Week 10 - Stories of the Japanese Prefectures (Absolute Beginners Book Club)

都道府県のおはなし 低学年 - Stories of the Japanese Prefectures :jp:

Week 10 - Pages 42-45

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I looked up a bit more about Nanko plums.

Here’s my reference for the fish/shellfish in Lake Shinji. In particular I think Jisho is misleading for あまさぎ which it translates as an egret (type of bird). I think the text is actually referring to something often called ワカサギ in Japanese, which is a type of silvery fish.

Full lyrics for the Momotaro song - including a translation of the line quotes in our passage:


Thanks for the additional info, those were all sections I was having trouble with! I’m still a little unsure about these, but here are some attempts at translations:

Wakayama Prefecture:


和歌山県 ― うめ~、うめ
Wakayama Prefecture – Tasty plums

Popular as an onigiri ingredient, umeboshi. It’s sour but, when you eat it you will be in good health, right?

In Wakayama Prefecture, the production of ume plums is thriving. The exposure to the sun is good, and the soil is good for drainage?, so the ume plums grow well. In particular, a large variety of ume was discovered, and it was called “nanko ume” as a result of the Wakayama Prefectural Minabe Senior High School becoming the center of production. Nanko ume are famous around the country as a delicious, high quality ume plum.

Tottori Prefecture:


鳥取県 ― さきゅうって、なに?
Tottori Prefecture – What are sand dunes?

Along the sea of Tottori City, the sand dunes are vast. This is not due to humans transporting sand to build it. It was made over a period of long months and years by the forces of nature.

At the sand dunes, produced by winds called “fuumon,” patterns in the sand can be seen. And, there is also an oasis where water gushes out from underground.

In the vicinity of the sand dunes, irrigation has advanced?, and the cultivation of Japanese leeks is thriving.

Shimane Prefecture:


島根県 ― 宍道湖のしじみ
Shimane Prefecture – the basket clams of Lake Shinji

Shimane Prefecture’s Lake Shinji is a famous lake for harvesting many basket clams. Basket clams are well-balanced in including nutrients that are necessary for the human body. When you are a bit tired and you eat miso soup with basket clams, you will become energetic.

At Lake Shinji there are also things like Japanese sea perch, whitebait, carp, eel, moroge shrimp, and amasagi fish that can be caught.

And, because the setting sun that can be seen from Lake Shinji is very pretty, many tourists visit.

Okayama Prefecture:


岡山県 ― ももたろうと、きびだんご
Okayama Prefecture – Momotaro and Millet Dumplings

Do you know the folktale of “Momotaro”? The story of “Momotaro” is passed down in Japan’s many regions. Especially, the story passed down in Okayama Prefecture is famous.

In Okayama Prefecture, the model for Momotaro is said to be Kibitsuhiko-no-mikoto, who is deified at the Kibitsu Shrine, and the fort said to be built and inhabited by oni, Ki-no-jou, of which there are ruins.

And as for the millet dumplings, of which is sung, “You have dumplings in the pouch at your waist, Please give me one”, it is a familiar/well-known specialty of Okayama Prefecture.


*Kibitsuhiko-no-mikoto…. Even in the Kojiki, the oldest historical record of Japan, there is an introduction of him as a person of legend/myth.

Wakayama-prefecture translation

Plum~, plum

Popular even as an ingredient of onigiri, the Umeboshi. It’s sour, but it’s healthy (lit.: if you eat it, you will be in good health).
In the Wakayama-prefecture, the production of Ume flourishes (yay). Because there is a lot of sunlight and the water supply is good, the ume grow well. In particular, a large variant was discovered and named “Nanko ume” after the Minabe High School in the Wakayame-prefecture, as it became the center of its production (doesn’t make much sense in English, huh). The Nanko ume became famous all across the country as luxurious and delicious ume.

❶ In what area do the ume grow well? Fill in the blanks!
❷ What’s the name of the ume, the Minabe High School in the Wakayama-prefecture is the center of production of? Write in the four characters!

Tottori-prefecture translation

What are sand dunes?

Sand dunes spread across the coast of Tottori city. These are not made by humans carrying sand. It was made by the force of nature over many months and years. On the dunes sand patterns can be seen, created by the wind called “fuumon”. Also, there are also Oasises where the water gushes forth from beneath the surface. Around the dunes, irrigation has been developed, and the production of Japanese leek flourishes (yay).

