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feihong

Grand Comic Reading Project #2: Yotsuba

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feihong

Welcome to the second installment of the Grand Comic Reading Project!

post-38695-071483200 1284422380_thumb.jpg

Chinese Title: 四叶妹妹

Japanese Title: よつばと!

English Title: Yotsuba&!

Character Set: Traditional (a few, scattered chapters are in Simplified)

Genre: Comedic Slice-of-Life

Country of Origin: Japan

Year of First Publication: 2003

Series Info: http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Yotsuba%26!

Read Online: http://www.dm5.com/Type.aspx?id=1626

Jump to first page: http://www.dm5.com/C...44fe_page-8.htm

Buy Online: http://www.books.com...item=0010250663

Difficulty: Very Easy (but see Legibility below).

Legibility: Very good, except when 四叶 is excited, the writing is in a more child-like, chubby font, which is harder to read. Also, some of the text that isn't in speech bubbles is rather small.

Summary: Yotsuba (四叶) is a rambunctious five-year-old who lives with her father. Together they explore their new neighborhood and frequently bumble their way into awkward situations.

Page Counts:

Volume 1: 224

Volume 2: 190

Volume 3: 182

Volume 4: 190

Volume 5: 204

... (this is an ongoing series)

Read Offline (CBZ File): Volume 1

Sample Page Gallery: http://grandcomic.wi...le_Page_Gallery

Word List: Yotsuba Word List

Word List File: yotsuba_2010-10-26.txt

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Gleaves

Thanks for all the work on this, feihong.

I have only read a few pages, but plan to make this my metro reading. I have found it quite charming thus far.

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jbradfor

Already have some questions....

On page 11, Yotsuba says "才一陈子不见你又长大了" (I think). How would you translate "才一陈子"?

On page 16, the neighbor says "你们家隔壁的綾瀨" (I think). What does "綾瀨" mean here? It doesn't seem to be her name, as the grammar seems wrong. [And do I even have the second character correct? The upper right part clearly looks like刀 in the comic, but on my screen it really looks like, well, something different I can't type in :-) Maybe it's just a font issue. I can post screen captures if this isn't clear.]

On page 50, the kids say "请多指教". Literal translation is something like "please give lots of help and advice". Is this a common (humble) saying?

I'm also very surprised that the father is so relaxed that his daughter just walked away and he doesn't know where she is. In the USA, the parents would probably be charged with neglect if they did this.

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feihong

@jbradfor:

"才一陈子不见你又长大了" could be translated as "It's only been a little while since I last saw you, but you've already grown some more".

The full sentence is "我是住在你们家隔壁的綾瀨". This is a weird way of phrasing it, but I'm pretty sure she's saying "I live in the house next door to yours, and I am a (member of the) Linglai (family)."

I've seen the phrase "请多指教" quite a bit in manga, but I can't remember it ever being said by an actual Chinese person. I believe it's a direct translation of the set phrase that Japanese people always say when they first meet somebody, perhaps "yorushiku" (http://jisho.org/words?jap=&eng=please+take+care+of+me&dict=edict).

I don't think 小岩井先生 is portrayed as the ideal father figure. Well, you'll see.

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jbradfor

Thanks.

MDBG defines 陳 as "to lay out / to exhibit / to display / to narrate / to state / to explain / to tell / old / stale"; how does one get "a little while" out of that?

I totally missed that 綾瀨 was the neighbors' family name. Even though you put it near the top of the word list. Sigh.

I guess I'll have to take your word on the 请多指教 part. Seems strange that as a direct translation of the Japanese, it's so different.

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renzhe
MDBG defines 陳 as "to lay out / to exhibit / to display / to narrate / to state / to explain / to tell / old / stale"; how does one get "a little while" out of that?

It's a typo. It should be 陣.

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renzhe

I've read some of this last night. I found it quite unusual, but I really don't know too much about manga.

Basically, nothing happens :D But it's still nice due to the slice-of-life feel and very lifelike characters. Really nice drawing too. Simple, but very clean and with great attention to detail. Overall, it was surprisingly enjoyable.

In terms of language, this is even easier than Doraemon. Even for people who only know simplified, this should be easy enough, and a good first introduction to traditional characters. The conversations are so simple that you can get everything out of context.

BTW, a good tip for people who have trouble understanding some basic background is to check the wikipedia article, which usually gives a synopsis and the major characters. For example, it can be seen that the neighbours' family name is 綾瀬, which caused some confusion earlier. I found this especially useful with Ranma 1/2, which has a million characters.

I'm also very surprised that the father is so relaxed that his daughter just walked away and he doesn't know where she is. In the USA, the parents would probably be charged with neglect if they did this.

I haven't read too far, but I'm pretty sure that they used to live in the countryside, where kids roam around freely. So he's used to having her disappear, and underestimates the dangers in a city. Early in the second episode, he tells her never to go out without telling him first.

...and it doesn't work :D

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Gleaves

I must say, I get a kick out of 四葉. I found the 蟬 and 鞦韆 parts pretty funny. There is not a whole lot of plot per se, but I am interested to see what the deal is with her and her dad and if they give some backstory.

I like how some of the verbs are spelled out as they are happening, like 轉頭 or 坐下.

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feihong

Glad you guys are enjoying it.

I agree with renzhe when he says that 四葉 is a good introduction to traditional characters, because that's what it was for me. When I started reading it I didn't get too frustrated because the language is pretty simple, and the density of characters is pretty low. So, despite my lack of experience with traditional characters, I was able to read as much as 50 pages in a single night.

Also, we are including character lists at the top of our word lists: http://grandcomic.wi...tsuba_Word_List

It might be better to check that rather than Wikipedia, because the Wikipedia articles always contain spoilers ;)

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jbradfor

Already on page 143 (it's a really quick read), and am liking it more and more.

I really liked on (page 111) 朝儀's logic on why it's OK to use the A/C, especially "要用冷气来让地球变凉快"; I laughed outloud on that one. Also liked when 風香 got stuck in the window; she seems to be a bit of a schlemiel.

Is the "little writing" (not in bubbles) important to the story? I'm skipping most of it, because i can read the normal text when I have an entire page on the screen, but need to zoom in to read the little writing. Am I missing anything important?

What's up with the big fight starting on page 140 between 小岩井先生 and 巨無霸? I understand exactly why they are fighting, but it seems a bit out of place.

I assume the joke on page 77 was that 四葉 was being overly polite (including using 寒舍) welcoming 風香?

On page 79, when 四葉 replies that she is from the "left side" when asked where she came from, I assumed she was just being literal and pointing to the door. But the wikipedia article says 'Before moving to her present house, she and Koiwai lived with his mother, then before that on an island that is, according to her, "to the left."' Thoughts?

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renzhe

The little writing is not crucial, but it explains what the characters are thinking, or gives a bit of background. It adds a bit of colour, mostly.

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feihong

The little writing is usually not critical. I also have to zoom to read it, but I usually try to read it. I think of it as an interesting exercise in recognizing characters using just context and shape rather than being able to make out the strokes.

小岩井先生 and 巨無霸 are very old friends, and they have their own weird little bits that they like to do.

I'm pretty sure that 四葉 was either being overly polite or old-fashioned.

The Wikipedia article refers to dialogue that you probably haven't yet read. The series is generally very stingy about revealing the background of the 小岩井 family. But don't worry! I'm sure all will be revealed in time.

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Gleaves

The little writing helps me sometimes get a better sense of what's going on. Having watched/read a good bit of anime/manga, I am still not always clear what emotion is being conveyed by some facial expressions. Something like lines drawn over the face with pointy teeth means nothing to me out of context. Or a bead of sweat. Characters in manga seem to get a bead of sweat for just about every emotion. 囧.

This comic reminds me of Family Circus a little - the whole bumbling family, kid asking questions thing. One big difference, of course, is that Yotsuba is fun and Family Circus is awful.

A few words I looked up in 第3话:

負離子 负离子 fùlízǐ negative ion (physics)

鏘 锵 qiāng tinkling of small bells

弄錯 弄错 nòng​cuò​ to err / to get sth wrong / to miscalculate / to misunderstand

看錯 看错 kàncuò a mistake / an oversight / an error of judgment

錯怪 错怪 cuòguài to blame sb wrongly

[Edit - I'll add these to the word list wiki]

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jbradfor

Some more thoughts / questions.

page 148: I think it's interesting that when talking about the shrine, their first thoughts were "yeah! street vendor stands!". :P In the first of my only two times in Japan, our first day there our friend that was showing us around took us to a shrine in Tokyo, and they too were having a bunch of stands there. Mmmmmm, yummy food!

page 149: 這是國家蓋的嗎. It's pretty obvious from the context that 國家蓋 means "state owned", but I can't find a reference to it. [is that actually 蓋, or am I misreading it?]

page 196: "這傢伙是撿到的" I assume 巨无霸 was saying that 四葉 is adopted. To me, it seems an extremely weird phrasing: "picked-up". Is this a common euphemism for adopted? Their reaction I thought was also interesting. My understanding is that adoption is quite rare in Japan, and somewhat frowned upon (and only slightly less so in China), but they obviously thought something was wrong.

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feihong

@jbradfor

Yeah, that is 蓋. I think 國家蓋的 is just her way of saying that the government built it.

I think even before 巨无霸's "這傢伙是撿到的" comment, it was clear that 四葉 is adopted, because she's clearly not Japanese. I refer to page 29, which describes 惠那's first encounter with our heroine: "She looks a little strange. Is she a foreign kid?"

I think 巨无霸's choice of words is just mild joking, it's not a euphemism for adoption.

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jbradfor

Thanks. I'm not familiar with 蓋 to mean "to build"; I know of it only to mean "lid". That makes more sense.

But it certainly wasn't clear to 風香 that 四葉 was adopted!

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skylee

蓋 also means "to boast". But I guess this is not what it means in the story.

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