Week 2 - Stories of the Japanese Prefectures (Absolute Beginner Book Club)

This is one of the tricky things about the lack of kanji - it’s not 一つ+ぶ but rather 一粒.


Hmm, could it be that the Akita subtitle, “なまはげは、こわい?” means “Are you afraid of the Namahage?”? Makes more sense to me than “are they scary?”

Yamagata translation

Yamagata Prefecture

Beloved cherries

Yamagata prefecture is the kingdom of fruit.
Especially the popular cherries that are harvested at the beginning of summer.

In the Meiji period, cherries originally were fruits that came from foreign countries.
In the beginning, they were cultivated throughout Japan, but in Yamagata prefecture, where there was little frost or typhoon damage, they came to grow well.

Cherry cultivation takes a surprising amount of work.
Every single red, shining jewel-like fruit is packed with the farmer’s toil.

The repetition of 一つぶ一つぶ in the last line threw me a bit, but I figured it meant either “every single” or “each and every” in this context.


The latter actually makes more since to me, but it’s simple enough that it could mean what you’re saying. They’re not actually so different.

I think it’s more like “one by one”. 一つ一つ in Jisho means “one by one”. Here the つぶ is 粒, the counter for small round things. So 一粒一粒 is “one by one” or “one small round thing at a time”.

Week 3 thread!


:cherries:・ だいすきさくらんぼ・Much loved cherries:cherry_blossom:
After reading this passage, I did some research and found that Yamagata produces 70% of Japan’s cherries. In June, during cherry season, one can participate in all-you-can-eat cherry picking sessions. I’m so excited to try it one day, as it combines my love for Japan, cherries and gardening.
Below is my translation


Fruit kingdom of Yamagata prefecture.


One of the most popular fruits, cherry, is harvested in the beginning of summer.
Particularly, as for popular cherries, in the beginning of summer are harvested.

  • しゅうかくされます: しゅうかく (harvest) + されます (polite passive for of する → される → されうます)


As for cherry, it’s a fruit that originally came along from abroad in Meiji Period.


As for beginning, all over Japan was cultivated, but in Yamagata ken where frost and typhoon damage are few, reached the point of growing well.

  • ようになる - reach the point where~, come to~


Cultivation of cherries takes surpising amount of labour.


One-by-one … red fruit looking like a shining jewel, farmers’ labour … is packed with?

  • ような is a “connective” form of ようだ - look as if; appear; seem

:question: What’s the word-by-word translation of this, how does つまる fit in here?


Better a little late than never!

Fukushima translation

Fukushima Prefecture

The secret of the five-colored lakes

In the naturally-beautiful Fukushima prefecture’s region called “Urabadai” there are several lakes.
There are tinged red “Akanuma (Red Lake)”, bluish-white shining “Aonuma (Blue Lake)”, and “Rurinuma (Lapis Lazuli Lake?)” whose water color changes depending on where you look, among others.
These lakes altogether are called “Goshikinuma (Five-colored Lakes)”.

How were the Five-colored Lakes made?
The answer is the volcanic eruption of Mount Bandai.
It is said that because of the eruption the mountain crumbled, mud dammed up the river, and water collected in the basin.
To think that beautiful lakes are made because of a volcanic eruption is incredible, isn’t it?

To clarify, would the the phrases ending in stem-form verbs in the second-to-last sentence just be listing out events? Like saying “… and … and …” ? I’m more familiar with the te-form being used in this way.


Page 12

I got the general sense of this one but not 100% sure of the translation. Perhaps: Each shining, jewel-like red fruit is packed with the farmer’s labour - or - Each shining, jewel-like red fruit is picked one by one; it’s lots of effort for the farmer.

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I think you were actually quite close. I took the phrase to mean that the cherries were “filled with the farmers’ effort/hard work”, sort of like a lunch made by your mom would be “filled with love”, to use an example.


That’s right, in spoken language the て-form is often used as a connective, but in written form it’s common to see the verb stem used instead.


This looks like an AにBがつまる phrase, but I don’t know what につまる means.

It’s つまる not つかる.

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Thank you, I fixed the typo.

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Hello everyone. I’m trying to catch up after missing a few weeks due to vacations. I just finished reading and translating the Miyagi Prefecture section.

My translation: 宮城県, page 10

Delicious hitomebore rice

Around the middle of Miyagi Prefecture, tranquil land spreads wide, and rice cultivation flourishes.

“Hitomebore,” cultivated here in great numbers, is one of the rice varieties born in Miyagi Prefecture.

“With just one look, you’ll fall in love.” They say that’s what’s meant by “Hitomebore.”

With just one bite, “Delicious!” you’ll say, and you’ll want to love it.

Maybe the rice is made with that kind of desire in mind.

I felt okay about most of this, but there were two parts that gave me trouble.

Translation Questions: Sentence 4, page 10

The first was the end of sentence four: すきになってほしい. I think I understand all the component parts:
すき (好き): like, な-adjective
に: Particle, goes with なって
なって: become, て form of なる
ほしい: want, when paired with なって it means “want to become”?

But when I put it all together it’s hard for me to make something that works in English. You’ll want it to become your favorite? You’ll want to like it? I read the other translations in the thread but I would love some more insight!

Translation Questions: Sentence 5, page 10


I had a lot of trouble with this one and had to look at everyone else’s translations to get any sense out of it. So I thought breaking it down would be helpful. And it was! But I want to know if my breakdown is accurate, or if I’ve just made it fit to what the other translations said.

