This is a reading comprehension exercise which aims to put the community in charge of the activity. I’ve requested this original message to be a wiki.
How can I participate?
Click on the ︎ to reveal the text.
★The rules have been updated. Please read the new one.
①Choose one of the letters from the list below. Claim your letter by posting a reply in the thread here. That is so two people don’t end up doing the same letter.
②Edit your ‘claim reply’ with a vocabulary section where you list the vocabulary words and explain what they mean.
③In a reply to your ‘claim reply’, develop your interpretation. This will help people understand and learn from your explanation.
④When discussing the content of the manga, please begin your message with the letter you are addressing. This allows people to know right away about which strip you are talking about.
Places and names↓
斉藤 英二郎 (さいとう えいじろう): the main character. He is an idealist who wants to be a doctor to help people as opposed to become rich.
永禄大学: the Eiroku (or Eternal Fortune) university, where Saitou graduated. Abbreviation: 永大.
誠同病院: Seidou hospital, a private hospital where Saitou did part-time job at night (on Episode 1). It paid well but was in conflict with Saitou’s values and beliefs.
服部 脩（はっとり おさむ）: director of Seidou hospital.
牛田 克雄（うしだ かつお）: doctor that worked at night at Seidou hospital. He told (on Ep.1) Saitou about how that hospital prefers traffic accidentees as their treatment is not reglemented and can be billed four times more. And tries to get back in contact with Saitou, by phone (Ep.2) then by letter (Ep.3).
出久根 邦弥（でくね くにや）: fellow intern that (Ep.2 & 3) trains with Saitou.
第一外科 : 1st surgery department. Eiroku U. follows the “super rotate” method, in which interns train on various different services in rotation; at Ep. 2 & 3 Saitou trains here.
春日部 一郎（かすかべ いちろう）: nicknamed “God’s hands”, is a professor at the Eiroku University hospital that just do initial incisions, and otherwise is interested only in study of eels.
白鳥 貴久（しらとり たかひさ）: doctor at the 1st surgery department that did the actual operation (Ep.2) at which “God’s hands” appeared. He is the instructor of Saitou and Dekune.
金子 敏夫（かねこ としお）: the 75 year old person that got the surgery (Ep.2). Pr. Shiratori assigns Saitou to take care of him; the operation was successful, but he is still unconscious.
@YanagiPablo With all due respect, I agree with Zizka on this one. Numbers or letters might be easier for newcomers to follow. The other thing is that the most common system for ordering the kana, to my knowledge, is the Gojūon system. I’ve seen it used in Japanese bookshops and on kana keyboards. However, I can see from the Wikipedia page that the Iroha system, while not necessarily older, is more traditional, and has even found its way into some expressions, so I really appreciate your choice. I learnt something today.
To start the ball rolling, I’ll try handling イ (while following the rules this time):
すっかり means ‘completely’ or ‘thoroughly’ and (perhaps by extension) ‘very’. My way of remembering it is to think of すべて(全て), but there are other similar words starting with す that have slightly different meanings, so it’s up to you if you want to adopt my mnemonic.
よく is the adverbial or ‘declinable-connective’ (I’m making this term up. The Japanese technical term is 連用形, which are the forms that link to 用言, declinable words.) form of いい/良い. This form of adjectives is used with なる to mean ‘to become [adjective]’.
ね as always indicates that agreement is being sought or is expected by the speaker.
Let's do the procedures so you'll be able to be discharged from the hospital this afternoon first.
退院=the act of leaving the hospital
Use of できる: 〜する verb (to do ~) → 〜できる verb (to be able to do ~)
ように: よう indicates a certain state or condition. に indicates an aim here, in my opinion. Thus, ‘in order to be able to leave the hospital this afternoon…’
手続き: procedures. 続き is the noun/continuative form of the verb 続く, which means ‘to continue (intransitive)’. I don’t know how to explain the logic behind it because this expression exists in Chinese too (手续)… it literally means ‘continuation of/for the hands’. Just imagine handovers. They require a lot of work with the hands [手] (filling out administrative documents and so on) in order to ensure continuity [続き]. The construction for ‘to do the procedures’ is 「手続きを取る」, hence what’s written in the dialogue.
