Learning through Translating: ブラックジャックによろしく episode 4: 夏雲

Oh nuts!!

Nb. The “U” should have been “I”… They are next to each other on my keyboard and my auto-correct is stupid! Also more than half the time I type “or”, the keyboard inserted “it”; same with “there” when I want “the”. Grrr I don’t always catch and correct the typos.


Where did you get the “unconscious” part from? Can you elaborate?[/quote]
Also… Apparently I misread your vocabulary list when you wrote consciousness (I just double-checked), my brain noted it as “unconsciousness”! My bad. Also…I apologise for trying out a whole sentence (even though anything I say is NOT LIKELY to be an answer haha)…I hear ya on the “hints only, please” Apologies offered.

Scrolling up now to read… So much discussion today!

[Nag to Jonapedia]
I thought you had to be studying! (Just like I’m supposed to be working… Yet here we are)
[/Nag]. Haha ha.

Hahaha. Like I said, those are the formal rules, but they’re not always followed. It’s just like how in French, I used to ask for someone’s forgiveness by saying “Je vous en demande pardon.” Strictly speaking (or so I think), my sentence is the most complete way of using “demander pardon” in the sentence, because I ought to specify the person (“vous”) who would pardon me, as well as the cause (“en”, referring to something I had done). However, very few people say that (not even my advanced French teacher at the Alliance Française), even if such sentences are in dictionaries like Le Robert. Most people drop the circumstantial “en”. Another example would be people dropping “ne” in casual conversation and just using “pas” alone.

My example for Japanese is the fact that the Hamarikyu Gardens in Tokyo write 〜て下さい on their entry chips even though ください is being used as an auxiliary verb in that case and not as a request meaning ‘please give me [object]’. Manga, as far as I can tell, are fundamentally quite informal, so it’s unlikely that you’ll find the rules being followed, especially when kanji use is fairly rare for a certain word. In the case of できる, I very rarely see it in kanji.

The rule I gave you is basically the ‘official recommendation’, and is something you might want to be aware of in formal writing, like for business or academics. That’s about it though.


Ok so what comes before the し is the justification and what comes after is the action done based on that justification, correct?

Have you read the news?

Coarse language like that is unacceptable, do not pass go.

BWA HA ha ha!!!

This is only extra funny, because I STOPPED MYSELF specifically from clarifying that was “nuts” as in acorns walnut pecans and NOT “the other”/banned!


I learned this morning in my discord “phone call” to Japan (to read KiKi out loud and to discuss our sentence “interpretations”) that the official slang name for what I have been calling “collapsing triangles” (details tag) is “TL;DR tag” or “tldr button”. (as you probably know, TL;DR stands for “too long; didn’t read”).

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Not necessarily. Guess it’s clearer for you if I list explicit possibilities. The two main ways I’ve seen し used:

  1. Justification listing, possibly followed by a conclusion/action based on the justifications: 「お金はある し,時間はある し,映画でも見よう」(I’m pulling these examples from my dictionary. Hope this counts as fair use.)
  2. Joining two similar facts and emphasising them: 「しゃべっている人もいない し,横を向く人もいない」

In this case, it’s #2, and it happens that both are justifications.





It's growing. The beard is growing

Well, there isn’t much to say…
伸びる (のびる) : 1-dan verb, to grow (for hair)
ヒゲ : facial hair. The kanji could vary: 髯, 髭, 鬚, depending on where it is on the face)
Note all those kanji have the 髟 (long hair) radical (used for human hair; like 髪 (かみ, hair on top of the head)

So, the hair grows even on unconscious people (it even grows on dead people!)


I know I should post a picture of the next pages; but I can’t do pictures right now.

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I’ve updated the first thread with the new pictures.

Off-topic: have you guys noticed how women have no important role whatsoever in the manga? We’re at the fourth episode now and the only female characters are mute nurses for the most part.

I don’t know if this is meant to represent the hospitals 40 years ago but surely there are women doctor in Japan now.

Monster still relegated women to secondary characters but there were a bit more present.

I’m wondering if it’s a cultural thing seeping into art. I’m a bit disturbed by this but this might be my own culture reacting.


