1. Education
Namiko Abe

The Arrival by Shaun Tan

By November 16, 2011

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I recently had a chance to read the book, "The Arrival" by Shaun Tan. Since this is a wordless graphic novel, the word "read" might not be appropriate. It is illustrated with hauntingly beautifully pictures of a man's journey into the unknown as he leaves his family behind to search for a better life. As soon as I finished it, I couldn't help but to start reading it over again. It made me think and imagine in so many different ways. The more I read it, the deeper it seems to grow in my mind.

The book was published in Japan shortly after the earthquake and tsunami happened this March. Despite its higher than normal price (2625 yen) for a Japanese graphic novel, it has been selling steadily. It is also very rare for an adult picture book to become so popular. Many Japanese lost their houses, hometowns and families in the disaster. This book is probably very appealing in helping them face and accept the situation rather than trying to quickly overcome the pain and despair of the tragedy.

Japanese Translation



Romaji Translation

Saikin, shoon tan no "araibaru" to iu hon o yomu kikai ni megumaremashita. Moji no nai ehon nanode, yomu to iu kotoba niwa gohei ga aru kamo shiremasen. Kazoku o ato ni nokoshita otoko ga, atarashii seikatsu o sagashite michi no sekai ni tabidatsu to iu naiyou ga, utsukushiku gensoutekina e ni yotte, egakareteimasu. Yomioeruya inaya, mata hajime kara yominaosazuniwa iraremasen deshita. Iroirona koto o kangaesaserare, souzousaserare mashita. Yomikaeseba, yomikaesu hodo, kokoro ni fukaku shimiiru youna ki ga shimashita.

Kono hon wa, san-gatsu ni okotta shinsai chokugo ni nihon de kankou saremashita. Ehon to shite wa kanari takame no kingaku nimo kakawarazu (2625 en), jiwajiwa ureteimasu. Otona no ehon to shite wa, irei no ureyuki demo aru you desu. Daishinsai ni yotte ooku no nihonjin ga ie, kokyou, kazoku o ushinaimashita. Kono hon wa, kanashimi ya zetsubou o an'ini iyasou to suru no dewa naku, genjouni shikkari mukaiai, uketometekureru youna chikara o motta sakuhin nano deshou.


November 16, 2011 at 4:31 pm
(1) Khanh says:

First and foremost, I want to say that I really like your blog and lessons about Japanese. I’m a little bit of slow learner so there are something that I do not quite understand.

For instance, when you write: shoon tan no “araibaru” to iu; why do you need the “to iu” after the title?

When you want to change a verb to act like an adjective, e.g yomu kikai = read chance, is it wrong if I used yomi kikai ?

I’m learning Japanese mostly on my own with some supplement lessons so I’m not that fast of a learner, sorry if I ask questions that are too basic.

Thank you :)

November 16, 2011 at 10:31 pm
(2) Khean says:

I love this book too! It’s just amazing!

November 17, 2011 at 9:20 am
(3) Gail says:

I agree with Khanh about your blog. I always print out the translation and read through it to learn more about sentence structure and kanji. Then, if I have any questions, I take them to my “nihongo no sensei” and she explains everything.

I also looked at Shaun Tan’s book. He is quite a talent. His book has been out in the US for quite a while. I’m glad it’s being published in other countries. The experience he describes is so universal.

November 17, 2011 at 12:39 pm
(4) japanese says:

Hi Khanh,

I am happy to hear that you enjoy my blog. I try to translate as literally as possible in all my other lessons, so that it is easy for beginners to follow each word and understand the structure. However, the translations of my blog entries are often not literal. I focus on writing how I normally write, rather than translating the text.

For beginners, the easiest translation is, “I recently read “The Arrival” by Shaun Tan.” The Japanese translation is simply, “Shoon tan no araibaru o yomimashita.”

The plain form of a verb can modify to a noun. “Yomi kikai” is not correct.

Keep up your Japanese!

November 17, 2011 at 12:40 pm
(5) japanese says:

Hi Gail,

I am glad to hear that you are using my blog for your studies. I think your approach to learning is great!

November 18, 2011 at 12:59 am
(6) Ho says:

Abe sensei,
I’ve been following your blog for quite some time. I’ve learn much from especially from the short essays. As I am now residing in Sendai, your blog has certainly been helpful to my daily learning here. Coincidently, my japanese lesson seems to be in-sync with yours here, grammar and speech style.

thanks and please keep up the good work!


November 18, 2011 at 12:17 pm
(7) Namiko says:

Hoさん こんにちは。


Ho-san Konnichiwa.

Sendai ni sundeiru n desu ne! Sochira deno seikatsu wa dou desu ka. Ho-san ga nihon de iroirona keiken o shite, nihongo o shuutoku dekiru koto o iotte imasu.

November 27, 2011 at 8:25 pm
(8) Fitch-Kun says:

Hi, I enjoy your blog, your very good at explaing things, I might end up getting this books it sounds very interesting, I was here during the earthquake/ Tsunami and seen alot of destruction first, experiencing, volunteering and helping is something i’ll never forget.

December 2, 2011 at 10:55 am
(9) Khanh says:

Thank you for explaining that for me. After a couple more online lessons about grammars and slangs. I think I figured out why you use the “to iu” after the title of the book.

shoon tan no “araibaru” to iu hon o yomu kikai ni megumaremashita

Now I can “literally” translated as:
shoon tan’s “araibaru” is say/call book read chance blessed?

Or just plain translation:
I was blessed to read a book called araibaru by shoon tan.

I hope that is the correct meaning of the “to iu” usage.
I haven’t been able to find it yet on your blog, but do you have a lesson on Transitive and Intransitive verb? Because the megumareru verb is an intransitive verb when I looked it up and I do not know what it means.

Thank you

March 8, 2014 at 1:51 pm
(10) Michael says:

After reading this and some other things I’m finally getting used to the sentence structure.

Keep it up!

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