Week 3 - Stories of the Japanese Prefectures (Absolute Beginner Book Club)

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

Week 3 - Pages 14-17

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I’ve got a question for page 14! How should this sentence be translated? 馬のえさの「にまめ」ののこりをわらにつつんでいたところ、糸を引くようになりました。

I think the first half of that should be something like As a result of covering the remnants of his horse’s “nimame” feed with straw, but I’m not so sure about the second part. I imagine it has something to do with how sticky natto is, but I can’t figure out how to phrase this in English in a way that matches the Japanese text.

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It doesn’t help that this particular meaning for 糸を引く is not in Jisho. In this situation goo can be helpful. The correct meaning is number 3 on goo: To become sticky and stringy.

So I translated as: When the remains of the horse feed “nimame” (cooked beans) were wrapped in straw, they became sticky and stringy.

The Wikipedia page for natto gives more information…

One story about the origin of nattō attributes it to the samurai Minamoto no Yoshiie(1039–1106), who was on a campaign in northeastern Japan between 1086 AD and 1088 AD. One day, his troops were attacked while boiling soybeans for their horses. They hurriedly packed up the beans, and did not open the straw bags until a few days later, by which time the beans had fermented. The soldiers ate it anyway, and liked the taste, so they offered some to Yoshiie, who also liked the taste.

6 Likes

Thanks! I’ll try to remember to check there in the future the next time I’m stuck.

Here’s my translation for page 14:

茨城県: なっとうで、元気

Ibaraki Prefecture: Healthy by (eating?) natto

茨城県の水戸市は、なっとう作りがさかんなことで有名です。

The city of Mito in Ibaraki Prefecture is famous for its flourishing production of natto.

むかし、源義家という人が、水戸にとまったときのことです。

Long ago, a person called Minamoto no Yoshiie stayed in Mito.

馬のえさの「にまめ」ののこりをわらにつつんでいたところ、糸を引くようになりました。

When the remains of his horse’s feed of cooked beans were wrapped in straw, they became sticky and stringy.

それを家来が食べてみたらおいしかったので、義家に差し上げました。

A retainer tried that (substance) and, since it was delicious, he offered it to Yoshiie.

それが、水戸でなっとうが作られたはじまりだといわれています。

And that is said to be how natto production started in Mito.

なっとうのねばねばは、人間の体にながれるけつえきを、さらさらにしてくれます。

The stickiness of natto allows blood to flow with ease in the human body.

なっとうは、とても体によい食べ物です。

Natto is a very good food for the body.

3 Likes
Ibaraki translation

茨城県
Ibaraki Prefecture

なっとうで、元気
Health by natto

茨城県の水戸市は、なっとう作りがさかんなことで有名です。
Ibaraki prefecture’s city of Mito is famous for its flourishing natto production.

むかし、源義家という人が、水戸にとまったときのことです。
Long ago, a person called Minamoto no Yoshiie stopped in/came to Mito.
馬のえさの「にまめ」ののこりをわらにつつんでいたところ、糸を引くようになりました。
When the remains of the horses’ feed of cooked beans were wrapped in straw, they came to be sticky and stringy.
それを家来が食べてみたらおいしかったので、義家にさし上げました。
When the servants tried eating that it was delicious, and they offered it to Yoshiie.
それが、水戸でなっとうが作られたはじまりだといわれています。
That is said to be the beginning of natto being made in Mito.

なっとうのねばねばは、人間の体にながれるけつえきを、さらさらにしてくれます。
Natto’s stickiness helps the blood flowing through humans’ bodies move more freely.
なっとうは、とても体によい食べものです。
Natto is a food that is very good for the body.

Those subtitles are actually rather difficult to translate, since they’re usually short phrases rather than full sentences. It always feels like I’m missing something.

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Ibaraki-prefecture translation

Ibaraki-prefecture
Natto, vitalising!

The city of Mito of the Ibaraki-prefecture is famous for it’s fermented soybeans production. Long ago, a person called Minamoto no Yoshiie was staying in Mito. When the remainder of the cooked beans from the horses’ feed was wrapped in hay, it became stringy (Thanks @Micki). When a servant tried eating it, it tasted delicious, so he offered it to Yoshiie. It is said, that this was the beggining of the fermented soybeans production in Mito.
The stickiness of the fermented soybeans makes the blood in the human body flow more easily (makes sense). Fermented soybeans are a great food for the body.

