The 巳 (mi) kanji here is the one for snake, in a zodiac sense (normally snake is 蛇 (hebi).
As you could probably guess, this is a realtor’s office. When trying to rent a new place in Japan, you are almost certainly going to go one of these offices (they’re extremely recognizable due to the dozens of floor plans plastered out front). Nowadays there are online databases you can use to look up vacant properties, but the posts are by individual realtors so even if you find a place online you’ll still need to go through them—it’s basically impossible to deal directly with the property owner or the property management company.
Also there’s nothing stopping owners from denying a contract to potential renters for being foreign, which can make finding a place a bit more of a hassle if you aren’t Japanese. You’ll be at the realtor’s office and pick a place you like to go look at, and they’ll have to call up the management company, who will call up the property owner, and ask if “foreigners from [your country] are okay” before moving forward with anything.
Specifically he says 3LDK, which is three bedrooms, a living room, a dining room, and a kitchen. That’s the usual format for describing apartments/condos; 1K is one room plus a kitchen, 2DK is two plus dining and kitchen, etc. In the city, by far the most common type is 1K. Japan doesn’t have much of a tradition of having roommates (unless you’re in a dorm of some sort), so most places are either for a single person or a family.
It can actually be pretty hard to find a place that will rent to 2+ people if they aren’t married/family, presumably due to some combination of risk aversion (if you and your roommate(s) have a falling out you’re more likely to move out, I guess) and “tradition.” Not to say you can’t, of course, but it definitely adds another layer of difficulty.
irl it would have been impossible for them to find a new place to rent without proper ID for Tohru and Kannaーaside from tourists people on short-term business trips, everyone in Japan must be registered with their local government, and you need proof that you are in order to do anything like renting or opening a bank account.
What she actually asks is whether Tohru is kireizuki (綺麗好き), which is a common term for someone who likes to keep things clean—like their room, office, desk, etc., not just personal hygiene.
The pun here is that bugs are mushi (虫) and cavities (and the bacteria that cause them) are mushiba/mushibakin (虫歯/虫歯菌). Kobayashi’s line was like “mushi? Not mushibakin?”
Kani (蟹) is crab, in case that wasn’t clear. Kani Beer (bi-ru) sounds very similar to Kanibiru, which is a type of parasite that afflicts crabs. If you google image search カニビル you can see some gross pictures of it.
The other bottles there are energy drinks, which in Japan tend to be sold in those tiny bottles and are associated with (and highly marketed to) the huge masses of overworked salarymen.
“Salaryman” (サラリーマン) is by the way a loan word that is used to refer to both male and female salaried office workers.
Titles include such hits as “The World and Life of an English Maid”, “Leave it to Maid!” (volumes 5, 6, and 9), ”Encyclopedia of Maid Wear ”, “Maids and Butlers”, etc.
There’s that “choro-gon” thing again. This scene is a perfect example of the concept:
A: “You need to clean up after yourself better!”
B: “But I like having you clean up after me…”
A: “Oh you! I guess it’s fine then!”
And this is a perfect example of an “oyakusoku.” The instant Tohru asks to try on Kobayashi’s clothes, the audience knows there is a “the chest is a little tight…” joke coming up.
Random fact: Japanese cup sizes go A→B→C→D→E, not AA→A→B→C→D→DD.
Did you know that haiku aren’t just the 5-7-5 thing, but in Japanese they also specifically include “season words” (季語 kigo), that associate them with a particular season? A 5-7-5 poem without them is called a senryuu (川柳) instead. (It’s more complicated than that but, close enough.)
These “season words” are commonly used in other pieces of art as well, as symbols to show what season it is and to evoke certain sentiments.
The “first cherry blossoms” (初桜 or 初花) is what’s being referenced here. Cherry blossoms hold a lot of emotional weight in Japan, and symbolize, among other things, getting a fresh start. The Japanese school year ends in March and begins in April—the period when cherry blossoms bloom—so it’s seen as a time where you’re moving on to new things: new class, new school, new job (college students will have typically secured employment by graduation and start almost immediately), etc., even more so than spring is in other countries on a different schedule.
This crane is another spring “season word,” as they return from their winter migration around March. It’s considered a happy event, as they’re finally returning home after a strenuous journey.
Hm? Migratory birds you say?
There’s construction going on all the time in Japan. In large part that’s due to infrastructure spending traditionally being a primary source of economic stimulus by the government. Generally they’re very fast about it at least; road work is often done overnight, and new buildings pop up seemingly out of nowhere (at least in Tokyo).
The little cut-out worker dude you see in the foreground there is a real thing that gets used sometimes; often it’s shown bowing and apologizing for the trouble the construction is causing for traffic and such.
Raise your hand if you thought this meant Kobayashi was asking Tohru to hide her horns.
Well, sort of. She actually is using an idiom that means “to make things worse” (角を立てる kado wo tateru). It comes from another phrase, to make (raise the) corners in one’s eyes (目に角を立てる me ni kado wo tateru), which means glaring angrily. Basically the idea is that if you’re “rising corners” (in people’s eyes) you’re making them angry, i.e. making things worse.
