Month: May 2017

手嶌葵~さよならの夏

This is the theme song and ending song of From up on Poppy hill. The name of the song, さよならの夏・さよならのなつ means Summer of goodbye and it is sang by 手嶌葵・てしまあおい Teshima Aoi. Appearing at the end of the film, this song conveys a touch of sadness, echoing with some aspects of the film. It also shows how well the Ghibli films depict the complexity of emotions, when happiness and sadness sometimes coexist and melancholy is often inexplicable. It’s not only a beautiful melody with a beautiful voice, the lyrics are also very beautiful. I found this live version and found it even more touching than the original version of the film: 光る海に かすむ船は さよならの汽笛 のこします ゆるい坂を おりてゆけば 夏色の風に あえるかしら かすむ・霞む to grow hazy, to be misty, to get blurry 汽笛・きてき steam whistle ゆるい gentle (for a curve, a slope) 坂・さか slope, hill おりる・おりる means to descend (a mountain), to go down. Here we have おりてゆけば which is the form: 降りていく (the grammar ~ていくgiving direction) + the ~ば grammar, meaning “if”. In songs, the pronunciation ゆく …

どちらかが彼女を殺した~第4章~2

From page 178 to 197. This was not a very difficult part but a rather long one. Yasumasa’s investigation is getting further, thanks to discussions and confrontations with other characters. Here again, Kaga’s own investigation is implicitly present and we glimpse it here and there. I was used to Kaga not being constantly present in the previous Kaga’s series novels, but not that not present! 折り入って・おりいって earnestly 隙間・すきま gap, opening 丸める・まるめる to roll up 蛍光灯・けいこうとう fluorescent lamplight 腐敗・ふはい decay 円筒形・えんとうけい cylindrical 屑籠・くずかご waste basket 摘む・つむ to pick ほぼ almost, roughly, approximatively 閃く・ひらめく to hit on a good idea, to occur to someone もたげる to lift, to raise 入念・にゅうねん careful, scrupulous 慰安旅行・いあんりょこう company trip 隠滅・いんめつ destruction, suppression 切迫・せっぱく pressure, urgency, tension 便箋・びんせん writing paper 筆記用具・ひっきようぐ writing implement 貧相・ひんそう seedy looking, thin Two characters appear: 山岡・やまおか, Sonoko’s section chief and the employee 笹本明世・ささもとあきよ who entered the company around the same time than Sonoko and is supposed to know her better than the other employees. 咄嗟に・とつさに at once 貰う is just もらう 送り主・おくりぬし sender of a present 趣・おもむき 指先・ゆびさき fingertip とぼける to play dumb, to feign ignorance 弁解・べんかい justification, explanation, defence 仕打ち・しうち behaviour, action 宣告・せんこく verdict, sentence Yasumasa lays his …

Tips for studying with a book and its audiobook

Having both the book and the audio book of the same work, allows to work in different ways. Here are some ideas: Listening practice First listen to the audiobook several times (I think that 3 times is a good choice) and really try to understand all that you can understand (meaning, unknown words are hopeless but sometimes we don’t recognize words we actually knew, that’s what we want to work on). The best thing should be to limit yourself to a paragraph if they are short enough. Then check on the book. At this point there are two options: If you really want to study this book and improve your vocabulary, search for unknown words and then, listen to the audiobook again, without reading, and try to understand everything. If your objective is just doing some listening practice, don’t bother searching for unknown words, and just check the words you knew but didn’t recognize. You can underline them if you don’t mind writing in your book. Then listen to the audiobook again, without reading, and …

Immerse yourself: Set your computer to Japanese

When I learn a new language, I generally change the language of my phone and computer to the language I am learning. Why does it help? Obviously, to immerse oneself in Japanese, you have to surround yourself with as much Japanese as possible. But if you buy a Japanese magazine and do not read it, it does not help, does it? Switching the language of your computer has the great advantage that you will be sure to use your computer anyway, so you will be confronted with the language, if you want it or not. At the beginning, you may just learn little words here and there but these are little words you will remember very easily. For example, the word 共有・きょうゆう is the word used to say “share”. No need to say that this is a word you will see often and won’t even need to think about. Not only does it help you remembering words, but changing the language of your devices provides a strong reward when you realize that you are actually …

