Beyond Sleepy’s (pillow fort?) study log

A key point here is that there is a clause 「引っ越してきた」 followed immediately by a noun (in this case, a name) 「小岩井」. The clause is modifying the noun.

In English, when a noun has a modifier, the modifier can be before or after a noun. Consider the modifier “big, red” and noun “apple”:

  • “I ate a big, red apple.”
  • “I ate an apple, which was big and red.”

In Japanese, the modifier always comes before the noun, as seen in 「引っ越してきた小岩井」. In English, keeping this clause as a modifier, we might write:

  • “I’m Koiwai, who just moved in.”

Note: It’s possible to state a noun, then state the modifier after it, sort of as an afterthought. But generally, you’ll be seeing the modifier before the word it modifies.

This is one reason I push for people to start reading, even at a fairly early stage. Intensive reading (deciphering) might not work for everyone, but a lot of people make good progress with it, so I figure it’s always worth giving it a try.

I went through the same. A certain amount of input is needed for pattern recognition to start to form. And then when it does, and when it becomes strong (alongside sufficient grammar learning along the way), eventually reach the point where you recognize, grasp, and understand the grammar without even realizing or thinking about it.


I’m absolutely mindful of that balance, the balance I ought to worry about is the one between learning Japanese and studying for my university courses :sweat_smile: (I might be spending too much time on Japanese atm). I’m embracing the uncertainty! Especially when it comes to listening, but with よつばと! I am trying to learn a lot more than is strictly necessary for enjoying the story, and a part of me felt the need to make clear the limits of that ambition to preemptively curb other peoples expectations of my work :stuck_out_tongue: (I don’t think anyone would judge me for not attempting to check everything all the time, but I like to indulge my emotional impulses when writing).

Thank you for your advice :blush: I’ll continue heeding it.

Interesting:) The way I structured the translated sentences was a bit of whimsy on my part, and I take your point, but doesn’t “having just moved in,” function as a modifying clause to “I’m Koiwai” in English the way I wrote it? If we ignore that it seems to imply that being Koiwai can be explained by having just moved in :sweat_smile: It’s a sentence pattern I feel like I see often enough in books when it’s an explanatory clause followed by a simple statement.

Ah, and since he used his last name which presumably applies to Yotsuba as well I figured he might be speaking for both of them…

I’m really grateful that you’ve done so. I bought all volumes of よつばと! last summer based you your advice about reading as possible, although I only got around to it now, and in large part I was inspired by Shenmue😌


I’d say that wording it this way sounds like he’s saying, “I was someone else before, but having just moved in, I have become Koiwai.” (Maybe it’s just me?)

But, I’m not nitpicking here! Rather, I figured if you didn’t know about clauses modifying nouns in Japanese yet, this would be a good time to be exposed to it. And if you were already aware, well, consider it a refresher =D

This is definitely more ambiguous in Japanese than it would be in English.

He introduces Yotsuba by name immediately after, so that’s why I take it as referring to himself alone.

And I’m still waiting for my commission from Azuma-sensei.


Ah, having mainly received advice based on my translation efforts I was primed to interpret it as finding fault with my translation :upside_down_face:

I think I’ve been exposed to the knowledge before, or maybe I’ve just started to intuit it from the context sentences in my Anki deck. Either way it’s good to have the knowledge refreshed (or explicitly stated for the first time?).

Out of curiosity, presumably you can have two clauses that are both modifying a noun, or a clause modifying a clause which then modifies a noun; do you know if this is always clear in Japanese or if ambiguity sometimes occurs?

e.g. The man, who [was seen] [with the telescope]. Was the man seen carrying the telescope, or was the act of seeing done using the telescope?

恥ずかしい… Should I remind him? :confused:


Offhand I can’t think of any instances where I’ve encountered it, but I’m sure if I did see it, that context was able to disambiguate it. Being a learner of the language, I’m probably most likely to see ambiguity as me missing something, rather than the wording being unclear.

This is an extra hurdle for discussion around language interpretation. A translation can be more literal or less literal, and (speaking from my own attempts at translation) this masks the difference between “I understood this, but was loose (or lazy) with the translation” and “I didn’t understand this, and it reflects in the translation.”

Sometimes a response gives you something new, and sometimes it simply tells you what you already know. Either way, we’re all rooting to help one another continue moving forward in learning =D


So today I read the last three pages of よつばと! volume 1 chapter 1

🍀Translation attempt, pages 48-50🍀

——— 48 ———


That wrong? My home is very very far far away?

あ‼︎ こ、こいつ何にもわかってなかったのか‼︎

A-?? D- didn’t she understand anything at all (of the process of moving)?


Listen- look, this is


the new house you will live in from today onwards

——— 49 ———

おおー⁉︎ 今日からここか⁉︎

Ooh!? From today (we’ll live) here!?


So, this is our house


Ooh :open_mouth:


Dad! They’re our neighbors!!


