Cells at Work! 🦠 | Week 5

Week 5 24 December 2022
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Vocabulary and Grammar

Please read the guidelines on the first page before adding any words.

Discussion Guidelines

Everybody should feel free to post and ask questions–it’s what makes book clubs fun! But please do not post until you are familiar with Spoiler Courtesy!

Spoiler Courtesy

Please follow these rules to avoid inadvertent ネタバレ. If you’re unsure whether something should have a spoiler tag, err on the side of using one.

  1. Any potential spoiler for the current week’s reading need only be covered by a spoiler tag. Predictions and conjecture made by somebody who has not read ahead still falls into this category.
  2. Any potential spoilers for external sources need to be covered by a spoiler tag and include a label (outside of the spoiler tag) of what might be spoiled. These include but are not limited to: other book club picks, other books, games, movies, anime, etc. I recommend also tagging the severity of the spoiler (for example, I may still look at minor spoilers for something that I don’t intend to read soon).
  3. Any information from later in the book than the current week’s reading (including trigger warnings that haven’t yet manifested) needs to be hidden by spoiler tags and labeled as coming from later sections.
Instructions for Spoiler Tags

Click the cog above the text box and use either the “Hide Details” or “Blur Spoiler” options. The text which says “This text will be hidden” should be replaced with what you are wishing to write. In the case of “Hide Details”, the section in the brackets that is labelled “Summary” can be replaced with whatever you like also (i.e, [details=”Chapter 1, Pg. 1”]).

Hide Details results in the dropdown box like below:


This is an example of the “Hide Details” option.

The “Blur Spoiler” option will simply blur the text it surrounds.

This is an example of the “Blur Spoiler” option.

Posting Advice
  • When asking for help, please mention the page number, and check before posting that your question hasn’t already been asked. As the threads get longer, it becomes more convenient to use the Search function, which is located in the upper right corner of the forum. It is the magnifying glass which is near your profile picture! The best way to search is usually to type part of the sentence you are confused about, and select “in this topic”. This will show you all posts within the current thread which has that string of text.

  • Be sure to join the conversation! It’s fun, and it’s what keeps these book clubs lively! There’s no such thing as a stupid question! We are all learning here, and if the question has crossed your mind, there’s a very good chance it has crossed somebody else’s also! Asking and answering questions is a great learning opportunity for everyone involved, so never hesitate to do so!

Page numbers

The schedule is based on the page numbers that sometimes appear on the bottom of the pages. Both the Kindle and the BookWalker versions seem to be 2 off (44 instead of 42)

Last page of the week

Live Readings

Live readings are currently not organized. If you are interested in organizing one, tell me and I’ll update the post.

Discussion Questions

  1. What sentence/passage gave you the most difficulty? Feel free to request some help, or if you figured it out on your own break it down for the rest of us!
  2. What was your favorite new vocab word from this week’s reading?
  3. Was there any passage that you found particularly intriguing? Did it resonate with you (either positively or negatively)? Was it surprising? Offer any insight or new perspective? Was it just beautifully written?


Will you be reading along with us this week?

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Well, I’ll just do the 箱 again if you don’t mind. And wow, are there a lot of em this time…

ヘルパーT細胞 Helper T-Cell


It (the helper T-cell), when receiving notice of an external enemy invasion, is the commander deciding on the tactics that can appropriately attack the enemy in the source of its intrusion with the information of what kind of enemy it is.

スギ花粉 Cedar Pollen


The Japanese Cedar (sugi, スギ, 杉) sends out pollen with the wind that are scattered across long distances. The peak (highest amount in the air) is from february to march.

I did some research and apparently this tree is the one that causes around 70% of the allergic pollen reactions in Japan. Pretty crazy, but I think the 杉 is pretty common in Japan so that could explain it as well.

スギ花粉のアレルゲン Cedar Pollen Allergen

アレルギーとは免疫反応(めんえきはんのう)が、特定(とくてい)の原因物質(げんいんぶっしつ)=抗原(こうげん)(アレルゲン)に対(たい)して過剰(かじょう)に起(お)こること。スギ花粉症(かふんしょう)を引(ひ)き起(お)こすアレルゲンは、スギ花粉(かふん)の中(なか)に含(ふく)まれるCry j1、Cry j2というタンパク質(しつ)成分(せいぶん)。

An allergy is an immunoreaction to a certain material causing it = antigen (allergen) that happens comparatively stronger (than usual). The allergens causing cedar fever are the proteins called “Cry j1” and “Cry j2” which the inside of a cedar pollen is comprised of.

So, symptoms of cedar fever are watery eyes among others… well, great naming scheme with calling the proteins that cause it “Cry”, just a little mean though.

赤血球 Red Blood Cell


They are red in order to hold a lot of hemoglobin. They transport oxygen and carbon dioxide through blood circulation.

