I’m extremely not an expert in birds, but I tried to look these up to see if they were a species native to New York (since they’re similar to the sparrows we usually see around Kobayashi’s place). Apparently there are few similar-looking species in New York? My totally uninformed guess is that they may be house sparrows.
The sun sets in Japan relatively early (probably around 6:30pm when this episode takes place), which would make it entirely plausible that if she just flew east (with a slight northward angle) she’d find herself over New York in the early morning while most of the rest of the country is still dark.
These bumpy grey pads at the pedestrian part of the intersection here are known as (among other things) tactile paving; they’re to assist people who can’t fully rely on eyesight to get around.
Interestingly (imo), they were actually invented in Japan in the 60s (by a Miyake Seiichi), where today they’re extremely ubiquitous. They even show up later this episode!
They’re often referred to in Japan as 点字ブロック, tenji (Braille) blocks, and they tend to come in two types: the “dot” design, which indicates a place to stop (or an angle change, or more generally “caution”), and the “line” design which indicates you can safely keep going. They’re generally colored yellow in Japan, ideally making them stand out more to help people with impaired vision find them, and are mandated by law in most places public transport can be found (among others).
Not really a translation note, but “deer cola” felt especially funny in the context of all the horse medicine stuff.
I guess “[animal] [drink]” is a common branding device in-universe, given the crab beer Kobayashi’s always drinking.
Also not really a translation note, but the difference between how “hard” Kanna and Chloe are running to be at the same speed was a nice animation touch.
遊んだ遊んだ！ asonda asonda!
One feature of the Japanese language is a very heavy use of repetition. This includes “reduplication,” a linguistic term for creating words by repeating a root (e.g. a “boo-boo” in English or the dara-dara example below in Japanese), but also just like… saying the same word multiple times, as Chloe does here.
Typically this is done for emphasis or to help increase clarity: if you’ve worked in a Japanese office, you’ve likely heard someone in a phone conversation say desu desu in response to someone asking for confirmation.
This acceptance of repetition sort of extends beyond the obvious uses like this as well: for example, personal pronouns are much less common; instead (if the subject isn’t dropped) you’ll often just use the person’s name again. You’ll notice similar trends with other types of words as well.
Not to mention the ubiquity of things like otsukare.
This often ends up being a challenge for translators, because reusing words in English (when it’s not for an obvious reason) tends to stick out rather unflatteringly, even if they aren’t that close together.
(Like when I overuse “hence” in these notes.)
This “Christ” in the Japanese was “ったく” (short for 全く mattaku, but just used as a semi-generic exclamation). I mostly bring this up because it’s a good example of a word that doesn’t work out of its cultural context; e.g. it wouldn’t make any sense for a fantasy character to say “Christ,” but since this is an American speaker it works just fine (and helps distinguish that fact, even).
I think I’ve mentioned this before, but English uses a lot of “explicit reference” words like this, that can break immersion if put in the mouths of characters who wouldn’t have exposure to said reference—which can be annoyingly limiting when trying to write dialogue sometimes.
As a bit of a culture shock for a lot of Americans I’ve met, most Japanese homes tend to have wall mounted air conditioning units, like this one, that are only for heating/cooling the one room they’re in. (Many also have a “Dry” setting that makes them act kind of like a dehumidifier as well.) It’s common to not have them in every room, like bedrooms, however.
This is in contrast to the central air conditioning system used by a majority of homes in the US (though type/use of AC in the US varies a lot by region; less common in the north for example)—and places like the UK where apparently residential AC units of any kind are quite rare.
You may have noticed that the doors between rooms always seem closed in Kobayashi’s apartment. That’s not just to make the backgrounds simpler, it’s also a good habit to keep if you’re going to be running the AC!
“Kobayashi, are you お休み today?”
お休み o-yasumi, is a noun form of the 休む yasumu, to rest. The word has a variety of applications, as we see here. A day off work/school, i.e. a rest day? お休み. Want to say “good night” to someone before bed? Also お休み.
In this case, it’s not even necessarily clear it’s being said as a pun; as mentioned earlier, repetition is a common feature of the language, so despite the yawn there wouldn’t really be any reason for Kanna to think Kobayashi was about to go to nap or anything.