Part of the joke though, is that the kanji for “corner” (角 kado) is also the kanji for “horn” (角 tsuno or sometimes kaku).
I’m not sure if the translator was just working off a script and so didn’t realize she was saying kado, didn’t know the idiom, or was just doing their best to make the line make sense while preserving the horn pun without a paragraph-long TL note.
The way she says “bothering” (気になる ki ni naru) here is less rude/direct sounding than in English, and could just as well be read as indicating curiosity or worry as annoyance.
The brown bits are (probably) fried tofu.
Nanohana (菜の花) gets translated as rapeseed a lot, but really it refers to a variety of plants: flowering, edible members of the brassica genus (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, diakon, cabbage, etc.). The one most commonly referred to as “nanohana” is indeed rapeseed, but the kind you eat (i.e. buy at a grocery store in Japan) is a differently cultivated version from the kind you look at as a pretty flower, and more closely resembles tenderstem broccoli.
Nanohana is also…another spring “season word”!
“The one who calls people stupid is the real stupid one” (馬鹿と言う方が馬鹿 baka to iu hou ga baka) is a common saying in Japanese, this is supposed to be a humorous twist on that.
The word for “dropping rank” here is 無礼講 (bureikou). Japanese workplaces are very hierarchical, there’s certain language you have to use with your boss and senpai, it’s very stiff and ritualized in a lot of ways. That can cause problems, especially in the past when it was even stricter, as it highly limits the things you can talk to your superiors about.
The “solution” to this is having a (drinking) party where everyone agrees to drop the act and just have fun/speak your mind. They’re considered important team-building exercises, in a way. However, of course you still can’t take things too far and there are various other social rules involved, so these events have their own difficulties as well.
Kobayashi in particular doesn’t seem to like dealing with people, and prefers to hide behind social formalities, as we see later in the episode.
The other phrase here 選べない酒 (erabenai sake; alcohol you can’t choose), I believe is referring to how you can’t turn down drinks when offered at these things. If your boss or senpai is like, “hey, have a drink!” you’re not supposed to refuse—one of the “wait but I thought we dropped the rules” rules.
They actually had to make it a law that you can’t force your subordinates to drink it was such a problem (people getting sick/dying from alcohol poisoning etc.), though I’m not sure how effective it has been.
The phrase she uses here (不安しかないな fuan shika nai na) has more a nuance of “I have a terrible feeling about this,” and I feel the “I’m only worried” translation maybe sort of implies “It’s fine I’m just worried about it is all” instead.
I like the symbolism of Kanna’s band snapping as she says it too.
“Goth-loli” is a fashion style, short for gothic lolita, and is not necessarily related to other usages of that word.
Here’s her hiding behind those social formalities. Basically she’s taking the standard formalized template of “how to politely greet someone for the first time (in a work environment)” and just acting it out, rather than actually interacting on a personal level.
The phrase used, 社交辞令 (shakou jirei) refers to these sorts of formalized, “for politeness’s sake” types of things; typically greetings or compliments. It’s kind of like “How are you?” in English, where we ask but don’t actually want or expect a full answer about how they are actually doing or feeling right now—just on a larger scale.
“Pai” is used in various words for breasts, so the pi symbol π is used sometimes to refer to them as well. The other word in the background there is 怪しからん (keshikaran), which basically means outrageous/inexcusable. It’s kind of old fashioned, except it’s been turned into a meme where people will use it ironically to describe something erotic and then ask for more. Like, “What are they doing, this is outrageous! No no, don’t stop them.”
The word used here is 痴女 (chijo). It actually means “female pervert,” not necessarily slutty. By “pervert,” it’s meant in like the train molester or flasher kind of way. You may have heard the word used for the train molesters before: chikan (痴漢). Chijo is the female equivalent, literally just replacing the (old fashioned) “man” kanji with the one for woman.
Basically she’s saying “that’s indecent exposure.”
She actually says “early elderly” (初老 shorou), not middle-aged (中年 chuunen). Chuunen is usually from about 40, while shorou is like 60ish. The image is like, white hair, moustache, old-but-still-in-good-shape. Basically Alfred from Batman.
Technically one of the dictionary definitions of shorou is “40,” which would be middle-aged, but that’s not what someone means when they use it in conversation.
In case anyone missed it, she’s just observing that they lean into the turns and such, as some people will tend to do when playing racing games and such.
The title of the ED is “Ishukan Communication” (in katakana). 一週間 (isshuukan) means “one week”/”one week’s time,” and you can see all the days of the week references and such. However, ishu (異種) means different species and kan (間) can be used as a suffix similar to the prefix “inter” in English, so it also means “interspecies communication.”
Japanese days of the week are:
月曜日, moon day, named after the moon (月)
火曜日, fire day, named after Mars (火星, fire planet)
水曜日, water day, named after Mercury (水星, water planet)
木曜日, wood day, named after Jupiter (木製, wood planet)
金曜日, gold day, named after Venus (金星, gold planet)
土曜日, groud/soil day, named after Saturn (土星, ground/soil planet)
日曜日, Sunday(!), named after the sun (日)