YKK Forum

Translation Notes - Volume 4

[v4, p5]
"social studies" / "history"

'shakai' is a subject studied in school which includes sociology, politics, geography and history.


Unlike "earthquake", 'jishin' never means changes of society.

Takahiro is going to work over "social studies" (probably history) tomorrow from the part of "the earthquake".

There were two historical earthquakes in Japan. One occurred in 1923 Tokyo and the other did in 1995 Kobe. This chapter of YKK was first published one and a half year after the Kobe's one. Will there be another big one? It is only a matter of time.

[v4, p6]
'umi iko' ('umi ni ikou')

'Umi ni/he iku' usually means "go to the beach". Uh-oh, we can probably not use "beach" here. "The beach" must be another place [v4, p23].

[v4, p7], [v4, p10]

Other possible translations:
"wiggling in the water" / "wiggle-wobble"

[v4, p10], [v4, p12], [v4, p22]

For 'yakusoku' to see someone, you can use "plan", "appointment", "date" or "I am going see someone" as well as "promise".

[v4, p10]
'oshiete kureta'

I think "showed" would be more proper than "told about them" in this Makki's line.

[v4, p18]

According to the link below, 'kattebou' is said when someone made a mistake. (dialect)

"you blew it" / "you jerk"

As far as I know, this is the only rural dialect Makki has ever used.

This note is based on the translation dated Jan. 2002.

I will add notes about other chapters later.

Kymoto Go

Aa, souda. (Oh, I almost forgot.)
I've done a page on 'Funamushi no Herohero' [v4, p10]. You can watch some movies of 'funamushi'.

- kGo
Sunday, July 4, 2004

Thanks for the funamushi page. I really did not understand what Makki was talking about.

Are there any other references to 'shakai' in the story other than Vol 4, page 5?

- Loran
Thursday, July 8, 2004

To tell the truth, I didn't know what 'herohero' was until I saw it, a couple of weeks ago.

I believe the word 'shakai' has only been used once in YKK.

Souieba (Come to think of it);
'Shakai' means "society" outside the schools.
Sometimes 'shakai' means "outside the school".

- kGo
Friday, July 9, 2004

Are there any other references to earthquake (jishin)?

- Loran
Friday, July 9, 2004

Unfortunately, no I mean, fortunately, no. There is no other reference to earthquake in the story.

- kGo
Saturday, July 10, 2004

[v4, p20], [v4, p21], [v4, p23]
'shage shage' (sound effects)

It seems to be a song of 'kumazemi' (a kind of cicada). Kumazemi sings in very hot summer days.

WAV / MP3 Audio:
MPEG Movie (click on the picture of the insect):

[v4, p21], panel 1
'Konda mizugi guree kaina.' ('Kondo mizugi gurai kaina.')

This 'kondo' is "another time", not "this time". Ojisan suggests Alpha to buy a bathing suit. He didn't know she already own one. (She said she didn't earlier [v2, p103].)

[v4, p21], panel 4

Other possible translations:
"It brings back memories."
"A bit like the old days."
"Kind of reminds me of old days."

[v4, p22], panel 4

'Kuruma' can be "truck" as well as "car".

Another possible translation:
"He could ride (with us)."

[v4, p28]
'suu' (sound effect)

Kokone takes a breath. Robot people need fresh air?

[v4, p31], panel 1

This 'agari' is "the end". The time for swimming comes to the end.

'Agari' is also used in chapter 14 [v2, p107] with the same meaning.

"That's it for today!"

[v4, p31], [v4, p33]
'kioku', 'natsukashii'

I would like to hear opinions about these words from the forum members.

The translations are "*I* remember" and "*my* nostalgic memories". Although Kokone didn't say 'watashi' ("I" / "my"), it's normal to interpret so. 'Kioku' is memory. 'Natsukashii' is a personal feeling. The translation is quite natural. But I'm not quite sure about it.

The question is:
Did Kokone see it with her own eyes?

