Trees of Happiness

Masaru stands at a crossroads. On the one hand, life is going well. His career at the Tokyo securities firm where he works is solidly on track. But his private life is less fulfilled. One day, he experiences an unexpected change that allows him to better understand the people around him and help them to grow. But can he do the same for himself?

Much of this story takes place in a professional environment, providing excellent exposure to work vocabulary that may feel challenging for some. Scenes outside the office will feel easier. Weaving together work, family, fantasy, and current societal issues, this story will make you think. (Ongoing, 103 episodes)

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Episode 1
Masaru Hirose starts his day hearing a familiar voice.
Notes: This episode contains a note on a set of common words whose adverb form can behave as nouns, a note on a way that parents sometimes pick names for their children, and more.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 7024
Voice Only Unread 1197
Episode 2
Masaru's mother weighs in on the topic at hand.
Notes: This episode contains a note on a common naming pattern for female given names, one on a pattern that means "to take care to do," and more.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 2269
Voice Only Unread 287
Pro
Episode 3
Masaru reflects on his daily life.
Notes: This episode contains a note on a word that means that a similarity is almost perfect, one on a challenging kanji, and more.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 1359
Voice Only Unread 165
Pro
Episode 4
Masaru starts his workday.
Notes: This episode contains notes on two pairs of words that can be written using the exact same kanji but are used differently, a breakdown of a tricky sentence, and more.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 809
Voice Only Unread 86
Pro
Episode 5
Masaru's capable secretary briefs him on his day.
Notes: This episode gives us our first taste of some of the business-world vocabulary we'll be seeing in certain episodes. Don't be overwhelmed! Our notes will help you to break it down.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 676
Voice Only Unread 75
Pro
Episode 6
Masaru asks Akemi for supplemental information.
Notes: This episode contains a note that looks at a word that literally means "legal person," a suffix that allows you to say how you want information broken down, and more.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 575
Voice Only Unread 67
Pro
Episode 7
The narrator tells us about Akemi's reputation among the other secretaries.
Notes: This episode has a note that takes up a word that means "let alone...; to say nothing of...", one on a word that means "anyway," and more.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 547
Voice Only Unread 60
Pro
Episode 8
Masaru's skills as a negotiator lead to wins on both sides.
Notes: This episode contains notes explaining the organizational structure of Japanese companies, one on a verb that means "to serve as," and more. Also, if you're feeling overwhelmed by the office vocabulary, we're on the home stretch for this scene. Hang in there!
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 476
Voice Only Unread 50
Pro
Episode 9
Masaru returns home for some precious rest.
Notes: This episode contains a note on the word hazu, one on a sentence that uses the "noni of lament," and more.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 426
Voice Only Unread 50
Pro
Episode 10
Masaru's mind races for a plan.
Notes: This episode contains a note on a pattern that means that something is left in a certain state (window left open, TV left on, etc.), a word that signals that an "even (hypothetically) if..." sentence is coming, and more.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 401
Voice Only Unread 42
Pro
Episode 11
Masaru makes his move.
Notes: This episode contains a note about the kurai that demonstrates an extent, one that explains two different meanings of a word that means "to roll; to tumble," and more.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 409
Voice Only Unread 45
Pro
Episode 12
Masaru prepares to come face-to-face with the intruder.
Notes: This episode contains a note on why mimetic words are sometimes written partially in katakana and partially in hiragana, one on a use of the word hitotsu to mean "even one," and more.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 402
Voice Only Unread 44
Pro
Episode 13
Masaru peers into the closet in confusion.
Notes: This episode contains a note on the word nante, one on a suffix that means the speaker is searching their memory, and one on a word that means a feeling that something is off.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 374
Voice Only Unread 40
Pro
Episode 14
In a trance, Masaru presses forward.
Notes: This episode contains several long notes, including one that breaks down a tricky sentence, one on a suffix that means "(verb) is possible," and more.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 393
Voice Only Unread 39
Pro
Episode 15
Masaru looks with disbelief on the scene before him.
Notes: This episode contains a note on an alternate way of joining two adjectives, and one on the sometimes beguiling word saki.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 478
Voice Only Unread 48
Pro
Episode 16
Questioning his own sanity, Masaru presses onward.
Notes: This episode contains a note on an expression that literally means "to be possessed," one on the difference between two words that mean "wall," and more.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 435
Voice Only Unread 41
Pro
Episode 17
Masaru investigates the plots he sees behind the gates.
Notes: This episode contains a note on a phrase that literally means that one has "well come," one on a verb that originally meant "to drive livestock," and more.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 349
Voice Only Unread 33
Pro
Episode 18
The strange man invites Masaru to have a look at one of the plots.
Notes: This episode contains a note on a common change to the present progressive in dialects, one on a word that means that someone has done something "at great pains; with trouble," one on the origins of the word sumimasen, and more.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 301
Voice Only Unread 30
Pro
Episode 19
The old man explains more about this strange place.
Notes: This episode contains a note on two uses of the word annai, a use of mon to mean "a general tendency of the world," and more.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 316
Voice Only Unread 30
Pro
Episode 20
Masaru takes a closer look at the trees in his plot.
Notes: This episode contains a note on a word that mean "exactly that way," one on an expression that an older person might use to say "do it and see," and more.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 318
Voice Only Unread 26
Pro
Episode 21
Masaru feeling bewildered by what he sees.
Notes: This episode contains a note on an expression that means "the very thing; that thing itself."
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 398
Voice Only Unread 31
Pro
Episode 22
Back in his apartment, Masaru tries to make sense of what has just happened.
Notes: This episode contains a note on a verb that means "dawn" but which can signal both the beginning and the end of something, a word that means "far from (the foregoing)," and more.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 301
Voice Only Unread 27
Pro
Episode 23
Masaru is greeted by a strange sight on his way to work.
Notes: This episode contains a note on a pattern that means that something nearly happened, one on an expression that means "strangely," and more.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 266
Voice Only Unread 28
Pro
Episode 24
Masaru continues his surreal journey, observing people at the train station.
Notes: This episode contains notes on a pattern that means "if there is A, there is also B," a pattern that means "each and every," and more.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 262
Voice Only Unread 26
Pro
Episode 25
A packed commuter train provides more opportunity to observe the strange phenomenon.
Notes: This episode contains a note on the indirect ("suffering/adversative") passive, one on a verb that shows up in phrases like "rocked by the train," and more.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 221
Voice Only Unread 21
Pro
Episode 26
Masaru gets his daily brief, in a very different version of his normal routine.
Notes: This episode contains a note on a word that means "to fudge; to evade; to dodge," one on a pattern that means it looks like something might happen at any moment, and more.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 221
Voice Only Unread 21
Pro
Episode 27
Masaru notices an obvious difference in one of his team members.
Notes: This episode contains a note on a pattern that can be used to make "unless (such-and-such occurs)..." sentences, one on a word that means "geek; nerd; nut," and more.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 211
Voice Only Unread 19
Pro
Episode 28
Masaru asks Tamura about his obvious good health.
Notes: This episode contains a note on a verb that means "to suddenly start a new or unexpected topic," one on a word that means the external signs of some internal process, and more.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 198
Voice Only Unread 16