10 Minute Biographies Chapter 9 (Absolute Beginner Book Club)

According to jisho, it’s not necessarily for ‘going to the capital’. It’s just going/sailing up a river. I took the ‘capital’ from 都の北京.
BTW: In France you say ‘monter à Paris’ (ascend to Paris) when you go from the province to Paris.

Yes, I didn’t mean to imply that’s the only meaning of 上る. But I was commenting on that third definition in Jisho. And I think in English you can probably do the same thing - to say “ascend to the capital” meaning “go to the capital”.

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p. 133

そのいつ一つを、雪舟は目に焼き付け、丁寧にスケッチしました。
Sesshū burned every single one of those in his memory and carefully sketched them.
北京では、頼まれて、役所の壁に絵を描きました。
In Beijing he was asked to draw a picture on the wall of a public office.
すると、「本当に日本人が描いたのか。わが国にも、これほどの腕前の持ち主は少ないだろう。」と、中国の人々に感心されました。
Thereupon the Chinese people were impressed: “Was this really drawn by a Japanese? In our country there are very few people who have such skill.”
絵の書き方については、雪舟は、もう誰からも、学ぶことはなかったのです。
As for his art of painting, Sesshū has never learned from anyone.

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I think the も could do with a bit more emphasis: “Even in our country…” What do you think?

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Yes, you are right.

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p. 134

雪舟にとって、何よりの先生は、運河の船旅の行き帰りに見た、中国の大自然でした。
For Sesshū, the best teacher was the wilderness of China that he saw on both of his boat trips on the canal.
日本に帰ってきた雪舟は、中国で見てきた物を、ありのままには描きませんでした。
When Sesshū returned to Japan, he did not paint what he had seen in China such as it was.
(中国の景色を、そのまま描いたのではだめだ。
(It’s not good to paint the Chinese landscapes as they are.
日本人の私でなければ描けない、日本人が心から良いと思う水墨画を描かなければ。
I have to paint as a Japanese, otherwise Japanese people would not appreciate the ink paintings from the bottom of their hearts. — not sure about the grammar of this sentence —
しかし、それはどういうものなのか……。)
But what does it look like …)
雪舟は、その答えを、日本中を旅して絵を描くうちに、見つけました。
Sesshū found the answer by traveling through Japan and painting.

It would be great if someone could grammatically decompose the sentence about painting as a Japanese!

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I’d be really curious about that too. I’m trying to do my own breakdown of that particular sentence and I’m not sure that it’s helped much.

I remember in a past book club someone had a tool that would parse the sentences and try to graphically lay it out so you could see how the parts fit together better than something like ichi.moe. I just wonder if I’m off with the entire grouping of the sentence.

(日本人の私 [でなければ描けない、日本人が心から良いと思う] 水墨画を描かなければ。)

I must ink wash paint as a Japanese person, if I’m to paint for Japanese people to sincerely appreciate.

I’m assuming it’s something like this if DeepL is getting close at all with it’s translation.

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OK, I’ll give it a try :slight_smile:

日本人の私 - I, being Japanese,
でなければ - negative ば form of です、i.e. “if not me”
描けない - cannot draw
日本人が - this is the noun that gets qualified by all above it, i.e. “Japanese who cannot draw like me”
心から良いと思う水墨画を - ink paintings where they think from the bottom of their heart that they are good
描かなければ。- this is an ellipsis (with ならない・いけない・ダメ), i.e. “I must paint”

So, putting it all together, I get at: I must paint ink paintings where Japanese who cannot draw like me think from the bottom of their heart that they are good.

I’m not convinced of this either, hehe… curious to find out about the true meaning!

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Nice try, thanks. But I have a little doubt concerning the “Japanese who cannot draw like me”, especially because of the comma between 描けない and 日本人.

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I can see that the comma is quite irritating, but I’ve often encountered it as a means to group all the stuff that qualifies what comes after the comma :woman_shrugging:
So I no longer see the comma as a device to separate stuff but rather as a device to connect stuff.

