Hopefully a simple question...
  • Hey all, I was trying to get into doing some manga translation to get more familiar with informal Japanese and I've already ran into trouble. On the first page of クレヨン しんちゃん #1, みさえ is standing in front of the stove and realizing she forgot to buy some ingredients from the store. It begins, "あっ | ひき肉と大根 | 買うの | わすれた" No problems with that, just some context. In the next frame it reads, "うわー | しょう油もない" and then in another bubble, "まいったなァ | 今 手ェ | はなせないし... | でも | 材料ないと......"

    So in that third bubble, I understand "まいったなァ" but after that I get hung up on "今 手ェ" since I've never seen "手ェ" before and whether "はなせないし" is supposed to refer to her not being able to add the ingredients to the broth in the sense that she CAN continue without them or that she CANNOT continue without them. If it's cannot, why would she say she can't not add those ingredients and then follow with "But without those ingredients......" at the end?

    Obviously, I'm mistaken somewhere. A little help would go a long way ^_^
  • She's actually saying 手が離せない:
    The particle が is dropped as it often is in casual speech (like in 材料ない too). The ェ in 手ェ is just a lengthening of the vowel sound, and doesn't really change the meaning significantly.

    So, she's saying, "I'm right in the middle [of cooking]... but if I don't have the ingredients..."
  • Ah, thank you! A very useful phrase that I wasn't aware of. This was bothering me for a couple days haha

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