The River Sanzu
There are many bridges to cross in life.
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A morning like any other finds our narrator taking her daughter to school.
Notes: Though there are a few potentially tricky vocabulary words related to cars and roadways, such as "four-wheel-drive," "median divider," and "fuel efficiency," the grammar in this episode should be straightforward for most.
The narrator reflects on how her life has changed over the past five years.
Notes: This episode contains great vocabulary, such as the word for "flashy/showy," and interesting grammar, such as a discussion of using a verb in the present to indicate the completed passage of time.
The narrator begins to comprehend what has happened.
Notes: This episode contains excellent vocabulary and expressions, such as one that means "to go pale," as well as a discussion of a pattern for naming an emotional response to, or judgment of, a situation.
As workers get the scene under control, the narrator attempts to communicate with the emergency personnel.
Notes: This episode contains mostly straightforward grammar and excellent vocabulary, such as words for "gawkers (curious onlookers)," "stretcher," and "to come forward."
Still piecing together what has happened, the narrator makes an unexpected discovery.
Notes: This episode features several good examples of verbs that indicate something is spontaneously perceptible, such as kikoeru, mieru, and koe ga suru.
A dizzying array of emotions come over the narrator after she and Yuuko descend to the river.
Notes: This episode is packed with important vocabulary and notes, such as a discussion of words that mean "nostalgic," "to miss (someone)," and a special use of the -kke suffix that indicates warm recollection.
The woman on the bridge delivers a stern message to the narrator and her child.
Notes: This episode contains such interesting and useful expressions as "for a chill to go down one's spine," and "to shake one's head side-to-side."
The situation changes abruptly after a familiar man appears.
Notes: This exciting episode contains useful notes, such as a refresher on how to use the expression ...ni chigai nai and an explanation of the use of nani wo with intransitive verbs in rhetorical questions.
Mayumi receives an important message on what she should do next.
Notes: This episode includes a paradigm-shifting sentence that illustrates a trick that Japanese authors can use because of the order of relative clauses in Japanese.
The narrator's thoughts turn to her relationship with her husband.
Notes: This episode contains fun vocabulary, such as words for "a face that feigns ignorance" and a pattern for saying something is left in a particular state.
The narrator recalls some of the challenging but bond-building moments with her husband and child.
Notes: This episode contains great vocabulary, including words such as "to soothe/cuddle (a baby)" and "mother's milk," and an explanation of what it means to use -nagara with a verb that happens at a particular instant in time.
The narrator makes a painful decision.
Notes: This episode contains lots of great vocabulary, such as words for "envelop," "faint," and "the murmuring/babbling (of a river)," as well as a note on the meaning of the title.