Questions:
❶ Where is the fermented soybeans production popular in the Ibaraki-prefecture? Fill in the 3 kanji.
❷ Why are fermented soybeans a great food for the body? Fill in the blanks.

Tochigi-prefecture translation

Tochigi-prefecture
The monkeys of Nikko

The one covering his eyes with both his hands, “Mizaru”, the one holding his mouth shut, “Iwazaru”, and the one covering his ears, “Kikazaru”. The sculpture of the 3 unique monkeys can be seen at the Nikko Toshugu Shrine in the Tochigi-prefecture. The Nikko Toshugu Shrine was built to honour the founder of the Edo shogunate, Tokugawa Ieyasu, it’s a big shrine.
“Mizaru, Iwazaru, Kikazaru” teaches, that people tend to see, say or hear bad things, so it’s better to not do any of that.

Questions:
:black_circle: “Mizaru”, “Iwazaru” and “Kikazaru” in the Tochigi-prefecture illustrate 3 things people shouldn’t do. What are these? Fill in the blanks.

Gunma-prefecture translation

Gunma-prefecture
Konnyaku, refreshing for the stomach

Well known from oden and various other dishes is konnyaku. There’s the saying, “Konnyaku cleanses the stomach”. It means, that Konnyaku is full of fibers, and when eating it, makes all the stuff that shouldn’t be there leave the inside of your body, and your stomach will be cleaner.
By the way, do you know, what konnyaku is made from? The answer is the konnyaku-potato*. In the Gunma-prefecture, the konnyaku-potato grows well on fields, the amount of konnyaku products exported from there is the first in Japan.

  • T/N In actuality, the part is called “Konnyaku corm”, left it as potato for the sake of the translation

Questions:
❶ From the saying, “Konnyaku cleanses your stomach”, what is found in konnyaku in great numbers?
❷ What is konnyaku made from? Fill in the blanks!

Saitama-prefecture translation

Saitama-prefecture
Popular snack (lit.: between-meal-food), soka senbei

The popular snack, senbei. Senbei is made from rice.
The city Souka of the Saitama-prefecture was a rice growing region since long ago, and because the rice from there is so tasty, it was made into soy sauce flavoured, hard baked senbei since the ancient times.
In the past there weren’t many tasty snacks available. On top of being tasty, Senbei lasts a long time, they’ve been loved as a snack by people.
Even now, there are a lot of senbei vendors in Souka.

Questions:
❶ What kind of senbei was produced since the ancient times in Souka? Fill in the blanks.
❷ What characteristic does senbei have?
ア It’s sweet
イ It’s long lasting
ウ It’s soft

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Tochigi translation

栃木県
Tochigi Prefecture

日光のおさるさん
Monkeys of Nikko

両手で目をかくしている「見ざる」、口をふさいでいる「言わざる」、耳をふさいでいる「聞かざる」。
“Mizaru (See no evil)”, with both hands hiding its eyes, “Iwazaru (Speak no evil)”, covering its mouth, and “Kikazaru (Hear no evil)”, covering its ears.
ユニークな三びきのおさるさんのちょうこくは、栃木県の日光東照宮で見ることができます。
You can see the statues of three unique monkeys at Tochigi prefecture’s Nikko Toshogu shrine.
日光東照宮は、江戸ばくふをひらいた徳川家康をまつるためにたてられた、大きな神社です。
Nikko Toshogu is a large Shinto shrine built to enshrine Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Edo shogunate.

「見ざる、言わざる、聞かざる」とは、「人間はわるいことを見たり、言ったり、聞いたりしがちだが、それらはしないほうがよい」という教えです。
“See no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil” means “Humans are prone to see, say, and hear bad things, but it is better not to do those.”

Toshogu shrine looks like a cool place to visit someday! Toshogu Shrine - Nikko Travel

4 Likes

This week’s update: Really enjoying reading this but having a hard time deciding if I find this harder or easier than Mitusboshi Colors was because of the complete and utter lack of furigana means I can’t recognize even basic words at times. And sometimes even using Jisho can’t find hiragana only.