ておきましょう: the -ou ending is characteristic of the ‘volitional’ form, which indicates the speaker’s will or desire to do something. Here, the speaker is proposing that the discharge procedures be done ‘first’ or ‘beforehand’. This is indicated by the use of おきましょう, which comes from 置く, meaning ‘to put’. When used with the て-form of a verb, it means the action that that verb indicates is done first or before others. You can think of it as doing something first and putting it aside. As a side note, 置くis also used in mathematical proofs to mean ‘let’ (“soit” in French), as in
meaning ‘let I be the interval [1,2]’.
PS: I find a separate ‘vocabulary’ section a little tiresome. To me, it’s basically what each of us would find in a dictionary. I think explaining all the above took me 1-2h. Is it alright if I continue with this ‘literal translation’/‘interpretation’ format, possibly with less detail? I can use fewer technical terms as well, if you prefer.
When it really means a lot, say it with ‘sekkaku’.
Today we introduce the adverb せっかく, which has a subjective connotation and is used in various ways to express feelings. […] shows that he sees his brother’s visit to Tokyo as a rare and valuable chance.
I mean, in the sentence, it has だから after; so the patient asks one bottle of IV drops, because of せっかく …
And I just don’t see what relationship there could be between its meaning and the patient wanting medication…
No da or no desu after a verb, i adjective, or na is often used to emphasize the previous statement.
So you were right, it is also used for emphasis. I’m using “also” because “to want/give a reason” and “put emphasis” are ultimately to disparate functions of the structure.
Another usage of no is in the phrase XXX no da, meaning “you should XXX”. This is used both in positive (iku n da!, “You should go”, or just “Go!”), and in the negative (fuzakeru n ja nai!, “you shouldn’t joke around”, or just “stop joking around!”). This no is used very commonly in speech, and is very often said as n.
In the case if my sentence, how can I tell if んだ is:
㊂ you should do something
I don’t understand.
Another thing I wanted to tackle is もらう as in もらって in my sentence. I’ve come across it a few times and in my head it means “something about receiving” so I want to dig in and clarify this concept a bit.
Speaker ♂ → Hearer
The patient is speaking to the doctor in this case. He, therefore, is person who “receives” something from the doctor:
せっかく is a の-adjective (せっかくの[noun]) that is fundamentally related to ‘going to great lengths’ and ‘putting in a lot of effort’. The kanji are 折角, which mean ‘to fold/break’ and ‘horn/corner’. I’m going with ‘to break a horn (by folding/bending it)’, which is very difficult indeed. It has thus been extended to mean ‘valuable’ or ‘difficult to come by’. In that sentence, the patient is saying, ‘Since it’s hard to come by/a rare opportunity, give me one last IV drip.’ It will indeed by ‘hard to come by’ because 1. he’s leaving the hospital 2. it’s not easy to get access to IV drips. Also, he sees value in the IV drip because they make him feel refreshed and full of life. That’s why he said せっかくだから
To be honest, I think that it’s difficult to classify it as one or the other. It can be a mix, and that’s why I tried to summarise its function as ‘drawing attention to something’. I strongly doubt that Japanese people attempt to slot のだ into one of those categories while hearing it in conversation. That’s something that becomes clear with context and tone of voice. However, perhaps since I watch quite a bit of anime, I can imagine how 金子老人 might sound, so I’ll try to explain what’s going on here.
For the first sentence, he’s saying that when he gets an IV (or when someone gives him one), he gets a rush of energy (元気). That ‘rush’ or feeling of his energy being boosted is translated by ぐーんと, which is an onomatopoeia + と, which turns it into an adverb. In this case, I’d say it’s a combination of explanation (since the doctor asked, ‘An IV?’) and emotive emphasis (he’s highlighting what happens when he gets an IV). Imagine an old man saying something like ‘When ah [I] do tha’, whoooosh! I ge’ a burst of energy!’ That’s roughly his tone.
