Week 2: 佐賀のがばいばあちゃん 👵🏼

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佐賀のがばいばあちゃん :older_woman:t3: Home Thread

Week 2


Start Date: April 9th
Previous Part: Week 1
Next Part: Week 3


Week Start Date Chapter Page Count
Week 2 April 9th Chapter 2 19

Discussion Rules

  • Please use spoiler tags for major events in the current chapter(s) and any content in future chapters.
  • When asking for help, please mention the chapter and page number. Also mention what version of the book you are reading.
  • Don’t be afraid of asking questions, even if they seem embarrassing at first. All of us are here to learn.
  • To you lurkers out there: Join the conversation, it’s fun! :durtle:


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I like the grandmother’s idea to make money by collecting metals. This reminds me of the ‘ramasse-boules’ (ball pick-up tool) in the pétanque game.


I also like grandmother’s ‘supermarket’ in the river and her prediction about the second shoe (coming soon …).


So I just started this weeks reading. A bit sad that other people don’t feel like writing anything in here. So I’ll try to start something up!

The beginning was pretty slow. Much vocabulary I have to learn
わびしい、茅葺き、ススキ all are used to set a scene so I felt I had to look them up.
The description of the house is pretty eerie, I like that. Nice language to learn something from.

One question that left me puzzled is the: 行き交う人もない
I seriously would expect an いない here. What’s up with that? Miss on the authors side?

EDIT: I know nobody seems to have read my post but I have another of those
Shouldn’t that also be いる. Since it’s the human who is in an extreme situation… or am I confusing something fundamental at the moment?


I enjoyed reading this chapter. The ominous approach to the witch’s house was funny, given what we know. ばあちゃん seems to live in perfect harmony with her environment, making clever use of its resources. Loved both the magnet and the river supermarket. Looks to me like the mother made the right decision (even if the implementation was lacking) - it seems like a great place for a growing child.

I’ll post my attempts to decipher what ばあちゃん says later - it’s a relief that the narrator doesn’t understand much either. :sweat_smile:

Meanwhile, I was inspired to look up what was described, so enjoy some pictures

of ススキ:

and of someone using a 火吹き竹 in a かまど:


We’re all reading at our own pace.

I think it’s just dropping the い like is often done with ている->てる, etc. Possibly colloquial.

It could be that 時 (and not 人間) is being modified by ある . “Times (that exist) in extreme situations.”

Ooh, very pretty! I actually bought a Kamado Joe (like a big green egg) a few months ago. When I tell Japanese people about it, they always say, “oh, you mean a 七輪 !” but it’s actually based off of かまど.


I like the clever little tricks that ばあちゃん has come up with to deal with war and poverty. It amazes me how people are able to find ways to survive and be happy during difficult circumstances. I’ve been going back and forth on the preachy aspect that was brought up last week. I’m afraid there’s an underlying message of, “see, if she can do it, anyone can,” but not everyone is そんなにがばい… I think I’ll reserve my judgement for the moment, though.


Reverse engineering dialect is hard! (especially when my foundation in the standard language is not that solid to begin with…) But I’ll give it a try. I mostly used Wikipedia (English and Japanese) for reference. If anyone knows a more accessible and complete source than the Japanese Wikipedia (so hard to read!) please let me know.


I-adjectives have their “い” (I)s replaced with “か” (ka)s.


Given the above, the “standard” sentence might be:
寂しい だろうけど、おばあちゃんとがんばろうね。


According to this, this is kansai-ben for ついてきなさい (come with me).




The continuative conjugation “~ている” (teiru)becomes “とっ”.

According to the above, the sentence might be (with some creativity on my part):
明日から、昭広がごはんを炊く からよく(?)見て おき(?)なさい

I may try to butcheranalyse some more sentences later, not sure. Meanwhile, let me know if any of the above is utterly wrong, as it well may be. :slight_smile:


Just for some help it comes from ついておいで
The rest fits with my “analysis” as well ^^


More dialog deciphering! I’ll try and mostly go by instinct this time, the process of looking up dialect “rules” is draining, and apparently often misleading too.


This is said by the aunt. けん in Saga dialect is supposed to be used in place of から, but I’m not sure in this case.


I tend to think it’s more:

What do you guys think?


I-adjectives’ continuative form’s “く” (ku) becomes a modifying “う” (u) that elongates and possibly changes the vowel of the character before it.

Would よう be よく? Is よく来た a valid phrasing? If so, it might be:




Would that be…
with やってみ being やってみる and どれ in the “well/now/come on” sense?


the “ない” adjective itself becomes “なか” (naka)

The explanatory “の” is replaced by “と” (to)

So that would be:
(“Just walking would be a waste” :joy:)


The sentence-ending particle “よ” (yo) becomes “ばい” (bai) or “たい” (tai).