I guess this is a good first-hand experience to why kanji is so needed!

2 Likes

Most of the time that happens, you have 2 really powerful tools you can use.
Ichi moe, it helps you break down sentences in case what’s difficult is locating the word boundaries, and the second one is the “usually written kana only” note next to some entries. General rule of thumb, most homonyms only have one of them being “usually kana only”, and if you find that word in hiragana, it’ll most likely be that word. If I’m not wrong about this, ichi.moe takes this into consideration somewhat when giving you options.

Also, since this is a book for first graders or so, you can most likely bet that the more common word is what you have in front of you.

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I visited there during my trip in 2019 (here’s mah blog post about it) (the first thing mentioned in this book that I’ve actually done - I’ve visited Yamagata, Iwate and Saitama, but didn’t do or visit the things mentioned). And also Oku-Nikko (Japan Guide, blog) and Kanmangafuchi (Japan Guide, blog). By pure coincidence, I happened to arrive on the first day of Tosho-gu’s two-day autumn festival. I considered sticking around for the second day too, but I was primarily in Nikko to go see the autumn colours in Oku-Nikko (but tragically, they were late that year, so I didn’t quite get the full effect).

Here’s my photo of the monkeys. :slightly_smiling_face:

Side note, one thing this article fails to mention is that the monkeys are monkeys because ~ざる is an archaic negative verb ending, and it also just happens to be a homophone for a rendaku’d 猿. So the names came first, and the monkeys came later. Also, they’re sometimes accompanied by a fourth monkey folding his arms - しざる, do-no-evil.

Edit: Heh, just noticed on reading the answers page that the “Advice” section does touch on this.

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I’m also struggling with this book, even with the vocab and jisho. Often the quotes throw me off. And of course it’s hard to put the whole sentence together when the verbs are at the end. I still am amazed that children in grades 1-3 in Japan can understand words like “founded”, “to deify”, “prone to”, Edo Shogunate, etc. But thanks to the posted translations, I think it’s starting to get easier to make the words into sentences.

1 Like

Dang, this week’s reading is making me hungry!

I miss oden :oden:. And just discovered the oden emoji :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:. Konnyaku is my favorite part.

And I’m probably the only person in a 50 mile radius that likes natto. Sadly, it’s a long drive from where I am to get both of these.

I’m really enjoying this book, so whoever suggested it, ありがとうございます😊

4 Likes

A little early this week:

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Here is mine (I was also there in 2019):

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Late again, but getting these out there:

Gunma translation

群馬県
Gunma Prefecture

こんにゃくで、おなかすっきり
Refreshing stomach with konnyaku

おでんなどでおなじみの、こんにゃく。
Konnyaku is familiar in dishes like oden.
「こんにゃくは、おなかのすなおろし」という言葉があります。
There’s an expression that “konnyaku cleans out the gunk from the stomach”.
こんにゃくには食物せんいが多くふくまれているので、食べると体の中のいらないものが外に出され、おなかの中がきれいになる、といういみです。
It means that konnyaku is composed of a lot of dietary fiber, so if eaten, unwanted things inside the body are taken out and the inside of the stomach becomes clean.

ところで、こんにゃくは何から作られるか知っていますか。
By the way, do you know what konnyaku is made from?
答えは、こんにゃくいもです。
The answer is the konnyaku tuber.
群馬県では、はたけでこんにゃくいものさいばいがさかんで、こんにゃくの生さんりょうも、日本一です。
In Gunma prefecture, konnyaku tuber cultivation is widespread in the fields, and production output of konnyaku is also number one in Japan.

Saitama translation

埼玉県
Saitama Prefecture

人気のおやつ、草加せんべい
Soka crackers, the popular snack

おやつに人気のせんべい。
Senbei are popular as a snack.
せんべいは、お米から作られます。
The crackers are made from rice.

埼玉県の草加市は、むかしから米どころといわれ、おいしいお米がとれることから、しょうゆあじのかたやきせんべいが、古くから作られてきました。
Saitama prefecture’s city of Soka is said to be a rice-producing region from long ago, and because delicious rice is harvested there, soy sauce flavored, hard-baked senbei has been made continuously since old times.

