The 6 Types of Donburi

Alrighty then. Here’s one sign straight from the ‘bowls’ of Sukiya, a 牛丼 (ぎゅうどん) chain here in Japan. I was tickled by the cute illustrations of the various sizes of beef bowls available!

Let’s begin from the top then!

すき家の 牛丼は、サイズ 色々 すべてお得!

(In hiragana: すきやの ぎゅうどんは、 サイズ いろいろ すべておとく!)

So すき家 (Sukiya) is the name of this restaurant chain in Japan that generally sells bowls of delicious rice with toppings of beef and other things. The most famous of which is the 牛丼 – the ‘beef bowl’. The 丼 part stands for どんぶり – the large-ish bowl used to contain all the goodies.

There are various other types of donburi too, such as 親子丼 (おやこどん) – chicken and egg donburi and 天ぷら丼 (てんぷらどん) – tempura donburi (which usually includes seafood with a deep-fried covering).

So far then:

Sukiya’s gyudon are,

Following that, サイズ meaning ‘size’ and 色々 meaning ‘various types’. Nothing particularly special here except that in a grammatically correct sentence, we’d probably use で to mean ‘and’ after the word 色々. Like this:

various sizes and, XX!

So, the elusive XX at the end. This is one word you really want to remember. お得 means ‘great value’ and is essentially used anywhere the speaker wants to grab the listener’s attention. If something is お得, you’ll be sure to find some sort of money-saving device or offer to make you want to buy. In this case, it’s the size-cost ratio of the gyudon! So:

Sukiya’s gyudon are great value and come in a range of sizes!

From left to right then:

ミニ Mini
並 (なみ) Regular
肉1.5盛 (にく1.5もり) 1.5x Meat
大盛 (おおもり) Large
特盛 (とくもり) Extra Large
メガ Mega

Of course, these ratings are particular to this gyudon restaurant, but a few are pretty standard everywhere. 並, 大盛 and 特盛 are seen in most places like this.

Finally then, let’s take a look at the last part in big letters:


(In hiragana: すみびがかおる)

炭火 is a charcoal fire or a wood fire used when roasting meats and other things. Here what is intended is to snag the hungry reader with a punchy piece of Japanese that conjures up wonderful smells. The second word, 薫る uses a special kanji for 香る – ‘to smell (like)’. It has a very pleasant meaning and is rarely used for smells that are bad. Hence, in this case we have が connecting charcoal and lovely smell that makes you hungry. Literally this:

The charcoal smells.

A direct translation doesn’t really do it justice though. Perhaps maybe this:

The scent of charcoal.

or maybe even:

Smoked beef/chicken

(etc. – depending on the food. In English we tend to talk about food being smoked.)

That’s all for now! Questions below :).


9 Responses to Gakuu. Studying with Real Japanese

  1. Sabrina September 29, 2010 at 5:48 pm #

    This is pretty cool! Right now I’m studying on Textfugu which is great! I belive Gakuu can be really helpul too. What I like most is that its for pre-intermediate to advanced level students. So you can’t say its the same thing over and over again… students can actually improve their knowledge here. Thank you very much for creating this site. Have a nice day :)

    • Gakuranman September 30, 2010 at 1:09 am #

      Hi Sabrina! Thank you for your comment :).

      That’s definitely our aim. I love Textfugu for beginners and really getting students a solid grounding in the language, but afterwards (and even while) studying the basics, it can really help to encounter raw Japanese material. You don’t have to understand everything at first, but feeling challenged and picking up little bits here and there that are extra to your learning the basics helps expand your mind. Let me know if you have any more questions! More demonstration material will be up soon! We are currently having a special launch sale price for early adopters, so check out the pricing page if interested :).

      • Sabrina September 30, 2010 at 5:14 pm #

        Thanks for your reply. :) Unfortunately I’m even still miles away from the intermediate level. But I’ll definetly return to Gakuu when I get to this point. Anyway, I’m looking forward to the extra demonstration material. :) Keep up the good work.

        • Gakuranman October 1, 2010 at 12:21 am #

          Sure thing :). Let me know if you have any other questions or suggestions for things you’d like to see on Gakuu!

  2. missingno15 October 1, 2010 at 7:31 pm #

    When I looked at this, I first thought to myself, “aw hell no, gakuranman is doing the same thing as koichi…even the website layout is similar”. But then I realized “it’s aimed at pre-intermediate to advanced level students” which is perfect for my situation right now because I now really want to excel way past beginner. So basically, Gakuu really complements Textfugu. Can’t wait for more lessons to see how this is gonna be like so I can decide if its worth getting.

    • Gakuranman October 1, 2010 at 7:37 pm #

      Hey there! Thanks for dropping by :). No way – Koichi and I are buds. I’ve always loved teaching the more advanced stuff so it worked out perfectly. I’ll be adding more stuff in the coming days, so please stay tuned!

      • Lee Aloy October 23, 2016 at 5:20 am #


        I am sorry to ask this silly question. Are you Japanese?
        am hoping to find a Japanese friends here please shot me an email:

  3. DumbOtaku (percent20) October 3, 2010 at 12:58 am #

    This is really cool. I am glad to see more online content going beyond just teaching hirigana and katakana. That is what I try to do on my blog, but with to little consistency. Glad to see an expert do it, btw already a signed-up paid member now. :)

    • Gakuranman October 3, 2010 at 2:24 pm #

      Glad to have you man! Look forward to hearing any suggestions you have for the site and future lessons :)

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