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

Close enough, as a tall woman, you must’ve been an object of great curiosity in Japan. Ironically, seems like the article I linked is pretty representative after all. That is of course, if you smile to passerby while riding your bicycle designed for tall people.



:grey_question:: how come there are two consecutive でも here?
:speech_balloon:But 1% but…

Unfortunately my bike got stolen a while ago so no smiles from me. Either that strips me of my citizenship or you’re gonna have to find a better source next time…

The first one is “but”, the second one is で+も, “even just 1%”.

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My EN-JP dictionary seems to give ‘backbone’ as the translation for 意気地, and I think that matches the Japanese definition well. ‘Willpower’ seems to be a good translation as well though. The native word I was considering for ‘pride’ was 「誇り」as in 「誇り高き」.(That’s kinda archaic since 高き=高い in modern Japanese, and sounds like the way some noble might introduce his/her house (that’s how I learnt it, actually), but you get the idea.) @Zizka: Honestly, I’m not sure why プライド is more common, but it could be that it’s a bit less formal? Also, I imagine that imported English words don’t have as much historical baggage, so they’re less likely to have any strange connotations. Another interesting example is リベンジ, which means both ‘revenge’ in the English sense of getting back at someone, and “revanche” in the French sense of ‘getting back an advantage/privilege’ that was lost’ (e.g. when you lose in a competition and want to do better in it next year).

About purism in languages, and some thoughts about loanwords in Japanese

I’m quite a purist myself when it comes to languages. When I learnt French, I intentionally avoided all structures that sounded similar to those in English, even if they were perfectly valid, so that I wouldn’t make using calques into a habit. E.g. I refused to use “influencer” because “influer sur” exists. However, as Zizka pointed out, there are loanwords that fill gaps in a language’s vocabulary. Also, I think that, especially in the case of Japanese, many borrowed words end up becoming truly ‘Japanese’ because they’re extremely far removed from their original grammar and context of usage. All the 和製英語 words are examples of this. Similarly, while Japanese shares a lot of kanji compounds with Chinese, there are also many compounds that are unique to Japanese – Chinese may have equivalents, but they often use completely different kanji.

The one loanword that *does* trouble me a lot though... is ページ.

I can’t imagine how a country with fairly developed literature and culture could possibly lack a native word for ‘page’, particularly since paper was apparently invented in China, and would almost definitely have reached Japan through trade before reaching Western territories. At the very least, there as surely a word for sheets of material used for writing. Does anyone know of a native word for it? @ayamedori? I’ve seen 頁 (read as けつ), which is the same character used in Chinese, but that’s generally only used as a counter (e.g. ‘forty-seven pages’). It seems the noun ‘page’ is only referred to as ページ, and 頁 is sometimes used as a kanji for that! (I find that somewhat atrocious. Perhaps I’m just too used to kanji being a Sino-Japano-Korean thing, so I find it hard to accept it being used for a word imported from English.)

I believe there actually are official words for things like ‘escalators’ in Japanese written using kanji. For instance, カメラ=写真機. They’re just not sufficiently popular among the general public. I’m actually curious whether or not the Japanese government has an office somewhere churning out official recommendations the way the Académie Française and the Office québécois de la langue française, but I’ve never checked.

Anyway, yes, @Zizka, you remembered correctly: I’m somewhere in France. As for you, @ayamedori, I guessed you were in the Netherlands or in Belgium after you said your native language was a Germanic one that wasn’t English, German or Scandinavian. (I had to bring up a map of the Germanic languages of the world because I wasn’t too sure where all the other European countries were relative to peninsulas and so on.) Dutch sounds a lot like English! That is, until you listen more closely and realise you don’t understand a thing. Hahaha. I see it quite often on the packaging in France, and I feel like I can understand some of it based on my experience with German, but I’ve never studied it, so I don’t understand that much.

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I’m pretty sure that source is reliable. I’m fairly certain they’ve defined what “beautiful” means and have have taken statistically relevant samples in a peer review study as well as doing that study in ever single city in the world to write up that article. I mean, if subjecting women from a geographical area by four characteristics doesn’t make it a reliable source, than what does?