むかしは、おいしいおやつがあまりありませんでした。
Long ago, there weren’t many delicious snacks.
せんべいは、おいしいうえに、長もちするので、おやつとして人びとにあいされてきたのです。
Senbei is not only delicious but also lasts long, and started to be loved as a snack by everybody.
今でも草加市には、せんべいやさんがたくさんあります。
Even now in Soka there are lots of senbei shops.

A couple monster sentences in these, but hopefully what I came up with makes sense.

2 Likes
Page 14 Translation: 茨城県, Ibaraki Prefecture

茨城県
Ibaraki Prefecture

なっとうで、元気
Healthy Natto

茨城県の水戸市は、なっとう作りがさかんなことで有名です。
The city of Mito in Ibaraki is famous for widespread natto production.

むかし、源義家という人が、水戸にとまったときのことです。
Long ago, something happened when a person called Minamoto no Yoshiie stopped in Mito.

馬のえさの「にまめ」ののこりをわらにつつんでいたところ、糸を引くようになりました。
When he wrapped the leftovers of his horse’s food of “nimame” in straw, it became sticky and stringy.

それを家来が食べてみたらおいしかったので、義家にさし上げました。
A servant tried eating some of it, and it was delicious, so he offered some to Yoshiie.

それが、水戸でなっとうが作られたはじまりだと言われています。
It is said that this began the production of natto in Mito.

なっとうのねばねばは、人間の体にながれるけつえきを、さらさらにしてくれます。
Natto’s stickiness gives a smooth flow to the blood coursing through the body.

なっとうは、とても体によい食べ物です。
Natto is a very healthy food for the body.

Page 14 Notes

A couple of things gave me trouble here. こと popped up a lot, and although I (thought I) understood its general function as a nominalizer, I was less familiar with what to do with it when it came after adjectives or nouns (and other intricacies of its usage).

For example, in sentence 1, this resource suggests that ことで is not only nominalizing but offering a reason (famous for…), which was a new construction for me.

Then in sentence 2, 水戸にとまったときのことです had me stumped for a long time. I think I would have gotten it faster if とき had been 時. But eventually I found some resources that helped me understand that ときのことです tells us we’re not just talking about the time Minamoto no Yoshiie stopped in Mito, but about things that happened when he stopped.

Page 15 Translation: 栃木県, Tochigi Prefecture

栃木県
Tochigi Prefecture

日光のおさるさん
The Monkeys of Nikko

両手で目をかくしている「見ざる」、口をふさいでいる「言わざる」、耳をふさいでいる「聞かざる」。
One covering his eyes with both of his hands: “Mizaru [See no evil].” One covering his mouth: “Iwazaru [Speak no evil].” One covering his ears: “Kikazaru [Hear no evil].”

ユニークな三びきのおさるさんのちょうこくは、栃木県の日光東照宮で見るごとができます。
People come to see the carvings of three unique monkeys at Toshogu Shrine in Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture.

日光東照宮は、江戸ばくふをひらいた徳川家康をまつるためにたてられた、大きな神社です。
Toshogu Shrine in Nikko is a huge temple built for the deified Tokugawa Ieyasu, who founded the Edo Shogunate.

「見ざる、言わざる、聞かざる」とは、「人間はわるいことを見たり、言ったり、聞いたりしがちだが、それらはしないほうがよい」と言う教えです。
The phrase “See no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil” teaches us that “People are prone to see bad things, say bad things, and hear bad things, but not doing any of that is the better way.”

Page 15 Notes

This one didn’t have any huge challenges, I think. The cascading descriptions in sentence 3 were tricky to understand when I was just reading, but translating them wasn’t too bad. In terms of translating, the biggest issue was figuring out how to handle the names/roles of the monkeys in the first sentence!

Page 16 Translation: 群馬県, Gunma Prefecture

群馬県
Gunma Prefecture

こんにゃくで、おなかすっきり
Konnyaku, The Stomach Refresher

おでんなどでおなじみの、こんにゃく。
Konnyaku is well-known for its use in foods like oden.

「こんにゃくは、おなかのすなおろし」という言葉があります。
As the saying goes, “Konnyaku will clear out your gut.”