Still true unfortunately, female doctors only make up 20% of physicians in Japan. It’s slowly improving (a third of new graduates are female) but obviously they are still way behind in terms of gender equality - not too long ago there was a scandal about a university in Tokyo falsifying women’s entrance test results to give men an advantage. “Disturbed” is a bit of an understatement, tbh :confused:

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Well, disturbed is an understatement, let’s put it this way. :slight_smile:

I looked up the date of first publication and it goes back in 2003. For some reason the tone was so conservative I thought it had been published in the 1980s.

Maybe the author wanted to be accurate in his part depiction of the “world of doctors”. If only 20% are women doctors, a case could be made that their absence could be justified I suppose.

My confusion is not actually restricted to women as doctors but women in general in the manga. They’re just… absent. You could argue kids are also missing but it’s not aimed at a kids demographic.

None of the nurses are important character, they don’t even have a name. The patients are not women either. Maybe as a man he finds it hard to write for women? I can’t explain it and I don’t want to guess his intentions.

To me, if feels sterile as fiction. I know this is judgmental, but as observer we’re allowed to comment on the art itself. I say it feels sterile because there’s this artificial exclusion of women which deprives the world of its reality. It feels like a very controlled environment.

Monster was more relatable, more human that way I find.

Were I to add to my review, I would say that the author wants to be as accurate as possible in his depiction of the “medical world” for lack of a better world. Maybe it was a personal challenge of his to remain faithful to their reality. I don’t think it brings a whole lot to the story, personally. The technical jargon ends up being glossed over as well, technical jargon, without building anything up narrative.

I find Shirotori to be the most believable as he’s torn between his idealist and practice beliefs. Saitou is so idealist that he ends up being more a vehicle to convey ideas than a believable human beings.

Again, I don’t know if this is a cultural thing being transposed in a work of fiction. Maybe family life and love life are very private so taboo in art, I don’t know.

Why is Saitou so shallow as a character? The interactions between the characters seem to act as a soapbox to debate the financial incentives of healthcare more than anything else.

I’m under the impression that the artist in manga is often the author (script writer) which is often not the case in other illustrated mediums around the world. You’ll have someone who excels at writing and someone who excels at drawing.

I think the author here excels at drawing but his writing feels amateurish at times. Sort of like Akira Toriyama with Dragon Balls or Hergé with Tintin.

Katsuhiro Otomo, the man behind Akira is a master of both drawing and writing with character development and overarching plot.

Another thing which bothers me here is the bite-size stories without any overarching plot. It’s like watching a meandering tv series. There’s no end goal (well none so far).

Felt like writing about this. If other manga were released for free, I wouldn’t read this one for the aforementioned reasons. I’m doing this strictly for grammar purpose.




:speech_balloon: Help me doctor

I think I finally get the -te form!
助け→くれ: it’s used to establish a connection between the main verb and the auxiliary verb くれ!


Just snucking in to say you might want to keep an eye on this page to see whether manga you’re interested in get put up for free at any point. curiousjp had been posting about new additions of particular interest in their BookWalker Freebies thread, but they’ve been too busy recently. You can also search for free manga on Kindle.


Oh wow, that first link is a great resource, there are tons there!

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:speech_balloon:Please doctor


:speech_balloon:I don’t want to die

What is なくねえ? It’s slang for sure but of what?

The available selection changes regularly, so do keep an eye out :slightly_smiling_face:

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The only issue I have with this is I wouldn’t know where to start! Just looking at covers makes it difficult to pick one :exploding_head:

Oh yes :sweat_smile: on the left-hand side you can filter by genre (ジャンル) to narrow it down - learning some genre terms as you go! - but I’d definitely go for picking things you recognise already, otherwise it’s overwhelming.


I might end up sounding politically incorrect in the course of my reply, but please bear with me. A lot of what I know about Japanese society is sadly based on stereotypes, but I know that there are grains of truth in them based on what I’ve seen in the news.

