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Natsuko: こんにちは。夏子です。
Sachiko: Sachiko here.
Natsuko: 猫に小判
Sachiko: So Natsuko san, the title, it sounds like an idiom. What does that mean?
Natsuko: A Gold Coin to a Cat.
Sachiko: That’s a literal translation and what is it supposed to mean.
Natsuko: We have to find out. Let’s listen in.
タクミ: お母さん、今日、学校で、ことわざを習ったよ。
母: どんなことわざ?
タクミ: え~と、「ネコに小判」と「ブタに真珠」だよ。
母: へぇ~、どんな意味なの?
タクミ: どっちもほとんど同じ意味なんだって。ネコに小判をあげても、ブタに真珠をあげても、ありがたいと思わないでしょ。だから、どんなに価値があるものでも、その価値がわからない人には何の価値もないっていう意味なんだって。
母: そうね。今のタクミに、2万円もする高価なバットを買ってあげても、ブタに真珠っていうことね。
タクミ: えっ!そんなことないよ!
タクミ: お母さん、今日、学校で、ことわざを習ったよ。
母: どんなことわざ?
タクミ: え~と、「ネコに小判」と「ブタに真珠」だよ。
母: へぇ~、どんな意味なの?
タクミ: どっちもほとんど同じ意味なんだって。ネコに小判をあげても、ブタに真珠をあげても、ありがたいと思わないでしょ。だから、どんなに価値があるものでも、その価値がわからない人には何の価値もないっていう意味なんだって。
母: そうね。今のタクミに、2万円もする高価なバットを買ってあげても、ブタに真珠っていうことね。
タクミ: えっ!そんなことないよ!
タクミ: お母さん、今日、学校で、ことわざを習ったよ。
TAKUMI: Mom, we learned a proverb today at school
母: どんなことわざ?
MOTHER: What proverb?
タクミ: え~と、「ネコに小判」と「ブタに真珠」だよ。
TAKUMI: Hmm, give money to the cat and cast pearls before swine.
母: へぇ~、どんな意味なの?
MOTHER: Oh, what do they mean?
タクミ: どっちもほとんど同じ意味なんだって。ネコに小判をあげても、ブタに真珠をあげても、ありがたいと思わないでしょ。だから、どんなに価値があるものでも、その価値がわからない人には何の価値もないっていう意味なんだって。
TAKUMI: They both mean almost the same thing. Whether you give money to a cat or cast pearls before swine, they probably won't appreciate it, right? Therefore, no matter the value of something, it is worthless if the person receiving it doesn’t know its value.
母: そうね。今のタクミに、2万円もする高価なバットを買ってあげても、ブタに真珠っていうことね。
MOTHER: I see. So buying you an expensive, 20,000 yen baseball bat now is like casting pearls before my little piggy. (oink)
タクミ: えっ!そんなことないよ!
TAKUMI: Huh! No, that's not so! No way!
Sachiko: 夏子さん、この会話についてどう思いましたか?
Natsuko: うん。そういえば、学校で習いました。
Sachiko: やりましたね、確か。小学校とかで。
Natsuko: ことわざの授業、ありましたね。
Sachiko: よく親に言われました。さちこに高価なプレゼントあげても猫に小判だからもったいない。よく言われました。
Natsuko: そんな~今ではそんなことないですよね。
Sachiko: ん~でもね、ブランド物とかもらっても、あんまりなんか嬉しいっていうのがないんで、もったいないもったいないって思いますね。 So my mother used to say it’s pretty waste buying me anything expensive because I wouldn’t appreciate it or I wouldn’t really know what it’s about and it’s still true like some people give me really expensive brand name items and I just – I don’t know. I just don’t know where that’s coming from. You know, I don’t appreciate it as much. So…
Natsuko: Yeah the point is whether you can appreciate it or not...
Sachiko: Yeah exactly. So 猫に小判、さちこにブランド物 Same thing, I just made that up by the way.
Natsuko: So let’s go over today’s vocabulary.
Sachiko: じゃあ今日の単語をやっていきましょう。夏子さん、一つ目をお願いします。
Natsuko: 小判
Sachiko: Former Japanese oval gold coin. So this is a form of currency that was used in ancient Japan.
