Doraemon: the robotic cat that can teach you Japanese

The other day, my boss came to visit me in hospital. He brought me a few お見舞い(O-MIMAI /gifts visiting someone sick) among which was the best-selling manga, Doraemon.

Reading the manga made me realise how useful Doraemon series can be for Japanese study. In this post, I will introduce you to an episode. I hope it may be useful in your Japanese studies.

Doraemon is a robotic cat from the future who hangs out with an ordinary schoolboy called Nobi Nobita. Doraemon provides Nobita magical gadgets to help him deal with bullies and other problems at school.

The language in Doraemon is that of schoolboys – generations of Japanese have grown up reading Doraemon – so note the language is generally very informal! The vocabulary though, is useful for all levels.

For maximum benefits, watch it more than once, even to just a short section, and if you can, read one of the manga episodes before or after watching.

The 12 minute episode embedded here is called PEKOPEKOBATTA. The theme of the episode is apologising.

To help out an indignant Nobita who has just had his glasses broken by a football, Doraemon picks out of his pocket a box of PEKOPEKOBATTA grasshoppers who fly into people and make them apologise for past misdemeanous.

The episode starts at 1:35. In the first minute, listen out for words such as:

メガネ (glasses) あぶない (dangerous) あやまる (apologise) よける (avoid) サッカー (football) やる (do) ボール (ball) 

PEKOPEKOBATTA – the insect that makes you say sorry

Some other key words from later in the episode are below. (Note, the antidote to PEKOPEKOBATTA is pepper!)

わるかった (Sorry / I was wrong) わるもの (bad person) なぐる (hit) オレ(I informal) はんせいする(reflect on) こしょう(pepper)

If you get to the end, can you catch what Nobita’s Mum and Dad are apologising to each other for?

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