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In case we have forgotten… We’re working our way through a conversation between Konata, Miyuki, and Tsukasa regarding how to best eat pastries. Miyuki has just explained why she eats a chou à la crème.
So, let’s just get to it.
(Tsukasa: kasutaado to nama-cureemu no ryouhou ga haitteru no ga aru yo ne)
カスタード (kasutaado): is a noun, meaning “custard”
と (to): is our coordinating conjunction, basically “and”
生クリーム (nama-kureemu): is compound word. “Nama” means “raw;” and “kureemu” means “creme.” It’s basically whipped milk cream. We’ll call it “cream.”
の (no): is a post-position, which is a fancy term for “a preposition but instead of before the word its modifying, after.” It works in conjunction with the next word.
両方 (ryouhou): means “on both sides.” So this phrase means “custard and creme on both sides.”
が (ga): is our subject marker.
入ってる (haitteru): is a contraction of “haitte iru,” which is the progressive, non-past of “hairu,” which means “to insert,” or, in this case “to have,” (like a hotdog “has” ketchup, meaning someone put it on.) which takes a “ga” marked noun phrase for its object. So “[They] are having custard and cream.”
の (no): is turning the entire phrase into a noun. It’ll make more sense in a bit.
が (ga): is our subject marker. In Japanese, yes, there are like sentences embedded in sentences embedded in sentences. That’s perfectly normal.
ある (aru): is our copula. When a sentence ends in “aru,” it is often useful to think of the sentence starting with “There are,” or “It is the case that,”
よね (yone): is just both “yo,” our emphatic ending particle, one that conveys information, and “ne,” our dubitative, softening ending particle. “Yone” is heard very often when someone wants to assert something but not sound mean.
Translation: “[There are] [those that] have both custard and creme on both sides, right?”
(Tsukasa: Are ha dou-yatte taberu no? Mazeru no?
あれ (are): is a adjective, meaning “that.” Here it refers to those kinds of pastries. So we can translate it as “those.”
は (wa): is our topic marker. When it comes to topic makers, we’ll translate them as “concerning” for now, even though in idiomatic English you’ll often want to make the topic clause the subject, because English, unlike Japanese, always needs a subject.
どうやって (dou-yatte): is an expression. It means “in what way?” or, more literally “how doing?” The construction of the expression is “dou-yatte + X,” where X is a verb, which means “how do you X?”
食べる (taberu): is our non-past, indicative verb meaning “to eat.”
の？ (no): is turning the phrase into a noun. This is done at the end of the sentence because it makes the sentence less graphic. It’s similar to the difference between “How did you meet him?” and “How is it that you meet him?” So think of this sentence as, “Concerning those, how is it that you eat [them]?”
混ぜてる (mazeru): is a non-past, indicative verb meaning “to mix”
の？: is the same story as before. So, “Is it that you mix them?”
Translation: “Concerning those, how is it that you eat [them]? Is it that you mix them?”
(Miyuki: Ie aete mazetari wa shimasen ne)
いえ (ie): Is an interjection; and it means “no.” So this is a way of responding to a question with a negative.
あえて (aete): ((敢えて) for those curious) is the verb “Aeru” in its Te-form (which is a gerundive, which is like a verbal-adjective, like a participle); and it means “to dare,” or “to venture.” This is a common expression: “aete + X” where X is a verb is a verb. It means “to try to X” or “to venture to X.”
混ぜたり (mazeta-ri): is a past, indicative verb with a substantivizing suffix at the end. First, “Mazeta” is the same verb as “Mazeru,” “to mix.” To complete the aforementioned construction, “to venture to mix” (with the implicit object of the verb being the cream and custard.) “Ri” is a suffix that makes the verbs objects in a non-exhaustive list. “X-ri, Y-ri, Z-ri” translates to “things like X-ing, and Y-ing, and Z-ing.” Because it’s non-exhaustive, there may be and A, B, and C verbs that we’re not being told about.
は (wa): is our topic marker.
しません (shimasen): is our polite, non-past, indicative form of the verb “suru,” which means “to do.”
ね (ne): is our softening ending particle.
