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The team is eating breakfast at cycling camp in Yowamush Pedal episode 13, beginning at about time mark 2:45. We see the MC Onoda eating:

Onoda eating modest sandwich

One of his third year senpai, Tadokoro, sees this, and isn't having it:

Hey now! What are you eating?!
Is that a snack? It's so little!
You have to eat more!
You'll drop out after the second day!
I'll share my Tadokoro Bakery Tadokoro Special Burger with you. Tadakoro offering huge sandwich to Onoda

[A Tadokoro Bakery food truck had just been shown. I don't know if it is related to the character's family.]

Don't hold back. Eat.
(Onoda): There's no way!

In addition to the over-the-top (I assume) hilarity 😆, the word burger stood out. Is that a poor translation of the Japanese word for sandwich? Or maybe they are the same word in Japanese? (There is a long-running (since 1930) American comic strip named Blondie, and her husband is named Dagwood. Since he loves huge, multi-layered sandwiches such as these, they were known as Dagwood sandwiches. I'm not sure that term is still known generally, though.)

The scene takes place during the second day of their camp. Each team member must ride 1000 km over the course of four days. I realize they will be burning calories like crazy, but -- geez!

  • They're not the same word; Japanese has borrowed the English words for these, so "sandwich" is sandoitchi and "burger" is baagaa or hambaagaa. If you watch the scene again you can try to listen for one of these words, but as far as I know, that's a sandwich in Japanese just like it is in English. – Torisuda Feb 8 '17 at 3:26
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    But really, what is the difference between a burger and a sandwich? One uses a round bun, while the other uses square slices of loaf bread, but they're pretty much the same thing. (In any case, Tadokoro does in fact say バーガー baagaa, which, as Torisuda points out, is separate from サンドイッチ sandoicchi.) – senshin Feb 8 '17 at 3:54
  • @senshin I agree that the two words overlap, and if one listens to staff at burger places, they often refer to what they made as a "sandwich". But in the USA, the broad connotation of a burger is very specific -- a hot, cooked piece of meat (usually ground beef, but could even be chicken or a "veggie patty") on a round bun with various vegetables and/or condiments. I'd never think to call what was shown a burger. From Torisuda's comment, I'll assume it would not be common in Japan either. So perhaps his usage of baagaa is some form of intentional wordplay -- understatement perhaps? – RichF Feb 8 '17 at 4:07
  • I feel like this is a question for Seasoned Advice – Hakase Feb 8 '17 at 7:30
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    I can't really answer this, but anecdotally, there's a game Burger Burger in Japanese where you are working as a manager of burger chain. One of the feature is to create your own burger with available ingredients, and one of its component is the bun. The bun itself has choices from: plain round bun, rice bun, muffin, melon bun (which is not from melon), sesame bun, and square sliced bread (sandwich). – Aki Tanaka Feb 9 '17 at 6:19
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(This "answer" is technically a reply to a comment, but it includes a picture.)

But one certain thing, it's not a wordplay at all. – Aki Tanaka

I can accept that the word burger in itself may not be wordplay. That may well have snuck in due to the overlap in meaning between sandwich and hamburger. But let's compare the anime scene to the same panel from the manga by Wataru Watanabe:

Onoda faces Tadokoro deluxe special burger (acquired from this Wikia page; I love this panel because the rye bread is called out, as well as Onoda's final line, And the banana's sticking out!!)

Compare Tadokoro's description:

  • (manga) Tadokoro Deluxe Special Burger
  • (anime) Tadokoro Bakery Tadokoro Special Burger

Why did the anime add the extra complexity? I have listened to that part several times; My non-Japanese ears do not hear anything special, such as rhyme or tongue twister. If it were that, a commenter would have likely mentioned it. But I believe there is a reason the anime intentionally repeated "Tadokoro". The only reason I can think of for doing so is some sort of wordplay in those five words.

Theory (added 16:45 10feb17): There is subtle wordplay. It involves both Tadokoro and burger. Most Japanese are well aware that their pronunciation of the latter ("baagaa") lacks the r sound from the original English. Yet here is a guy whose surname actually contains an r sound -- I can hear it in the anime. The two Tadokoros supply the rs missing from baagaa. ... I'm not saying this theory is likely or even broadly funny, but it is what my subconscious came up with. It is a subtle joke of the ear, mind, and context, which may be why the animators could add it to a scene which was already really funny.

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I don't know the creators' intentions, so it may be have been a mistranslation. But two of the claimants of the invention of a hamburger served the patty between two slices of bread. In the last hundred years, the meaning of "burger" may have changed to exclude preparations made with sliced bread, except for the fact that the descendants of one of the original inventors still serve it that way, and still call it a "burger".

enter image description here

To quote from http://louislunch.com/menu/,

The birthplace of the hamburger sandwich, Louis’ Lunch is a family-owned restaurant located in the heart of New Haven, CT. Currently run by the 4th generation, our restaurant has been satisfying customers’ hearty appetites since 1895. We have served customers from across the U.S. and are proud to be recognized by The Travel Channel, The Food Network, and many other television and print organizations.

Louis’ Lunch is committed to serving a classic hamburger that is hand-rolled from a proprietary blend of five cuts of meat, ground fresh daily. All of our burgers are cooked to order in the original cast-iron grills dating back to 1898. We want you to experience the meat’s true flavor, so we serve it on white toast with only cheese, onion, and tomato as garnishes. [emphasis mine]

In conclusion, their usage of the word "burger" may get them funny looks by most people. But historically, people may not have found their usage odd. And there are still people around who would serve (and accept) sliced bread for burgers.

  • Thank you. I've see Louis' Lunch on Food Network, and one day I'd love to try one of their burgers. I certainly don't argue with their name for that food! Another good example would be from my own childhood. There were 5 kids, and on at least 2 occasions we ran out of buns during a meal of hamburgers. After that, the patty was placed on bread slices, and none of us would have thought that it was not a burger because of the shape of the bread. Still, a huge, multi-layer "dagwood sandwich" is not something most Americans would refer to as a "burger", IMO. – RichF Aug 10 '17 at 17:00

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