すーちゃん~11

From page 73 to 79.

In this story, Mai is having a hard time and talks about those little wounds people inflict carelessly to others.

  • ため息・ためいき sigh

Mai is saying (quoting someone to be exact) that: “ため息一つで幸せもひとつ逃げる” which I translate literally as: “with one sigh, one happiness runs away” or, less literally “each sigh makes your happiness run away from you”. It seems to be a very well known saying, even if I couldn’t find who said it for the first time. Anyway, it’s frightening, I think.

  • 窒息・ちっそく suffocation

As Mai says, the only way to go through it is to tell oneself that everybody is experiencing stress, that suffering from stress is normal. That’s even more frightening.

  • うんざり being fed up with. This is a word I learnt with my JLPT N2 study, I always feel rewarding to encounter a word learnt recently
  • 正解・せいかい correct, right
  • 宅配・たくはい home delivery

Her male colleague and superior is telling Mai that she has a rough skin. 肌荒れ・はだあれ means dry, rough, bad skin. The colleague said that casually without the intention to hurt her. Some people are eager to comment openly on others and inflict wounds unconcerned and unaware of the other’s feeling. For those who don’t have the courage or cannot respond, it only mutilates their confidence.

  • なにげない casual, unconcerned, nonchalant
  • 青春・せいしゅん youth, springtime of life
  • ニキビ pimple, acne
  • 片寄る・かたよる to be one-sided. When talking about meals, it means unbalanced. Another word learnt from my N2 vocabulary book!
  • 梅雨・つゆ rainy season

 

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 feeling, is attached the ending “がる” replacing the final “い” of the adjective. That is used to describe the same feeling but experienced by someone else (if I am not mistaken, anyone who would like to correct me is welcome!). The “がる” form acts like a verb. Here, we have this verb うらやましがる in the passive form うらやましがられる.

If we try to translate each step, it would be:

  1. うらやましい adjective: Something (subject) is provoking a feeling of envy.
  2. うらやましがる verb: to envy something or someone (object).
  3. うらやましがれる verb, passive form: something (subject) is being envied.

BUT, in our sentence, the particle used is not が but を. The passive form should be formed with が but it is okay to use the を particle instead. I am not quite sure of the difference but I think it doesn’t change much the whole meaning.

The whole sentence would then mean: having your youth being envied (by older people) makes you happy.

I am not sure that I understand correctly the last box. I think that 空気・くうき means “mood”, “situation” here. It would then mean “the mood where you can’t say or shouldn’t say that you are satisfied with yourself or your actual life”. And this mood is “flowing” in the “world”. Is she saying that being unsatisfied with one’s life is trendy? Which would explain why she keeps wondering how to change and how to become someone better when she actually seems to be satisfied with her present life…

Sometimes, even when I understand every word, the whole sentence still does not make sense. 😢

 

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 praise. I knew the kanji 褒める. Why do I feel like it’s never the kanji I know that comes out? 😒
  • ずらす to put off, to delay, to postpone
  • デニーズ is Denny’s, a family restaurant that serves pancakes, coffee and casual dining or something like that. It seems to be popular in many countries but as it doesn’t exist in France I didn’t know it…
  • さっぱり I don’t understand this meaning here… さっぱりする usually means “feeling refreshed” but I can hardly believe that the chief’s coming to the shop was “refreshing”. I am not at ease with those kind of words that have so many meanings…
  • うっとうしい can mean “gloomy”, “depressing” but I think that it means “irritating”, “troublesome” here.
  • 悪役・あくやく the villain’s part
  • 団結・だんけつ unity, union

Is she saying that, if there is a villain, the other members of the workplace get united? I don’t know if I understand the Japanese correctly, but it seems to make sense, I have experienced it myself.

  • さつまあげ deep-fried ball of fish paste. Now I remember that this word already appeared in one of the first stories.
  • うざがる to behave annoyed, to feel annoyed… But, it is in the passive form in the text… うざがられる. What could be the passive form of “to be annoyed”? 😟 Sometimes I just get confused with it.
  • ひょっとしたら possibly, perhaps

すーちゃん~8

From p.53 to 59. In this new story, Maichan has to go to the housewarming party of the managing director, as promised in the previous story. Even though it is Sunday, she has to give away this “part of her life” to work.