もうかる might be 儲かる (to make a profit).



I think this is just a straightforward すっか → するか



As above, this would be:
モミガラの中に、手を入れてみなさい, or more simply, 手を入れてみてください

With 勘定もせんでよか、I’m really not sure what せんでよ might be.


And here is a picture of 城鯱の門 in 佐賀 (which is not a ‘sardine gate’ as google translates) - a 鯱 is a carp’s body with a lion’s head:

EDIT: oops - this occurs in next week’s reading


It looks awesome, thanks!
I was confused though, because I didn’t remember it in what I read so far. A quick search revealed that it’s mentioned early in chapter 3. :slight_smile:

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せん is the negation of する. It’s the same in Kansai-ben I think. よか is いい/よい; for adjectives, the last い turns into か, as you said.
せんでよか: しなくていい

I actually think that お腹、すいとらんか is the negation すいていないの?, but it doesn’t really change the meaning, anyway. :smiley:


Ah, thanks, this makes sense! And to think I was already aware of the い → か thing, but I was sure it was the question か so I didn’t even consider the possibility in this case.

And I’m sure you’re perfectly right on the negation too. While it did look negative to me, I couldn’t make it fit for some reason… :slight_smile:


Still enjoying the book! I love at the tail-end when he says that he was already poor in Hiroshima, but now he’s levelled-up to impoverished and (just when you think it’s gonna get serious again) he adds how within that circumstance there were so many unique and fun days ahead of him. It makes me hopeful we’re in for some laughs in the next chapter!

I LOVE Grandma’s personality. And I equally love @omk3 ‘s translations of what she’s saying into 関東弁. I was curious about how to break it all down, and you’ve given me a much better idea of how to.

Thinking story-wise, it was really charming to hear how much focus he put into maintaining the heat for rice, and then later funny how badly he had messed up the cooking. I feel like this highlighted just how little he was at the time.

:question: Does anyone know where the ド in ド貧乏 comes from??


It perplexed me too, then I decided it was probably part of ワンランク上のド, so basically 度?
Not sure at all though. Jisho has a that is used as a prefix and means things like totally, very much, cursed, so I’m thinking it could be that one. Funnily enough, it’s sometimes written as 度 too.


Sorry, I should have been more clear! When I researched I found that ド貧乏 is a category of 貧乏, where you can’t even afford basic life needs, like toilet paper or food. Not just “poor” but “impoverished”.

…But the original meaning of ド in this context still escapes me! Maybe it is 度, as in a(n extreme) degree of being poor? Or even 泥, like the English expression “dirt poor”?


You will sometimes find ド as a prefex before words with more less the same meaning as 超, it just doesn’t happen as often. Often with a negative meaning/implication, though ド also has a somewhat playful and definitely extremely colloquial sound.

Some other examples:
ド田舎 (the sticks)
ドスケベ (total pervert)
ドあほ (total idiot)


I asked a native speaker about this stuff. He lives in Kumamoto which is next door to Saga. His answers for the most part confirm what @omk3 and @Myria were saying.

Here’s his reply:
I think I can understand all these expressions.
It’s a piece of cake!


Time to call it a day, right?




さあ、やってみてください。 さあ、やってみなさい。











Hope it helps


That’s awesome, a native’s input is always appreciated, thank you :smiley:
I’m very pleased I seem to have gotten most of them right.
Also, interesting how he made them all polite, with ます form and even a ごらん in there. I wonder if that somehow comes out from the original sentences or whether it was just a safer choice given the they were out of context (or even a safer choice for learners to understand)?


Yeah, I think he made them polite form because he didn’t know the context. Since most of these sentences are being spoken by grandma to grandson, I doubt she would be speaking polite form to him.


Wow, I could finally catch up (I skipped the prologue though). So far, I really like this book and it’s much easier than I thought. Obviously, I need to look up words and I am very slow to read but I thought it would be worse. The first chapter was quite difficult for me though, it was hard to get into it. But starting the second one, it became a pleasure to read everyday. I had to stop myself reading because it was too late or I had other things to do. I hope I can keep the pace because I also need time to study N2.
Anyway, back on chapter 2, I think we have a lot to look forward to !

Chapter 2

I already love the grandma. I like how she makes poverty sounds fun. I can imagine how difficult it is for a young boy to be forced to find food into the river and get what others don’t want and throw away. But the grandma makes it look fun saying it’s home delivery for free. She is very positive and I understand why the mother sent her son there. Hopefully our little boy will cheer up soon :blush: