Week 9 - 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 9 - Pages 38-41

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Week 10: Link

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Useful article on Hyogo’s Teppo Water Cider. It’s helpful to know that cider in Japan is not a fermented apple drink but more like Sprite or 7up.

Osaka-prefecture translation

Comedy and takoyaki

Usually comprised of two people, the funny man and the straight man, that make the guests laugh by having funny conversation, the manzai. They occasionally use tools and such, performing pretty funny (or somewhat funny, see below) plays, the skits. These “comedys”, also popular on TV thrive (there we go, weekly さかん) especially in Osaka.
Osaka’s performance culture, kabuki* and bunraku**, going on since the olden days, might have had an influence on this.
Also, Osaka is called the town of “kuidaore”. “Kuidaore” means spending so much by eating, that you become poor, but it’s only said about Osaka, because of how many different delicious things there are.
There is a food, that spread across all of Japan, known as the taste of the Osaka commoners’ food. That is the takoyaki. Eating piping hot takoyaki, while repeatedly blowing it is fun, isn’t it?

* Kabuki… A play unique to Japan done in the Edo period
** Bunraku… A play accompanied by Shumisen (Japanese lute), where they used (lit.: puppeted, but sounds bad) puppets.

❶ Who are the funny man and the straight man, that have funny conversations, making guests laugh? Circle the correct answer!
ア Manzai
イ Konto
❷ What are kabuki and bunraku? Fill in the blanks!
❸ Fill in the blank, so that it’s a correct sentence about “Kuidaore”.
❹ What is the food, that’s spread all accross Japan as the Osaka commoners’ food?

So because the funniest of them all is of course Japanese, ちょっとした is either slightly or quite:
so what tells me exactly which? Not sure, please do tell me.

Hyougo-prefecture translation

The birth of lemonlime

Everyone, do you like lemon-lime?
It is said, that the origin of lemon-lime is in Arima onsen in the Hyougo-prefecture, where sugar was added to the “carbonated spring”.
This lemon-lime was at first sold with the name “Teppoumizu (gun water)”. They say it was because if you put the lemon-lime in a bottle and put the cap on, the strength of the carbonated water would shoot the cap off.

❶ Fill in the blank so that it’s a correct sentence about lemon-lime!
❷ What is in lemon-lime, that made the bottles filled with it have their cap shot off? Fill in the four characters!

Nara-prefecture translation

The Great Buddha and deers

Long ago, the period, before the capital was moved to Kyoto is called the Nara period, when the capital was in Nara.
During that period, at the wish of the emperor, the Great Buddha of the Todaiji Temple was created. This Great Buddha has a height of approximately 15 meters. To create this Great Buddha, 2,600,000 people were involved in the construction.
A lot of wild deer live in the Nara park at the Todaji temple. Said to be the familiars of the gods, these carefully protected deer have been living in the area for a long time.

❶ What moved from Nara to Kyoto a long time ago? Circle the one correct option!
ア The capital
イ The Great Buddha
ウ The Nara park (lol)
❷ What is there a lot of living in the Nara park? Fill in the five characters!


Osaka chapter. Hard to get this one right in English. Maybe


There is a food, spread across all of Japan, known as the taste of the all the common people of Osaka.

As usual I guess it’s simply context. I think they are selling us manzai as this incredibly popular and funny art form, so I don’t think they are trying to say they produce “somewhat funny” performances.

I hate big numbers in Japanese! Jisho or ichi.moe will convert to English numbers for you if you type in the search box. 二百六十万 is 2,600,000. To parse this one it is 260 “ten thousands”


Thanks a lot, the number one was a typo (waaay too many zeroes) :joy:.

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I was a little concerned when I first started reading the page!

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It would be an incredible amount of labour for one project!

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Osaka translation

Osaka Prefecture

Comedy and takoyaki

Manzai is mainly a pair separated into a “funny man” and a “straight man” that have amusing conversations and make the audience laugh.
Sometimes they also use various instruments and perform considerably funny comedy skits.
Popular comedies on TV are particularly popular in Osaka.

This may be the influence of Osaka continuing a performing arts culture of kabuki* and bunraku* since long ago.

Also, Osaka is called the town of “kuidore”.
“Kuidaore” means to spend too much money on eating and then become impoverished, but it is said to mean that there is lots of delicious food to that extent in Osaka.

There is a food which has spread throughout the country as that kind of flavor of the common people of Osaka.
That is takoyaki.
Eating piping hot takoyaki while blowing on it (to cool it down) is delicious and fun isn’t it.

*Kabuki……a play unique to Japan which was perfected in the Edo period.
*Bunraku……a puppet play which is performed with shamisen accompaniment.

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Week 10

Is this the usual way to write such a number? Because the IME will not catch it if you enter にひゃくろくじゅうまん. I suppose you would rather write 260万?

BTW this is an incredibly big number of people. Were there even 2.6 M people in Japan at that time?

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Not that this answers the question, but the Japanese Wikipedia article on the Tōdai-ji Great Buddha statue (東大寺盧舎那仏像) writes the number in Arabic numerals as: 260万


Other large numbers mentioned in the article are written similarly, like the estimated current cost of construction: 4657億円(!)

Edit: The natural way to write the number may depend on if it’s written vertically or left-to-right.

I was also wondering about that number of people involved when I read the article. I don’t know how trustworthy these numbers are, but estimates seem to put the population of Japan at the time of construction between 4 and 6 million people. Articles online mention that 2.6 million number reported in temple records includes everyone “involved” in the construction, including indirectly those that contributed rice, metal, cloth, etc. to the project.

BTW: The UNESCO website has a short, interesting video on the construction of the Buddha statue.