NHK Easy News

The を there marks a location that an action moves through. Not a starting point.

You were referring to definition 5 here, but in this case it’s definition 3

https://jisho.org/word/を

1 Like
article text

東京などの空に光の玉が見えて「とても大きな音が聞こえた」

2日午前2時半ごろ、東京など関東地方のいろいろな所で、爆発のような大きな音がしたと、たくさんの人がツイッターに書きました。「ボーンという大きな音がして家が少し揺れた」とか「雷が落ちたような音がした」などです。

ツイッターにはビデオもあって、光の玉のようなものが午前2時半ごろ、東京の空を西から東へ飛んでいきました。

専門家は「小さな星などが割れて、小さな石のような物が地球の近くに来たときに燃えて強く光る『火球』です。音が聞こえるのはとても珍しいです」と話しています。

First, a glance through

Tokyo, sky, ball of light was seen - very loud sound was heard

On the 2nd, around 2:30 AM, in Tokyo and various places in the Kansai… region (?) something something loud sound, many people reported (+ some katakana in the middle which I really should be practicing more).
“loud sound, something about the house, something that isn’t rain fell”

Somebody with a katakana name made a video. Ball of light, around 2:30, Tokyo sky traveling west to east.

Specialist says “small - hey, that’s the first time I’ve seen hoshi used as meteor. Or maybe comet. I’ll look that up - meteor, small boulder came close to earth. Bright light, fireball. Sound totally … unrelated? - I don’t know that kanji, but that would kind of fit in the context”

Ok, dictionary time.

Kantou, Kantou region. Not Kansai. Pfft.
Ok, loud sound similar to an explosion.
Twitter, that’s the katakana for twitter. Need to remember that. People twittered about the explosion sound.
Katakana for bomb, take a note of that one too. It shook the house. Crap, I know that word from Torii - didn’t recognise.
Indeed not rain, but thunder. And those are Twitter examples, not a quote from an interview.
Twitter (again) video
Hoshi is defined as any heavenly body emiting or reflecting light. So pretty much everything except for dark matter. Helpful, astronomy must be a really difficult major in Japan. I’m going with meteor.
Sometimes they burn up - ok.
Unusual, ok so I lied. I know that one from Torii as well, but I only recognise the hiragana form. I find this happens frequently when I don’t know the individual kanji via WK.

Question time

(1) 東京などの空に
Is it ok to translate this as “In the sky over the Tokyo area”?
など is listed as etcetera, so I guess it’s Tokyo and some other places nearby.

(2) 「雷が落ちたような音がした」
“It was a sound like thunder crashing”?
I’m not at all sure what to make of the combination of thunder and 落ちる.

Strange that they use ようなもの first and then ような物 a sentence later.

(3) 小さな石のような物が地球の近くに来たときに燃えて強く光る『火球』です
This part feels more like two separate sentences, I don’t see how they would fit together. An object like a small stone came close to the earth / sometimes it burns up and it is a bright shining “fireball”. Maybe I’m not recognising the 来た correctly - it is an irregular verb after all and the second part isn’t in the past tense. Is this perhaps a “when it comes close” instead of “came close” ?

1 Like

That’s simply how you say “lightning struck (the ground)”. Maybe it makes more sense if you think about lightning than thunder?

I think “when it came close” fits perfectly fine in the translation. “When it came close to the earth, it burns up and shines brightly”. I don’t know how to beautifully put the 火球 in the sentence, but the きた is definitely past tense since it is talking about the specific one above Tokyo. Which means there is also no “sometimes” in the sentence.

1 Like

雷 is a word for the entire phenomenon, the release of electricity, the light, the sound, etc. It’s not just “thunder.” And 雷が落ちる is an expression on its own.

2 Likes

Makes sense. I think I was instinctively drawn to the ‘thunder’ translation as the phrase is about the sound people heard. I totally missed the other meanings.