Translation: “Concerning venturing to [do things like] mixing [them], [I] haven’t done [so].” It sounds clunky now, but you get the point: She hasn’t tried anything like mixing them.
(Miyuki: E, demo dou-yatte mazeru n desu ka)
え (e): is an interjection, which has lots of meanings. In this case, it’s like “wait a minute.”
でも (demo): is a conjunction meaning “but” in reference to the information given in the preceding sentences. So Miyuki is thinking about this idea of mixing the cream and custard.
どうやって (dou-yatte): is the same as before.
混ぜる (mazeru): is the same as before.
ん (n): emphasizes verbs and turns them into noun phrases, but not quite in the same way as “no.” The “-n” suffix makes the verb either the answer to a question or the emphasis in a question. “How do you mix [them]?” (In our first translation, we’ll go ahead and turn this substantivized verb phrase into an indirect statement so that one can get a sense of it not quite being a real verb phrase.)
です (desu): is our polite, non-past, indicative verb, meaning “to be.”
か (ka): is our interrogative ending particle. Adding this to the end of a sentence makes it a question.
Translation: “Wait a minute, but how it is that you mix [them]?”
(Tsukasa: Uun, kiita dake)
ううん (uun): is another interjection meaning “No.”
聞いた (Kiita): is our past, indicative verb meaning “to ask.”
だけ (dake): is an adverb meaning “only.”
Translation: “No, [I] only asked.” (This is equivalent to saying, “Just curious.”)
(Konata: ichigo-shooto no teppen no ichigo toka monburan no kuri toka wa itsu taberu?)
苺ショート (ichigo shooto): is a compound word, a shortening of “strawberry shortcake.”
の (no): is our genitive particle, translating to “of.”
てっぺん (teppen): is a noun meaning “top.” So, “The top of the strawberry shortcake.”
の (no): is another genitive particle.
苺 (ichigo): is a noun meaning “strawberry.” So, “The strawberry of the top of the strawberry shortcake.”
とか (toka): is the marker of an non-exhaustive list of noun (like ri is for verbs). So this means “things like the strawberry of the top of a strawberry shortcake.”
モンブラン (monburan): is a noun, meaning “Mont Blanc,” which is another dessert.
の (no): is another genitive particle.
栗 (kuri): is a noun meaning “chestnut.” So, “the chestnut of a Mont Blanc.”
とか (toka): is the same marker as before.
は (wa): Is our topic marker.
いつ (itsu): is an interrogative adverb meaning “when.”
食べる? (taberu): is the same as before, a non-past, indicative verb meaning “to eat.”
Translation: “Concerning things like the strawberry at the top of a strawberry shortcake and a chestnut at the chestnut of a Mont Blanc, when do you eat [them]?”
(Miyuki: Sou desu ne)
そう (sou): is an adjective that translates to, conveniently “so.”
です (desu): is the same as before.
ね (ne): is the same as before. This sentence is a common expression in itself. It’s what you say when you’re considering the question or the new information shared.
Translation: “So it is, huh?” But we’re going to take it as an expression and translate it as “Ah, let’s see…”
(Miyuki: suponji to suponji no aida ni hasatte-iru ichigo no ryou ni mo yorimasu ne.)
スポンジ (suponji): is a noun meaning “sponge.” In context, we see that she’s talking about the sponge cake layers.
と (to): is our coordinating conjunction, “and.”
スポンジ (suponji): is the same as before. We’re talking about one sponge cake layer and another sponge cake layer.
の (no): is the post-position of the upcoming noun, as we saw previously.
間 (aida): is a noun meaning “between.” So “between one sponge cake layer and another sponge cake layer”
に (ni): is the particle the following verb uses. You can take it to be an ablative marker.
挟まっている (hasamatte-iru): is our progressive, non-past, indicative verb, meaning “to be caught” or “to be sandwiched.”
苺 (ichigo): is the same as before. But now we see we have a noun with a modifying subordinate clause. So this means “The strawberries that are sandwiched between one sponge cake layer and another sponge cake layer.”
の (no): is a genitive particle.
量 (ryou): is a noun meaning “quantity,” so “the quantity of strawberries…”
に (ni): is the particle the following verb uses, another ablative.
も (mo): is a supplementary particle that means “too.” Miyuki isn’t going to list any more factors, but “mo” helps her indicate that there are more factors, such as the one she has just mentioned, than just where the strawberry is placed on the cake.
よります (yorimasu): is a polite, non-past, definitive which means “to depend on.”
ね (ne): is the same as always.
Translation: “It also depends on the quantity of strawberries sandwiched between one sponge cake layer and another.”
(Miyuki: ichigo, nama-kuriimu, spongi-keeki no beesu haibun no kangaete taberu you-ni-shiteimasu.
苺、(ichigo): is the same as before.
生クリーム、(nama-kuriimu): is the same as before.
スポンジケーキ (sponji-keeki): is the longer version of what we saw before. “Keeki” means “cake.”
の (no): is our genitive marker.
ベース (beesu): is a noun translating as “base.” So, “the base of sponge cake.”
配分 (haibun): is a noun meaning “distribution,” or “rationing.” Here we have a noun with a modifying subordinate clause. The “distribution” is composed of the aforementioned elements. So we can say “The distribution [that is made up of] strawberries, cream, and the base of sponge cake.”
を (wo): is our direct object marker. All of the things listed are the direct object.
考えて (kangaete): is the Te-form of “Kangaeru,” meaning “to consider” or “to think carefully.” In this case, the Te-form is indicating a kind of “subordinate action.” “X-te + Y” is a construction that suggests X is being done at the same time as verb Y, but Y is the main action.
食べる (taberu): is the same as before. Now we have the construction “I eat and consider the distribution…”
ようにしています (you-ni-shite-imasu): This is an amalgamation of elements. “You ni” is an adverbial suffix. “X you-ni Y” where Y is a verb and X is a noun, it means “He did Y like an X [would]”. When X is a verb and Y is some form of “suru,” it basically means “he makes sure to X,” We can only speculate as to why this came to be so, but it probably has to do with how one sees modality. People say “I always eat ice cream with a spoon.” but they don’t mean that they’re always doing that, just that when they’re eating ice cream, they are doing so with a spoon. It’s similar in this case, where Miyuki is saying “she is doing as if considering while eating…” She doesn’t mean she’s right now doing that, but that when the occasion arises, this is the way she does it.
Translation: “I make sure to eat [such things] while considering the distribution [that is made up of] strawberries, cream, and the sponge cake base.”
(Miyuki: dakara, ichigo wo taberu no taimingu ha itsumo chigatta-ri suru-n desu.)
だから、(dakara): is made up of “da,” our plain, non-past indicative verb, and “kara,” a conjuction meaning “because.” “X-kara,” where X is a verb phrase, means “Because X…” In the case of “dakara,” “Da” is the verb phrase, and the rest of the phrase is everything previously said. “Darkara,” then, can be translated very often as “thus.”
苺 (ichigo): is the same as before.
を (wo): is the same as before. It’s good to note at this time that を in modern Japanese only exists to be the direct object marker.
食べる (taberu): is the same as before
タイミング (taimingu): is a noun meaning “timing.” We have another subordinate clause: “The timing [of/that is when] I eat the strawberry.”
は (wa): is our topic marker.
いつも (itsumo): is an adverb meaning “always.”
違ったり(chigatta-ri): is a verb with the suffix “-ri.” Chigatta is the past, indicative of “chigau” which means “to be different.” With “-ri” it means “such as the timing… are different.”
するん (suru-n): is the verb “suru” with the emphatic “-n” suffix. This makes it clear that this is how Miyuki does things, not how it must always be. A good translation for “-n” as an answer is “the thing is that…”
です (desu): is what it always is, but it’s here because “-n” turned our whole phrase into one big noun.
Translation: Thus, the thing is that things like the timing of when I eat the strawberry are always different.”
Konata: U… tegatai na
う (u): is just “hmm.” Don’t think much of it.
手堅い (tegatai): is an adjective meaning “steady” or “secure.” In this case, it means “well thought out.”
な (na): is a more vulgar version of “ne”
Translation: “Hmm… Well though out, huh?”