Week 7 - 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 7 - Pages 30-33

Week 6: Link
Week 8: Link

Want more information about this book? Stories of the Japanese Prefectures Home Thread
Want to read more books at this level? Absolute Beginner Book Club Home Thread


Discussion Guidelines
  • Please ask questions, no matter how simple they may be! This is the Absolute Beginners Book Club, so if you have a question, chances are someone else has the same question and will be glad you asked.
  • When asking for help, please mention the page number. Also do check before posting that your question hasn’t already been asked. You can use the search function to search within the thread.
  • If you share you translation, please hide the translation so people don’t want to see it yet don’t see it accidentally. Click on the cog icon above the text entry box and select either “Blur Spoiler” or “Hide Details”.
Screen shot

Screen Shot 2022-05-12 at 22.18.56

Participation poll

  • I’m reading along :+1:t3:
  • I’m still reading but I haven’t reached this part yet :durtle_megane:
  • I’m dropping this book :balloon:

0 voters

1 Like

The relative lack of kanji is a bit of a problem in the Gifu passage. I had a lot of trouble parsing this sentence: やねの角度がきゅうなため、冬に雪がたくさんふっても、やねから雪がすべりおちて、つもりにくくなっています。 Best I can tell, it translates to something like “Because the roof’s angle is steep, even if a lot of snow falls in winter, it becomes difficult for snow to slip off the roof.”

What does つもり mean here? The way I originally learned it meant something like “plan to ~” and appears at the end of the sentence. Neither seems to be the case here.


積もる(つもる)= to pile up, to accumulate


That makes so much more sense, thanks! Kanji would’ve helped out so much there :sob:

1 Like

The more I read this, the more I realize how I am ready for more books geared towards adults, even if this seemed interesting in the beginning. It’s nice learning so many things about the prefectures, but the lack of kanji is really costing me a little more time. Also I find this takes me longer than the previous bookclub reading (Happiness), just because there seems to be more text and more words that don’t come up very often (this is a benefit I suppose though, because I am learning A LOT more new vocab from this).


For Shizuoka, I’ma leave this here:


Actually it is the contrary. The roof is steep to make the snow slide down, so that it won’t accumulate (it is difficult to accumulate) on the roof.


Once it was pointed out to me that つもり is 積もる I was able to fix my translation. You’re right that I got it completely backwards the first time!

Typing the sentence into ichi.moe may be helpful for the parsing, and it also suggests kanji. In case it gets the parsing wrong, you can modify it by clicking on the copy of the sentence below the input box.

1 Like

Here is a more ‘symphonic’ version:

and the lyrics:



Gifu translation

Gifu Prefecture

Traditional thatched roof houses

Thatched roof houses, in which the wood was assembled in a mountain shape like palms joined together, are called “gasho-zukuri”.
Because the roof’s angle is steep, even if a lot of snow falls in winter, the snow falls off the roof and it becomes difficult to pile up.

Gasho-zukuri houses were built from around the middle of the Edo era to the start of Showa.
The gasho-zukuri houses gradually decreased in number, but a movement to carefully protect them appeared.

Many foreign tourists also visit Shirakawago, which is known for gasho-zukuri.

Shizuoka translation

Shizuoka Prefecture

Tea harvesting of the 88th night

Do you know the song called “Tea Harvesting”, which is known for the first line “the 88th night, when summer draws near”?
Like in this song, tea harvesting begins from the end of April to the start of May, approximately 88 days counting from the first day of spring.

Shizuoka prefecture has been known since long ago for its flourishing tea cultivation.
Tea fields are a glossy dark green color, but the sprouts are yellow-colored.
If these sprouts are picked, the whole area is enveloped in the tea’s good fragrance.

さいばい and さかん are used so many times in these passages that I have them memorized now. Yay!

Gifu-prefecture translation

Gassho houses

Gassho-zukuri refers to houses with thatched roofs where trees are joined together like hands in the shape of mountain peaks. The roofs have a narrow angle, so that in the winter, even if there’s a lot of snow, the snow slips off the roof and can’t pile up (lit. makes it difficult to pile up).
Gassho-zukuri houses were built from around the middle of the Edo period to the beginning of the Showa period. Gradually their number decreased, but now there’s a movement to carefully protect them.
Many tourists come from foreign countries to visit Shirakawa-Go known for it’s Gassho-zukuri.


:black_circle: What is "Gassho-zukuri? Fill in the blanks!

