Hi everyone! It’s Koko! This time I would like to discuss the manga: “One Piece” . When I went back to Japan in January 2012, I decided to buy this manga because it was one I was familiar with and have read before in English. The reason was that I wanted to read my favourite manga in Japanese. It was definitely much easier to read than the Nightmare Before Christmas. (Which I will finish eventually!). When I look at the manga’s picture I can usually understand the context of what is being said in the conversation bubbles and what have you.
Although when I was in Malmö I did find a Swedish translated version as well, which I flipped through as well. I was kind of shocked because they don’t translate to many manga into the Scandinavian languages. But that’s another topic for another blog post!
So without further ado, let’s begin:
The first chapter is quite easy to read with only a few unfamiliar kanji but every kanji had furigana printed on top of the kanji to help you read it. There were a few nuanced kanji where they used an English loanword instead of the reading. This happens a lot in Japanese to give the word or phrase a double meaning, if you will. Or simply the English word instead of the Japanese word.
Example: 銃 is read as ピストル instead of being read as either つつ or じゅう (depending on the context). 銃 means gun while ピストル is a specific type of gun (“a pistol”).
In the second chapter you get to learn 「一番イカついクソばあばあですっ!!!!」from one of the characters. Which I would translate to “You’re the cruellest old hag!” in English. クソ is a really rude word in Japanese which could mean: “Sh*t” or “f*ck” or even “f**king ______” if really wanted to be vulgar. It depends on the context. One thing I learned about Japanese is that a lot of information is implied. Which means context is everything and there are a lot of embedded sentences as well.
In chapter 5, you can learn how to count swords in Japanese. If you’re learned Japanese for a while you will find out you have to certain “counter” words in order to count specific objects.
Example: 「でも3本(ぼん)あるぞ」(“But there are three [swords])
本（ほん) by itself means “book” in English but when it’s also a counter word for long cylindrical things; counter for films, TV shows, etc.; counter for goals, home runs, etc. Which can made counting quite daunting in Japanese. But this also occurs in many other languages as well. It took me a while to grasp and I still make mistakes with this.
Finally at the beginning of the last chapter you learn the more masculine way of saying お腹すいた(“I’m hungry”) which is腹へった in addition to learning how to ask for a glass of water in an extremely polite way: 「水を一杯いただけませんか？」 Which could be quite useful if you’re in a formal setting and you badly need a drink of water.
So even in manga you can learn some essential phrases that are actually used in everyday Japanese! To be honest I could probably finish that entire manga in about 30 minutes to an hour at most. It’s quite easy and enjoyable to read.
Do you use manga or comics to learn your target language?If so, are they as useful to you as they are enjoyable? Are you able to pick out useful words and phrases that are used in everyday life? I would love to hear what you think in the comments below!