スーパーカブ discussion (Intermediate) April 2024

I’m here! I read the first 2 chapters during the weekend and re-read them yesterday and today. It’s so far above my level, I could ask 10 questions per sentence! So for now I’m just enjoying the challenge and the bits and pieces that I do understand.

@Asher I know that we read 15 pages per week, but how many chapters should we read per week? 2 or 3? I know that the vocab deck covers chapters 1-3.


I’ll be joining a bit late, I’m still finishing up another book I was midway through.
(I’m not organised enough to keep two books on the go at once, but looking forward to starting!)

At some point, I think it would be helpful to have some clear sections marked at the top of this post
(whether it’s week 1/week 2/… or section 1 = chapters 1-3, … )

That way it’s quite easy to know roughly which bits people are talking about (and potentially easier to avoid spoilers).


We definitely can’t have that! I’m going to try to include some grammar notes/interesting stuff every few days for people to have a crack at.

First 3 is fine for this week. Will be releasing up to end of chapter 11 in a day or two. Super Cub has heaps of small chapters, so I imagine that 3 a week would be a pretty solid pace.


I’ve been reading along too, so I’m another participant. Sorry for not posting anything until this point. Also, the intermediate discussion seems to have more activity than the advanced one. It’s not a competition, though. There are more beginner learners than intermediate learners than advanced learners, so it seems natural.

For me, the pace is comfortable. I would be okay with increasing it slightly if anyone else felt the same.

To echo some of the other participants, would it be possible to have a week-by-week schedule indicating what chapters to read, similar to WaniKani book clubs? I think it would be best to have the full schedule available to prevent confusion. It could also help with not getting behind. For example, I have an upcoming vacation that will affect my study time, and I may need to read more in the upcoming weeks to stay caught up. Being able to see future requirements will help me prepare.

I just finished reading chapter three. Here are the proper nouns, mostly place names, in order of appearance. I have not included prefecture names, region names, or common cities. This list is mainly for things that would be uncommon or not appear in a dictionary. Italics indicate a character’s name.

Proper Nouns (Chapters 1-3):
北杜市(ほくとし) Hokuto City
日野春駅(ひのはるえき) Hinoharu Station
小熊(こぐま) Koguma
武川村(むかわむら)Mukawa Village
七里岩(しちりいわ)Shichiriiwa [Plateau]
甲府(こうふ)Kōfu [City]
松本 (まつもと)Matsumoto [City]
長坂駅(ながさかえき)Nagasaka Station
八戸(はちのへ)Hachinohe [City]


Thanks for including this! I might see if I can put character names somewhere in the deck information. Probably good to have it available.

In other news, from my reading so far, I included a few sentences that I thought would be fun translation challenges for people. These sentences were quite long, and stuck out as a bit tricky. Feel free to have a crack at your own interpretation of them everyone!

Challenge Sentences
  • 小熊がさっさと立ち去ろうとしながら、そうしなかったのは、この接客業にしては話し下手で、人とろくに目を合わせない老人が、自分と同種の人間じゃないかと思い始めたから。

  • その時になって自分が原付の免許を持っていないことに気付いた小熊は、日野春の隣にある長坂駅近くの教習所で、山梨県で原付免許申請者に義務付けられた技能講習を受け、近隣の北杜警察署で学科試験と交付手続きを行う方法も教えて貰う。

One other topic for discussion is this book’s very extensive use of the contrastive は. A few examples so far are 変えてはくれない and 多くはない. If you’re just getting into novels, this use of は may be quite new. Usually it is indicating that while something cannot be said exactly as (A), there are other related or similar circumstances that are probably true.

Anyone else find any grammar that’s new for them?


Even though I’m not reading this book, so I might be missing context, these are my takes on these two sentences:

  • While the small bear tried to quickly leave, the reason why he didn’t do so was because he started to think that perhaps he was the same type of person as this old man, who was bad at speaking as a customer servant, and who didn’t make proper eye contact with people.

  • At that time, the small bear, who realized he wasn’t carrying his scooter’s drivers license, went to a driving school near the Nagasaka station next to Hinogaru, took a skill test required for scooter driver license applicants in Yamanashi Prefecture, and was told how to take the written test and the insurance procedure at the neighboring Hokuto Police Station.


Understanding what these sentences were about was difficult for me during the reading. Trying to translate them into English is even harder. These probably are incorrect, but I’m at least glad I tried.

Challenge Sentence 1

While Koguma intended to promptly leave, she didn’t do that. Instead, she began to notice how she and the man weren’t that similar, as his hospitality wasn’t well-spoken, and he didn’t look others in the eye properly.

Challenge Sentence 2

Koguma, who at that moment realized she didn’t have a moped license, was told to go to a training center by Nagasaka Station, which was one stop from Hinoharu Station, take the mandatory training for a Yamanashi prefecture moped license, then to take a written assessment at a nearby Hokuto police station.


That first one

and this one


have been the most difficult ones for me.


Did she go to her appartment? Did she go to the “opposite” side of where she lives? I’m so confused.


It seems the first part of the sentence describes the direction she usually goes, then clarifies the opposite. I would translate it as “Koguma got on her bike and went in the opposite direction to the downhill road that went to the apartment she lived alone in, pedaling uphill toward the part of the city with the separated villas and golf courses.”


I am here but am probably not going to to a read along with the group, at least at this stage. I kind of overcommitted to reading a few others things, so don’t think I will be able to work it in at the moment, but I may be able to catch up later.