What I've heard about problems with sexism in Japan

First of all, MNCs (foreign or Japanese) aside, many companies apparently still have discriminatory policies in place. Even if men and women are hired on an equal basis, there are often concerns about what will happen when a female employee gets pregnant since women are traditionally mothers first and employees second. Similarly, there was this rather ridiculous debate over the need for women to wear high heels in the workplace some time within the past year. Unfortunately, the woman at the centre of the movement against high heels in the workplace had a history in certain types of modelling, so she was accused of hypocrisy since she had, in a sense, profited from sexism. Nonetheless, her point stands: even if a company can set standards for minimum levels of ‘formal dress’, it’s not right to force one group of employees to wear something that is potentially very uncomfortable while calling it ‘proper etiquette’ just because they happen to be women. Another stereotypical/traditional division of labour along gender lines in Japan is the idea that in a household, the wife manages the budget even though the husband is the one responsible for funding it. On that note, it’s apparently fairly rare, even now, for women to go to university. Why exactly? I have no idea. It could be that based on traditional gender roles, they don’t really need that education. Of course, there still are women in university, but it’s not uncommon for them to do the equivalent of an ‘associate degree’, which is a two-year programme as opposed to the usual 3-4 years bachelor’s degree equivalents in other nations. Thereafter… who knows, maybe they go to work while looking for someone to marry? (I’m sorry if this last sentence sounds very sexist, but we have to acknowledge that some of them might have that mindset.) They can’t really be blamed though, because Japanese companies (at least, the corporate ones that don’t require too much technical knowledge) are traditionally only interested in the university someone graduates from, and not necessarily in the domain that they studied. There’s usually quite a lot of internal training done by companies after all.

What seems to be signs of change

However, of course, things are changing, what with Abe’s push (however sincere or effective) to recognise the value of women in the workforce. The Japanese government’s Facebook page has been highlighting female CEOs in various sectors. Also, it’s increasingly necessary in Japan, as in other developed nations, for both parents in a household to work in order to provide sufficient income. Plus, companies are being forced by labour shortages to reconsider how they hire (and fire) employees. Certain municipal governments have also been trying out childcare programmes that will help new parents get back to work. Fathers are also being encouraged to play their part in child-rearing. (You might have heard of the 育メン Ikumen initiative, which is a pun on イケメン=a handsome guy?) Finally, even if all official/top-down initiatives fail… young people want change. Fewer and fewer young people are willing to put in long hours if they’re unproductive, and it’s becoming more acceptable for fathers to return home early… in essence, at the very worst, we’ll just have to wait for the younger generation to make their own demands and take the reins. (One example of what can happen: the Japanese Self Defence Force improved the Wifi routers on their ships in order to encourage more hyper-connected young people to join up. It sounds ridiculous, but recruitment problems were severe enough to make it happen.)

Returning to this manga though… honestly, I don’t think it’s unlikely that the author just didn’t know what he would do with a female character. If he put a female character in, he would probably be expected to give her a different dynamic from that of the male characters, especially since there aren’t many female doctors in the medical sector to begin with. Plus, correct me if I’m wrong, but none of the characters we’ve seen so far are particularly developed yet. They’re still mostly whatever they seemed to be like in the beginning. They haven’t broken out of their moulds yet. My view is this: this manga is a coming-of-age story involving an idealistic young doctor facing up to the reality of the medical industry while revealing the problems within it. Saitou is shallow because he’s immature. It’s fairly common, at least in anime and dramas, for young characters to be portrayed as ideal-obsessed. They often have a very specific idea of what the world ought to be like, and of what is good or bad. As someone who’s fairly young myself, and who’s had quite a lot of disillusionment lately, I can empathise with that. One of the big struggles of growing up in these stories is learning to accept that reality isn’t as perfect as we hoped it would be. It’s quite clear that Saitou became a doctor because he wanted to ‘save lives’ and ‘help people’. He thought it was noble. Don’t forget that a lot of his medical school flashbacks involve ideas like the great responsibility that doctors must bear and how their country is counting on them. Thus, at least for now, he’s going to have to deal with the somewhat uglier and more complex reality of the medical sector. On that note, I feel that it’s possible that the author created this manga as a means of commenting on and revealing the problems with the medical industry. He clearly has fairly decent knowledge of medical terminology, so perhaps he also has ‘insider knowledge’ thanks to friends or investigative news reports. If Saitou continues to fail to develop as a character… well, it’s possible that he’s meant to be the reader’s eyes and ears, offering a window into the ugly side of the medical industry.