I get it now! I completely misinterpreted the ときに which is what binds the two phrase parts together. “On the occasion that it came close… it burns up…”.
Interestingly, in English, once the first part of the phrase is in the past, the second part is too (when it came, it burned up). I read somewhere that in Japanese the tense can be indicated by the last verb only (if you have sequential て forms for instance), here that is not done, obviously 来た is not a て
form - but I almost feel like I would have formed this sentence differently, using either 来る特に
(on the occasion of it coming close… it burns up and is…) or just putting the でした in the past (when it came close… it burned up and was…).
That first option sounds more like a hypothetical phrase to me, which, as you point out, isn’t the case here. But I’m not sure why the second part of the phrase isn’t past tense. Is this a indication of sequence of events? Or am I trying to read too far into a simple quote?

I’m surprised by that use of the quotes; why half the title has 「」around it?
I would have thought of it as being a classic “and” use of te-form…

It doesn’t seem to be a direct quote, but it’s still a reference to something someone said, so it has quotation marks around it.

1 Like

It’s … 来たとき

The moment/time (とき) when … comes (it’s in past in Japanese, but the wording in English will most likely use a neutral present I think).
And that moment is tagged with に, making it the specific point in time where the action/state of a following verb happens.

So, the 燃える action happens at 小さな石のような物が地球の近くに来たとき (at the moment an object like a small rock comes near the terrestrial globe).

燃える is in te-form; as it not only does it, but also 光る (and even 強く光る).

And aaaaallll that long thing up to 光る is an attributive phrase of 『火球』.

So: …燃えて強く光る『火球』です = It is a “fire ball” that burns and strongly shines (at the moment an object like…)

1 Like

The important thing to keep in mind is that in Japanese there aren’t real “tenses” in the same way that they exist in English.

While the difference between 来た / 来る is often explained as past / non-past; it is actually more of an accomplished / not accomplished thing.
As the burning and shining happen when the object comes near (and actually inside the atmosphere, it is the friction with the air that causes it), the “coming” must be accomplished (actually, then entry into the atmosphere), hence the -た.

In English it is worded as “It will shine when it will come”; but in Japanese it is “来た時に光る”.

I think (but a confirmation from someone more fluent would be needed) that “来時に光る” would mean that the shining is done simultaneously with the coming (eg, not “when/once it comes”, but “as it comes”, all the way from the start)

1 Like

I’m not so sure about 来る時, but I believe that 時 and 場合 work very similarly from a grammatical point of view. In this case, the tenses (or aspects, if you prefer) are being used to mark the time of occurrence or completion of each action relative to the others. Hence, you’re right: it’s 来た時 because the rock must already be in the vicinity of the Earth in order for the burning and shining to start.

Based on my understanding of tense use with 場合, I believe that 来る時 would situate the ‘coming’ in the same timeframe as the second action, meaning it’s either in the ‘present’ or the future. I think a good example would be something like 大きな石のような物が空から落ちる時、人々が逃げる。= ‘when a big rock-like thing falls from the sky, people run away.’ In this case, the running happens as the falling happens. You could also see it as the second action happening in preparation for the first action’s future occurrence: ‘when a big rock-like object is going to fall/will fall some time in the future from the sky, people run away’ i.e. people run because they know the falling will happen at some point.

3 Likes

This one was substantially harder for me than last week’s. At least I’m getting good use out of my two most recent levels (disaster, aid, etc)

雨の被害が大きい熊本県で活動する医者「支援が足りない」
Doctors taking action for Kumamoto prefecture where rain damage is big: “aid is not enough”

3日から降り続いた雨で、熊本県で大きな被害が出ています。
Due to the rain continuing to fall since the 3rd, Kumamoto prefecture has sustained heavy damage.

被害にあった人たちを助ける 活動をしている医者など4人が、8日夜、インターネットで活動の様子を話しました。
Four doctors(, etc) that have been running actions that help the people who were overwhelmed by the damage, spoke of the internet action on the situation of the last 8 days and nights.*

(1) not really sure how to insert the 8 days and nights here, last part of sentence translation is a bit of a mess.

医者の1人は「今までの災害では、4日目ぐらいに避難している人たちに食事などの支援をする人たちがいましたが、この雨の災害では、まだそのような支援がありません」と言いました。
One of the doctors said “For calamities up until now, it takes roughly 4 days for people to arrive to help with aid such as food for people seeking refuge, for this rain calamity that sort of aid is still not there”.

