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 9901
Voice Only Unread 1623
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 3311
Voice Only Unread 415
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 1962
Voice Only Unread 237
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 1156
Voice Only Unread 128
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 964
Voice Only Unread 117
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 820
Voice Only Unread 100
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 760
Voice Only Unread 93
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 663
Voice Only Unread 78
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 593
Voice Only Unread 75
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 555
Voice Only Unread 64
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 555
Voice Only Unread 65
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 547
Voice Only Unread 65
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 511
Voice Only Unread 59
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 533
Voice Only Unread 58
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 617
Voice Only Unread 68
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 576
Voice Only Unread 63
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 483
Voice Only Unread 54
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 438
Voice Only Unread 50
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 447
Voice Only Unread 48
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 448
Voice Only Unread 44
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 527
Voice Only Unread 48
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 431
Voice Only Unread 45
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 405
Voice Only Unread 43
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 409
Voice Only Unread 43
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 368
Voice Only Unread 39
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 369
Voice Only Unread 40
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 363
Voice Only Unread 38
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 366
Voice Only Unread 36
Pro
Episode 29
Given the opportunity to expound on his favorite topic, Tamura shares eagerly.
Notes: This episode contains a note on a word that means for work to proceed smoothly, one on an expression that literally means to take turns hammering, and one that looks at alternate ways of making a conditional statement.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 246
Voice Only Unread 29
Pro
Episode 30
Masaru continues talking to his subordinates.
Notes: This episode contains a note on a word that can mean to think of something as only natural or to take for granted, one on an expression that means "out of the blue," and more.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 238
Voice Only Unread 31
Pro
Episode 31
Masaru learns more about Ooyoshi as he attempts to validate his understanding.
Notes: This episode contains a note on a verb that means "to win a prize in a competition," one on how to read a kanji that means "to draw/paint," and more.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 230
Voice Only Unread 29
Pro
Episode 32
Masaru asks Tamura to come up with a plan.
Notes: This episode contains a note on a special use of nani mo, a note on using ni to mark the person "to whom" something is possible or not possible, and more.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 220
Voice Only Unread 28
Pro
Episode 33
Masaru considers the impact of the company's generous provisions for employees who work overtime.
Notes: This episode contains a note on an expression that means "it leaves nothing to be desired," one on a proverb that means "There is no time like the present," and more.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 210
Voice Only Unread 25
Pro
Episode 34
Masaru calls an impromptu meeting.
Notes: This episode contains a note on a use of a verb for "turn; rotate," one on the difference between two expressions for things that happen at the same time, and more.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 213
Voice Only Unread 28
Pro
Episode 35
Masaru asks his team to report on their work-life balance.
Notes: This episode contains a note on how to use the expressions isogashii tokoro and moushi-wake nai.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 194
Voice Only Unread 29
Pro
Episode 36
Masaru asks the team to try a new style of working.
Notes: This episode contains a note that explains a word that means "scope; range," and one that means "the set time."
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 199
Voice Only Unread 28
Pro
Episode 37
Masaru's team members share their experiences and reactions to the new policies.
Notes: This episode contains a note on a word that means "to be lured/tempted" into an activity, one that means "to go to meet someone," and more.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 183
Voice Only Unread 24
Pro
Episode 38
Finding himself with a rare early night on his hands, Masaru reaches out to an old friend.
Notes: This episode contains a note on an expression that means it is worth it to do something, one on a prefix that means "this past" or "this coming" time period, and more.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 183
Voice Only Unread 25
Pro
Episode 39
Masaru heads to out to meet up with his friend Arai.
Notes: This episode contains a note on how to use the word for "graduate," one on a word that means that the speaker thinks a question is unanswerable, and more.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 286
Voice Only Unread 25
Pro
Episode 40
The two friends sit down to dinner together.
Notes: This episode contains a fun note on the ways that a string of numbers can be read as words.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 287
Voice Only Unread 24
Pro
Episode 41
Masaru and Arai get up to date on each other's lives.
Notes: This episode contains a note on a pattern that allows you to use a phrase like "the balance is good" as an adverb, one one a phrase that can mean both "worthless" and "silly," and more.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 296
Voice Only Unread 21
Pro
Episode 42
Masaru recalls a difficult period.
Notes: This episode contains two notes about "special effects" uses of は, as well as a note about a way to say you should have done something.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 302
Voice Only Unread 21
Pro
Episode 43
As Arai consoles Masaru, Masaru opens up about a sense of hopelessness.
Notes: This episode contains a note on an expression that means "to the maximum extent possible," one on a pattern that is used to create a warning, and more.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 232
Voice Only Unread 20
Pro
Episode 44
Arai recounts an episode from their childhood.
Notes: This episode contains a note on the word さすが, one on an alternative form of ~なくて, and more.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 210
Voice Only Unread 20
Pro
Episode 45
Arai recounts the events of that day and how they affected him going forward.
Notes: This episode contains a note on an expression that means "to meet up with a (usually difficult) experience," and one on a verb that means "to adopt a posture of bold defiance."
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 217
Voice Only Unread 16
Pro
Episode 46
Masaru reflects on Arai's words and experiences.
Notes: This episode contains a note on a word that means "to lack," one on a special way to use 一人, and more.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 253
Voice Only Unread 16
Pro
Episode 47
Masaru wrestles with the possible outcomes of making a change.
Notes: This episode contains a note on a word that means "now, at this late stage," one on a pattern that means "even just (verbing)," and more.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 258
Voice Only Unread 15
Pro
Episode 48
Masaru gets to a core question.
Notes: This episode contains a note on a word that most basically means "respond," but which also can also mean "to impact in a negative way," as well as a note on the suffix ~つつ.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 217
Voice Only Unread 14
Pro
Episode 49
Masaru checks in with Akemi.
Notes: This episode contains a note on an expression that means "(not) at all," one that means "against my better judgment; without meaning to," and more.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 154
Voice Only Unread 9