Vocabulary:

  • おおげさ grandiose, exagerated
  • 帳消し・ちょうけし cancellation, writing off
  • 媚・こび flattery, cajolery

So, Maichan is ready to pretend being interesting in her chief’s son to keep smooth working relationship but she won’t go as far as flattering the dog to please the manager.

  • 接待・せったい I think it means entertaining a guest, especially in a working context, when you have to treat a business partner for example. But here, I guess it just means to eat and drink.
  • 唄う・うたう just another way to write 歌う 😤

Expressions:

そろそろ起きなくちゃ: That’s what I should tell myself every morning in Japanese!

これでもあたし、営業よ。That’s what Maichan says when they talk about knowing recent songs. Is it a way to say “know a thing or two about”?

すーちゃん~7

From p46 to 52.

This story focuses on Maichan, I found it funny and a little sad at the same time. It’s much about appearances and pretending, especially when it comes to working relationships. It must be so exhausting to pretend to enjoy doing something we hate…

  • 山下 This is a name, but how do we know if it’s pronounced Yamasaki or Yamashita? Or one of the other 5 or 6 possibilities? 🤔
  • キャバクラ comes from キャバレークラブ “cabaret club”, meaning hostess bar.

Her colleague is so awful… and still, she must pretend to have interest in his son soon entering middle school…

  • 専務・せんむ managing director
  • 新築・しんちく new building, new construction
  • 新築祝い・しんちくいわい housewarming party

Haha, that’s so funny when Maichan thinks 最悪 while being all smiles. 日曜日に専務の新築祝いに行くなんて本当に最悪だね…

  • 泊まる・とまる to stay (for the night)

Expressions:

顔見せてくる・かおみせてくる I like this expression. I didn’t find it in my dictionary, but I guess it means going somewhere to show you were there and then come back.

日曜日あけといて I think that あける means “to keep a day free from other engagements”. といて comes from the grammar point ておく

 

すーちゃん~6

My reading notes for the 6th story of すーちゃん, p.39 to 45.

A photo of the cover of the book すーちゃん by author Miri MasudaReading Notes

Suchan’s mother asks “彼氏はおらんの?” I guess that she is asking her daughter whether she has a boyfriend or not but I don’t understand the structure. Same for Suchan’s answer, she says that whether she has a boyfriend or not, it has nothing to do with her mother (her mother should not be sticking her nose into it).

  • だもん I found だもんで which means “because of that”
  • きっかけ chance, occasion
  • 早番・はやばん early shift
  • 遅番・おそばん late shift
  • 親密・しんみつ intimacy, friendship
  • ビミョー・微妙・びみょう delicate, difficult, complicated
  • 終わってゆくんだ・おわってゆくんだ is ゆく used instead of いく?
  • ネコババ pocketing, misappropriation, stealing.

I remember that Suchan evokes Bridget Jones when she starts her diary. Well, that’s how she should seduce manager Nakata! 😉


Expressions worth remembering

If I remember only one thing from this chapter, let it be ネコババ!

すーちゃん~5

 

The 5th story of すーちゃん goes from p. 32 to 38. Looks like we will finally be introduced to manager Nakata! (see p.17)

A photo of the cover of the book すーちゃん by author Miri Masuda

Reading Notes

  • 発注・はっちゅう placing an order

Suchan is thinking that two colleagues are “saboting” their work because they are discussing and laughing together. I like this word “サボる”, it means “to be idle”, “to sabotage by slowness”, it is also used to say “to skip school”. I would not consider that discussing or laughing at work is sabotage, but I guess France and Japan are very different when it comes to attitude at work.

  • 岩井・いわい name
  • かべ・壁 I think it is used here to say that their is a “barrier” between regular employee and the other girls (who are doing バイト)
  • 森本・もりもと name
  • ひっかかる・ひっかかる to be caught in. I knew the word to say for example “to be caught in traffic”, but here it surely means “to be caught in the act”, meaning she doesn’t want her colleague to know she has a crush on manager Nakata.
  • のらりくらり evasive, non-commital
  • すりぬける・すり抜ける to slip through

Then Suchan says: “本当のあたしなど職場にはいらない” p.34 I am not sure, but I think it means that she can’t be really herself at work, because she doesn’t want to open her heart to her colleagues. But I don’t understand “いらない”, it can’t be “to be” which would have make sense but is not grammatically possible. “To need” would be possible but would not make sense. I guess it is “入る”, to go in, to set in?