Does that mean: “to have a patient in front of your eyes/in front of you?”

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One word I always thought was weird for リンゴ for apple in カタカナ. I would’ve thought Japan had apples before they were exposed to Chinese or other foreign languages. I would’ve imagined that word would’ve been of native origin as opposed to being a loanword.

誇り is imo more like “being proud of something”; in Shiratori’s case, it’d mean he was proud of/doesn’t regret his decision to operate. プライド means he’s not just proud of what he’s done, but that he holds a general pride in his work and that’s why he performed the surgery - 誇り and 自負心 are super similar, but the nuance is just a bit different.

Before Western-style books became a thing they used either scrolls or 和装本, which looked like this. One of those double-sided folds was called a 丁 (which made its way in modern book binding as 折丁) and its two sides would just be referred to as front and back. Then the English came and showed them books so they borrowed 頁 from Chinese and gave it reading ページ. So there is no native Japanese word for “page”, basically. As you might be able to guess from the use of 表/裏, one side of a piece of paper is 一面 so in an alternative universe they might’ve used 面 for “page”. One sheet as you know is 一枚, but that includes both sides.

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My foreign friends are firmly divided into two camps: the ones who think it sounds like an Englishman speaking German, and the ones who think it sounds like the language from the Sims. :sweat_smile:

“The patient in front of you”

I didn’t know people from the Netherlands were allowed to have friends. It really is a progressive country. Renown for its bike thieves and progressive politics.


:speech_balloon:But if it’s possible for even 1% of the patient in front of you and try to rescue them, you’re a doctor, right?

The wording isn’t up to my liking but I want to know if I got the idea right.

What is this? Tall blond girls don’t play video games?! What kind of city is Amsterdam anyway???!!!

I know right?! Games and friends, everything you need in life. As long as we’re six feet apart and don’t sneeze in each other’s faces.

The 1% refers to the 可能性, and the entire 目の前の患者を救おうとする bit gets nominalised by の: “an 医者 is someone who 目の前の患者を救おうとする, even if there’s just a 1% chance of success.”

Well, I’m not sure, but what I got from the dictionary for 自負心 was 「自分の才能に自信や誇りをもつ心。」. For 誇り, it’s 「ほこること。名誉に思うこと。」I’m just noticing that 「自分の才能に…誇りを持つ」is a valid structure, so it seems 誇り is actually quite a general word, just like プライド. I have to admit that I don’t really know what the verb 誇る means, since I haven’t seen it often enough (and I’m not completely sure what the terms used in its Japanese definition mean), but I’m also not sure 仕事 counts as a type of 才能. I guess I’ll become more ‘sure-footed’ as I go along. Today’s the first time I’ve seen 自負心 after all. However, the pride-related definition of 自负 in Chinese is ‘believing that no one can equal oneself’, which sounds pretty close to the Japanese definition.

What surprises me is the lack of a Sino-Japanese word as well. I mean, sure, the kanji is still based on Chinese usage. That’s true. However, the 和装本 look a lot like the books depicted in Chinese period dramas, so I’m just surprised that Japanese didn’t just keep 丁. For that matter, while I’m not entirely sure about historical Chinese usage and its influence on Japanese usage, but my Chinese dictionary says 頁 was used as a counter for the pieces of paper in traditional books, which is probably where the Japanese counter 頁(けつ)comes from. Today, Chinese uses 頁 for one side of a page (as opposed to one page, which was the historical usage). I guess my question is, why introduce a new word when the concept really isn’t too different? Even now, 頁(けつ)is listed as a synonym for ページ when used as a counter. 丁 could have been reserved for single sheets, while 頁(けつ)could have been used for single sides. Chinese just has 页, and it’s used to mean both. Maybe I just find it strange that the language with more words available chose to adopt a completely new one, whereas the one with fewer words just increased the number of possible meanings. Well, can’t change history. Perhaps I’ll just try to find out when ページ entered Japanese. If it happened during the Meiji Restoration, then I won’t be as puzzled anymore.