白血球(好中球) White Blood Cell (Neutrophil)


Their main task is the elimination of foreign materials like bacteria or viruses that invaded from the outside into the inside of the body. Neutrophils represent the highest amount of white blood cells in the blood.

食作用 Phagocytosis


Monocytes/macrophages called phagocytes which are in the class of white blood cells (neutrophils) capture bacteria or other foreign objects into themself (the inside of the cell) and dismantle them. It is also called voractiy.

Phagocytosis comes from greek meaning “process of devouring cells”.

記憶細胞 Memory Cell


They are lymphocytes that store antigen immunity in their memory.

Page 63: I find this so weird but also kinda funny. They put kanji as furigana and there was no hiragana at all.
It’s a little confusing but I have seen that quite often. I know it’s supposed to enrich the artistic freedom of the writer but in real life you couldn’t talk like this (although it’d be funny) and I thought manga should kinda mimic speech because it is written in speech bubbles after all.
This one for example on page 63 says 湖(みずうみ) (lake) and the furigana says 粘膜(ねんまく) (meaning mucous membrane, lol). I guess in this example it’s also to explain further and teach what the thing is we’re looking at. But which of these words does the person actually say out loud?


Here it’s probably the lake that’s being said “”“out loud”“”, and they want to tell the readers, that they are actually talking about the mucous membrane.

Technically speaking, everything is possible, you could theoretically have kana, that’s explained using furigana kanji. Or like this: 湖粘膜ねんまく, though this doesn’t have furigana for lake, nothing is perfect


湖(みずうみ)(粘膜(ねんまく)) lol

Edit: but yeah, you’re right. Was just pointing it out to find out everyones takes on it. So basically, the furigana text is generally an explanation of the word it’s attached to, whether that be kanji, kana, or something else. Got it.


Welll, I wouldn’t go so far as to say generally. I would say context decides whether the furigana is the explainer or what is being said.

In this case, I agree 湖 is what is being said, while the furigana is the explanation.

But I've more often seen it the other way around, where the furigana is what is said, and the kanji is the intended meaning.

Way of the Househusband uses it to great comedic effect:

Tales games use it for some of their organizations:

And while I’m not 100% sure it is this way, I suspect Cardcaptor Sakura’s spells are the English word in katakana here:


That said, I’ve also seen the opposite in at least one other manga, where the character is very 中二, so the main kanji represents what she says, while the furigana acts as the explainer:



I only got around to reading this weeks portion today so I imagine most people have already done their reading, but I’ve filled out the vocab sheet anyway.

Huge thanks @saraqael for translating the info boxes! I read them myself before reading your translations, but I’m very thankful for having your translations to check my understanding with!
Phagocytosis in particular was a bit mind-bending for me. I looked it up on Wikipedia to try to understand what it is, but to be honest I still don’t really know what Phagocytosis is even after that :sweat_smile:

Reading these 14 pages took me about 2 and a half hours. Can somebody please reassure me that this book is difficult, and that I’m not just stupid? :rofl: :sob:


I’m glad my translations helped (even though I’m still pretty much a beginner so maybe they’re not all 100% accurate).

:open_mouth: I thought I was the only who took that long. I really think as well that this book is more difficult than previous Absolute Beginner books! That’s probably also due to the time it takes to look up all the unknown and specific words and then still not knowing what it means because I don’t know the English word for it either :laughing:

As for phagocytosis, as far as my research told me it’s when bigger cells open up their cell membrane to take in smaller bacteria/viruses/whatever and then dismember them with proteins or something. I don’t know more than that myself :person_shrugging: In the book though it looked like the white blood cell ingested that sugi pollen and analyzed it that way.


It is a bit harder for sure, especially with medical terminology. If you aren’t already familiar with it in English, it’s even harder in Japanese.


I’m a doctor, and I’m finding this book difficult.

Edit: I should add, it’s been a while since I studied immunology, which is what a lot of this is about.


Cells at Work! 🦠 | Week 6 Week 6 thread is now as alive as what we’re reading about!


Thank you! I fell behind this week :sweat_smile:

I thought I would have plenty of time to read during Christmas Holidays but some unexpected things happen (positive things :innocent:). Kept up with the other Book clubs but this one always take me a bit longer so you are definetely not the only ones @lucylavelle @saraqael .

I will try to catch up next week since 神さまがまちえがえる has ended now


From what I remember of highschool it’s about white blood cell wrapping arround bacteria and digesting them

Also here is a youtube Video of Phagocytosis. I have not read the chapter but I’m guessing it’s less flashy in real life than in the manga :laughing:


No questions this week, but there was one thing that tripped me. I’ll share it here, in case others get the same question when they read the chapter sometime in the future:

page 71


せし is a classical form of した (past tense of する). It is an old grammar point that is not used anymore in modern Japanese. Since 記憶細胞 is talking about a legend that has passed over generations for a long time, I suppose using せし makes the legend really feel old.