Makoto+ Members, click here to download bonus files (PDF with dialogue + quiz + Sound Files) for this lesson. Not a member, click here to learn more.
君の名は。 is a very popular movie by director 新海 誠 (Shinkai Makoto). It is a fantasy, time tripping adventure set in modern day Tokyo and rural Japan. In it, the two swap bodies and only vaguely remember the experiences as if they were dreams.
The movie is much better than I make it sound…
The boy is 立花 瀧 and the girl is 宮水 三葉.
But the point is, with this scene, the boy is talking to his friends, but he is really the girl.
Here, we get to an interesting contradiction in Japanese. Pronouns are important in Japanese! But they are rarely used.
Unlike English, Japanese pronouns not only express number and person, but also sometimes gender and social status. (Learn more about Japanese pronouns with this lesson.)
In today’s lesson, the boy 瀧 (who is really the girl 三葉) is talking with his friends.
The key phrase for today's lesson is:
In English, this would be translated as, “I, I, I, I.”
But remember! In Japanese pronouns also express cultural aspects, social status, and gender (male or female).
Let’s go over these pronouns before we get to the lines in the scene:
The normal “I” or “me” [The kanji is the same as わたくし, 私]
A more formal “I” or “me” [The kanji is the same as わたし, 私]
I; me [male; humble; used often with boys and younger men]
I; me [male; masculine; sounds stronger than 僕 and is the pronoun of choice for 瀧]
Learn more about Japanese pronouns on this lesson page. Click here.
The Dialogue in Japanese
- お前さあ どうやったら 通学で道に迷えんだよ？
- ああ えーと わたし…
- あっ わたくし
- あ… 俺 楽しかったんやよ
The Dialogue in English
- How do you get lost on the way to school?
- Well, I... [わたし standard, but not masculine]
- Oh, I... [わたくし formal and not masculine]
- I? [僕 masculine, but humble]
- I? [俺 masculine and the pronoun he uses.]
- Ah, I (俺) was having fun.
I have no idea how the translators translated this passage (the version of the movie I saw only had Japanese subtitles…), but I would think it would be impossible to convey the humor well.
お前さあ どうやったら 通学で道に迷えんだよ？
How do you get lost on the way to school?
- お前 you [between peers and those with lower social status; can be rude]
- さあ well; c’mon; umm; about that; all right now [さあ is a common conversational filler that expresses an assertion, typically used by males. It can mean many things depending on the context]
- どうやったら how; in what way (were you able)
- 通学 go to school; commute to school
- で while (commuting)
- 道に the road; on the way
- 迷えんだ able to get lost [potential form of 迷う (to get lost); the んだ is used for emphasis and to show he is seeking an explantion; of course, when one has gone to school every day, it should be pretty much impossible to get lost…]
- よ (emphasis)
ああ えーと わたし… わたし？
Well, I... I?
- ああ ah; oh [She (in 瀧’s body) realizes the absurdity of what she just said.]
- えーと umm; let me see; errr…; well [Sometimes written as ええと]
- わたし I [most common pronoun, but isn’t often used by high school boys; slightly feminine]
あっ わたくし。 ん？ 僕？ はあ？
Oh, I... Hmm? I? Huh?
- あっ Ah [Here, she realizes the boy wouldn’t use わたし]
- わたくし I (formal) [This pronoun uses the same kanji as わたし. They are both 私. Here, thinking she was being rude, she over corrects by going from the standard わたし pronoun to the more formal わたくし]
- ん？ Huh? [Of course, this is even more absurd for a boy to say among peers.]
- 僕？ I? [This is a possible pronoun, since it is used by boys and young mean, but this humble pronoun isn’t 瀧 ‘s style.]
- はあ？ Huh?
俺 うん あ… 俺 楽しかったんやよ
I? Yes... Ah, I (俺) was having fun.
- 俺 I [masculine; strong sounding]
- うん yes; yeah
- あ… Ah…
- 楽しかった was fun; enjoyed
- んやよ [the んや is a form of のだ which is an explanation ender; the よ is for emphasis]
While this lesson is free, Makoto+ and Patreon supporters have access to bonus content including a downloadable PDF and sound files. If you are a member, please click here for the bonus content.
Please consider supporting us by becoming a member or patron!