It’s time for week 2, part 2! If you don’t know what this is, you can check out the landing page for a detailed explanation of how and why this came to be. If you missed the previous part, click here. Or, you can simply start at the beginning. Otherwise, let’s get right into it!
|スポーツでポンの時間です。||It’s time for “Pon” via Sports.||*crack* It’s sports time!|
|Today’s the qualifying round of the soccer Wild Cup.||The qualifying rounds for soccer’s Wild Cup were held today.|
|Japon, which made their tournament debut, put up a good effort against the regularly-participating powerhouse Al Dente.||Making their tournament debut, Japon really put up a fight against Al Dente, who are formidable tournament regulars.|
|However, the result was regrettably a 1-0 loss.||In the end, however, Japon still suffered a 0-1 loss.|
|次のしあいにきたいしましょう！||Let’s look forward to the next match!||Let’s look forward to the next match!|
Unlike the first episode of Sports, we don’t get a lot of soccer-specific terminology, this time. It’s pretty obvious Wild Cup is a parody of the World Cup, and the rest of the language used isn’t too complicated. It’s also not too hard to figure things like ジャポン (Japon) coming from the French word for Japan. There’s a couple words with slight nuance I could go into, like 大会 (taikai) literally being big meeting and therefore being applicable for not only tournaments but also things like conventions and rallies, but, frankly, I think it’s best to focus on more complicated things in other episodes, so let’s just move on.
Red String of Fate
|聞いて聞いて！||Listen, listen!||Misato, listen!”|
|みさと！||Misato!||Fumie charges into the café, where Misato is waiting.|
|もう、私たち、おしまいなの！」||Ugh, for us, it’s over!”||“It’s over between me and Ichirō!”|
|「…そう」||“…I see”||“…Uh huh”|
|「そう…って、ひどいわ！」||“You said, ‘I see’… Heartless!”||“You can’t just say, ‘Uh huh’! Meanie!”|
|“It’s your catchphrase, isn’t it? ‘Ugh, for us, it’s over!’||“But, ‘It’s over between me and Ichirō!’ is, like, your catchphrase or something.|
|You al-ways quarrel for trivial reasons…”||You two are aaalllways having tiffs for stupid reasons.”|
|“This time, it’s really hopeless, after all, that person…someone else…”||“This time is different! This time he’s… he’s got another girl’s…”|
|泣きだすふみえ。||Fumie burst into tears.||Fumie bursts into tears before she can finish her sentence.|
|Misato considers whether to comfort Fumie or leave the shop acting like a stranger.||Misato debates whether she should comfort Fumie, or leave the café pretending not to know her.|
|つづく||To continue||To be continued|
After the vague introduction, we’re starting to get an idea where Red String of Fate might be going. Ichirō, how could you?! We’re also introduced to Misato, Fumie’s best friend. It’s impossible to not notice the difference between Fumie’s intense emotional outbursts and Misato’s aloof stoicism. To me, they make a pretty good comedic pair. Let’s take a look at how they might come off to a Japanese reader.
First, both girls’ speech is noticeably casual, especially compared to the mostly-formal speech we’ve seen in other shows. The fact they’re able to speak so directly and without pretense conveys instantly how comfortable and close they are with one another. We also see Fumie end a statement in an emphatic の (no), which, alongside the emotional sentence-ender わ (wa), makes her speech very feminine and emotional.
By contrast, Misato’s speech is terse, to-the-point, and devoid of emotional indicators. Her matter-of-fact speech makes her a perfect foil to Fumie. Of particular interest is her そう (sō) response to Fumie’s news. You can’t get a full understanding of sō just from having it described to you, but I can at least start you off on the right foot. To do that, I’m going to need the help of my good friend Captain Jean-Luc Picard from Star Trek.
Even if you’re not much of a Trekkie, you’ve probably heard Picard’s 口ぐせ (kuchiguse, catchphrase), “Make it so.” The English so in this sentence is actually a pretty close match for the Japanese sō above. Both terms are equivalent to the English “in that way”.
The Japanese sō is incredibly versatile in conversation. Depending on context, the “correct” English translation will vary quite a bit, even in identical sentences. For example, そうか (sōka) alone can be translated as “Is that so?”, “That so?”, “I see.”, “Okay.”, “Fine.”, “You don’t say?”, “You think?”, “Really?”, and more. And that’s just one possible use of sō!
So (get it?) I won’t be trying to fully explain sō, here. But we can understand Misato’s use of it fairly easily. A more polite response might be そうですか (sō desu ka). Depending on the intonation, that could be along the lines of “Really? (Tell me more!)” or “I doubt it, but if you say so…” The lonesome, toneless sō used here indicates that Misato heard and understood what Fumie said, and has no interest in discussing it further. Like the second example translation of sō desu ka, it indicates that she doesn’t really buy it, and her bluntness is an attempt to end the conversation there.
This would be unthinkably rude to a stranger or one’s superior, but I think this blunt way of speaking further demonstrates how close the two are. Well, it’s also still kinda rude. I mean, your best friend just broke up with their long-term boyfriend! Surely a little interest is warranted?
Lastly, in the “localization” I add some references to a café. While the original text isn’t explicit, the 店 (shop) used in the original text can appear at the end of 喫茶店 (kissaten, teahouse/coffee shop). In English, it feels a little weird to not establish the scene at all, so I just picked something that seemed reasonable. It’s noted in a later episode that they’re sitting at a table, so some type of sit-down restaurant makes the most sense, to me.