She says she has never been swimming in the sea before [v4, p24]. Her elder sister Alpha also says she's never been to the sea like this before [v4, p32]. 'Mabori kaigan' was already under water [v4, p64] when the existence of Alpha was still a distant dream [v4, p63].

Kokone also says that there were so many houses in Musashino as if she saw it but she also says it is hard to believe [a2003, 177].

I would make it ambiguous:
"The beaches used to be crowded, colorful and lively in summer."
"The 'good old' summer bathing resorts are no more."

[v4, p31], panel 3

'Igai' means "I didn't expect" [a2004, 79] rather than "I am surprised". Yes, sometimes 'igai' can be translated as "surprising" but not all the time.

"It is more peaceful and more solitary than I imagined."

[v4, p33]
'kangaete mireba'

Kokone rethinks it. It does not have to be lonely. It can be pretty exciting.


You can probably not find 'futarijime' in your dictionary. Look up 'hitorijime'. 'Hitorijime' means "taking all by a single person". 'Futarijime' should mean the same except for "by two people".

"It's a private beach just for (the two of) us!"
"It's all ours exclusively!"

Kymoto Go

Aa, souda. (Oh, one more thing.)
The reed screen and the 'koori' (ice) sign are some symbols of summer resort. The picture shown in top-right of [v4, p33] must be a flashback, if it's Kokone's own memory.

- kGo
Tuesday, July 13, 2004

There seems to be other places to swim [v7, p87].

[v4, p33]

"the beach resorts" would be more appropriate than "the summer bathing resorts".

- kGo
Friday, July 23, 2004

[v4, p35]
'nakaniha ... mo aru'
"some of them are ..."

"sounds/looks expensive" / "rich"

It's not "tall".

Usual gekkins have four strings and a short neck.
It seems that some of gekkins have rich decoration.
Alpha's gekkin has three strings, a long neck, no decoration.

"away from the major cities" / "countryside"

"handmade" / "handcrafted"

It seems that Alpha is trying to explain why her gekkin looks different from other "usual" ones.

Possible translation:
"I wonder if mine was handcrafted in the countryside. (That would be because it doesn't look usual)"

'Unnan' (place name)
"Yunnan" / "Yun Nan" / "Yun-nan"

Yunnan is a province of China. It is spelled 'Unnan' in Japanese romaji, "Yunnan" in Chinese pin-yin. I think it should be spelled "Yunnan" (not "Unnan") in English.

'Sani zoku'
"Sani tribe"

You may want to try searching the net for "yunnan sani". You can find photos of the people in their colorful clothes.


The name of the duo is spelled "Gontiti". (It is pronounced gonchichi.)

The name of the instrument is spelled 'gekkin' in Japanese romaji, "yueqin" in chinese pin-yin. They share same kanji.

You can see and hear Gontiti-san's gekkin:

Kymoto Go

- kGo
Sunday, August 1, 2004

I made a mistake in my last post:
> "... That would be because it doesn't look usual."
I meant "why", not "because".

[v4, p39] panel 3
"Do you?" / "Really?"

Kokone does not seem to like lightning and thunder.

[v4, p40] panel 1
'... hou ga ii'

Just a note:
In most cases, 'shita hou ga ii' is "should" rather than "had better".

[v4, p46], panel 2
"ah" / "aha" / "I see."

This 'souka' indicates the mop lady just found the reason why Alpha was looking below.
It's because Alpha was born right down below.

People say 'souka' to themselves when they understand or realize something. [v6, p135] [v9, p91] [a2002, 151]

[v4, p46] panel 3

I believe this 'nantonaku' means "vaguely" rather than "for some reason". She was trying to remember [v4, p44].

[v4, p47] panel 3
'a souda'

"Oh, by the way." / "Oh, I almost/nearly forgot."

This 'souda' indicates that the lady just remembered something to say. Jichou-san wanted to see Alpha.

People say 'souda' to themselves when something comes into their mind [v7, p59]. In this usage, the polite form 'soudesu' or the affectionate form 'soudane' is not used. Sometimes it indicates a change in a conversation [v8, p50].