That’s right, they’re our neighbors

——— 50 ———


Well then, pleased to meet you


pleased to meet you


pleased to meet you


pleased to meet you!!


So, “big sister” isn’t a bad person after all?




No, that’s wrong :sweat_smile:

——— end ———

This tripped me up a few times and I went through three iterations for the translation: “わかってなかったのか”, I’m guessing のか makes it a question? Not sure what の is doing here. Apart from that I’m pretty confident.

I’ve been listening to a Japanese podcast (あら a few times a week just to get used to the sounds and rhythms of Japanese, but lately (最近) a qualitative change has come over the way I listen. The language grabs my attention instead of me having to force my attention towards it, words I know now stand out to me, and I think I’m developing an auditory awareness of grammar and the ability to recognize words I don’t know as words I don’t know instead of as a soup of sounds :stuck_out_tongue: It’s like a switch was flicked. Pretty exciting :upside_down_face:


Once again, everything looks pretty good on the translations!

I wonder if this is simply the explanatory の. If so, then rather the question of “Did she not understand anything at all?”, it would be more along the lines of, “Is it that she didn’t understand anything at all?”

The logic here is that it’s taking a sentence (「こいつ何にもわかってなかった」), and turning it into a “It is [noun]” sentence. The の turns the sentence into a the “[noun]” portion of “it is [noun]”. And since it’s a question, in English we’d swap the “it is” around to “is it [noun]?”

Supplemental reading on explanatory の.


Getting used to the nuances of the の here just takes a huge amount of time. In questions you can think of it as making it more inqisitive based on prior information. So the prior information in this case is what yotsuba just sad. “(Given what she just said) Hasn’t she understood anything at all?” (BTW thats a rhetorical question here ^^)
As an example: You see someone looking totally hung over. So you could ask without the の “Did you drink too much?” and that would be perfectly fine. However, It would probably be more natural to formulate it with a の in this case to reference you have some kind of hint that it is actually the case and you are being inqisitive about it.
On the other hand, if you are just chatting normally and ask “What restaurant should we go to?” adding the の to this question would be really unnatural. Why are you being inqisitive? What’s the prior reference??

Hope you can understand a bit what I’m trying to say.
Like I said its a nuance and pretty hard to explain but you will get used to it over time.


Thank you both for taking the time to explain :pray:

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I read three pages of chapter 2 (volume 1) of よつばと! today:

🍀 よつばと! vol 1, pp 55-57 🍀

——— 55 ———


It’s morning!!

——— 56 ———


Where is this? (Where am I)






It’s terrible!!

——— 57 ———


It’s our new house!!


Thank you for the meal


(A sleepy “you’re welcome/start eating”)

——— end ———

I wanted to read more today, but my university courses are properly picking up the pace this week and I feel the need to cut back on the time I spend on learning Japanese, at least while I readjust to the new demands placed on me.

it’s fine, it’s fine :four_leaf_clover:


You are doing fine. Many say the first yotsubato chapter is one of the hardest :smiley: . Especially since many have no experience reading japanese and working through the relative wordy first chapter is a big accomplishment setting you up for the rest. Should be (mostly) smooth sailing from now on!


I’m tired today, but I did read three pages of よつばと!, the quality of the translation might have suffered a bit though :sweat_smile:

🍀 よつばと! vol1, cha2, pp58-60 🍀

——— 58 ———


This milk is delicious!!


Yotsuba, today you must properly tell me when you go out to play




If you meet people in the neighborhood you must properly greet them



あーきのうのお隣さんまん中の子はしっかりあいさつてきる子だったぞー, みならえよ

Ah, the middle child among the neighbors from yesterday gave a firm greeting, follow her example (this one was too much for me, here’s a guess tho)

——— 59 ———


The one who chased after me? Or the strong one?


(I don’t get this, can someone explain what’s up with ほら and いたろ? I guess the last part is some form of past tense いる thing, so part of the sentence is “there were two big girls” but beyond that I’m stumped)


The one with the long pretty hair


Not that one


So the one that isn’t pretty?


…that description fits but that kind of talk is bad…


Thank you for the meal


Alright, well said (not exactly, but I’m guessing he’s praising her for being polite at the table)

——— 60 ———


I’m going to the toilet!!


You don’t have to announce that :sweat_smile:

——— end ———



I think your guess is pretty close. A couple non-expert notes - It’s できる not てきる - I had to open my copy to check as I sat there thinking 'what the heck is this weird verb

しっかり can also translate like ‘correctly’ or ‘properly’ - You can look at the first half of the sentence as an elaborated AはBです (except that they’ve used だった - so casual past tense).
You have ‘the neighbours’ middle child from yesterday’ は ‘child who can greet people properly/well’ だった.
Slightly more naturally - “The middle child of the neighbours’ from yesterday greets people well, follow her example.”

More of a breakdown for approaching phrases with modifiers like this

Depending on your comfort with longer phrases, this is one where working backwards helps a bit - we have だった - so something existed - stepping back from that, we have 子 - so ‘a child’ existed.