こんにゃくには食物せんいが多くふくまれているので、食べると体の中のいらないものが外に出され、おなかの中がきれいになる、といういみです。
This means that konnyaku has a lot of dietary fiber, and if it is eaten, unnecessary things inside of the body are flushed out and the inside of the stomach becomes clean.

ところで、こんにゃくは何から作られるか知っていますか。
Incidentally, do you know where konnyaku comes from?

答えは、こんにゃくいもです。
The answer is, the konnyaku tuber.

群馬県では、はたけでこんにゃくいものさいばいがさかんで、こんにゃくの生さんりょうも、日本一です。
In Gunma Prefecture, fields for konnyaku tuber cultivation are widespread, and it is Japan’s number one konnyaku producer.

Page 16 Notes

I think these are getting easier for me because I don’t have much to say about this one, either. The two grammar notes I have are that I spent too long trying to puzzle out という言葉があります in sentence 3, when I could have just googled it to find out it’s an expression.

The other place I tripped up was a small thing, the 食べると体の中のいらないものが外に出され part in sentence 4. I forgot と could be used to set up if/then statements.

I notice this passage is all about konnyaku’s digestive benefits but doesn’t mention how it tastes…

Page 17 Translation: 埼玉県, Saitama Prefecture

埼玉県
Saitama Prefecture

人気のおやつ、草加せんべい
Popular Snacks, Souka Senbei

おやつに人気のせんべい。
Senbei is a popular snack.

せんべいは、お米から作られます。
Senbei is made from rice.

埼玉県の草加市は、むかしから米どころと言われ、おいしいお米がとれることから、しょうゆうあじのかたやきせんべいが、古くから作られてきました。
Souka of Saitama Prefecture has been called a rice-producing region for a long time, and its delicious rice cultivation led to the production of hard-baked, soy sauce flavored senbei starting in ancient times.

むかしは、おいしいおやつがあまりありませんでした。
Long ago, there weren’t that many delicious snacks.

せんべいは、おいしいうえに、長もらするので、おやつとして人々にあいされてきたのです。
Senbei, more than just being delicious, was long-lasting, and it was a snack loved by everybody.

いまでも草加市には、せんべいやさんがたくさんあります。
Even now in Souka, there are lots of senbei sellers.

Page 17 Notes

Sentence 3 was SUCH a bear and was really hard for me. Despite my earlier misadventures in Ibaraki, I’m still stumbling over こと and how to understand/translate it, this time compounded by ことから being a specific grammar point I didn’t know about. Like I could guess what was going on based on what から typically does, but I still really labored over that sentence for a long time and didn’t get it at all when I was doing my first read-through. I had to go through word-by-word and diagram it.

PHEW! Almost caught up!

3 Likes

Most of the time, こと is just a stand in for any sort of object that can’t be named, you can even translate it as “thing” sometimes. For example, the おいしいお米がとれることから can be roughly translated as “because of the tasty-rice-obtaining thing” or “because tasty rice can be obtained”. Translating is a chore, once you get a feel for what these generally structures generally mean, you’ll be flying through the reading.

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Checking-in as I finished reading week 3 pages.
I already tasted なっとう and now I’m looking forward to eating 埼玉県の名食のせんべい.

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Coincidentally, a podcast I was listening to today was about a high school excursion to the Toshogu Shrine. They mentioned the 眠り猫, said to be carved by 左甚五郎 (Hidari Jingorō) who was apparently quite a character (if he in fact existed at all).

There are tree sparrows carved in the background of the sculpture which are unharmed by the cat, supposedly symbolizing the idea of the Tokugawa Shogunate having created a peaceful world:

image

There is a famous saying about the shrine along the lines of:
「日光を見るまで結構と言うな」(Until you see 日光, don’t say 結構).

In the podcast, they compared the saying to a quote from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe:「ナポリを見てから死ね」(“See Naples and Die”) which captures the same sentiment – you have to see Naples before you die, since nothing can match its beauty.

Before listening to the podcast, I actually didn’t know that line was a famous saying from Goethe – I had first heard it in a movie (Cinema Paradiso) and thought it was threat from the Cosa Nostra :joy:

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Yeah, that was my favourite bit of the Toshogu Shrine when I visited there.

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