NHK easy article attempt to read. HELP!

I am going to attempt to read this article and break down each line at a time in separate reply to this post.

北海道 旭山動物園でペンギンが散歩する


Here is the content of the article or you can read it here

Honestly this is a bit daunting to tackle to I first have taken the article into a google docs and colour coded words and names I don’t know as blue and red respectively and other things I don’t understand in pink.

Here is the list of words and names I don’t know or can’t read:

旭川市(あさひかわし)Asahikawa city
山口県(やまぐちけん)Yamaguchi prefecture

積もる(つもる)To pile up
散歩(さんぽ)To walk/ stroll
運動(うんどう)Motion/ movement/ Exercise
増える(ふえる)To increase
振る(ふる)(No idea what this means)
撮る(とる)To take a photo

Luckily I don’t think these words are very tricky and I know most of the words used in the article but it is the grammar that I am going to get tripped up on a lot.



  • Here I am unsure about the use of では. I am assuming that it means ‘At Asahikawa city’s Asahiyama Zoo’ as the topic of the sentence but have so far not come across another particle combined with は. If this is the case what determines the order of the particles?
  • Why is が used after 雪? I thought 始める was a transitive verb and needed を.
  • I am also confused to what ころ means in this instance, I know ごろ means around or about which is similar to ぐらい but wasn’t sure if ころwas just another way of saying it. In the translation I put it as ‘around’
  • に I am assuming here refers to the time at which something is taking place.
  • ペンギンの散歩 I have translated as penguins walk but maybe should be translated as march instead because it is penguins? Stroll doesn’t feel right here either.
  • I think が after ペンギンの散歩 is used because 始まる is intransitive because something begins itself rather than someone beginning something.

This is my final attempt to understand it in English - Every year at around the time the snow begins to pile up the penguin’s walk begins at Asahikawa city’s Asahiyama Zoo.


It’s fairly common, a ton of particles can be combined with は, and they mean exactly the thing you described. Take the usual meaning of the particle, now that’s the topic of the sentence. This is oftentimes done to emphasize the usage of the particle.

The verb here is basically “積もり始める”, or “starts to pile up”. The subject of this sentence, the thing that’s starting to pile up is the snow, therefore が is used. 積もる in itself is intransitive.

Yeah, ころ is the standalone version, ごろ is the suffix version. Here “雪が積もり始める” is describing the word ころ, therefore it’s the standalone version.


I think the correct word would be waddling (love penguins)



I’m no expert, but looks good to me.

This would be this piece of grammar here.

Looks like a stroll to me :joy: All I know is I want one!!


Waddling is certainly a correct way to describe the action of penguins walking, but I still think the focus of 散歩 is mostly on “walking for a bit of exercise, or relaxation, etc.”

Merely saying “waddling” focuses on just the manner of walking, so maybe something like “going for a waddle” covers it.


ゆり(うご)かす. Other than the website’s built-in dictionary, it’s convenient to set up and use Yomichan.


Right, thinking about it a bit more, “The penguins walk” is probably an attraction of sorts, in which case it’s actually walk


I think this makes sense in context for the next sentence which I am currently going through now!

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They are amazing animals, I really hope to see some one day!

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This is what I’ve got for the next line


  • I found this sentence way harder than the first and will get a lot wrong here.
  • Firstly I am not sure how 間 is used here, I am assuming it either means ‘The winter period’ or ‘During the winter’
  • I am translating the あまり as not very much as it is followed by a verb in its negative form in 動かない.
  • I know 動く is to move and なる is to become but I am not sure what the two next to each other means. 動かなくなる I am thinking is to not move but then what’s the difference between that and just 動かない.
  • I am a bit lost of what the に particle is doing to this sentence to be honest.
  • I am not very familiar with the use of てもらう and will need to look this up further. But my basic understanding is that it means to get someone to do something. So maybe in this context it means to get the penguins to do exercise.
  • I have never seen ため used before but know it means sake or purpose so in this context I am assuming that getting the penguins to do exercise is the purpose of getting the penguins to walk.

I know I have a slight gist of this sentence but I know I am wayyyy off on this one. I currently understand it as - ‘During winter, the zoo makes the penguins who don’t move very much exercise’ I know I know this one doesn’t really match up.

I will add the grammar points てもらう、あまり、ため(に) to bunpro later for study.


When the subject makes or gets an object to perform an action with てもらう, the object is marked by に.

The subject (here it’s unmentioned zookeepers) made (てもらう) the object (the penguins marked by に) exercise (運動する)




It’s talking about the penguins becoming less mobile in the winter, that’s the reason for the なる


I would translate this naturally as “It’s done as exercise for the penguins, that, in the winter season, don’t move as much.”


動かない is “to not move”, while 動かなくなる is “to become to not move”, so it expresses a change, which the first one does not express.
The task to put this into pretty English is left as an exercise for the reader :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Ahhhh that makes more sense that those two are connected thanks

I can’t believe I didn’t get that, thanks.

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Thanks, it makes sense now.

Ahahaha yeah it’s actually difficult but as long as I can understand the Japanese the English can look like hell for all I am concerned :joy:



  • 17羽のキングペンギン honestly has lost me a little. I don’t think it means 17 king penguins that are an attribute of a feather but that is how my brain is seeing it. So for now I will ignore it and call it as 17 king penguins.
  • 雪で I am assuming this means in the snow
  • Thanks to the help with the last sentence I was able to read 白くなった as to become white because at first I was a bit lost on it however I am not so sure how it fits into the sentence.
  • 500mの道 I am saying this is just a 500m road (not sure how to read meter in nihongo tho)

On the 22nd, 17 king penguins walked in the snow on the 500m road that became white for about 30 minutes.

This obviously doesn’t sound quite right and I don’t know where I am going wrong here

Edit : I think there is something wrong with my usage of で here but not sure


is the counter for birds.

Probably “from the snow”, only giving a hint for now, but that whole section is describing the road


On the 22nd, for about 30 minutes, 17 king penguins walked along the 500m long path, that turned white from the snow


This one is what the tofugu article lists as “means of an action” (aka how something happens).



  • Okay so this one was a bit easier to do I think, unless I am just confidently wrong.
  • 外国から from a foreign country
  • 日本に来やすくなって Japan became easier to come to and….
  • 動物園に来る外国からの客 Visitors from foreign countries come to the zoo
  • も I understand this as also but honestly not sure why it has been included in the sentence.
  • 少しずつ I learnt this literally this morning as little by little on anki!
  • 増えてきました to have increased

Japan became easier to come to from a foreign country and little by little foreign visitors to the zoo have also increased.

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