえくらべを on the second line… I don’t really understand what purpose it serves haha.

  • The last word of the second to last line, 「つかまえられませんか。」
    Would this translate to “Won’t/wouldn’t you be able to catch/capture…”

The rest of the text I seem to understand but look forward to seeing the posted translations!

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I don’t own the book, so I can’t answer all your questions :sweat_smile: but you might find these helpful:

Q1: With quantities, も means “even” or “no less than”: も - Jisho.org #3

Q3: ませんか (note the question particle) is the same as in English “won’t you?” or the like, so it’s a negation that simply serves the purpose of softening the question or to turn it into an invitation. ませんか - Jisho.org
Just translate it as you would without that negation and you get to the underlying meaning, then add the “invitation” idea or whatever fits in that context.

BTW what happened to poor page 77? :flushed:


Thank you!

Oh sorry, since a translation had been posted for 77 I assumed we were on page 78 :no_mouth:

Oh, you’re right, I overlooked the p. 77 translation. Thanks for the clarification! :+1:

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It’s the て form of する. Here this form is used to connect the idea of ちえくらべをする with the action of catching a wolf つかまえる. So it means something like „a wolf Seton had a battle of wits with for more than three moths and then caught“ or „a wolf Seton caught after he had a battle of wits with it for more than three months“. Might not be the best translation but I hope you get the idea.


Ah thank you,

I understood it was the て form of する but didn’t really understand the use of it.

Ah, now I get it, I think the を was what threw me… I’ve gone through this grammat point before when listing actions in a sequence. But never seen it with をする so that threw me off.

So this is the same grammar point as in:

晩ばんご飯はんを食たべ て 歯はを磨みがいた。I ate dinner and brushed my teeth/I ate dinner and then brushed my teeth.

(Example stolen from Bunpro)

thank you!


verb Aて verb B can mean things like:
A and B
A and then B
B by doing A
B because of A
You always habe to look at the context. :v:


Thanks mate!

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p. 78

Especially a wolf that Seton caught after more than three months of a battle of wits, became an unforgettable memory.
On a ranch in the Currumpaw Creek (Plains) in the United States, many cattle were being killed by a very clever wolf called Lobo.
Because he led a group of strong wolves, Lobo was called the “Wolf King”.
“Master Seton, couldn’t you catch Lobo?”
“Okay. I’ll try.”

see also Lobo the King of Currumpaw - Wikipedia

p. 79

Seton began with planting poisoned baits and traps.
However, the cautious Lobo senses the poison and the human scent and does not fall for it.
On the contrary, as if he was laughing at them, he shit on top of the traps.


My alternative:

First, Seton put out poisoned baits and traps.

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I barely understand anything in this chapter (had a better time with ch 1 to be honest) but oh well.

Two words in katakana are giving me trouble (p 78):

ロボ - possibly a name (“Lobo”)? and カランポー - i haven’t got the faintest.

In general, I’m okay with not understanding most of what I read, this is basically my first Japanese book, but not understanding katakana makes me viscerally angry.

Also, the otter (?) from page 73 will haunt me in my nightmares.


They are both names, so you can’t guess. See my translation above. I found the names through Google.