そんな: That sort of, that kind of, adjective
ねがい: Desire, noun
を: Object particle
こめて: To put into, て form of こめる (込める)
作られている: to be made, passive (られ) + state changed (?) (ている) form of 作る

So far, we have “Be made with that kind of desire put [into it].” I think. Is all of the above modifying お米?

Moving on:
お米: Rice, noun
なの: Described in thread; の is an explanatory particle, and it requires な if it comes after a noun (thanks @Micki !)
かもしれません: Might be, set phrase (jisho)
ね: Particle

Put it all together and I get, roughly:

It might be rice made with that kind of desire put into it.

But that sounds a little awkward in English, so I changed it to “Maybe the rice is made with that kind of desire in mind.”

Does that seem about right, or did I just strong-arm my way through it and wind up with something passable based on vocabulary alone?

Okay, now it will be on to page 11!

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Here といういみ just means “means” here (confusing sentence there), so “hitomebore means love at first sight”

Afaik, this is exactly it


One way to look at it would be two consecutive actions joined by a verb in te-form. So this would be: with just one bite you’ll fall in love with it and desire it, saying “delicious!”

But it might be that the ほしい just emphasises the 好きになる rather than being a separate action, and a natural translation would probably be: with just one bite you’ll fall in love with it, saying “delicious!”

When you see the ~て form of a verb + ほしい , it usually means that somebody else desires someone to do the action of the verb. That is, the person doing the desiring is not the same as the person doing the verb.

In this case, it is the producers of the rice that want you to fall in love with it after just one bite.

This is consistent with the sentence that follows immediately after it:

Maybe it is rice made with that sort of wish in mind.

That is, 「そんなねがい」is referring to the「ほしい」of the preceding sentence.


That makes much more sense thanks!


All right, I finished the last set of stories!

Translation: Page 11, 秋田県

Akita Prefecture

Namahage, scary?

It’s new year’s eve.

“Isn’t that a crying child!?”

Demons began entering houses while brandishing wooden carving knives.

In the people’s houses, they serve sake and entertain the demons.

And then, the demons went on towards the next house.

The villagers call this disguised demon “Namahage.”

Idleness, fighting.

“Namahage” warns against those things.

“Namahage” has a scary posture, but he brings everyone happiness. He’s a messenger of the god of the mountain.

Notes about Page 11

I don’t think I had much trouble with this one. There was a slip-up in the sentence about the disguised demon–I had trouble deciding whether they meant the demon was wearing the disguise, or the demon was the disguise. I read up about Namahage and had fun looking up pictures of the Namahage costumes, but now I feel weird about how I translated that sentience.

Also, wikipedia translates the なぐごはいねが they say as “Are there any crybabies around?” I like that a lot, but I’m leaving how I translated it myself in for posterity.

Translation: Page 12, 山形県

Yamagata Prefecture

Beloved Cherries

Yamagata is the fruit kingdom.

In particular, the popular cherries are harvested at the beginning of summer.

Cherries originally arrived from foreign countries during the Meiji period.

In the beginning, the cherries were being cultivated all over Japan, but in Yamagata prefecture there was only a little damage from frost and typhoons, so they came to grow well there.

A remarkable amount of work goes into the cultivation of cherries.

The farmers’ hardship is packed into each and every red fruit, which shine like gemstones.

Notes on Page 12

The last sentence gave me a lot of trouble. I see others had problems with it as well, and I think I have reached the same conclusion as many of you here. How I arrived there was, when I looked at sample sentences for 詰まる (つまる) there were a few that used に to indicate where something was stuck/packed in. So I thought maybe the trouble of the farmers is being packed into each and every (一つぶ一つぶ) cherry, and now I see others have come to that conclusion as well.

Translation: Page 13, 福島県

Fukushima Prefecture

Secret of the five-color ponds

In the land called “Urabandai,” with its lovely nature, there are several ponds.

There is the red-tinged “Akanuma,” the pale blue-glowing “Aonuma,” and the “Rurinuma,” whose water color changes based on where you look.

All of these ponds together are called “Goshikinuma.”

How did the Goshikinuma come to be?

The answer is, Mount Bandai’s eruption.

It’s said that because of the eruption, the mountain collapsed, mud clogged the river, and the water collected in the basin.

Isn’t it incredible that the mountain’s eruption caused the beautiful ponds to come to exist?

Notes on Page 13

This one felt way easier than the other two I read and translated today! Maybe it’s because I had just done the other two and was in the right mindset. There were two places I ran into trouble.

In the first sentence, I felt like the phrase しぜんがうつくしい福島県の「うらばんだい」とよばれる地いきには was really unwieldy, and still don’t know what しぜん is doing there grammatically speaking. It seems like しぜんがうつくしい is its own little phrase, but it could be that うつくしい福島県 is its own thing and しぜん is part of…something else. In the end, I grouped しぜんがうつくしい together.

The other place I had trouble was in the second sentence, みる場所によって水の色がかわる「るりぬま」など. The によって construction was new to me and I had a lot of trouble wrapping my head around what it was doing (but I’m glad I did because it appeared two more times in this passage!). I was thinking “Because of the…looking place…water color change…what is this???” But eventually it did come together. I hope that my confusion solidifies the construction in my memory so I’ll recognize it next time!

I am glad I got these done! Looking forward to doing week 3 over the next few days and catching up with everyone.