Natsuko: Yes, like maybe up to middle ages or in the Edo era.
Sachiko: Okay so that’s not too far behind. That’s about 300 years ago maybe, 200, 300?
Natsuko: Yeah 200, 300 years ago.
Sachiko: Yeah it’s a rough estimate. Yeah even when you watch Samurai movies and Samurai dramas…
Natsuko: Yes.
Sachiko: You see these. They are shaped like hash browns; you know the ones that you sell at MacDonald’s.
Natsuko: That’s great.
Sachiko: Yeah it does look like right, but it’s not as crispy or brown, it’s gold, it’s shining. So it doesn’t look as tasty but yeah that’s basically the shape, isn’t it. Do you have any idea how much that was worth?
Natsuko: Ah I can’t imagine but it's all gold isn’t it?
Sachiko: Right true.
Natsuko: So it’s really expensive.
Sachiko: かなり高価なものになりますね。 which brings us to the second vocabulary. お願いします。
Natsuko: 高価
Sachiko: Expensive, high price. So 小判 is very 高価
Natsuko: Yes. 小判は高価なものですね。
Sachiko: Of course we don’t use it in modern day Japan except those antiques.
Natsuko: Oh that’s right, that’s right. So I think I guess they will see them in some you know very posh antique shops or something?
Sachiko: I have no idea really and they use it as what collections like stamps?
Natsuko: I think so.
Sachiko: Wow! I never met anyone like that, interesting but it’s made of pure gold right?
Natsuko: I – I guess so, yes.
Sachiko: So that’s worth a lot of money even today if you melt the gold and…
Natsuko: Yeah.
Sachiko: Wow!
Natsuko: And it also has historical value.
Sachiko: Right. I should get my hand on one of these. さちこに小判。
Natsuko: だからわかんないって。
Sachiko:わからないか、私には。価値が。 Okay which brings us to the third vocabulary お願いします。
Natsuko: 価値
Sachiko: Value, worth. So 猫に小判ということは猫は小判の価値がわからない。
Natsuko: So the cat wouldn’t know the value of 小判.
Sachiko: Right exactly. All these words are very, very useful. 価値
Natsuko: 価値
Sachiko: We use this in daily life a lot, don’t we?
Natsuko: Yes right.
Sachiko: Yeah.
Natsuko: Like when you say about someone’s sense of value…
Sachiko: Oh yeah…
Natsuko: 価値観
Sachiko: 価値観
Natsuko: That’s a very common used word.
Sachiko: Yeah and it could be used for anything, not just money right if they appreciate art, if they appreciate…
Natsuko: Yeah sure.
Sachiko: Anything basically.
Natsuko: Yeah good word 価値観 which is the sense of value.
Sachiko: Next word please.
Natsuko: ありがたい
Sachiko: Appreciate. So if you feel like you appreciate something, you say it’s ありがたい
Natsuko: Yes it has the same origin with the word thank you which is ありがとう
Sachiko: ありがとう Yes right. Let’s bring up a sample sentence for that. Shall we?
Natsuko: ありがたいけど、それは受け取れません。
Sachiko: I am very grateful but I can’t accept it.
Natsuko: Hmm when would you say this?
Sachiko: Umm some kind of a very expensive present.
Natsuko: Yeah from someone you shouldn’t get it from maybe.
Sachiko: Hmm. I like to get one of those. Okay next. 次の単語をお願いします。
Natsuko: ことわざ
Sachiko: Proverb. So 猫に小判 was one proverb.
Natsuko: Yes.
Sachiko: What’s the other proverb that came up in the conversation?
Natsuko: 豚に真珠
Sachiko: Yes pearls for a pig. Obviously pigs are not going to appreciate it. They will probably just eat it, won’t they? If it’s some kind of marshmallow.
Natsuko: It shouldn’t be delicious.
Sachiko: It’s too hard. They can’t really crunch it.
Natsuko: Yeah.
Sachiko: Okay じゃあ、次の単語をお願いします。
Natsuko: ほとんど。
Sachiko: Almost. 例文をお願いします。
Natsuko: ほとんど毎日電話する。
Sachiko: I make a phone call almost every day. So if you say ほとんど毎日, it means almost every day.