For the second, I’d say it’s emphasis, along with a possible suggestion to the doctor. He’s emphasising the fact that he habitually gets an IV drip at the nearby clinic when he’s not feeling good. Without んだ, it would just be a statement of fact. With んだ, it’s like he’s saying, ‘I do that all the time.’
This is the reason I call it (mentally) a structure for ‘emphasis’ (since that’s just one simple word), even though the more accurate term is ‘drawing attention to something’. Assume that the speaker is calling attention to something based on the んだ structure, then figure out why that might be. That’s my thought process.
Your conclusion is at once correct and wrong. You’re right: the patient receives something. That’s how the てもらう structure works: the speaker receives an action from someone else, almost as though it’s a favour. That’s why, when I’m the speaker, てもらう means ‘do something for me’. However, it’s not the doctor who ‘gives’ him the action here, but the staff at the clinic he mentioned. The sentence means ‘Whenever I’m feeling poorly, I get [them to give] me a shot (aka do an IV for me) at the nearby clinic.’ The construction that means ‘administer an IV drip’ is 点滴を打つ.
On that note, I’m getting a little tired, so I think I’ll go do something else. If you guys still need me/further explanation, go ahead and tag me with an @ symbol. I might not reply until tonight/tomorrow though.
You have a point. After all, I sometimes need to ask for my friend’s help even when I’ve checked all the dictionary definitions of the words in a sentence. And yes, perhaps I will focus on words that seem a little more difficult/rare, and leave the rest up for discussion. That way, I won’t unnecessarily explain structures/words that everyone already understands.
I don’t have time to do one right now…I used all my “stolen” study time reading your comments. I am horrible because I can’t remember ANYTHING so I ALWAYS love seeing the PRONUNCIATION right together with A DEFINITION (because otherwise, I crabbily look the whole thing up). I’m so thick, the other day, I started looking up the kanji for Saitou’s name again!! Grrrr. That being said, I ADORE the way Jonapedia does that “flow”. I don’t think vocabulary and Analysis should be separate. Your guys’ posts just get better and better (but I agree, it takes soooo much time); still the more you do, the happier I am (aiming for N4 in Dec). (“Runalong sentences much, Shannon?”)
I’m NOT CAPABLE of parsing a sentence “on the fly” like that bowing low. Your banter yesterday was my “intro to politeness levels”.
For me, it’s SOOO time-consuming to do the ruby (I love it, it’s beautiful), sorry I bailed on don’t that for my last two last night!
One thing I want to start doing is to communicate in Japanese by writing and to be corrected. Kind of like the reading exercise but by writing. I think you could practice the N4 structures that way.
I hope you started practicing again often like before. You were improving quite a bit.
What’s the point of calling yourself “thick”? It doesn’t serve any purpose. It took me about 16 times to remember that 患者 was read かんじゃ, am I thick? If I am, as far as I know there’s no policy preventing thick people from learning a language.
You’ve mentioned flow. If you remember, you remember. If you forget, you forget, it just means your memory needs more practice. Besides, I honestly think hard work is what determines a person in a language. Abstract imaginary conceptualisation constructs as to who is what is irrelevant and besides the language.
Focus on the language! Keep it up!
I’m trying to find an online markdown text converter for you. Something which would convert the equivalent of a word processor to markdown. You could then simply copy/paste the resulting code.
Don’t worry about the ruby. I very honestly sometimes feel like strangling someone when I do it, but I do it when possible because I know it makes things a little clearer. It’s true that it’s pretty troublesome, and I sometimes wonder if I can just write the kana next to the kanji… but I know some kanji have pronunciations that are five kana long, so… no, not always. (承る, if you’re wondering. This ‘monster’ is really just a case of choosing one very appropriate kanji to represent what’s probably a compound verb made up of うける and たまわる though, so don’t panic, it’s not illogical, it’s just meant to let Japanese people write fewer characters.) Unless of course you guys tell me that you’re able to comfortably guess which kanji correspond to certain kana.