すーちゃん~10

From page 66 to 72 Another great story about what you are and what you want to be, how to change and become someone better! 特集記事・とくしゅうきじ special feature article Su and the young Chika are talking about a 500 yen note. Chika finding it exciting and Su saying “懐かしい”. I had to check the Wikipedia page on Japanese banknotes to learn that the 500 yen banknote was replaced “after 1982” by coins. I guess that there still are some notes of 500 yen in circulation but that they are very rare. I like learning new facts through books 🙂 Not long ago, I saw a French banknote of 50 francs in a museum. It had the photo of Saint-Exupéry on it with the Little Prince on his planet and the drawing of the elephant in the boa. I also thought it was 懐かしい… 😳 優越感・ゆうえつかん superiority complex, sense of superiority This structure is worth noting because I didn’t understand it right away: 若さをうらやましがられるのは嬉しい To the adjective うらやましい that you would use to describe your own …

すーちゃん~9

From page 60 to 65. This is a very interesting story about Suchan’s workplace. It is a very different environment than Maichan’s but she has to face difficulties, too. Especially to keep smooth relationships with a bunch of young girls very sensible. I really like the way the author describes, in very simple drawings and dialogues, the vicissitudes of any working place and the complexity of human relations. のんびり carefree, at leisure やっぱ seems to be a variant of やっぱり 陰で・かげで behind one’s back 竹田 is a name, but I don’t know how it is pronounced… maybe たけだ? 爪・つめ nail Wait, is she telling her employee to cut her nails because they are too long? 😲 きつい sever, hard. I knew this word to say “tight” but I didn’t know it could be used to describe a way of speaking. すねる・拗ねる to be peevish, to sulk 不機嫌・ふきげん ill humour, displeasure ぴりぴり the dictionary says “to tingle, sting” or “become tense”. I guess it’s just an image to convey the idea of something spreading in all directions? ムカつく to feel irritated, offended, to feel angry 誉める・ほめる to …

Learning by heart, give it a try!

I have decided to start learning by heart the first chapter of 星の王子さま which is the Japanese translation of The Little Prince. I explained the benefit of learning by heart in this post and so far, it totally works for me. What helps me is that The Little Prince is a story I know very well. I had to learn some passages by heart at school because we staged it in the class. Much later, when I studied German, I listen many times to the audiobook read by Ulrich Mühe. Anyway, by learning sentences by heart, I really feel comfortable with grammar structures I had to think of before. Let’s take some examples: なら I know that it is used with the casual form of verbs, but having learned: 再現してみるなら it comes more naturally if I need to use this structure. It’s the difference between knowing how a grammar should be formed and being able to use it correctly without even think of it. もう動けなくなり to the negative form 動けない is attached the grammar point なる which is formed …

都はるみ ~愛は花、君はその種子

The song “愛は花、君はその種子” sung by 都はるみ・みやこはるみ appears at the end of the Ghibli film “Only Yesterday”, directed by Isao Takahata. It is a Japanese cover of “The Rose” by Amanda McBroom. I don’t know if I would have loved that song so much, hadn’t I seen the film. It’s only the ending film song but it accompanies a very moving scene that retrospectively gives a new dimension to the whole film. The emotion conveyed in this last scene only proves the great quality of Ghibli films that make them so different from any other anime films, in my opinion. It is very hard, if not impossible, to find the original version (I mean, the version of the film) on YouTube. I have to link to a cover then… If you haven’t seen “Only Yesterday”, I hope you will have a chance to watch it and listen to the ending song! Lyrics: やさしさを 押し流す 愛 それは川 魂を 切り裂く 愛 それはナイフ とめどない 渇きが 愛だと いうけれど 愛は花 生命の花 君は その種子 やさしい means “tender”, “kind”. the “さ” ending nominalize it to “tenderness” 押し流す・おしながす to wash away 魂・たましい soul, spirit 切り裂く・きりさく to …