  • 仮・かり fictitious, assumed (in opposition with 本物・ほんもの

ある日のすーちゃん

  • 攻略・こうりゃく capture, walkthrough, advice

I find this last scene very funny.


Expressions worth remembering

p.35 “マジで疲れた”

すーちゃん~4

Ready for the 4th story of すーちゃん! p.25 to 31. I’ll try to write more from now on, I realize that posting only vocabulary may seem too dictionary-like.

img_8807

“悪いけど… even if you don’t meant it”. Haha. I remember exactly the first time I learnt ”悪いけど” it was in the Ghibli studio film Ocean Waves. Not my favorite one, but a good one to learn Japanese. When I heard that expression for the first time in the film, I found it very strange because so obviously hypocrite. If you really think that something is bad, why ask for it? That’s why I find what Maichan says so funny.

  • 権力・けんりょく power, authority
  • 屈折・くっせつ bending, refraction, inflection, warping, distortion…. mmh
  • つけ方・つけかた way of affixing sth….
  • ねじ曲がる・ねじまがる to be twisted, to be wrapped, to be distorted

Well, to be honest, I don’t understand what Maichan is saying… I have searched for unknown words and I know all the grammar but the first half of p.26 just don’t make sense to me.

If I were just reading for pleasure, I would just skip this part and continue reading. But as I am studying this book, let’s try to become clever.

Maichan says that her reports are perfect but that her boss wants from time to time to show his little authority (in asking her to write them again).

屈折した自信のつけ方、ねじ曲がった心、死んでくれないかな~ ってのはいくらなんでもひどいか消えてくれないかな~

自信の付け方・じしんのつけかた is an expression which means gaining self-confidence, way of being self-confident.

I don’t quite understand the verb 屈折した here… as for the rest, if we assume that she is still speaking of her boss, it could be something like : “His distorted self-confidence, his contorted mind, couldn’t they die? As cruel as it may sounds, couldn’t they disappear?”

Well it does make sense… she knows it is heartless to think such a thing but she would like her chief to loose his confidence so that he won’t be constantly applying his power on her.

  • 了解・りょうかい understood

Then she calls her lover, we knew from the second story that she has an affair with a married man.

  • 誠実・せいじつ sincere, honest, faithful
  • 受け入れる・うけいれる to accept, to receive, to agree. 受け入れさせる・うけいれさせる is the causative form, so: to make sb accept sth. 受け入れさせようとしてる・うけいれさせようとしてる trying to make sb accept sth, make sure sb will accept…
  • さつまあげ・薩摩揚 deep-fried ball of fish paste

Suchan tells Maichan that she will bring her 持ってく・もってく some Satsumaage because she got some (I guess, from her work).

Maichan is returning home. Wait, is she actually farting in her kitchen?

  • 思いっきり・おもいっきり with all one’s heart
  • アナラ・あなら wind, gas, fart

Maichan says that passing wind with all one’s heart is one of the joy of living alone, haha.

  • 正当化・せいとうか justification
  • 淋しい・さびしい it is another way to write 寂しい, lonely

“雨降れ” haha, I can’t help but feeling sympathy for Maichan’s feelings.

 

 

 

すーちゃん~3

My reading notes for the third story of すーちゃん by Masuda Miri. (p19 to 24)

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  • 気合を入れる・きあいをいれる means to motivate oneself, to give it one’s all. I had learnt this expression in one of my N2 books but it is the first time I encounter it.

Maichan says 行くぞ・いくぞ to herself. I thought ぞ was very rude and only used by men. Maybe it’s ok to use it when talking to yourself, especially to say 行くぞ, it certainly emphasis your resolution.