Secret Soldier: Gon!
|「おおっ、動いた！||“Ooh, it moved!||“Ooh, it moved!|
|動いたぞぉ！」||It mooved!!”||It’z aliiive!!”|
|We finally made a cyborg!!”||At long last, the cyborg is complete!”|
|男はよろよろを立ち上がる。||The man shakily stands up.||Shakily, the man on the table rises.|
|「ううっ、ここはどこだ？||“Uuhh, where is this?||“Ugh… Where am I?|
|…おれはいったい？」||…What the heck am I—?”||…What’s going on?”|
|あたりをみわたす男。||The man surveys his surroundings.||He looks around the room.|
|「おおっ、しゃべったぞ！」||“Oohh, it talked!”||“Oh! He zpoke!”|
|“Doctor, let’s quickly tell Master Graf!”||“Doktor, we must inform Master Graf at once!”|
|「むっ！そうじゃな、よしっ！」||“Hmph, that’s right, huh? Alright!”||“Tch! I guess so, huh? Alright, let’s go!”|
|二人は走り去っていた。||The pair are running off.||The mad scientist and his assistant take off.|
|つづく||To continue||To be continued|
We’re starting to get an idea of where the story is going. The Society, Joker, has been conducting experiments leading to the creation of a 改造人間 (kaizō ningen). This phrase has some history, so let’s take a closer look at it.
First, the kaizō part. You may already be familiar with this term through the Asshole Mario series of videos on YouTube, also referred to as Mario Kaizo or Kaizo Mario World. If not, just know that it showcases infamously tricky/difficult romhacks of Super Mario World, which change the game to include brutal, yet humorous challenges like preventing Mario from dying after passing the goal.
The videos were ludicrously popular by 2007 standards. As a result, it inspired countless derivative romhacks of various games, many of them invoking the Kaizo name and the difficulty of the romhacks. Based on the video’s title and the extreme difficulty of the game, it was commonly said that “kaizo” was the Japanese word for “asshole”, hence the video’s name. In actuality, 改造 (kaizō) simply refers to the reconstruction, alteration, or modification of something. In the context of video games, it’s synonymous with the slang terms “modding” and “hacking“.
Combined with 人間 (ningen, human being), kaizō ningen is literally “modified human“, and is often used interchangeably with “cyborg“. However, this equivalent is a little imprecise. The term “cyborg” is a shortened version of the phrase “cybernetic organism”, and the only requirement to being a cyborg is being a combination of biological and mechanical parts. By contrast, while a kaizō ningen is made of such a combination, its capabilities are also implicitly higher than that of a normal human.
That being the case, we can understand from this snippet that, despite the man’s shaky start, we should expect great things from him in the future! I think that’s plenty for this episode, so let’s move on to our final show this week:
|Ichigo-chan was quietly approaching the middle-aged man.||Ichigo did her best to get close to the man without him noticing.|
|At that time, something she stepped on went “crunch”, and without thinking she shouted “Ahh!”||As she took a step forward, something under her foot made a “Crunch!” sound. Ichigo couldn’t help but shout in surprise.|
|Having noticed Ichigo-chan, the middle-aged man shoos her away with a “Don’t come over here!”||The man noticed Ichigo, and shooed her away with a “Don’t come over here!”|
|（ますますあやしい…）||(More and more suspicious…)||(He’s definitely suspicious….), she thought.|
|つづく||To continue||To be continued…|
Similar to the previous episode’s analysis of chan, let’s take a deeper look at the term おじさん (ojisan), and how it’s often misinterpreted by new learners. In modern Japanese, ojisan is usually written with kana alone. However, it is possible to write it using kanji, as 伯父さん or 叔父さん. In this case, the individual kanji carry the meaning of head/commander (伯), youth (叔), and father (父).
Of particular note is the first kanji, 伯. All the way back to its Chinese origin, it carries the meaning of “head”, with the 白 (white) portion evoking a skull. There was a tradition to preserve the heads of great men, including enemy chiefs/commanders. So, the 伯 character refers to the head of a great man worthy of respect.
The meaning of both 伯父さん and 叔父さん is “uncle“. Given what we just learned, you may have correctly guessed that the former refers to a parent’s older brother, while the latter refers to a younger brother. The juxtaposition of 伯 (head) or 叔 (youth) next to 父 (father) exists to show the hierarchical relationship of one’s age and the respect/deference they are shown. It also relates back to Chinese, where sons were typically referred to using the first two characters depending on the order in which they were born.
It is also possible to write ojisan as 小父さん. In this case, the kanji mean little/small (小) and father (父), and it’s a friendly way to address a man old enough to be a parent (let’s say around 30s to 50s), even if they’re not related to you. It’s actually very common to refer to even strangers using a variety of familial terms, including oneesan (big sister), oniisan (big brother), obasan (aunt), and more. Kids especially refer to people older than them with these terms, using oniisan/oneesan for people younger than their parents, and obasan and ojisan for people around as old as their parents.
If that seems like a lot to keep track of, don’t worry. While it’s helpful for understanding why this dual usage exists, you won’t need to learn the kanji. Except in formal writing, even Japanese natives don’t bother with kanji for ojisan, and instead opt for using hiragana and letting the reader figure out the relationship from context. All this being said, the person Ichigo described as ojichan is simply an older man, who seemingly doesn’t have any business hanging around outside the elementary school. He’s definitely suspicious….
Another one bites the dust! As with previous entries, the updated spreadsheet and Anki deck are available, and you can find any articles you’ve missed at the bottom of the landing page. Thanks for reading!