I agree that your first paragraphs are mostly stereotypes and I’m not sure how they represent reality. You might be right, don’t get me wrong, but I’m wary of stereotypes in general, they sometimes shoehorn simplicity into things which are nuanced and complex.

Regarding women at university, it’s improving but is it significantly improving?

I really enjoyed reading your take on the manga. I don’t agree with some parts but it’s fun to read your interpretations.

But, as mentioned, women could still be present although not as doctors. Also, there would only be single sex characters in written fiction if you could only write about your own gender. This doesn’t invalidates that might not feel comfortable writing female characters.

… which after four episodes is a shortcoming by my standards and expectations.

My idea is that being an idealist doesn’t mean he needs to be limited to Saitou=idealist character cardboard cutout. I’m an idealist myself but there’s more to me than just that. The character would have more depth if it wasn’t just an outlet to call out the hypocrisy of the medical system.

I think this is the author’s aim. We couldn’t find any interview or source indicating he had insider knowledge. Ayamatori found some info according to which his dispute with the publishing house was because the medical research wasn’t done “properly”.

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Of course, most certainly, and being able to portray characters of both sexes realistically is a sign of skill and empathy. However, well (and this is where I’ll sound politically incorrect)… I’d rather not that he put a female character in just for the sake of it. Every character in a story needs a role to play, and for now, I can’t see what other roles the author might need in the story. In Episode 3 and in what we’ve seen of Episode 4, Saitou has been quite self-absorbed, constantly thinking about what he’s seen recently, so it’s just as well that there are few other characters, male or female, to disturb his thoughts. All we need for now is a bunch of characters to drive the story forward, and we have them: the other intern is Saitou’s foil, since he doesn’t seem quite as idealistic about being a doctor. He’s just there to learn how to do his job and get paid. Shiratori seems to be a representation of a possible future for Saitou, since he seems quite principled, but at the same time, is still involved in the financial machinations of the story. ‘God’s Hands’ seems like he’s just there to get paid, and couldn’t care less what happens to patients. These characters and their actions force Saitou to think about whether or not his ideals truly have a place in the medical sector. I can definitely imagine an inspirational female character appearing somewhere down the line. She might not be a doctor. She might be a nurse, or even just someone at the hospital reception, who has learnt to deal with the sordid side of the medical world without becoming disillusioned and losing hope. However, even if that were done, it’s still perfectly possible that the writer would seem sexist, because… oh, IDK, the female character would be too ‘angelic’, or her great empathy might have something to do with her femininity… I have nothing against well-developed female characters: one of the series I’m following now is a fantasy series in which the women regularly contribute a lot more than the men, and help the men pick themselves up. However, if the author was unable or unwilling to develop even the characters we’ve seen so far, then it’s a good thing that he avoided bringing in more characters. (I don’t know the rest of the story, so I can’t say for sure.)

As for what you said about idealism not needing to be a cookie cutter framework… you’re right. I’m quite an idealist myself, but I think we may have different ways of being idealistic, and we may not always approach things using our idealism. However, well… let’s just say that disillusionment can take time to set in. I don’t think I was with you guys when you were doing episode 2, but it seems like it took the whole of episode 3 to settle the surgery and the removal of life support. As far as I can tell, there were probably 3 major events leading up to this episode:

  1. Introduction of Saitou and his life in medical school
  2. The 当直のバイト during with Saitou ‘failed’
  3. The surgery

So honestly, at least up to now, not much has happened in each episode. It’s no surprise that the characters are still mostly flat. Personally, I think this pace is OK provided that Saitou’s recent experiences push him to change his approach to being a doctor, since we can view whatever’s happened so far as a wake-up call that has shocked him deeply, meaning he needs some time to recollect himself and move forward.

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