❶ What is it called, when from beneath the dunes, water gushes forth?
ア Fuumon
イ Oasis
❷ Around the dunes, what is being grown (lit.: what’s flourishing growth is being performed)?

Fuumon is actually what the pattern itself is called [link], the sentence says "produced-by-wind called-fuumon patterns, both the 風によって作り出される and 「ふうもん」という parts describe the patterns

It’s probably the “to develop” meaning of すすめる

Shimane-prefecture translation

The clam of Lake Shinji

Lake Shinji of the Shimane-prefecture is a lake famous for the large amount of Shijimi clams caught there.
In Shijimi clams, there’s a good balance of nutrients necessary for the human body. When you feel tired or similar, if you eat some Shijimi clam miso soup, you’ll feel great.
Besides that, in Lake Shinji you can also catch see perch, icefish, koi, unagi, morogeebi and cattle egret besides others.
Also, because the setting sun is so beautiful at Lake Shinji, there are many tourists visiting it.

❶ What’s the shellfish, that there’s a lot of at Lake Shinji?
❷ Why do many tourists visit Lake Shinji? Fill in the blank!

Okayama-prefecture translation

Momotaro and Kibi dango

Do you know “Momotaro” from the old tales? The story of “Momotaro” spead accross many lands of Japan. Among these, the stories of the Okayama-prefecture are the most famous
It is said that Kibitsuhiko-no-mikoto, who has the Kibitsu shrine in Okayama dedicated to him is the model for Momotaro, and also, that the Onino castle ruins in Okayama is where demons built a fort and lived.
Also, the Kibi dango from the song “You have Kibi dango in the pouch at your waist, give me one” is a specialty of Okayama, very well liked by people.

❶ Which sentence is right about the tales of “Momotaro”? Circle the right one
ア It’s told all accross Japan
イ It’s only told in the Okayama-prefecture
❷ What’s the sweet, that’s even mentioned in a song, and a specialty of Okayama, very well liked by people.

Kinojo is the name of the castle [link], it’s the castle that was said to be built and inhabited by oni (reading it again, you might have said the same thing, only with an awkward sentence order)


Thanks, I think the commas were throwing me off on the first one. And yes, that’s basically what I intended regarding Kinojo, although that sentence was confusing to me for other reasons because I didn’t really get how the whole thing was supposed to be connected. Looking at it again, I’m wondering if this might be a better translation over my first attempt: In Okayama Prefecture, there are things like the Kibitsu Shrine, where Kibitsuhiko-no-mikoto, who is said to be the model for Momotaro, is deified, as well as the ruins of Kinojo, the fort said to be built and inhabited by oni.


Just bought the book earlier Today :sweat_smile:

Wakayama Prefecture

Pickled plum that’s popular as an ingredient(?) of onigiri.
Even though it’s sour, it’s energizing once you eat it.

In Wakayama prefecture, plum production is thriving.
Plum grows well because of plenty of sunlight and fertile soil.
Among the plums, a variant with large fruit was discovered by Wakayama prefecture’s “minabekoutougakkou” that focuses on plum production. This variant is named “nankou plum”
Nankou plum is famous nationwide for its high quality and delicious taste.

That… has been a lot of words and kanji that I didn’t know. The sentence with the high school name is pretty long and I’m not sure if I missed any nuances. Happy to see if I missed/mis-translated anything. Will probably post the rest tomorrow.



Welcome good to have you here! Thanks for sharing your translations. You picked a trickier passage to come in on, although the Okayama one this week is even harder… :grimacing:

I don’t know if you spotted that “minabekoutougakkou“ is Minabe High School. Also I just spotted that 中心となる has a specific meaning as an expression - to play a central role; to take a leading part.


Thanks for adding that note about the expression 中心となる! When I first read that sentence in the Wakayama section about the 南部高等学校, I didn’t understand what was being said about it (“became the center/heart”??).

That article you linked to really helped fill in the details - that’s a cool story about the high school horticulture teacher Takenaka Katsutaro and his students’ research. I wish my high school science classes would have been as interesting (and useful) as that.

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Here’s the rest!

Tottori Prefecture

What is sand dune?

