Week 5 - Stories of the Japanese Prefectures (Absolute Beginners Book Club)

Toyama translation

Toyama Prefecture

What is a mirage?

A “mirage” is a natural phenomenon where something that does not exist there appears to exist.

For instance, when the difference between the air temperature and the temperature of the ground or ocean surface is large, light bends throughout the air.

At Toyama bay, seen from Uozu city in Toyama prefecture, a mirage appears several times a year, many years around 20 times.
Actually, views of faraway buildings and the like stretch and turn upside down, and appear to be there.
It’s incredible, right?

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I was also wondering about that sentence construction – but if し were used as a particle, wouldn’t it be 大切にするし (verb plain form + し)? I’m not exactly sure why another particle like から or で wasn’t chosen to be used instead of the stem form, but @Gorbit99 's translation feels the most natural to me too.

It’s a little confusing because it seems that using either the continuative form (ます stem) or the し particle can be used to give a cause or reason for something. Hopefully someone who knows more can jump in here, but I think the し particle usage is bit colloquial and maybe out of place with the formality used elsewhere in the book?

BTW: Maggie Sensei has a good article on し.


In the アドバイス section of the answers for Nigata Prefecture, I’m having a hard time parsing the sentence:

Translation attempt: In the first rest, the written Toki birds special quality is carefully written and understood

As you can see, I have no idea what’s going on here :laughing: Thanks for any help

Sounds like you’re parsing it at 第 and 一段落. Try it as 第一 and 段落.

Also, the whole of 第一段落に書いてある is a verb-phrase that’s modifying ときの特徴, so try reading and understanding the clauses separately before applying them to each other.

読み取る = to read and understand. :slightly_smiling_face:


Got it thank you! Maybe this would be a better translation then? In the first paragraph, one can read and get a thorough understanding of the peculiarities of the Toki.

Or Carefully read and understand the characteristics of the toki that are written in the first paragraph.


Slowed down a bit, but gonna try and catch up :frowning:

I’ve only read p. 22, but I was surprised at the different terms for silk (生糸, きぬの糸). I think it’s kinda interesting how silk is literally defined as “live thread” in the first term. I wonder if there are types of thread that can fall under this definition :smiley:

Another thing I’ve started to notice is how the “flow” of Japanese is very jagged in comparison to English. In the Japanese sentences, it almost feels like a sentence is composed of a number of abstract ideas that only come together at the very end. Whereas in English, there is a definite flow, a single stream of thought, from start to finish. Maybe I’m just digging too deep or it’s the beginner level books. Do y’all feel the same way?

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生 can also mean raw (なま) so this is perhaps raw silk thread rather than life thread.

I know what you mean about the sentences, you often end up translating the end of the sentence first and then working backwards!


Is it crazy how saying sentences backwards creates backwards sentences saying how crazy it is?


I’m on a work trip this week so busy and tired but I was able to have a go at Nigatta ken. Not at my desk to look things up properly so here’s my first pass translation.
Next week i look forward to going through what the rest of you wrote when i am home.

Niigata Ken

Natural Monument, Toki
Do you know the bird called Toki?
Kaaa, guu, kaakaa (sounds?) Etc, muddy voiced chirp, neck like a stork, flies with its neck stretched out.
Long ago, there were a lot of Toki in Japan.
However, more and more numbers … ? (Heri?)
Wild Toki I’m sorry (?)
There were a lot of wild Toki on Nigata’s Sado Island .
Now, on this land there is the Sado Toki Protection Center. Toki were sent here from China that we cherish. It’s nice go see wild Toki again isn’t it!

I really like birds so I liked learning about the Toki (crested ibis). It’s sad the Toki in Japan haven’t done well because of humans but their cousins the Australian Ibis are well adapted to urban life, and are a common site in Sydney going through garbage. We call them bin chickens. There’s so many they need to be culled, and yet these ones are endangered. Same bird family, very different stories!


Week 6!


減る. This is the stem-form used as continuative.


I’m not entirely sure that the Australia white ibis’ adaptation to urban life is a particularly inspiring success story. More of a “well, at least they didn’t die out” consolation prize…


天然記念物 (てんねんきねんぶつ) can also mean: protected species (animal, habitat, etc.)​


This is the key word I could not work out. When complicated kanji words are written in hiragana only I am finding it hard to look them up as jisho doesn’t always make a match on the non-kanji reading, and it’s hard to know where one words ends and the next one starts.

Good to know, thanks.



What do you mean it’s not inspiring?!