To shorten the rest of this post, I’ve put lots of parenthetical thoughts in ‘hide details’ sections. Click the arrows if they interest you. Otherwise, just read on.
Hahaha. Well, I mean, I like breaking things down when I learn languages. I even did it for English, which is my native language. My logic is that various language components exist for a reason, and native speakers are probably at least subconsciously aware of all these elements, so we might be able to reconstruct their logic by breaking sentences down. Also, I can break these sentences down, but I’ve seen much tougher ones in NHK news articles, so I’ve had practice.
(Random anecdote about an almost-unparsable Japanese title I saw yesterday. Skip if you're not interested/don't want to see a string of 20+ kanji with some kana in between.)
Just yesterday, I was discussing the title of some medical document with my friend because it was a whole string of nouns written in kanji, and he himself wasn’t sure what it meant without reading the contents of the document. (He said the title was a horrible mess in any case. Here it is for reference:輸血用血液製剤投与例におけるウイルス性肝炎またはその可能性のある血漿分画製剤併用39症例) I stumbled across that document while searching for the プラズマネート・カッター mentioned by the manga.
By the way, the truth is, the course I used to learn all my basic Japanese knowledge broke sentences down the same way I do, using literal translations. The idea is to know what the words actually mean so you can piece the sentence together yourself. The publisher does the same thing for languages like German which have a different sentence structure from English or French (because the publisher, Assimil, is French).
(More details on the publisher if you're interested. They have fewer materials in English though.)
Here are the search results on their site for learning Japanese as an English speaker. The problem is that they don’t have anything beyond the beginner level in English, and nothing beyond the intermediate level in French. (My course was in French, and went up to the B2 level, which I would say is high intermediate. That’s as far as they go.) The other problem is that there were a few kanji errors, which I could detect because I speak Chinese.
About remembering kanji: don’t panic, it takes time. When I first learnt Chinese as a child, I needed hanyu pinyin (the phonetic guide that does same job as furigana) all the time. It was such a pain to forget things all the time, and I think my father would scold me for relying on hanyu pinyin too much (and that was not fun). Even now, there are some characters which I rarely hear, or which are commonly mispronounced, whose pronunciations I need to look up all the time, because I forget the right tones, even if I remember the sounds. In other words…
Zizka is right. If it’s any comfort,…
...even a guy who now speaks 50 languages was once pretty bad at language learning. Really proves what effort can do.
Prof Alexander Arguelles, probably the foremost polyglot today (he’s substantially fluent in about 50 languages, even if some of them are related, like French and Old French), said he was pretty horrible at languages in school. He didn’t do very well in high school Spanish and German, if I remember his story correctly. Just keep looking things up and trying to remember them. They’ll stick eventually. Effort is really important: even after language acquisition, practice is necessary for proficiency to be maintained.
Still though, I’ll try to offer some tips for kanji pronunciation since it’s a major challenge for most Japanese learners. I’ll try to avoid going into too much theoretical detail (there’s my Duolingo post for that) and just dive into some concrete things you can look out for. This stuff is only valid for on’yomi. For kun’yomi, I usually have to look things up.
Short and sweet: if the non-radical component is the same, the on’yomi is probably the same. It’s not always true, but it’s a helpful general rule for guessing when you don’t know a new kanji. For this, you need to have an idea of what radicals are, but simply put, they’re usually the simpler symbols that appear across a whole range of kanji with exactly the same meaning. The ‘non-radical component’ is the bit that gives the kanji its sound or its specific meaning (in combination with the radical, of course). Examples: 明、曜、剤、到 – 日 and刂 are the radicals, while the other half isn’t.
Returning to Saitou (斎藤), in all honesty, I didn’t know how to write 斎 until a while ago. I could recognise and pronounce it, but not write it. How though? Well, there’s the fact that it’s next to 藤, and I remembered the surname as a block. Besides that though, I saw this overall shape: 齐, which we also find in 剤 (ざい), so I figured the pronunciations might be related. But ok, in this case… truth is, 斉(せい) and 斎(さい) are different kanji. They are related though, etymologically speaking, so it’s possible that their pronunciations are related. (Their pronunciations in Mandarin share similar, but not identical, initial consonants.) Nonetheless, physical similarities (in Japanese – this doesn’t work as well in Mandarin) often suggest similar pronunciations.
