Ep. 6 Commentary - Strange Restaurant


Dialogue

カナコ:

あのさ...この()ちょっと()じゃない?
あのさ...この みせ ちょっと へん じゃない?
Hey… Don’t you think this restaurant is kind of strange?

ミキ:

どこが?
How so?

カナコ:

()()がかかってるし、店員()さんはメイド服着てるし。
かべ に かたな が かかってる し、 てんいんさん は メイドふく きてる し。
For one thing, there are swords on the walls, and the server is wearing a maid outfit.

ミキ:

あ~、気付()かなかった。
あ~、きづかなかった。
Ah, I hadn’t noticed.

カナコ:

じゃあいったいどこ()てたの?
じゃあ いったい どこ みてた の?
What exactly have you been looking at (this whole time)?

ミキ:

...大好()きだよ、カナコちゃん。
...だいすき だ よ、 カナコちゃん。
… I love you, Kanako-chan.

トビ:

まだちゃんと挨拶してないよね。
まだ ちゃんと あいさつ してない よ ね。
We still haven’t officially met.

ケンタ:

そうですね。
Yeah, you’re right.

トビ:

トビです。はじめまして。
I’m Toby.

ケンタ:

ケンタといいます。
I’m Kenta.

トビ:

よろしく。
Nice to meet you.

ケンタ:

よろしく。
Nice to meet you.


Commentary Transcript

This video has two short dialogs, first one between Kanako and Miki, then one between Toby and Kenta.


Kanako & Miki

Let’s start by looking at the entirety of this short chat between Kanako and Miki, and then I’ll go through each sentence one at a time.

カナコ:

あのさ...この()ちょっと()じゃない?
あのさ...この みせ ちょっと へん じゃない?
Hey… Don’t you think this restaurant is kind of strange?

ミキ:

どこが?
How so?

カナコ:

()()がかかってるし、店員()さんはメイド()服着()てるし。
かべ に かたな が かかってる し、 てんいんさん は メイドふく きてる し。
For one thing, there are swords on the walls, and the server is wearing a maid outfit.

ミキ:

あ~、気付(きづ)かなかった。
あ~、きづかなかった。
Ah, I hadn’t noticed.

カナコ:

じゃあいったいどこ()てたの?
じゃあ いったい どこ みてた の?
What exactly have you been looking at (this whole time)?

ミキ:

...大好(だいす)きだよ、カナコちゃん。
...だいすき だ よ、 カナコちゃん。
… I love you, Kanako-chan.

Here’s Kanako’s first sentence once more:

カナコ:

あのさ...この()ちょっと()じゃない?
あのさ...この みせ ちょっと へん じゃない?
Hey… Don’t you think this restaurant is kind of strange?

I wasn’t totally sure how I should translate this first part, [あのさ...]. I checked in a few dictionaries, but the closest thing that I found to this usage of あのさ... was an entry for あの, which said “say; well; err ...” At the end of it, we have さ...which kind of means “like” (in the way that less-than-eloquent teenagers often use it). In Japanese, too, throwing the word さ into your sentences all the time will make you sound a little bit immature.

This usage seems totally acceptable to me, though. So now we have a direct translation that goes something like “Say, like…” Which, in more natural English, just got translated to “Hey…” Kanako is saying it to get Miki’s attention before she continues with the rest of the sentence. She then continues with…

[この(みせ)ちょっと(へん)じゃない?]

Word-for-word, that’s…

  • この This
  • 店 Shop
  • ちょっと (a) little
  • 変 Strange
  • じゃない? Don’t you think?

Assembled together, that became: “Don’t you think this restaurant is kind of strange?”

By the way, as with all of our super casual Japanese, a particle is getting dropped here. Can you guess where it is?

Kanako is starting a new conversation here, yeah? And the topic of that conversation is… 店. So grammatically, it would probably benefit from having a topic particle. In other words, we could (should, perhaps) put は after 店, saying: この(みせ)( は ) ちょっと(へん)じゃない?

Also, we might also benefit from taking a look at the end of this sentence: ~じゃない? Technically じゃない means something like “is that no so?” but that has way too formal of a ring to it. So instead we could translate it to something like “Don’t you think?” or “Right?”

This is a rhetorical question, and Kanako is not seriously asking Miki if she thinks that this restaurant is strange. If she were genuinely interested, then she would add the particle の to the end of this sentence, probably, saying この店ちょっと変じゃないの? That sounds really strange, though, because it would be really strange to ask “Is this restaurant a bit strange?” just out of the blue like this.

If you’re interested in this subtle difference between じゃない? and じゃないの? then please check out the Bunkai Beast grammar guide, as I look at this quite in depth there. Although this is not always the case, in many cases, じゃない? when said at the end of a sentence in the tone of a question is a rhetorical question, and it translates to something like “Don’t you think…?” in English.

As it’s a rhetorical question, we could even say that Kanako is making a slight assertion about this restaurant, calling it strange. Miki doesn’t understand why she’s calling it strange, though, and she says…

ミキ:

どこが?
How so?

This sentence by Miki is an awesome example of the usage of the particle が. As I say in the Bunkai Beast Grammar Guide, が is used for identifying and clarifying information. As such, when Miki says どこが? she is actually asking Kanako to identify what, in particular, is strange about this restaurant. If we said it as a fuller sentence, it would probably be どこが変なの? [What, in particular, is strange?].

Saying どこが? Sounds much more natural than saying just どこ?, because saying only saying どこ would be like responding to Kanako’s prior statement, “Don’t you think this restaurant is kind of strange?” by saying “Where?” But we wouldn’t answer her like that in English. Instead, we’d say, “How so?” or “What’s strange about it?” And these we can express by adding the particle が to どこ, saying どこが?

It seems like students are always asking me to teach them the difference between は and が. Answering that question (if I’m really even able to do so adequately) would take a very long time. (See the Bunkai Beast grammar guide for more on that). Here, though, we do have one nice, clear, example of the difference between the two.

We can’t say どこは? Because a wh-question word will NEVER come BEFORE は. Adding to that, unless I’m not mistaken, a wh-question word will NEVER come AFTER が.

  • どこが...?
  • なにが...?
  • だれが...?
  • ...はどこ?
  • ...はなに?
  • ...はだれ?

I sometimes tell people that it can help to imagine that は is an arrow pointing right, as the important stuff will come after it, whereas が is an arrow pointing left, as the important stuff will come before it. Well, in a question, the question word is always the focus, as that’s what’s being sought. As such, particles point to the question word. So が comes after question words and は comes before question words.

Have I confused you yet? If so, you can try checking out the Bunkai Beast Grammar Guide, for even more brain-melting grammar nonsense. Or you could just not worry about it and trust that you’ll get a feel for these things with continuous, high volumes of exposure to Japanese. That’s probably my number 1 recommendation.

Anyways, let’s move on. Next we have the longest sentence in this entire dialog. Luckily, it’s about swords and maid outfits, though…

カナコ:

()()がかかってるし、店員()さんはメイド()服着()てるし。
かべ に かたな が かかってる し、 てんいんさん は メイドふく きてる し。
For one thing, there are swords on the walls, and the server is wearing a maid outfit.

So Miki asked Kanako to identify what’s strange about this restaurant by saying どこが?, yeah? And this is Kanako’s response. Before we look at the strange し connecting the two halves of this sentence, let’s look at each half separately.

(かべ)(かたな)がかかってる

This sentence is pretty straightforward. Word-for-word, we have “Wall-on-sword-is hanging.” That is, “There are swords on the walls.” Sweet.

The next sentence is:

店員(てんいん)さんはメイド(めいど)服着(ふくき)てる

Word-for-word, that’s “Server-は-maid clothing – is wearing.” So, yeah, “The server is wearing a maid outfit.” We also have a missing particle here, which is を between メイド服 and 着てる. Also as we’ve seen before, the い from the auxiliary verb is getting dropped, so instead of 着ている, we have 着てる, “is wearing.”

Okay, so separately those two halves of the sentence seem pretty straightforward (maybe). But what’s going on with the し getting stuck to each half?

[(かべ)(かたな)がかかってる店員(てんいん)さんはメイド(めいど)服着(ふくき)てる。]

If you look at the “Dictionary of Basic Grammar,” one of my favorite books in the world, it says that this し is “a conjunction used to indicate ‘and’ in an emphatic way,” and it gets translated into English as “and what’s more; not only ~ but also ~; so; etc.” In the dialog, this gets translated to “For one thing…” and the entire sentence is translated as:

“For one thing, there are swords on the walls, and the server is wearing a maid outfit.”

In my brains simpler definition, し is just a particle that I add to the end of sentences when I’m giving one (of possibly many) reasons for something. It’s also totally okay to have only one し, by the way. So if Kanako, wanted to, she could have just said, 壁に刀がかかってるし and stopped right there, and the translation would have been just, “For one thing, there are swords on the wall.”

When I first learned this grammar construction way back in the day, my teachers gave me all these rules about it, making big long, grammar-heavy sentences. For our purposes right now, let’s just say that it’s a useful bit of grammar when giving reasons for something, and it typically comes after the short form of a verb (including だ and だった) or a full i-adjective.

  • 飲(の)むし / 飲んだし [for one thing, (someone) drinks/drank]
  • 美味(おい)しいし / 美味しかったし [for one thing, (it) is/was delicious]
  • 静(しず)かだし / 静かだったし [for one thing, (it) is/was quiet]

Grammar charts like that probably don’t help too much, though. Luckily, we’ll see this grammar construction a little later during this party, in a conversation between Toby and Manami. Until then, let’s leave it here…

With this new evidence of what’s strange presented by Kanako, Miki responds with…

ミキ:

あ~、気付()かなかった。
あ~、きづかなかった。
Ah, I hadn’t noticed.

あ~ is, as you might guess, “Ah.” Then 気付かなかった is the plain past tense of the verb 気付く, “to notice; to realize.” 気付かなかった means, literally, “(I) didn’t notice),” although in this dialogue I translated it to “I hadn’t noticed.”

Specifically, Miki is saying, “I hadn’t noticed (the swords or the maid outfits),” and Kanako responds with…

カナコ:

じゃあいったいどこ()てたの?
じゃあ いったい どこ みてた の?
What exactly have you been looking at (this whole time)?

We already saw じゃあ, right? It’s means “well,” or “well, then,” or “then.” And then we have

  • いったい
  • どこ
  • 見てた

Substituting some English for those, we get…

  • …the heck? / …in the world?
  • Where
  • were looking
  • [(genuine) question marker]

I translated the whole thing as “What exactly have you been looking at (this whole time)?” But maybe I should have gone with a more fun translation, like, “Where in the world have you been looking this whole time?” or “Where in the heck have you been looking this whole time?”

In short, Kanako does not understand at all how Miki could not have noticed the maid clothing or the swords on the wall. But then, that’s Miki, right?

Unless I’m mistaken, the only part of this sentence that we haven’t seen yet is this word いったい. Usually いったい will come at the beginning of a sentence (though it doesn’t necessarily have to), right before a question mark. So you’re likely to see things like:

  • いったい何(なに)... / What the…
  • いったいどこ... / Where the…
  • いったい誰(だれ)... / Who the…

This shows up a lot in anime. I think it’s because in anime, there’s always some strange, out-of-this-world thing happening, and it tempts characters to say “What the..?!”

Sometimes they won’t even say the question word, and they’ll just stop right at いったい. You know how Japanese people like to leave things out using context, right?

So if you were looking at some crazy monster. This flying shark, for example, then you might say いったい!

  • Or それはいったい! What the heck is that?!
  • Or これはいったい! What the heck is this?!
  • Or あれはいったい! What in the world is that over there?!

Anyways, have fun with that one.

Obviously, Miki has no idea how she should respond to Kanako’s question. And rather than answer, she just pauses for a long time, before finally saying…

ミキ:

...大好()きだよ、カナコちゃん。
...だいすき だ よ、 カナコちゃん。
… I love you, Kanako-chan.

If you don’t know yet, 大好き kind of means “like,” and it kind of means “love.” I won’t get too much into it here. But here’s a list of levels of love:

  • ...好きだよ、カナコちゃん / I like you, Kanako-chan.
  • ...大好きだよ、カナコちゃん / I really like you, Kanako-chan. / I love you, Kanako-chan.
  • ...愛(あい)してるよ、カナコちゃん / I’m in love with you, Kanako-chan.

The first two can be used intimately or just with friends or family, and they can also be used for things. That last one is strictly for those in relationships. And be careful, because it’s pretty serious. Like, maybe-gonna-get-married level of seriousness. If Miki actually said that to Kanako, then it would mean that she loves her as more than a friend.

Next let’s look at Kenta and Toby’s conversation. I’m afraid it’s not quite as fun. Nothing about maids or swords, at least.


Kenta & Toby

トビ:

まだちゃんと挨拶してないよね。
まだ ちゃんと あいさつ してない よ ね。
We still haven’t officially met.

ケンタ:

そうですね。
Yeah, you’re right.

トビ:

トビです。はじめまして。
I’m Toby.

ケンタ:

ケンタといいます。
I’m Kenta.

トビ:

よろしく。
Nice to meet you.

ケンタ:

よろしく。
Nice to meet you.

Just using the info presented in past lessons, most of you should be able to understand the bulk of this conversation. If anything, the first sentence is surely the most difficult:

トビ:

まだちゃんと挨拶()してないよね。
まだ ちゃんと あいさつ してない よ ね。
We still haven’t officially met.

  • まだ
  • ちゃんと
  • 挨拶
  • してない
  • よね

In English, we get:

  • Still
  • Properly
  • Greetings
  • Have not done
  • [assertion], [you feel me?]

In human speech, we get: “We still haven’t officially met.”

The first time that I wrote this line of dialogue, I put まだちゃんと会(あ)ってないよね, which would literally mean “We haven’t properly met yet.” But, alas, my Japanese script checker told me that it sounded strange.

So instead, we have the word 挨拶, with some する action attached to it, giving us 挨拶してない, literally: “We haven’t greeted each other.”

The culture of 挨拶 is super deep in Japan. There are all kinds of confusing rules about how and when you meet each other, and we’ll look at them gradually over time. We even get a few of them here in this dialog, most of which we’ve all seen before…

トビ:

まだちゃんと挨拶()してないよね。
まだ ちゃんと あいさつ してない よ ね。
We still haven’t officially met.

ケンタ:

そうですね。
Yeah, you’re right.

トビ:

トビです。はじめまして。
I’m Toby.

ケンタ:

ケンタといいます。
I’m Kenta.

トビ:

よろしく。
Nice to meet you.

ケンタ:

よろしく。
Nice to meet you.

Unless I’m mistaken, the only bit of this whole back and forth that we haven’t seen yet is the part where Kenta says:

ケンタ:

ケンタといいます。
I’m Kenta.

Literally this means “I’m called Kenta.” But in normal English we can just say “I’m Kenta.” You could introduce yourself like this. Or you could just say your name plus です, like Toby does. Or if you’re being super formal, you could say your name plus と申(もう)します, like Diego does in his self-intro. Any of them are fine, really. I usually go with ニコです. I’m not totally sure why, though.

The very last thing that I want to mention here is that you may or may not have noticed that Toby starts out with casual Japanese, saying ~してないよね.

Kenta comes back with そうですね, which is nice and formal. With me, though, I think that I would have responded to this with そうだね, as I almost never answer someone with formal Japanese after they speak casual Japanese to me. I suppose I would with a boss or teacher, but I don’t have those conversations too often. Also, there is clearly no hierarchy at play here, so I think that Kenta would be totally justified in just using the casual そうだね, but something about his personality caused him to use the more formal そうですね. Talking to my Japanese editors, we all agreed that this just seemed to fit his personality much better. He’s a bit awkward, and that puts a distance between him and Toby. Part of that distance is expressed via his formal speech.

Maybe he relaxes a bit by the end of their exchange of names, though, because he comes back to Toby’s よろしく with a simple よろしく, as opposed to the full よろしくおねがいします.

If all of that seems confusing, I just wouldn’t even worry about it. I’m still working on getting a proper sense of things like levels of formality and switching between different types of speech. It’s one of those things that you’ll just pick up naturally by paying attention as you build up lots and lots of language exposure.

And with that, we’re finished! See you in the next commentary video! Please check out the PDF if some points were unclear.

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