Tottori city’s coast is a vast sand dune.
These sand dunes are not created by humans transporting sand,
but rather by the power of nature over a long period of time.

In the sand dunes, sand motif called fuumon (wind gate) created by strong winds can be seen.
Aside from that, water surfacing from beneath the ground called oasis is also present.

Around the sand dunes, the land is moist and leek cultivation is thriving.

Shimane Prefecture

Lake Shinji’s Shijimi (Basket clam)

Because of the abundance of Basket clam, Shimano Prefecture’s Lake Shinji is famous.

Basket clams has contains balanced nutrition that’s needed by the human body.
When you’re a little tired, drinking Basket clam miso soup will energize you

In Lake Shinji, other creatures like tree sparrow, ice fish, koi fish, moroge prawn, and cattle egret can be found.

Also, the very beautiful sunset that can be seen from Lake Shinji draws many sightseeing visitors.

Okayama Prefecture

Momotarou and Kibidango

Do you know of an old tale Momotarou? The tale of Momotarou is told in many places in Japan.
Among those, the one told in Okayama prefecture is famous.

In Okayama prefecture, old writing where Momotarou’s model is told is enshrined at Kibitsu Temple. A fortress build by Goblin, Kinojo Castle ruins is also there.

Kibidango from the sung “I want one of those kibidango attached to your hips, please” is a specialty of Okayama.

For人間お体にひつようなえいようが、バランスよく含まれています in Shimane Prefecture’s text, can I say it also translates to balanced nutritional value?

That Okayama text was indeed more difficult, I was spinning on trying to make sense what’s being said about the bird when actually what the text is saying is which is fortress :joy:

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Here it’s important to mention, that 中でも says “out of these, … is the most…” so this is “Among these, the one told in Okayama is the most famous”

I don’t think “balanced nutritional value” is a valid phrase in English, rather “it contains a good balance of nutritions needed by the human body”.


I’m still translating!!

But I used to live in Tottori in 2006-2008 (県, not 市) so here’s some snaps of the sand dunes for you:


I only went there once because I lived on the other side of the prefecture, so it wasn’t close to me at all.


Well done on getting through those. I thought the fish and shell fish on this list were tricky. It’s すずき not すずめ (no sparrow catching thankfully). The last one is a type of fish not an egret (you can see my reference for this in my earlier post). I don’t know if you’ve spotted the vocab sheet in the opening post, it has quite a good list of vocab for this week.

There’s no old writing, I think this says:

In Okayama prefecture, there is Kibitsu Shrine (where Kibitsu-hiko-no-mikoto, said to be the model for Momotaro, is enshrined) and the ruins of Kino castle, said to be a fortress built and lived in by a demon.

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I love the photos thank you! I wrote a haiku for Tottori…

Tottori sand dunes
From oasis water leaks
Dune’s edge, water leeks


Things have been happening lately so I’m starting to fall behind on the reading! I’ll try to catch up but here’s what I got so far:

Wakayama translation

Wakayama Prefecture

Tasty plums

Umeboshi is popular as an onigiri ingredient.
It is sour, but when eaten one feels energetic, right?

In Wakayama prefecture plum production is prosperous.
Because sun exposure is good and the earth has good water drainage, plums grow well.
Among these, a large variety of plum was discovered, and because Wakayama Prefectural Minabe High School played a central role in production, it was named “Nanko plum” (after the kanji?).
As high quality and delicious plums, Nanko plums are famous nationwide.

Tottori translation

Tottori Prefecture

What are sand dunes?

At the city of Tottori’s coast sand dunes spread out.
These are not something that was made by humans moving sand.
It was made by the forces of nature over a long period of months and years.

On the sand dunes sand patterns called “Fuumon”, which are produced by the wind, can be seen.
Furthermore, there are also oases where water is gushing out from underground.

Around the sand dunes irrigation* is developed, and leek production is flourishing.

*Irrigation……moistening the earth with water.

Loved those pics from @Kellamity of the sand dunes! I really like deserts for some reason, so I’d really like to visit someday.


Week 11

That was my understanding - the 南 from 南部 and the 高 from 高等学校. It’s apparently also a shout out to Takada Sadagusu (高田貞楠) who originally discovered the Nanko plum variety.

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It is rather 風紋 than 風門, see 風紋 - Jisho.org