“Laze about” here is だらだら dara-dara, another phenomime (擬態語 gitaigo in Japanese)—one of those words that mimics the “sound” of an idea/concept/state, which don’t actually make a sound per se.
These phrases aren’t necessarily childish or anything (overuse of them can be, but you can find them even in news articles and political speeches for example). They are, however, used frequently by children, and by adults talking to children, as they’re very “easy” words: they’re expressive, they capture useful daily-life concepts, and they usually roll off the tongue. You’ll notice, for example, that Kanna uses them a lot.
Kanna has a very interesting way of talking actually, which I’ll touch on a bit more later.
Kobayashi’s “bean jam” here is あんみつ anmitsu, a traditional Japanese dessert (technically a spinoff of mitsumame). It typically is a mix of red beans (and/or red peas), agar (an algae-based gelatin equivalent), some fruit, some variety of rice flour product (shiratama in this case, similar to mochi), and a syrup (often black sugar based).
You can find it year-round, but it has a strong summer association and is even used as a summer season word. (It’s typically chilled and you can often get it with ice cream as an ingredient.)
It’s also sometimes paired with a green-tea flavored something as well (e.g. ice cream, agar, or syrup). The trinity of green tea, red beans (aka azuki), and shiratama makes what I like to think of as the “Japanese S’mores Flavor (for Adults)”. No I will not elaborate on this.
I will though point out the shaved ice flavor Kobayashi ordered later in the episode:
A word of note here for language learners is 様子 yousu, which has a lot of definitions, but in cases like this where it’s attached to a noun or phrase means roughly “the appearance of __” or “an indication of ___” etc. In actual use, it typically means something that makes you think of whatever ___ is—or the lack of something that would make you think ___.
For example here, it’s like “Watermelon? Where’d that come from?” (since the TV was talking about a different dessert-y food entirely).
Or an unrelated example: “I think that guy is hiding something” → “Really? I haven’t seen any yousu of that.” In other words, it can be a lot like “sign,” as in “I’ve seen no sign of ___.”
These color-bordered envelopes (originally colored based on the flag of the country of origin) used to be the standard for air mail, domestic or international, though they haven’t been required for several decades.
That said, they’re still popular for that “ooh, international mail!” feel (at least in Japan) and you can buy them at most places that sell stuff like envelopes. As here, they’re often used in media to immediately convey that a letter came from outside Japan.
Kanna (and Kobayashi) says エアメール, lit. “air mail” in English, which is used colloquially for international mail specifically, rather than “mail sent by plane.”
They’re having what’s called 冷やしそうめん hiyashi soumen, chilled/cold soumenfor lunch here. (Soumen being a thin wheat noodle; udon but thinner.) As Kanna says, it’s very easy to make!
Basically you just boil it, wash it in cold water, add ice, get some sort of sauce to dip it in, and you’re done! It’s a popular quick meal in summer, and much easier than the more involved nagashi soumen setups you may have seen elsewhere, where they slide the noodles down a chute for you to try to grab and eat. (It’s basically the same meal aside from that though.)
(You can of course add more to it, but as we see here, you don’t really have to.)
The type of tea here, for the curious, is 麦茶 mugicha, barley tea. Mugi is the general name for cereals/grains including wheat (komugi), barley (oomugi), rye (kuromugi or rye mugi), and oats (enbaku or oat mugi). It’s incredibly common in Japan (and much of East Asia), where it’s the household summer drink.
It has no caffeine like many other teas, and has a bunch of various nutritional benefits, so it’s considered a good way to stay hydrated as you’re sweating buckets in the muggy Japanese summer weather.
帽子した？ boushi shita?
I thought this was a cute way of phrasing this question/answer, and a good example of the “parent and their young child” way these two talk.
The suru (past tense shita) verb used here is the ultimate in “generic verb,” and it basically doesn’t get any simpler grammar-wise to phrase something as “noun+suru” like Kobayashi does here (even the particles are dropped).
Kanna, for her part, doesn’t respond with a “yes” or etc, but instead just repeats back the verb itself in confirmation.
Just to note another one of those words like dara-dara: bura-bura, used for things like wandering around, doing something (or nothing) casually/aimlessly, or (with one bura) for something dangling/swinging in a more literal sense, like a spider, slack yo-yo, or wind chime.