Shizuoka-prefecture translation

Tea harvesting on the 88th day of spring

Do you know the song called “Tea harvesting” knwon for it’s first line, “The summer is drawing near on the 88th day of spring”? On around the 88th day, counting from the start of spring (important, this is around Feb 4.), from the end of April to around the start of May, starts the tea harvesting.
Since the olden days, the Shizuoka-prefecture was known for it’s large tea production. Although tea are glistening deep green, the tea sprouts are yellow. When these sprouts are picked, the whole field gets filled with the sent of tea.


❶ What starts 88 days after the start of spring? Fill in the 3 characters!
❷ What colour are tea fields? Circle the correct answer!
ア Brown (lol, tea color, devious)
イ Deep green
ウ Yellow

Aichi-prefecture translation

The Golden Shachihoko and the three unifiers (had to translate from German for this)

Have you ever seen a castle before? All accross japan, there are various castles.
The one in the Aichi-prefecture, the Nagoya Castle tower is home to the “Golden Shachihoko”, that glitters and shines. The “Shachihoko” has the figure of a fish, the head of a tiger, its tail looks at the sky, and its back is lined with sharp spikes. It’s an imaginary animal thought up by humans, but it looks very strong. “Shachihoko” decorate castles as a protecting god.
They say, that the Nagoya castle was built by Tokugawa Ieyasu for his ninth son 400 years ago. Ieyasu, who was born in the Achi-prefecture, ended the war among the society and established the shogunate in Edo. There were other people that played an active role in the ending of the war, besides Ieyasu. Oda Nobunaga, who laid the foundation for unifying the country, and Toyomi Hideyoshi who unified Japan. Nobunaga, Hideyoshi, and Ieyasu, all three were born in the Aichi-prefecture (at the time Owarino and Mikawano provinces). These three are called the three unifiers, and are praised even today.


❶ Where is the “Golden shachihoko” in the Nagoya castle? Fill in the five characters!
❷ What do “Shachihoko” look like? Fill in the blanks!
❸ Which statement is correct about the three unifiers?
ア Tokugawa Ieyasu, born in the Aichi-prefecture, established the shogunate in Nagoya.
イ Oda Nobunaga, who laid the foundation for the unification of Japan, built the Nagoya Castle.
ウ Toyotomi Hideyoshi, born in the Aichi-prefecture, unified Japan.
エ Tokugawa Ieyasu, born in Edo, ended the war among the society.

I swear, the most common phrase of this book is さいばいがさかん
This was harder to translate than anything beforehand, probably because of the odd words used constantly throughout the three readings

Aichi translation

Aichi Prefecture

Golden Sachihoko and three great men

Everyone, have you ever seen a castle?
Throughout Japan there are many castles, aren’t there?

In Nagoya Castle in Aichi prefecture’s castle tower, the “Golden Sachihoko” sparkles.
“Sachihoko” has the shape of a fish, a head that resembles a tiger, tail fin turned toward the sky, and has pointed spines on its back.
It’s an imaginary animal which was thought up by humans, but it seems very strong, doesn’t it?
“Sachihoko” is displayed as the castle’s guardian deity.

It is said about Nagoya Castle that Ieyasu Tokugawa built it for his ninth son (nine sons?) over 400 years before now.
Ieyasu, who was born in Aichi prefecture, established the shogunate in Edo after the times of war (Sengoku period) had ended.

But then, there were others besides Ieyasu who were figures that put great effort into ending the period of war.
There is Oda Nobunaga, who made the foothold of national unification, and Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who accomplished national unification.
All three of Nobunaga, Hideyoshi, and Ieyasu were born in Aichi prefecture (at the time, Owari province and Mikawa province).
These three people are called the “Three Great Men”, and even now are extolled.

Does 九男 mean “nine sons” or specifically the “ninth son”? Or could it be either depending on the context?

Also, I was terribly tempted to translate たたかいの世の中 as “Sengoku era”, but I suppose they would’ve just said that if that’s what they meant. Would “Warring States period” have been an accurate translation, or were they really just going for a vague “period of war”?

All in all this was a fun passage due to the not TOO difficult grammar and the historical points.


From an article by Tofugu (350 Japanese Counters Grouped by Usefulness), 男 can be ambiguous if you’re talking about more than 2 sons (same for 女):

男 (なん)
This kanji means “man,” but it’s used to count sons. They’re read using the kango readings, but two is an exception—instead of に, it’s read as じ. It can also be used as an ordinal number suffix, but one and two become 長男 (ちょうなん) and 次男 (じなん).

I think if you want to clarify “ninth son” vs “nine sons”, you could add 目(め) to the end of the counter.

Apparently the first lord of Nagoya Castle was Tokugawa Yoshinao, the ninth son of Tokugawa Ieyasu.


Week 8: