Lucky Star! Episode 1 (Part 3)

The following is an unedited post created on our Tumblr page. You may find the original here.

And we’re back! Last time, Konata won a footrace and revealed to us her devotion to anime.

Now we find ourselves in their classroom during their lunch period. (In Japan, students tend to have their lunches in their classrooms.) And Konata, who is eating a chocolate coronet, strikes up a conversation with Tsukasa.

こなた:ねぇ つかさ チョココロネってどこから食べる?

つかさ:う~ん 頭からかな?

こなた:そっか

こなた:ところでさ 頭ってどっち?

こなた:太い方と細い方

つかさ:私はこっちの細いほうが頭だと思うんだけど

こなた:そうか 私は太ったほうが頭だと思ったよ

こなた:でもなんで細い方が頭

つかさ:だって貝みたいじゃない?

つかさ:こなちゃんはなんで太った方?

こなた:だってさ 芋虫みたいじゃん?

つかさ:芋虫…

こなた:まー でもそう考えると貝のほうがイメージいいね

So, without further ado, let’s get through this.

こなた:ねぇ つかさ チョココロネってどこから食べる?
(Konata: Nee, Tsukasa, choko korone tte doko kara taberu?)

ねぇ (nee): when at the beginning of a sentence, as opposed to the end, means “hey”. It’s still an interjection.

つかさ (Tsukasa): is her interlocutor.

チョココロネ (chokokorone): is a contraction of “chocolate cornet”, which is a Japanese pastry, I believe, based off French pastries.

って (tte): is a casual topic marker. It does the same thing as は (wa) would do in more formal sentences.

どこ (doko): is an interrogative adjective meaning “where?”

から (kara): is a particle that means “from”. This is one of those particles that comes extremely close to what the Indo-European languages have as preposition and could be considered a “postposition.”

食べる (taberu): is a verb conjugated for the non-negative, non-past, meaning “to eat.”

“Hey, Tsukasa, from where do you eat a chocolate cornet?”

And Tsukasa replies:

つかさ:う~ん 頭からかな?
(Tsukasa: Uun atama kara kana?)

う~ん (Uun): is Japanese’s equivalent to “uum”. There are a few other “uum”’s in Japanese, so keep an eye out for them.

頭 (atama): means “head.”

から (kara): means “from”, same as last time.

かな (kana): is a combo of ending particles. Ka is the interrogative particle which makes an otherwise declarative sentence a question. And Na is a dubitative particle, as we’ve described before, that equates to “right?” So Kana is used when you’re not too sure yourself.

“Umm, from the head, right?”

こなた:そっか
(Konata: Sokka)

そっか (sokka): is a contraction of “Sou ka”, which means “Is that so?”. Alternatively, we can translate it as “I see.” In all cases, it’s an acknowledgement of what the other has said.

“I see.”

And Konata continues:

こなた:ところでさ 頭ってどっち?
(Konata: tokorode sa?)

ところで (tokorode): is an expression coming from “tokoro de”, which translate as “in place”, quite similar to how we say in English “while we’re at it”. So it means is “by the way” or “speaking of which”.

さ (sa): is a particle that translates to “well” or “so” and generally conveys that the speaker is pondering the topics discussed.

頭 (atama): as we discussed before, is “head”.

って: as we discussed before, is a topic marker.

どっち: is an interrogative adjective, the contraction of どちら (dochira), which means “which one” when you have two alternatives.

“Speaking of which, well, which one is the head?”

So, if you don’t know what a cornet is, it has a cone shape. And Konata doesn’t know which end of the cornet is the “head”.

こなた:太い方と細い方
(Konata: futoi hou to hosou hou)

太い (futoi): is an いーadjective conjugated for the non-negative, non-past, meaning “fat.”

方 (hou): is a noun meaning “end” as in “the end of a stick” or, as it is here, “the end of a cornet”

と (to): is a particle that works here as a coordinating conjunction. So it means “and.”

細い (hosoi): is also an  いーadjective conjugated for the non-negative, non-past, meaning “thin”.

方 (hou): as we said earlier, means “end.”

Because there is no verb in this sentence, we’re allowed to buy a copula: “is”.

“[There] is a fat end and a thin end.”

The question now is which one is the head.

つかさ:私はこっちの細い方が頭だと思うんだけど
(Tsukasa: Watashi ha kocchi no hosoi hou ga atama da to omou n dakedo)

私 (watashi): is a pronoun meaning “I.” It’s not the only pronoun meaning “I”, mind you.

は (wa): is our topic marker.

こっち (kocchi): is a contraction of “kocchira”, which means “this” of the two. It’s the answer to “dochira”.

の (no): is a genitive marker. It’s going to link the following noun clause to Kocchi. So it’s going to mean “This ___”

細い (hosoi): as we said earlier means “thin.”

方 (hou): as we said earlier means “end.”

が (ga): is our subject marker particle.

頭 (atama): as we said earlier means “head.”

だ (da): is our copula conjugated for the non-negative, non-past.

と (to): this is yet another To. This one is a particle that marks subordinate clauses.

思う (omou): is a verb conjugated for the non-negative, non-past meaning “to think.” So To from before is marking what Tsukasa thinks.

ん (n): is a particle that nominalizes the whole previous statement. It’s like の (no) which we saw last time. It just eases the statement a bit.

だ (da): is the copula once again. Because everything has been nominalized, we need a main verb. And this Da is that main verb.

けど (kedo): is a conjunction meaning “although.” When it appears at the end of sentence, it means that there’s something being omitted. In this case, it’s a case of the speaker being uncertain. So what’s missing is “I might be wrong.” It’s yet another thing that eases the sentence.

We will translate it as
“I think that this thin side is the head.”
But we know that it looks more like
“Although [it] is [that] I think that this thin side is the head, [I might be wrong].” and we choose not to translate it as that because it’s really awkward English.

こなた:そうか 私は太った方が頭だと思ったよ
(Konata: Sou ka  Atashi wa futotta hou ga atama da to omotta yo)

そうか(sou): is the “Is that so?” we talked about before.

私 (atashi): is the more (feminine and) casual form of saying “watashi” and they do use the same Kanji. Konata says Atashi. Tsukasa says Watashi. If you’re planning on speaking Japanese, don’t say this. This is a very anime-ish thing; and besides trashy girls and anime, you don’t hear this much.

は (wa): is our topic marker, as described earlier.

太った (futotta): is a verb conjugated for the non-negative, past meaning “to fatten”. It’s used adjectivally to mean “fat” and is pretty much the same as Futoi.

方 (hou): means “end”, as described earlier.

が (ga): is the subject marker, as described earlier.

頭 (atama): means “head”, as described earlier.

だ (da): is the copula, as described earlier.

と (to): is the subordinate clause marker, as described earlier.

思った (omotta): is the verb “to think” now conjugated for the non-negative, past.

よ (yo): we spoke of last time as an emphatic ending particle.

“Is that so? I thought that the fat end was the head.”

こなた:でもなんで細い方が頭?
(Konata: demo nande hosoi hou ga atama?)

でも: is a particle combination meaning “but.”

なんで: is an interrogative adverb (it’s better to see this as an adverb) meaning “why?”

細い (hosoi): same thing

方 (hou): same thing

が (ga): same thing

頭 (atama): same thing

“But why is the thin end the head?”

And Tsukasa explains:

つかさ:だって貝みたいじゃない?
(Tsukasa: Datte kai mitai janai?)

だって (datte): is a another conjunction meaning “but”, coming from the Te form of Da.

貝 (kai): is a noun meaning “seashell.” Don’t confuse its Kanji with 見. Note that the legs are different.

みたい (mitai): is a な-adjective meaning “-like” or “resembling” or “look like.”

じゃない (janai): is, in fact, two separate words used in conjunction as the negative, non-past conjugation of the copula Da. Ja is an interjection mean “well” and Nai is the negative, non-past conjugation of ある (aru), another copula.

“But it doesn’t resemble a seashell?”

So she asks:

つかさ:こなちゃんはなんで太った方?
(Tsukasa: Kona-chan wa nande futotta hou?)