You can translate 'souda' differently in different contexts:
"Oh, (before I forgot.)" [v1, p71]
"I have a good idea!" [v1, p75]
"Oh, (yes.)" [v2, p69] [v6, p55] [v8, p55]
"Oh, (I almost/nearly forgot.)" [v5, p121]
"Oh, one more thing." [v6, p125]
"Come to think of it," [v7, 104]
"Oh, (by the way.)" [v7, p87] [v9, p25] [v9, p87]
"I just came up with something."
"I remember!"
"I know what."
"I have something to say."
"Wait a minute."

[v4, p47] panel 3
'jichou' (a job title)
"vice-something" / "deputy something"

'Jichou' sounds to be more important position than 'sitsuchou'.

I assumed 'sitsuchou' and 'jichou' to be Japanese job title in a Japanese organization. But I'm not sure if the organization of Taapon has Japanese-style structure. I doubt they speak Japanese. Taapon seems to be a multi-national project.

- kGo
Friday, August 20, 2004

[v4, p37]
'Ao no M1' (chapter 26 title)

Just a note:
Unlike English "blue", Japanese 'ao' never means "sad" or "depressed". The chapter title "Blue M1" does not mean Alpha is melancholy.

[v4, p55] panel 1
'sumimasen wazawaza'

This 'sumimasen' is "thank you" rather than "I'm sorry".

How about:
"It's very kind of you."

- kGo
Saturday, August 28, 2004

> 'Ao no M1' (chapter 26 title)
> Just a note:
> Unlike English "blue", Japanese 'ao' never means "sad" or
> "depressed". The chapter title "Blue M1" does not mean Alpha is
> melancholy.

Quite so, and thank you for pointing that out. In fact, blue has the same connotations of purity and innocence for the Japanese that white does for Westerners. (This is why blue figures so heavily in the anime, Ai Yori Aoshi.)

- Hiro
Saturday, August 28, 2004

[v4, p62] panel 3
'wan patan' (Japanized English, "one" and "pattern")

If you describe things 'wan patan', you mean they are dull and uninteresting (because they are done in the repeated way).

Sometimes Japanese people say "It's not interesting" or "It's not much" when they mean "I hope you like it". Maybe adding "I hope you like it." to Alpha's line would make it more natural English conversation.

[v4, p63] top-left
'jibun nari'
"one's own way"

"way of having fun" / "way to enjoy oneself"

'hojikuri dasu'
"dig out" / "find out"

'supekku' (Japanized English of "spec")

A rather literal translation would be:
"The specification sheet will not explain how she always finds her own way of having fun."
"She digs out her own way to enjoy herself. Her mind is already beyond the original design."

[v4, p63] middle-right
'... ha oroka ... sura nai'

This 'oroka' is not "foolish".

Example of 'oroka ... sura':
'X ha oroka Y sura nai.': "There is not even Y, much less X." / "There is no X at all. There is not even Y."

'manzoku na daiyouhin'
"a substitute that works well enough" / "a tolerable substitute"

There used not to be any kind of "free will" for robots. There was not even a substitute that works well enough.

[v4, p63] bottom-middle

This 'kikkake' is "a clue (to the artificial free will)", not "the beginning (of the research)".

'semete ... demo'

This 'demo' is not "though/but". Although it's not really a mistranslation, there is the same nit to pick with a recent translation [a2004, 58].

They wished they could find at least a clue to the 'free will'.

[v4, p64] panel 2

'Maborikaigan' sounds to be a name of a beach but it is actually a name of a town. It is spelled usually "Maborikaigan", sometimes "Mabori-kaigan" or "Mabori Kaigan", almost never "Mabori beach".


There used to be a "beach" in Mabori. They reclaimed the land and built a town in 1970's. Today's shore of Maborikaigan looks more like a dike than a beach.

[v4, p65] panel 1
'shuyou kouwan'

I believe it is plural.
"major ports"

'...isshuukan mae da'

The day was one week before the major ports tentatively reopened. There must not be many ships in the Tokyo bay.

[v4, p65] panel 2

The translation lacks "speed". Their challenge is not only to reach, but also the speed.

