Agedashi tofu from Sakata Ramen Bar and Grill. I later ate it.
To help me in my Japanese studies, sometimes I'll search videos related to what I'm studying on Youtube. I thought I would share some of my adventures in translation for others who may be studying Japanese as well.
This post was made to also be enjoyable to those not studying Japanese. Those who are just interested in the culture, and seeing how Japanese society might be similar or different to the western world will also hopefully find it interesting!
OK, Let's begin!
揚げ出し豆腐 – Agedashidoufu – Agedashi Tofu
噂 – Uwasa – Report (also rumor; gossip, but “report” seems like the best translation here)
今回 – Konkai – Now; this time
もらう - Morau – To get somebody to do something (after a て form verb)
想像 – Souzou – Imagination; guess
最後 - Saigo – The end; conclusion
十代 - Juudai - Teenage years
切ない – Setsunai – Painful
マズイ - Mazui – Unappetizing, unpleasant
二人目 - Futarime – Second person
So, recently I went to a place called Wako Sushi with a friend, and I ordered an agedashi tofu. I immediately fell in love. There's something inherently attractive about agedashi tofu, something in its crispy exterior and creamy interior that satisfies the soul's innate desire to be made whole.
When it came time to study Japanese that night, I looked up the word 揚げ出し豆腐 (agedashi tofu), and attempted to find something interesting enough for studying.
Typically, I like to find videos with lots of comments, since Youtube comments are a satisfying way sneaking into the world of colloquial language. Today we'll be looking at some Japanese Youtube comments as well.
The video I decided upon studying was this:
噂の東京マガジン やってTRY こんな揚げ出し豆腐は嫌だ！
It's from a Japanese TV Program called 噂の！東京マガジン (Uwasa no! Tokyo Magazine) which has a segment called やってTRY (Give it a try!) In this segment, a host approaches random people on the streets and asks them to make certain Japanese dishes. This episode deals, naturally, with agedashi tofu.
This two main hosts of the show inform us that
“This time, we got them to make agedashi tofu!”
LANGUAGE POINT - This may be a good time to mention a grammar point. もらう usually means “to recieve” or “to take” as in 「男は別の妻をもらいました。」 (“The man took a different wife”, from the story Cinderella). But it has a second meaning as well. When placed after the て form of a verb, it can mean “to get someone to do something.” In this case – 作てもらいました (Get them to make!) It's a useful Japanese construction to get to know, so I'll do my best to 覚えてもらいま (Get you to memorize!)
In the video, the host gets three different girls to try and make agedashi tofu. The results are all terrible (「めっちゃマズイ」 as one of the the girls says), but pretty funny nevertheless. I have to wonder if this video taps into a prevalent fear that the younger generation no longer knows how to cook, and a lot of the comedy comes from a confirmation of this incompetence.
The first girl uses the word 想像する a lot. 想像 (souzou) means your imagination, or guess. So, in total lack of confidence, the girl is making a lot of guesses when making agedashi tofu.
“This is my guess.”
She doesn't really know what she is doing, but she's trying! Of course, making most dishes from memory is a difficult thing, and Japanese cuisine is even more difficult than most, so go easy on her, please!
The second girl talks about how she is near the end of her teenage years, and wishes that she could stay a teenager (すっと十代でいたい). The host asks her why- is it any different (そんなに違う)? She says it is. The host asks in what way. The girl says 税金 (zeikin) – taxes. The host asks, what taxes (何税)? The girl says 印税 (inzei) - book royalties. Haha!
The humor probably works a lot better in the Japanese, since the point is that the girl doesn't really know what she's talking about. When asked about taxes, she just says the first thing that pops into her head that sounds like a tax. 印税 (inzei) is not really a tax, but it ends with the “tax” kanji 税 and so, to her, may have sounded like a good answer.
Here's a transcription of the conversation:
The second girl's reactions to her finished dish are pretty funny. 「めっちゃマズイ」 (This is really bad!) she says.「ダメ食べ物じゃない」 (This is no good! This isn't food!)
One commenter thought the finished agedashi tofu looked like a gravesite for sardines.
I am not sure if I can disagree.
As is typical for Youtube comments, this user comments on how beautiful he thinks the second girl is, who made the “graveyard for sardines.”
“Ah, the second person was so pretty...”
Unfortunately, I'm sure her marriage eligibility is hurt by her innability to make proper agedashi tofu. Though I will admit, out of the three girls in the video, the second one was probably the only one to make something that even resembled agedashi tofu. She could also benefit from learning a bit more about taxes, in my opinion.
For example, this is what the third girl's agedashi tofu looked like. YIKES.
LANGUAGE POINT – While のに usually means “although” or “despite”, connecting two phrases together, when it comes at the end of a sentence it can signify a state of what could have been, or a state of longing. In this case, the commenter is almost pained by the beauty of the girl. “Ah, she is so pretty, if only I could be with her” is maybe the implication. Creepy or not, I'll let you decide.
That's it for my study of this video for now. It's pretty funny, and the video editors added a lot of stylized subtitles which by chance is very useful for people studying Japanese. I definitely recommend watching the video a few times and making notes about some of the dialogue, which is for the most part very conversational and casual. There are also a few other funny Youtube comments that are worth looking at on the video.
I'll leave you with a haiku by Kobayashi Issa that I think is particularily relevant.
Yoigoshi no tofu akari no yabu ka kana
Left out all night
The tofu gleams -