@Jose7822 @krghtj awesome work! Btw ‘small bear’ is a 100% valid translation if you don’t know that it’s the character’s name :joy:

My interpretation for reference

I kept mine as close to the Japanese as possible to see if I could get it to work in English :sweat_smile:

  • 小熊がさっさと立ち去ろうとしながら、そうしなかったのは、この接客業にしては話し下手で、人とろくに目を合わせない老人が、自分と同種の人間じゃないかと思い始めたから。

  • While Koguma was trying to quickly get the heck out of there, her not doing that was due to her beggining to think that this old man who won’t make adaquate eye contact with people and whose speaking was terrible considering it is the service industry, may just be the same type of person as herself.

  • その時になって自分が原付の免許を持っていないことに気付いた小熊は、日野春の隣にある長坂駅近くの教習所で、山梨県で原付免許申請者に義務付けられた技能講習を受け、近隣の北杜警察署で学科試験と交付手続きを行う方法も教えて貰う。

  • Getting to that time and noticing that she herself did not hold a motorbike license, at the training institute close to Nagasaka station that is neighboring Hinoharu, Koguma would take the short course that was required as part of a motorbike license application in Yamanashi prefecture, and would have them tell her at nearby Hokuto’s police station how to go about the steps for taking the written test and issuance.


Haha! Yeah, I completely blew her name :rofl:. At least I got the rest, so I’ll take the win, lol.

BTW, thanks for checking my translation and for providing yours. That’s very helpful!

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Feel free to create another thread in the Japanese section of the forums if you’d like to discuss one of the other books you’re reading anyway! It would be cool to hear about what other people are reading.

  • 自転車に跨って駐輪場を出た小熊は、自分の暮らすアパートのある日野春駅方面への下り坂とは逆方向、市街を離れ別荘地やゴルフ場のある上り坂へと自転車を漕ぎ出した。

  • Straddling her bike and exiting the bike parking area, Koguma started to pedal her bike toward the upward-hill with things like a holiday home spot separated from suburbia and golf courses in the opposite direction of the down-hill on Hinoharu station side, where the apartment she was living is. (sounds long and convoluted even in English)


The main’s character’s name is Koguma :wink: which is itself an interesting name from a literary perspective. Perhaps it implies that while she is meek on the outside, there is an inner furiously.

I have finished the fourth chapter, and one thing I want to note is the pattern of the author writing paragraphs like first 3 lines of chapter three where where as Asher pointed out は, and especially 小熊は is used to situate how the narrator is perceiving 小熊。

Another note is the general difference between how 3rd person narration is handled in English and Japanese. English tends to be very God’s eye view, whereas Japanese tends to feel over the shoulder. So while we are not necessarily in the mind of the character in the same way as a true first person narrative, we still are seeing things from their perspective until we switch to over the should of the other actors in the scene. At least I’m my opinion that is how it feels.

My take on the sentences
  • 小熊がさっさと立ち去ろうとしながら、そうしなかったのは、この接客業にしては話し下手で、人とろくに目を合わせない老人が、自分と同種の人間じゃないかと思い始めたから。

While quickly trying to leave, she does not as she starts to think this customer service is so poor, but, perhaps this old mans’s struggle to properly maintain eye contact makes him the same as her.

  • その時になって自分が原付の免許を持っていないことに気付いた小熊は、日野春の隣にある長坂駅近くの教習所で、山梨県で原付免許申請者に義務付けられた技能講習を受け、近隣の北杜警察署で学科試験と交付手続きを行う方法も教えて貰う。

When the time comes Koguma realizes she does not have a Moped license. At the driving school near Nagasaka which is the next station after Hinoharu she takes a required prefectural lesson for moped applicants, and it also teaches her how to take the test and apply for insurance at the Hokuto neighborhood police station.

Hiding details because unrelated to the book

This is a very good point. I believe it has to do mostly with deixis. In English, the speaker is the center of the universe for all intents and purposes. ‘here’, ‘there’, ‘over there’, they’re all relative to the speaker standing in the middle of how they perceive things. Japanese on the other hand deictically always has これ それ and あれ existing all the time, no matter what the discussion is. In that way, anytime someone wants to watch what someone else is doing, all they really need to do is look across from the spot they stand to the spot they already know the other person stands, which comes out as over the shoulder like you mentioned.


Thank you both for the explanation. Every time I read it, I was getting a different idea from it. :laughing:



I agree with both of you about the way this story is written.
In addition to that, I will also share how I felt about it. I felt as if Koguma, now an adult, remembers herself (her younger self) when she was small, and is telling the story like she was returning to that time.


Reading these test sentences and seeing everyone talking about the plot has made me realize my comprehension is a lot lower than I thought. I’ll keep reading to try and figure out what the problem is with my reading so I can hopefully understand more as we go on.


I’ll go ahead and jump in as well! I read the first chapter on Bookwalker on Monday.
If you find this book tough, don’t take it personally. I’m also reading 秒速5センチメートル and 宇宙の声 from this list (because basically reading for a couple hours a day is my primary form of studying right now).

Comparatively, I found this one considerably more difficult as well (although I know the story of 5cm Per Second so that could be part of it). I’m glad we’re working through it together!

I am a little lost on how much to be reading per day to stay on pace. It seems like everyone is all over the place right now because we are reading different versions. I know that different chapters are different lengths, so “two chapters per week” etc. may not be viable, but having a more standardized measurement would be helpful.


I’m happy to hear that this book is a bit harder than others on the list, it makes me feel better about how difficult I find it.

I finished another 3 pages today, so see all you fine folks tomorrow.