Before that we have a verb - できる - well, that’s not the main verb in the sentence - that’s the だった at the end, so it must be modifying 子. So we have a child who can (or who completed - there are a few meanings to work with in できる, we’ll figure out which one by looking at the rest of the modifier).

Before できる we have あいさつ - so a child who can greet/finished greeting. しっかり is modifying the phrase - it could be properly, firmly etc. In context, I take away ‘a child who can greet (people) properly’

You can do the same with the phrase before the は if it’s getting long and tricky to parse. Working backwards is a bit slow, so I don’t do it all the time, but it’s helpful when there are lots of modifiers or you’re having trouble figuring out how the modifiers relate to each other.

My take here is that the いたろ is a contraction or variation on いただろう - so past tense of いる and then だろう - indicating something ‘is probably’ true, in this context, I’d take is as a confirmation sort of thing. ほら usually translates as something like ‘look’. I’d take it as
“Look, there were 2 big girls, right?” - Like Dad is trying to get Yotsuba to think back about who the 2 girls were to be able to clarify which girl.

I love your translation overall! It captures the gist really well (even when you weren’t sure).

Nice work!


Yeah, I’m sometimes (unintentionally) sloppy with the dakuten when I’m transcribing, especially when tired :sweat_smile:

Thank you, I think this will be helpful :pray:

Ah, makes sense! Thank you for your help and encouragement :blush:

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I read five short pages today :four_leaf_clover::relieved::four_leaf_clover:

よつばと!vol1, cha2, pp 61-66 🍀

——— 61 ———


…Daaaad, the lock is broken…


Daaaad!! The lock became stuck!!

——— 63 ———


Oh-, hoi, hah!, amaaazing!!

——— 64 ———

うあ… ねちまった…

Uhh… I accidentally fell asleep…

(I really needed the cheat-sheet for this one :point_up:)


Yotsuba-, oi-, are you still using the toilet?


Oi, Yotsuba I’m entering, alright? Yotsuba?

——— 65 ———


The lock is locked → which means she’s inside → but she isn’t answering …….


(Maybe あれいない could be “that person isn’t(here)”?)


As for the lock…… ah! It’s broken!?

——— 66 ———


Where are you off to?


The bookstore


It’s hot today

——— end ———


On page 64 the meaning is more “yotsuba, you are in there right?” since it’s progressive.
Page 65 of your transcript is a small tsu しまってる it really doesn’t look like it in the book, I know… :expressionless:
Also page 65 I read that as a split up and elongated あれ which can be a shout out at something surprising. (sorry can only find a monolingual entry for it which is a bit harder: あれ
[感]感動したり驚いたり、また不審に思ったりしたときに発する語。あら。おや。「あれ、変だなあ」 )
Edit: scratch that, found it Japanese Dictionary

Hope you had fun with the pages.


So it would be more natural for him to say 入るだろ if he’s warning her that he’s entering/asking for permission? Thanks for the insight :pray: I thought 入る was reserved for the act of entering, and that something like 中 would be used for the state of being inside.


I felt like that could be a thing but I also couldn’t find the JP-English dictionary entry, thanks for looking it up for me :grin:

I did!

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Yes hairu is entering something. So the progressive of it 入っている is “being in a state one created by the action”. So entering and then being in this state kinda means being inside ^^. I would totally see him saying 入るだろ if he was anouncing hes entering now like you proposed (and is unsure if he should). Maybe he would use 入るよ or something to give the sentence a more assertive feel?

You can often also see this kind of meaning with kuru for example 来ている would probably be translated as “is here”. Or more finely grained as “being in the state created by coming here”.

Progressive is one of the fun things in Japanese. Note that not all progressive forms have this meaning. They can also indicate an ongoing action, prime example: 勉強している, that one started before.


This is good to know :sweat_smile: initially I would just have thought of it as referring to the time between grabbing the door handle and having crossed the threshold, so I guess Japanese became slightly more ambiguous to me :stuck_out_tongue: nothing new about that ^^;


I read another three pages🙃

よつばと!vol1, cha2, pp67,70-71 🍀

——— 67 ———


Best not to interfere (“leave it as it is” according to the cheat sheet)

——— 70 ———

あれ⁉︎ よつばちゃん

Huh!? Yotsuba


What are you up to?


Ah! The Neighbor


who isn’t pretty


Eh- what’s that supposed to mean!?


Properly remember my name, which is to say: Fuuka



——— 71 ———

そう、風 香るーと書いて、ふ。う。か

That’s right, it is written “wind” “pleasant fragrance” Fu•u•ka

(to smell sweet/pleasant, but that phrase doesn’t match her presentation. Well, “pleasant fragrance” doesn’t either but whatever^^;)


I don’t understand the explanation!!

和姦、ね‼︎” … thanks Jisho :sweat:


So, what are you doing, Yotsuba?

——— end ———