These booklets are a common homework assignment for practicing kanji; you can see along the left side there it shows the stroke order, with the first block giving an example to trace over & showing where to start each stroke.
Each character is made up of radicals (e.g. “hot” above: 日 and 耂), which each have a standard way to write them. There’s 214 such radicals (though many are pretty niche; only about ~50 of them are needed to make most characters), and once you get a hang of them it makes learning new characters much easier (not too different from learning word spellings in English imo).
Kanna is repeating out loud the reading for the “hot” character as she writes it.
In addition to the above workbooks (which usually involve both kanji and math problems at Kanna’s grade), elementary school summer homework in Japan typically involves doing an illustrated diary (not a daily one necessarily) and some sort of research project about a subject of your choice. (Think kind of like a small science fair project).
The “research” project part is pretty expansive, and you can typically even do something more arts & craftsy for it.
Manhole covers in a lot of Japanese municipalities feature art representative of the area. For example, the city of Chofu, where the author of GeGeGe no Kitaro lived most of his life, has several with art of that series.
(Photo from https://www.gotokyo.org/jp/spot/1734/index.html)
I mentioned earlier that Kanna has an interesting way of speaking. Probably a better way to put it is that she has a pretty convincingly childish way of speaking (despite the monotone). That is, she uses simple grammar and “easy” words most of the time, but then throws out random big words and fancy idioms from time to time that make you go “…where did you learn that?”
In this case, the phrase she uses is 巷で人気 chimata de ninki. Chimata originally means like a fork (in the road), and since those are often places with lots of people passing through, it expanded to mean “the undefined place where people talk about ~stuff~.” So it’s used for “many people are saying~” or “word on the street is~” types of situations (or “talk of the town,” as here).
It’s kind of an “adult” word though; for example the character for it isn’t included in the jouyou kanji (the 2000+ that are taught in elementary through high school). Hence Kobayashi’s reaction here.
The word she uses for “protected” here is 死守 shishu. The word is the combination of the characters for “death” and “protect,” ~meaning to protect something even at risk to one’s life (to the death, as it were).
It’s a word that you learn in third grade in the Japanese education system—the same grade Kanna is in!
Both of these types of signs are common sights in residential areas like this: depending on where you live, it can feel like there’s always some sort of construction project going on, and Japan’s many family/individually-owned businesses like this tend to be closed on various extra days during the summer (and certain other times) to allow for time off.
In this case, them being closed August 12th~16th implies they’re taking off for Obon (and probably leaving town to visit family).
The word Kobayashi uses here is 風物詩 fuubutsu-shi. Fuubutsu refers to something that makes up part of the “scenery” of a place or season, in a pretty broad sense. This shi typically means “poem.”
So fuubutsu-shi is originally a type of poem celebrating a season or a scene of natural beauty, that sort of thing. From that, it’s also now (more popularly) used to describe things that are representative of a season; the kind of stuff you say “it’s not winter until…” about, or “you know it’s summer when…” (It can also be used for places + seasons, like the ice sculptures of Hokkaido winters, or even summer Comiket in Tokyo.)
They’re very similar to the season words I’ve mentioned previously, though they’re far less strict about what counts as one. Here, Kobayashi’s could be referring to the whole package experience of “having to take cover and wait out a sudden heavy rain, despite it being mostly clear skies a few minutes ago,” which you could call fuubutsu-shi (summed up probably as like 夏の雨宿り etc.)
In contrast the relevant season word here would probably be yuudachi (or niwaka-ame), a word referring to the short, sudden bouts of rain that tend to fall (from cumulonimbus clouds, the makings of which are noticeable in the backgrounds before this) on summer evenings.
Feels like in season one she woulda eaten it. Three cheers for character growth!
The parentheticals there are just the “English” in hiragana/katakana.
Kobayashi’s comment (nihongo de ok, roughly “you can just use Japanese”) is an internet-born term people originally would use to reply to someone who said something that didn’t make any sense, had terrible grammar, or was so full of katakana loanwords it was hard to read etc.
Kanna says this line in English, and while I have no proof at all, my guess is that the specific choice of “wicked” was taken from the translation of “maji yabakune?” used in season one.