10 Minute Biographies Chapter 7 (Absolute Beginner Book Club)

10 Minute Biographies Chapter Seven: Christopher Columbus

Start Date: 4th February (JST)

Previous Chapter: Chapter 6
Next Chapter: Chapter 8
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
Feb 4 99 Chapter title page
Feb 5 100 ヨーロッパからは とても 遠い 国でした。
Feb 6 101 でも、コロンブスは ちがいました。
Feb 7 103 ほかの 二そうの 船と ともに、海に 出ました。
Feb 8 104 そんな ある日の こと、船が うごきを 止めました。
Feb 9 105 「航海を やめて、船を 引きかえしてくれ!」
Feb 10 106 「おねがいだ、船を 引きかえしてくれ!」
Feb 11 107 大ほうの 音を とどろかせました。
Feb 12 108 (私の 考えに、おやまりは なかった……。)
Feb 13 109 知らなかった 新しい 大陸に、たどりついたのです。
Feb 14 110 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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1 Like
title p. 99

He believed in himself and found his way to a new continent

p. 100

It was more than 500 years ago.
In Italy there was a seaman named Columbus.
He had a big dream.
His dream is: “I will go to ‘Zipangu (Japan), the land of gold’, where there is dazzling gold, and bring back gold.”
‘Zipangu’, being located at the eastern edge of Asia, was a country very far from Europe.

EDIT: 2 typos corrected, thanks @NicoleRauch

(It was very far?? Unfortunately, it still is, about 11 flight hours from here.)


Am I right to assume that this is いました? (I don’t own the book so I can only speculate :sweat_smile:)

I guess you’d want 東の端 here (just like you translated)?

I guess I will never wrap my head around how they sometimes use tenses…

Now imagine going there by (sailing) ship… It always blows my mind when I think about how much time those endeavours took back in the day. (and how much risk)

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I don’t like getting caught up on a single grammar point, but why is には used here?

Yes to your first two questions.

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Literally: There was a big dream in him. (?)

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What is this とされ?

I can see とされる in Jisho meaning “…is considered to…”

and とされている on bunpro meaning “to be considered; to be deemed; be regarded as; be accepted as”

So does it mean - “Zipangu was considered to be located at the eastern edge of the continent of Asia…

As there are two verbs connected in this sentence (され as a verb stem acting as a continuative) it makes sense that the whole sentence is expressed in the past tense.


I’ve unfortunately neglected to keep up with the reading schedule, so have jumped back in here.
Still hard work, but recognising WK vocab such as 以上(いじょう) and (くに), and the 乗 in 船乗(ふなの)り is actually pretty cool, and makes me realise just how much progress I’m making (even if it doesn’t feel like it sometimes).

p. 101

To get from Europe to Asia, every seaman went around the tip of the African continent and then went forward to the ‘East’.
However it is an awful detour, and finally arriving in Asia is not an easy affair.
But Columbus was different.


Hmm, I’m reading this as “there are even people who don’t arrive” (based on なかなか - Jisho.org #2 because we have a negative verb here).
But I’m not exactly sure - what do the others think?


Yes, I agree. I translated it as something like „there are people who don’t arrive at all“.

Edit: But now this sentence confuses me again … :flushed:



In order to go from Europe to Asia, every sailor turned around the edge of Africa, then advanced “East” from there.


But, it’s an awfully roundabout way, and not every sailor finally reaches Asia.


However, Columbus was different.


Here’s how I came to my translation:

  • アジアへたどり着くものは: “the thing of” finally reaching Asia
  • なかなか。。。いません: not readily (def. 2 in なかなか) - Jisho.org

So “finally reaching Asia is not easy”.

Of course it implies that not all managed to do it, so the meaning is more and less the same than your translations.


I think it’s rather 者 i.e. person? Because of いません which only makes sense for living beings.

Interestingly I don’t have this implication at all :woman_shrugging: For me, saying that something is not easily achieved still means that everybody achieves it (just with more or less hardship). That’s why I wondered :slight_smile:

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I agree with you on もの - 者, I didn’t think of that. いません should have put me on the track.

But deepl still translates
It’s not easy for anyone to get to Asia.

For the full phrase, DeepL gives “But it’s a very long way to go, and not everyone makes it to Asia.”

I needed to use it for help when doing my translation. Surprisingly tricky phrase considering how short it is. Oh, and isn’t machine learning weird? I’m not sure what sort of training they do for DeepL but it’s amazing the translations it can accomplish, and then equally amazing what can make it fall flat on it’s face.

p. 103

Columbus, who had studied maps of the oceans (sea charts), the movement of the stars and the like, thought: “The Earth is spherical. Even if you go to the ‘West’, you should end up in Asia.”
It was an idea that nobody had ever thought of trying out.
The reason was that in those days it was believed that if you went to the western sea, the devil would be there.
In 1492, Columbus boarded a ship called Santa Maria and, along with two other ships, set out to sea.

According to deepl, this did not happen in 1492, but in 1942!


This was a trickier sentence. I’m reading ためそう as the volitional of 試す (ichi.moe is determined that it’s ためる verb stem followed by そう).

I’m understanding とは as this grammar point from Bunpro meaning “that”. This bunpro example sentence is similar, also using 思わない:


So perhaps I can break the sentence down like this:

That was an idea.

それは、誰も 思わないような考えでした。
That was an idea that no-one thought.

That was an idea that no-one was thinking that let’s attempt it - or more naturally: that was an idea that no-one thought to attempt.