新しいコロナウイルスの問題で、ほかの県などに行かないようにしている人が多くなっていて、支援が難しいようです。
With the issue of new coronavirus, it is apparent that there are not many people who try to come from other prefectures and such, and that aid is difficult.

そして「建物ではなくて車の中に避難している人がたくさんいます。体の具合が悪くならないように、水を飲んだり、軽い運動をしたりするように言っています」と話しました。
Furthermore he spoke “There are many people seeking shelter in cars and empty buildings. In order for your health condition not to become bad, drink water and do light exercise, so to say” *

(2) ok, I basically had a verb left over that I didn’t need at the end of that “so to say”?
(3) empty buildings? I couldn’t find a proper way to translate “there are no buildings” - I found ‘not owned’ in the alternative meanings, so went with empty

避難してきた人にマスクなどを届けた女性は「避難してきた人のほとんどがマスクを持っていないし、役所にも十分ありません」と言いました。
A woman delivering masks for people taking shelter said “Most of the people seeking refuge do not possess masks, there are also not enough in the government offices”

Any corrections you can provide are more than welcome, as are alternate translations…

Just realized 8日夜 is probably ‘on the night of the 8th’ rather than 8 days and nights. Makes more sense.

1 Like

建物ではなくて車の中に避難している人がたくさんいます

This means “People who are taking shelter in cars, ‘(rather than) not buildings’, are plentiful”
There is no mention of empty buildings and such.
Note: my translation is purposefully close to the literary translation of the japanese and not a “proper” translation.

There are other parts which I think you misunderstood slightly but I have not much time atm. Sorry :slightly_frowning_face: :

1 Like

This issue (being able to quickly toggle furigana) has been annoying me again, so I wrote a very small and probably buggy Tampermonkey / Greasemonkey script to put a toggle for it on the shift key - I have furigana turned off by default, so I just hold down shift when I need to see them. (I was originally using control, but this makes it easier to copy and paste to jisho.)

// ==UserScript==
// @name         漢字の読み方をつける Toggle
// @grant        none
// @namespace    org.progsoc.curious.imvr
// @version      0.1
// @description  Provides a key toggle for furigana.
// @author       curious.jp@gmail.com
// @match        https://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/easy/*
// ==/UserScript==

(function() {
  var targetButton = document.getElementsByClassName( "js-toggle-ruby" );
  var latched = false;
  if( targetButton.length > 0 ) targetButton = targetButton[ 0 ];
  else targetButton = null;
  document.addEventListener( "keydown", function( event ) {
    if( event.key == "Shift" && targetButton != null && latched == false ) {
      latched = true;
      targetButton.click();
    }
  });
  document.addEventListener( "keyup", function( event ) {
    if( event.key == "Shift" && targetButton != null && latched == true ) {
      latched = false;
      targetButton.click();
    }
  });
})();

If you try this, make sure you get all of the script - there’s a scrollbar there in my browser.

3 Likes

That:s really cool! I will have to try it on my home computer.

I struggle with a headline from today:
台風たいふうごうつよかぜなどにをつけて 」

As far as I understand it translates to: Typhoon Nr. 9 “Be carefull with strong winds”.
I can translate the “typhoon Nr. 9” part and know that are strong winds (yeah, usage of the new Kanji), but unfortunately I don´t understand the rest of the sentence. I know, that を shows the direct object and つけて is probably a verb in the te-form. But I can´t figure out the rest. I would appreciate help and explanation, thanks!

The whole thing is somewhat like a set expression: https://jisho.org/search/気を付ける meaning “to be careful”.
This is then conjugated in て-form like you suspected. It’s really an abbreviation of 気をつけてください (“please be careful”) but it’s shortened because it’s a headline.

2 Likes

Thanks, that is very helpful! Then に is the particle towards what you should be careful. What about the など-part?

1 Like

It basically means “etc.” Because strong winds are not the only possible thing that can hurt you in a typhoon, but they’re not going to list everything.

2 Likes

Ah, I understand. Thanks :slight_smile: