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Lesson Transcript

Naomi: ジャパニーズポッド101でございます
Naomi: Welcome to the Japanese Children Song Series at JapanesePod101.com. In this series, you’ll learn Japanese language and culture through Japanese Children Songs. Go to our site to hear full versions of the songs, sung by professional singer Kana Mizushima. Visit JapanesePod101.com and claim your free lifetime account now.
Naomi: ナオミです。
Peter: Peter here.
Naomi: ジャパニーズポッド101.comの童謡のレッスン6へようこそ。
Peter: Welcome to Lesson 6 of our Japanese Children Song Series. Naomi 先生.
Naomi: はい。
Peter: Can you tell us the name of the song we’ll be focusing on this lesson?
Naomi: こいのぼり
Peter: “A song about こいのぼり” or “Streamers in a shape of a carp.” A type of fish.
Naomi: This song is a really well known song that celebrates the こいのぼり flown on children’s day.
Peter: Those who live in Japan or have been to Japan on children’s day may have seen these こいのぼり before.
Naomi: Right. They’re long streamers in the shape of a carp. People put them outside of their house on children’s day. May fifth.
Peter: They’re really long. So, when they flow in the wind, it looks like they’re actually swimming.
Naomi: そうですね。 Right. And Peter, I heard that you looked up some background information about the song.
Peter: Yes, I did. It turns out that originally, children’s day was a day to honor sons and wish for them to grow up healthy and strong. So, people flew those carp streamers in honor their sons. Naomi 先生, do you know why these streamers they look like carp?
Naomi: Well, I guess because they symbolize success in life, right?
Peter: Cheater. That’s right. Actually, there’s a legend behind it. In China, there’s a legend that says that a lot of fish tried to climb up a waterfall called “Dragon’s gate”, but the carp was the only fish that was able to go all the way up. The carp that made it up to the waterfall turned into a dragon. And so, now carp have come to symbolize health, strength and success in life.
Naomi: I see. That’s a really neat legend.
Peter: でしょう、 Right?
Naomi: はい。
Peter: There are different colored こいのぼり as well.
Naomi: That’s right. We will learn more about them when we look at the lyrics, but the most common colors are black and red. You will also see blue and green ones, too.
Peter: Let’s talk about the song, for a moment. Now, Naomi 先生 this a very famous song, right?
Naomi: うん、 Very famous. They’re actually extra verses to this song, but the verse will go over is the one everyone knows.
Peter: Okay. Let’s hear the song and take a look at the lyrics.

Lesson focus

Peter: Naomi 先生, compared to the last lesson, this song is relatively easy to understand.
Naomi: Yes. そうですね。 The words and grammar used aren’t too difficult.
Peter: Can we hear the first line, please?
Naomi: Sure. 屋根より高いこいのぼり
Peter: Let’s break this down.
Naomi: 屋根
Peter: “Roof”.
Naomi: より
Peter: “More than”.
Naomi: 高い
Peter: “High”. So, it’s saying that こいのぼり fly higher than the roof, right?
Naomi: そうです。 this より is a word used to compare two items. Ex より means more than ex. So, in this case, 屋根より高い is “Higher than the roof.”
Peter: And the last word is?
Naomi: こいのぼり
Peter: So, “The こいのぼり is higher than the roof.”
Naomi: そうですね。 The phrase 屋根より高い is modifying こいのぼり. Because it comes right before the word. We could also change the sentence order and say こいのぼりは屋根より高い
Peter: “The carp streamers are higher than the roof.” Now, in a more poetic translation we have “Hoisted high above the rooftops are the carp streamers.” And probably, flowing in the wind.
Naomi: そうね。 Nice image.
Peter: That’s a nice image. Now, what about the next line?
Naomi: 大きい真鯉はお父さん
Peter: This is your basic. AはBです structure. A is B.
Naomi: そうです。 Except there’s no です at the end. We have 大きい真鯉 which means “big black carp”, 大きい is “big” and 真鯉 refers to “a black carp”.
Peter: We talked about carp streamers having different colors earlier. The biggest, highest one is the black one. So, Naomi 先生.
Naomi: はい。
Peter: According to the lyrics, what is the big black carp?
Naomi: お父さん
Peter: “The father”.
Naomi: はい。
Peter: So?
Naomi: 大きい真鯉はお父さん。
Peter: “The big black carp is the father.”
Naomi: Right. And then next 小さい緋鯉は子ども達
Peter: Same structure again.
Naomi: 小さい means “small” and 緋鯉 means “red carp”.
Peter: So now we’re going to learn what the small carp are. Naomi 先生 what are they?
Naomi: 子ども達
Peter: “The children”.
Naomi: そうです。
Peter: So?
Naomi: 小さい緋鯉は子ども達
Peter: “The small red carp are the children.”
Naomi: はい。 The words 真鯉 and 緋鯉 refers to certain colored carp.
Peter: And now, the last line. Naomi 先生.
Naomi: 面白そうに泳いでる
Peter: Literally, “They’re swimming and look happy.” Or “They’re happily swimming.” Let’s take a closer look at the grammar.
Naomi: 面白そうに this comes from the word 面白い, meaning “interesting” or “fun”. In this case, 面白そう means “looks interesting” or “looks fun”.
Peter: You can take any “い” adjective. Drop the last “い” and add そう to create a word that means “looks like something, something”. For example, Naomi 先生, what’s the word for “expensive”?
Naomi: 高い
Peter: Ends in an “い”, so it’s an “い” adjective. How do we say “It looks expensive”?
Naomi: 高そう
Peter: Drop the “い”, add そう. What’s the word for “cold”?
Naomi: 寒い
Peter: “Looks cold”?
Naomi: 寒そう
Peter: And so on.
Naomi: はい So, again. 面白そう means “looks interesting” or “looks fun”.
Peter: This is followed by に, and this makes it an adverb, right?
Naomi: そうですね。
Peter: A word that describes an action.
Naomi: The word after it is 泳いでる, “swimming”. So, 面白そうに describes how they’re swimming.
Peter: So basically, they’re swimming along, looking like they’re having fun.
Naomi: そうですね。面白そうに泳いでる
Peter: A happy family of?
Naomi: こいのぼり。幸せそうですね。 Looks happy.
Peter: Carp streamers.
Naomi: Well, this all the time we have for this lesson.
Peter: Thanks for listening to the Japanese Children Song Series. We hope you enjoyed it.
Naomi: 最後に、さくらさんの歌を聞きましょう。 Before we go, let’s listen to the song sung by Sakura. She’s going to sing it acapella.
Peter: This time you’ll listen to the song without background music, so that you can hear the lyrics well.
Naomi: さくらさん、お願いします。


Naomi: Find more detailed explication of the lyrics at JapanesePod101. There, listen to the full version of the songs and video format completed with beautiful pictures of Japan. Go to JapanesePod101.com to get your free lifetime account.


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