Natsuko: Yes. So it always affects the word coming after it. You can also use this in negative expression right?
Sachiko: Ah absolutely ほとんど何もない。 So there is almost nothing left.
Natsuko: Yes.
Sachiko: There is almost nothing there
Natsuko: ほとんど何もない。
Sachiko: Okay 次の単語をお願いします。
Natsuko: 真珠
Sachiko: Pearl. じゃ、例文をお願いします。
Natsuko: 母から譲られた真珠の首飾り
Sachiko: This pearl necklace is from my mother. So 母から譲られた means that you got it from your mother. 譲る。譲られた。 Your mother gave it.
Natsuko: Gave it to you.
Sachiko: And also a pearl is a very popular jewelry in Japan.
Natsuko: Yes because they produce many of them around – I think around in Ise Bay.
Sachiko: Yeah generally in south or western Japan.
Natsuko: Yeah.
Sachiko: There are many huge pearl dealers in Japan.
Natsuko: Yes.
Sachiko: They are very popular worldwide for their quality. Do you like pearl Natsuko san?
Natsuko: Yes I do but I don’t have many of them.
Sachiko: I know. It’s not something that you wear every day. Is it?
Natsuko: Yeah.
Sachiko: I mean I guess my mother told me that pearls are for funerals. You can wear it for funerals.
Natsuko: Right, right, right.
Sachiko: So I just have this impression of pearls being related to funerals. So I can’t really wear it on other occasions.
Natsuko: It gives a very formal impression. It does, doesn’t it?

Lesson focus

Sachiko: Yes okay. So let’s look at today’s grammar point. 夏子さん、今日の文法をちょっと見て行きましょう。えー会話の1,2,3,4,5行目に猫に小判をあげても、豚に真珠をあげても、ってありますが Could you explain to us how this ても expression is used?
Natsuko: Oh yes. This of course is a word to connect phrases and in kind of a negative way which means that after this expression, something opposite will come.
Sachiko: Right.
Natsuko: It implies the negative format. So it implies whatever actions come before ても is going to be flipped around or it’s just going to become useless.
Sachiko: Yes so it’s like in spite of.
Natsuko: Right.
Sachiko: Or despite or even if.
Natsuko: Yes like that.
Sachiko: So even if we gave a 小判 to a cat, even if we gave pearls to a pig, they won’t be grateful. They won’t be appreciative.
Natsuko: Yes. あげてもありがたいと思わない。 Notice that the negative form comes after it.
Sachiko: Right. 思わない They won’t think, they won’t feel appreciative. And the same kind of grammar can be found in the second to last line.
Natsuko: Yes. 二万円もする高価なバットを買ってあげても
Sachiko: Even if we buy you an expensive bat priced at ¥20,000, it would be the same as giving pearls to a pig.
Natsuko: 豚に真珠っていうことだね。 In this part, the expression itself is not negative but the meaning is opposite of the formal part.
Sachiko: Right. So even if we give you something expensive.
Natsuko: Yes. It might be useless.
Sachiko: Useless, pointless. So I’d say this little pig got himself into trouble.
Natsuko: え、そんなことないよ。
Sachiko: So he is like, oh no that’s not why I brought up this subject mom.
Natsuko: Yeah そうですね。
Sachiko: 夏子さんは、何をもらったら自分には小判だと思いますか?
Natsuko: 私もあまり高いブランド物とかは興味ないですね。
Sachiko: あ、そうなんですかー!じゃあ皆さん、ジャパニーズポッドにプレゼントを送る時は、ブランド物は避けてください。
Natsuko: あ、でもいいですよ。別に。
Sachiko: あ、そうですか。
Sachiko: Oh okay, okay. Well I prefer chocolates. So if you guys can send me chocolate, that would be nice.
Natsuko: Oh it’s pretty out of season maybe.
Sachiko: Yeah well it will melt by the time they mail it to Japan so…


Sachiko: Okay so it’s time to go.
Natsuko: じゃ、また、今度。
Natsuko: See you soon.


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