Here’s the two definitions side-by-side; 誇り = to triumphantly think that something is ahead of its kind, 自負(心)= not just 誇り, but having confidence in one’s work/abilities/etc as well. Though on second thought 自尊心 might actually be more fitting as a synonym for プライド here… Not that it matter much for the translation haha.

頁 as a counter is read ページ, けつ has fallen into disuse - even 次頁 is read ジページ and not ジケツ. Why they didn’t just keep 丁… It’s much easier to say 15ページ than 8丁オモテ, and since they were big on translating foreign texts for a while it makes sense to conform to foreign customs. Apparently 洋装本 made their way to Japan in the early years of the Meiji era, so I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the restoration played a big part in all that as well.

(I hope this won’t turn into an argument as to who’s right or wrong about the definition of a word :hot_face:)
:speech_balloon:A doctor tries to save the patient in front of him even if there’s just 1% of success
(I don’t see where you found “success” however).

No worries, we’ll be good :stuck_out_tongue:

可能性 = possibility, likelihood; it refers to 救おう here but I couldn’t think of a way to translate it more literally so went with “chance of success”.

@Zizka: The best I can think of in English is ‘even if there’s just a 1% chance,…’. But yes, it’s a ‘chance of success’ that we’re talking about.

As far as 誇り、自負心、自尊心 and プライド go, I think I’ll just leave it at that for now. I have no clue who’s right, and like I said, there are some Japanese words that keep coming up in the explanations (like 得意) that I haven’t understood yet, partly because I’m aware that they have different meanings in Chinese and Japanese, so it’s completely possible that I’m misinterpreting something. Thanks for your input, @ayamedori. I think I’ll go read the definitions on the page you sent and look for more example sentences, because I don’t think I’ll understand these words until I’ve seen them used in context (which I haven’t :stuck_out_tongue:).

Good, it’s ok to have different opinions about different things without having to prove someone right or wrong, isn’t it?



:speech_balloon:This is something an amateur would say!


そういう: such, like that, that sort of…
閉ざす: to shut, to close;
未来【みらい】the future;
医療【いりょう】medical care, medical treatment;

☆ What is the purpose of っぱい here after 安? Unless it’s っい? It’s hard to say as it’s pretty blurry.

By the way I was reading more about んだ because I’m still unclear about it.

This website says the following:

Would you say that’s accurate? I mean here, what is the speaker determined to do strongly? Unless he means to express his own determination. But determination about what? I think he’s making a statement about amateur doctors and the future of medical finances, doesn’t seem to apply here.

This definition :top: is the one we’ve talked about before. It’s from JMDict this one.

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this page talks about it too… but used with nouns, which isn’t the case here (that is why I deleted it first)

…however, after looking at several pages, it seems that やすっぽい is indeed a rather special; all others seem indeed to be attached to a noun.

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Hey why did you delete that? It was a useful link to have around. Thanks anyways, got time to access it before you deleted it.

Nevermind it’s back. You can write in Japanese if you want, I don’t think it’s a problem.

Ah yeah! Typo on my part.
:speech_balloon:That type of cheap doctor who closes the future of medical care finances
I would imagine “close” isn’t the right term exactly here. The other definitions for 閉ざす are:

ⓐ to shut, to close, to lock, to fasten
ⓑ to block (e.g. the way), to shut off, to shut in
ⓒ to plunge (in grief)

So maybe something akin to ©?

Regarding the loan words, I see a difference between パソコン and ページ.

It’s not a subordinate clause, so I wouldn’t put the “who”.
=> “That type of cheap doctor closes …”
or even (because of んだ) => “That is the type of cheap doctor that closes …”

( そういう安っぽい医者 is the subject of 閉ざす I think )

Or maybe, “You are the type of cheap doctor that closes…”



:speech_balloon: “If that’s the case, it’s strange to be a doctor!”


:speech_balloon: *Doctors by doing meaningless surgeries have put pressure on the healthcare finances…”

☆New Vocabulary☆
だったら: if that’s the case;



:speech_balloon: “It’s the teacher’s instruction.”


:speech_balloon: “It’s not my intention”