こなちゃん (Kona-chan): is Konata’s nickname. We addressed Chan last time. I’ll remind you that it is an affectionate way of referring to someone one considers cute or is just really endeared to.

は (wa): is our topic marker.

なんで (nande): same as last time, means “why?”

太った (futotta): same as last time, means “fat.”

方 (hou): same as last time, means “end.”

Japanese tends to avoid 2nd person pronouns as much as it can. So it’s not uncommon to refer to one’s interlocutors by name. For the sake of translation, we’ll be translating “Kona-chan” as “you.”

“Why do you the fat end?”*

Okay, something’s missing here. Obviously, she’s asking why Konata thinks the head is the fat end. This is a case of clause omission. And they occur in almost every language. In fact, if you remove the “Kona-chan wa” from the sentence, you get “Why the fat end?” and it becomes something quite acceptable in English.

So, to keep everything in the sentence intact, let’s translate it as

“Why do you [think it’s] the fat end?”

And Konata answers:

こなた:だってさ 芋虫みたいじゃん?
(Konata: Datte sa imomushi mitai jan?)

だって (datte): is the same as before, meaning “but.”

さ (sa): still means “well.” But when paired with Datte it’s not a good idea to translate it outright because “But, well,” sounds clunky. It’s best to leave the pensiveness implied.

芋虫 (imomushi): is a noun meaning “caterpillar.”

みたい: still means “-like” or “resembling” or “look like.”

じゃん: we mentioned last time. It’s a contraction of じゃないね (Janai ne). So it means “It doesn’t, right?”

This sentence has the same structure as the previous sentence except that it has a Ne added to it, albeit in a contracted form.

“But doesn’t it resemble caterpillar?”

And Tuskasa, horrified by the idea of a caterpillar’s head being eaten, repeats.

つかさ:芋虫…
(Tsukasa: Imomushi…)

“A caterpillar…”

こなた:まー でもそう考えると貝のほうがイメージいいね
(Konata: Maa Demo sou kangaeru to kai no hou ga imeeji ii ne)

まー (maa): is another interjection meaning “So” or “I see”

でも (demo): means “but.”

そう (sou): is the same Sou as last time. Here we get to see it as a adverb meaning “thusly.”

考える (kangaeru): is a verb conjugated for the non-negative, non-past and it means “to consider” or “to think carefully.”

と (to): is this time a definitive conditional marker, which we saw in the last lesson. “X to Y” means “If X, then definitely Y” X, in this case, is “Demo sou kangaeru”

貝 (kai): means “seashell” as it did before. Same word.

の (no): is a genitive marker. Don’t consider it an “of” though. It’s the beginning of an expression.

ほう (hou): is the same Hou we’ve been seeing this whole time. But it’s an expression. “X no hou ga Y Z”, which means “X’s way is Z in respect to Y”, means that “X is a more Z Y.” So it’s a comparative phrase.

が (ga): is our subject marker and part of the expression.

イメージ (imeeji): means “image” and comes from the English word. This is our Y.

いい (ii): is an adjective meaning “good.” This is our Z. So “A seashell is a more good [i.e. better] image.”

ね (ne): is just our softening, a bit dubitative, pensive, ending particle.

“I see.. But if [you] consider it, a seashell is a better image, isn’t it?”

And so Konata eats her chocolate cornet.

Next time, Miyuki walks by and they begin a discussion on alternative ways to eat pastries.

“Hey, Tsukasa, from where do you eat a chocolate cornet?”
“Hmm from the head, right?”
“I see… While we’re at it, which is the head? There’s a fat side and a thin side.”
“I think that this thin side is the head.”
“I see.. I thought the fat end was the head. But why the thin end?”
“But, doesn’t it resemble a seashell? Why do you think it’s the fat end?”
“But doesn’t it resemble a caterpillar?
“A caterpillar…”
“I see— But if you think of it that way, a seashell is a better image, isn’t it?”

Things to Memorize:

食べる



太い
細い

のほうが
みたい
チョコレート
考える
思う



だって