Another example: how did I guess 点滴 was てんてき before checking the dictionary? Ok, first off, I kinda cheated: I knew it was dian3 di1 in Mandarin. We use 点滴 to mean ‘IV drip’ as well. (Who knows? The term might have gone from Japan to China, or vice versa! It happened with 銀行!) But wait, ‘di’ looks nothing like ‘teki’ in Japanese, and 的 is ‘de’ in Chinese, but ‘teki’ in Japanese! So now what? Ok, so, first… 点’s on’yomi is てん. That much you need to know. How I remember it? Well, I can use Mandarin,…
...but what pops into my head is really from anime, because I need to know it's てん and not でん. The memory is vivid for me, but you'll definitely find your own mnemonics why time.
It’s from Konosuba episode IDK what (maybe 4), where Megumin and Kazuma go on ‘explosion walks’. Megumin excitedly starts talking about how she liked the way she blew up a castle for the umpteenth time, and says something like, ‘How did you like that explosion? I give it HYAKUNIJUU TEN (百二十点)!!!’ Right after that, Kazuma, who’s standing next to the shouting Megumin, stares up into the pouring rain and cries, going, 「何やってんだ、俺?」(‘What am I doing?’). The anime OP then starts playing.
The てき bit is a lot simpler. Here are some characters: 敵、適、摘. What do they all have in common? They all contain 啇, right? Well, guess what? They’re also all pronounced てき in Japanese. So, what do you think 滴 is?
You’ll notice more of these patterns as you go along. What I personally do is that I notice patterns and use them to form theories, expecting them to be followed. This ‘same main component = same pronunciation’ idea is one of them. When I find something that doesn’t fit a theory, I either add it to a list of exceptions, or I throw my theory out because it has too many exceptions and I create a new one. Here’s an exception to this rule: 洗濯 is せんたく, while 曜日 is ようび. Guess I’ll just have to take note of that. Even if one of my theories ends up being wrong, I’ll have learnt a lot of information thanks to the framework that theory created. Also, the more you’re able to use past knowledge to understand new information, the better it will stick, and that’s what these patterns, theories and frameworks are for.
[details=“More random blah blah blah from Shannon when she’s ‘supposed to be working’”]. OK, I’ll try not to be too hard on myself for not recognizing a kanji. The reason that I really love the “flow/literal” is that I believe it will help me the most in formulating thoughts (speaking/writing).
Your German story reminded me of grad school. I took Spanish 4 years in high school (loved it), and one quarter of “German for Reading knowledge” in undergrad. Then in graduate school for Chemistry, they had a foreign language requirement selected from a few languages not including Spanish. So I took the test for German, we were given a technical research article in the Chemistry field to translate. I passed the test, and my friend who had German in high school (but then had to take it AGAIN in grad school) was rather steamed. Fast parsing helps A LOT. (Nb. I did not pass the N5 when I took it last December, that’s actually only the first time my “if you don’t take the test, you can’t pass the test” logic failed!)
Ah! You learn(ed) Japanese with Assimil ?
I still remember those first words…
I never went up to 第九十課 however (even if I still have the books).
**if the non-radical component is the same, the on’yomi is probably the same
That is how I typed 回復 today! I didn’t remember it’s reading; but I knew the one for 回; and 復 has the same component as 腹, used in 切腹（せっぷく）, so I tried かいふく and it was that!
And even if the right reading isn’t found that way, identifiying the components makes searching a kanji so much easier in the compoent matrix at jisho.org
Also, Shannon told somewhere that she started learning just a year ago, without any prior knowledge of the language at all!
I find she has a quite good level; particularly taking into account that the grammar and kanjis used in this manga are far above what should be her current level at Duolingo.
I think she may be the one with the one with the less amount of learning of us all; as such, I find her ability very impressive.