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Lesson Transcript

Intermediate Lesson #45
Natsuko: 第45回中級レッスン
Peter: Peter here. Intermediate lesson #45. Natsuko san, what are we talking about today?
Natsuko: Another story right?
Peter: Yes むかしばなし
Natsuko: 昔話
Peter: And what is the title of today’s story?
Natsuko: わらしべちょうじゃ
Peter: Now I think some people translate this as Straw Millionaire.
Natsuko: Umm sounds interesting.
Peter: Yeah this is a pretty good story. Now let’s just take a look at the title. Natsuko san, what do we have first?
Natsuko: わらしべ
Peter: Which is
Natsuko: A Straw
Peter: Followed by
Natsuko: ちょうじゃ
Peter: Which is a rich person. And as we said, some people kind of interpret this as Straw Millionaire. So Straw, a rich person. Now to find out more about why this story is called what it is, let’s take a listen to…
Natsuko: わらしべ長者
Peter: Natsuko san, are you ready?
Natsuko: Yes.
Peter: All right. Here we go.
Natsuko: 次は、Peterさんの英語が入ります。
A long, long time ago, there lived an honest but unlucky man. He worked and worked from dawn to dusk, but he was poor and without luck. Then one fateful day when the honest but unlucky man had not eaten or drank and things looked bleak, he prayed to Kannon, the god of mercy. He said, "Kannon, God of mercy, this is the first time that I am praying to you. Up until now, I have worked hard but the harder I work, the worst things turn out. Could you please give me just a little bit of luck? Then when evening came, Kannon, the God of mercy appeared before the man’s very eyes and spoke the following words. When you leave this temple, you will fall and grab on to something. Take that something and go west. Sure enough, when the man left the temple, he fell and grabbed something. That thing was one stock of straw. He thought to himself. Of what possible use could this be but he took the stock of straw and headed west. A horse fly came flying by. The man snatched the horse fly from the air and tied it to the tip of the stock of straw, he took off walking again. When he came to town, a young child stopped crying upon seeing the horse fly on the end of the stock of straw. Mother I want it, I want it and the man upon seeing the boy looked so happy, gave the child the stock of straw. In return, he received three mandarin oranges from the mother of the child. He took the oranges and again set out west. After walking for a while, he spotted a young woman who appeared to be in the stress on the side of the road. The man gave her three mandarin oranges as she was dehydrated. The young woman soon became well and the man received some beautiful silk cloth from her. The man took the cloth and again set out west. After walking for a while, he came across a samurai with a sickly looking horse. The samurai saw the beautiful cloth and proposed a trade for the horse. The samurai took the cloth and headed east while the man looked after the horse all night come morning, the horse was well. The man took the horse and headed west. He soon reached the town near the castle where a rich man spotted the horse that the man nurse back to health and came to desire it. The rich man invited the man back to his house. When they arrived at the house, a young woman brought the two men some tea. The young woman, daughter of the rich man was none other than the young woman from the side of the road. The rich man was deeply impressed by the man’s kindness and the remarkable fate of their meeting and they gave us blessing for their marriage. The man carried out Kannon's orders exactly as he was told and with just one stock of straw, he became a rich man. Throughout his life, he never wants damaged straw not even one stock and was thus called the Straw Millionaire by the Town’s people. The end.
Peter: So Natsuko san, what did you think?
Natsuko: It’s a really happy ending, isn’t it?
Peter: Yeah finally. Like a really, really happy ending.
Natsuko: Yeah.
Peter: And all that from just one stock of straw.
Natsuko: I heard a similar story recently about paper clips.
Peter: Really?
Natsuko: Aaha!
Peter: What happened?
Natsuko: Some guy, I think he was American or Canadian ended up buying a whole house starting with a paper clip.
Peter: Hah!
Natsuko: Trading online.
Peter: Really?
Natsuko: Yeah.
Peter: You are going to have to write a detailed comment about this because now everybody’s listening.
Natsuko: Oh I am sure some of the listeners know this.
Peter: All right. If anybody has any information, please let us know but in the mean time, that’s going to do for today.


Peter: Now again, stop by japanesepod101.com. Inside the PDF, we have a detailed write up of today’s story which is quite long and some other kind of explanations in there but yeah really nice story today.
Natsuko: Yeah.
Peter: All right and I just have to ask Natsuko san, before we go.
Natsuko: Yes.
Peter: What was your favorite trade? What do you think you really made out the best on?
Natsuko: I think it was the orange.
Peter: Yeah.
Natsuko: Yeah given to the girl.
Peter: Yep. Three little mandarin oranges in Japanese みかん
Natsuko: Yes.
Peter: All right. That’s going to do for today.
Natsuko: じゃ、また来週。


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Please to leave a comment.
😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

JapanesePod101.com Verified
February 2nd, 2007 at 06:30 PM
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Mina-san, Enjoy the tale of Warashibe Choja, and if you know anything about the man who bought a house with a paper clip, let us know! Yoroshiku onegai shimasu!

JapanesePod101.com Verified
June 14th, 2016 at 02:30 PM
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Yuki 由紀

Team JapanesePod101.com

June 1st, 2016 at 02:01 PM
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JapanesePod101.com Verified
May 27th, 2016 at 08:15 AM
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モノノフしょうがない さん、


The potential form ➕ど is similar to the verb te-form ➕ mo.



Old stories changed depending on places so they are bit different.:wink:

Yuki  由紀

Team JapanesePod101.com

May 19th, 2016 at 02:58 PM
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質問があります。Dialogueからこのフレーズ「働けど働けど」が出てきましたが、「働けど」の「ど」がよく分かりませんでした。PDFに書いてある英語の訳は「worked and worked」です。説明してもらえませんか。


I have a question. The phrase 働けど働けど appeared in the dialogue, but I had no idea what the “ど”from “働けど”was all about. The English translation in the PDF is “worked and worked”. Can you please explain this grammatical construction for me?

By the way, this old story sounds familiar. Two years ago I think I might have seen it on a Japanese television show, but it was just a little different.

JapanesePod101.com Verified
March 18th, 2013 at 10:32 PM
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And...you enjoyed it? hope so :wink:

Natsuko(奈津子), Team JapanesePod101.com

March 17th, 2013 at 09:24 PM
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The story reminded me a bit of the fairy tale "Hans im Glück" (Hans in Luck http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans_in_Luck).

In Buddhist sect of "Pure Land Buddhism" (jp: 浄土仏教), there's a Western Paradise. Also in The Journey to the West (the story about Sun Wukong/ Son Goku) the group travels West to fetch the holy scriptures.

Haha, since I'm used to Guanyin/Kannon being a woman, I was suprised to hear a man's voice :lol:

January 6th, 2011 at 09:35 AM
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I think old stories and fairytales are probably difficult in any language (there can be a lot of obscure vocabulary/phrases, etc.) so don't feel discouraged! ;)

January 6th, 2011 at 09:00 AM
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Wahhhhhh よく分かりません。むかしばなしはいつもむずかしつぎる。I hope that someday I can come back to these and understand the nihongo version, but as of now I feel so very lost!

October 3rd, 2008 at 02:44 PM
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Wakatta. Thanks Naomi.

October 3rd, 2008 at 02:33 PM
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Shibe means "core","stem", "center" or "haulm." So warashibe means a stem of straw.

I have never used or heard people using the word "warashibe" other than this WARASHIBE CHOUJA story.