Also, to give you another argument that’s more based on grammar than on experience: you cannot just have a sentence part end with an unconjugated i-adjective, can you? It would be required to be something like 描けなくて if the sentence was meant to be split there.

The comma does indeed denote two several attributes of 水墨画 in my opinion.
日本人の私でなければ描けない(水墨画): paintings that nobody can paint other than a Japanese person like me (Not as him being superior to other Japanese people, but considering his background as a Japanese person)
日本人が心から良いと思う水墨画: paintings that the Japanese will think are good from the bottom of their heart
を描かなければ: such paintings I have to paint.

In total:
„I have to paint ink paintings that nobody other than me as a Japanese person can paint, and that the Japanese people will find good from the bottom of their heart.“

Connecting to the previous sentences: Basically, he won’t just paint the landscape as-is, but he wants to paint things from his unique Japanese perspective.

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Oh wow, I did not expect the first part to connect to the ink paintings! Thank you :slight_smile:

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:clap: :clap:

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p. 135

本当にある景色をそのまま描くのではなく、人の心に残るような絵を描こうと思ったのです。
Instead of drawing a landscape as it was in reality, he wanted to draw a painting that would remain in the people’s hearts.
それは、とても力強く、また、様々な技を取り入れた水墨画となりました。
It became a very powerful ink painting where various techniques were incorporated.

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本当にある景色をそのまま描くのではなく、人の心に残るような絵を描こうと思ったのです。

A scene painted as it truly is doesn’t exist, so he thought he would paint just like it remains in someone’s heart.

それは、とても力強く、また、様々な技を取り入れた水墨画となりました。

Thus, it became his ink wash painting that adopted diverse and powerful techniques.

I swear this chapter started not too difficult for me but quickly became a nightmare to understand. Feels like most sentences start OK and then turn to gibberish in my brain.

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p. 136

こうして雪舟は、中国の水墨画の真似ではない、「日本の水墨画」を完成されたのでした。
Thus Sesshū perfected the “Japanese ink painting”, without imitating the Chinese ink painting.
それでも、雪舟は満足することなく、八十七歳でなくなるまで、一生絵の修行を続けたと、言うことです。
Even so, it is said that Sesshū was not satisfied and continued to practice painting during his whole life, until he died at the age of 87.

雪舟(一四二〇〜一五〇六年)
Sesshū (1420-1506)
お坊さんとしても素晴らしかった
He was also a great monk
中国に行った雪舟は、絵の修行だけでなくお坊さんの修行も頑張りました。
When Sesshū went to China, he did his best not only in practicing painting but also in training as a monk.
天童山景徳寺で、『四明天童第一座』になりました。
At Tiantong temple, he became “?? - best in class?”.
これは、天童山景徳寺で修行した人の中で、最も優れていたという意味です。
This means that he was the best of all those who studied at the Tiantong temple.
雪舟は喜んで、日本に帰ってからも、自分の絵にこれを書き入れました。
Sesshū was so delighted that he even wrote this in his paintings after returning to Japan.

I couldn’t find a translation for his title at the temple.

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I believe that translates roughly as “level four laser lotus”…

EDIT: After searching I think it might actually be something like “First Meditation Monk of Siming Tiantong Temple”, which I was sort of thinking 第一座 might mean first seat/chair. I guess it has to do with seating within the Meditation Hall being by rank.

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Chapter 10 thread is up ready for tomorrow.

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I want to thank all people in this club! I’ve being following along threads for few chapters from “10 minutes” books to ease into reading. My grammar level is still too low to understand more complicated sentence structures, variety of conjugations etc. However, here and there I see simpler bits that now I can get on my own.

Special thanks go to @2000kanji! Your translations allow me to understand the stories. Without them it would be too frustrating to follow along.

Unrelated, I believe people expressed that this chapter was maybe a little bit more difficult than other?

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Yes perhaps a little harder but not too bad. Some of it was more unfamiliar vocab but we’ve already done the work for you on that one! Glad your enjoying reading along, do shout out if any questions.

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