[v4, p66] panel 1
'tabo chaja'

Turbochargers are different from superchargers.


'Kuruma' can be "truck" as well as "car".

'... ni ke no haeta youna'
"slightly better than..." / "not much better than..."

It is not clear if Misago's engine was built around an automotive turbocharger.

[v4, p66] panel 2

This 'makkiro' is "entirely yellow" rather than "bright yellow". The whole body of the ship was colored yellow.

"very" / "really"

"uncool" / "stupid"

'Dasai' is an informal expression of "not cool" / "out of fashion".

'...me' (after an adjective)
"rather" / "a bit" / "somewhat"

'Kanari ...me' is an unusual expression. 'Kanari dasame' would be translated ... um ... er ... "really somewhat uncool"?

Sensei didn't like the coloring (still she liked the name 'Misago').

[v4, p69] panel 2
'hara ni kuuki wo tamete ...'

Sensei is talking about the air cushion that is generated by the forward movement of the craft. (The ground effect)

[v4, p70] panel 2

I don't think you have to translate this 'jitsuha' using "truth". It is used to indicate the change of topic.

[v4, p72] panel 1
'Funabashi no suki jou'

Just a note:
There was a ski slope called SSAWS (pron. Zausu) in Funabashi. It was closed and taken down in 2003.

- kGo
Sunday, September 5, 2004

[v4, p83] panel 4

Takahiro says he has to read the books. Makki says he can.

Takahiro: "I borrowed all these books."
Takahiro: "I am supposed to return them tomorrow."
Makki: "Go ahead. Why don't you read them?"


Just a note:
A 'zukan' is a picture book that tells what is what. An 'ehon' is a picture book that tells a story for children [v6, p47].

'ganseki to koubutsu' (Book title)
"Rocks & Minerals"

'mu__' ('mushi'?) (Book title)

'konchuu no ___' ('konchuu no zukan'?) (Book title)
"Guide to Insects"?

[v4, p84] panel 3
"weird" / "least expected"

What Takahiro describes 'hen' is Makki's talent for drawing, rather than the picture. Takahiro finds that Makki is good at drawing but he does not seem to think it is important.

- kGo
Wednesday, September 8, 2004

[v4, p99] panel 2
'Aikawarazu hima desune.'

First, Alpha says the customer is 'hima', "not busy".

'Uchi mitai desune.'

Then, Alpha says the customer is just like 'uchi', "my place".

The line could be translated like:
"You are not very busy, huh? Same here."
"You must have too much time on your hands. Just like me!"
"Nothing else to do? You are as busy as I am."

[v4, p103] panel 1
'ka to omouto'

"And then..." / "And sometimes..."

'(Ka) to omouto' is used like a conjunction. If you say one thing happens 'to omouto' another thing happens, you mean that the second thing happens immediately after you realize the first thing happens.

In this particular case the first thing is mentioned in the last panel of the previous page [v4, p102]. She chatters cheerfully. The second thing is not mentioned in the text but you can see it in the picture. She falls into a thoughtful mood.

[v4, p105] panel 2
'kyou mo'

If you say something happened 'kyou mo', you mean that it happened today and it is usual or it also happened last time.

It seems to be unusual to see other customers at Cafe Alpha [v4, p13].

- kGo
Saturday, September 11, 2004

[v4, p112] panel 4
'Kyou yasumou kana.'

This 'yasumu' means "close the shop (temporarily)", not "stop searching".

Yes, the translation is good enough. Alpha is thinking about giving up searching for the valve and wondering if she should close the shop today.

[v4, p121] panel 3
'ani' ('nani', dialect)

You can use "hey", "say" or "so" [a2002, 149].

[v4, p125] panel 3

Makki is sniffing Takahiro. Maybe she smelled another woman on him.

- kGo
Saturday, September 25, 2004

Aa, souda.
I have one more thing to say.

[v4, p118] panel 2
'hadaka no tsukiai'

Neil's translation is:
"nothing hidden between friends"

Hey, It's a great translation. I'm really impressed, Neil!

- kGo
Sunday, September 26, 2004

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