 

 

  • ~がらみ related to…, concerning…
  • 懇親会・こんしんかい friendly reunion, get-together
  • 小娘・こむすめ Young girl
  • 岡村・おかむら Maichan’s family name is Okamura
  • 谷田・たにた Maichan’s chef is called Tanita… I wish I were more familiar with japanese name… so frustrating to see a name and not being able to pronounce it…
  • 蒼き・あおき name
  • 異動・いどう means «change», but it certainly is a shortcut for 人事異動・じんじいどう which means staff reassignment and happens at the end of the fiscal year (end of march)
  • 沢山 is たくさん…
  • 喋る・しゃべる to talk, to chat. (I should learn the kanji even for words that are usually written using kana alone…)
  • 塚本・つかもと Name
  • 得する・とくする to make a profit
  • 渡っていく・わたっていく I think, but I’m not sure, that it means Something like going through life.
  • 甘い・あまい just can’t mean «sweet» here… from all the other meanings of 甘い the only one that actually makes sense is «promising». Then, Maichan would be saying that being relatively pretty, it does help at work, but relying only on that to go through life wouldn’t be promising.
  • 商事・しょうじ after a firm name, it means … corporation
  • 杉下・すぎした name
  • 超子・ちょうこ female given name
  • ペチャペチャ onomatopoeia for chattering
  • ブス・ぶす extremely ugly woman

As usual a very interesting story that tells a lot about human psychology in a very few words. I tend to like Maichan’s story a little more than Suchan’s ones.

すーちゃん~2

My reading notes for the second story of すーちゃん by Masuda Miri. (p12 to 18)

img_8807

  • 水菜・みずな Some kind of green vegetable, the best thing to do is to Google-image it.
  • キッシュ haha, didn’t recognize it. Quiche, from french.
  • いつもの usual, habitual.

pas surSo, Suchan explains that a Customer in her coffee shop said «same as usual» when she asked what he wanted. Suchan’s friend Maichan says it’s 恥ずかしい… Is it 恥ずかしい because the customer expects Suchan to remember him, not aware that she meets so much other people every day? Or is it simply shameless to do that in Japan? I’ve always thought that it was somehow cool to have regular customers who won’t even bother to order because they know you know what they’ll take…

  • 常連・じょうれん regular customer
  • 生きがい・いきがい purpose in life

So, that settles it. They think it is pitiful to want to become a regular Customer or act as one. Well, ok, now I understand!

  • 接待・せったい can mean reception, welcome, but here I think it means business Entertainment.
  • 独り者・ひとりもの unmarried person.
  • 不倫・ふりん adultery. As Maichan is not married, the term refers certainly to her being single having an affair with a married man.
  • 説教・せっきょう preach, sermon
  • 忠告・ちゅうこく advice
  • 恩着せがましい・おんきせがましい patronizing, condescending, implying you should be grateful

Then Suchan starts reading the book 「負け犬の遠吠え」(まけいぬのとおぼえ). It is a book written by 酒井順子 (さかい・じゅんこ)and published in 2003. I had a look at the wikipedia page of the author, she seems to be quite popular and has written a lot of essays.

「負け犬の遠吠え」の画像検索結果As for this book in particular, 負け犬 means a dog who has lost a battle and is running away with its tail between its legs. It also means, a woman over 30 who is not married (and doesn’t have children).

Even if the title seems insulting, Sakai Junko is, on the contrary, giving her support to women who are over 30, not married, and who don’t have children. In a society were women are expected to marry and raise children, this book seems to have been very popular and created a 負け犬ブーム. Women who choose not to marry and secure themselves a position through work would call themselves 負け犬.

I haven’t read the book myself but I have had a look at the many comments of its Amazon page. I can’t understand everything but I think this book depicts women who marry and have children as 勝ち組・かちぐみ and women who choose to do what they want with their life, their time and their money as 負け犬・まけいぬ.

It’s great to encourage women who choose not to marry and pursue their career but it also seems that being successful at work and having money has to be the counter part for not marrying and not raising children. As if refusing to become a wife and mother was only accepted if you can prove that you are good at something else. What if you are over 30, not married, but not particularly successful at work or good at anything?

makeneko

  • 満たす・みたす to satisfy, to fulfill, to meet (requirements…)
  • 勝ち犬・かちいぬ obviously, the contrary of 負け犬
  • ひれ伏す・ひれふす to prostrate oneself before
  • 落語・らくご traditional comic storytelling
  • 文楽・ぶんらく japanese puppet theatre
  • エステ esthetic

ある日のすーちゃん

  • 向上・こうじょう elevation, improvement, progress