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I learned from Nihongoresources that:

An interesting note is on the "number of problems" I mentioned; while in English you would list problems (or rules, or whatever) as "First, ....., second, ......, third, ....." - Not so in Japanese. Instead, you list each individual problem, rule, or whateveryagots [sic] with ひとつ. The reasoning here is that you are not listing them in an ordered fashion, ticking them off, but you're listing them one by one, and each thing you list is only one thing, therefore you count them as one thing, not two or three or more.

But I encountered this description on a box of おせんべい:

一つ、一口に海老コク広がる姫ゆかり。 (Bite-sized shrimp (コク広がる姫ゆかり? stretched princess-ness?))

二つ、磯の香りをくるりと黒のり。 (Wrapped with black seaweed and flavor of the sea)

三つ、目にも美味しい桜えび青のり。 (Sakura shrimp in green seaweed that's delicious even to the eyes)

四つ、パリッと姿焼きかわいい小えび。 (Crispy grilled cute small shrimp)

五つ、香りと風味はじける黒ごま。 (Black sesame that's bursting with flavor and fragrance)

六つ、上品な甘さとけ合う抹茶。 (Green tea infused with exquisite sweetness)

七つ、やさしく自然な甘みの紫いも。 (Gently(delightfully), naturally sweet purple potato)

八つ、香ばしく味わい素朴な黒豆。 (Sweetly flavored simple black bean)

The main question is what does this form of number listing do? When I opened one packet there was one of each of the items indicated above instead of 1 of the first item, 2 of the second, 3 of the third etc. (Also as an aside I would be grateful if my translations receive verification and correction as well as some help for things that I was unable to translate.)

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What is the name of your cracker? Is it 姫ゆかり? –  sawa Feb 19 '12 at 3:15
@sawa. I did not take notice of the name. I shall have to look at the box closely again. –  Flaw Feb 19 '12 at 3:24

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Just like there are both bulleted lists and numbered lists in English, so are there in Japanese. Repeating like 一、一、..., or 一つ、一つ、... corresponds to a bulleted list, and couting as 一、二、... or 一つ、二つ、... corresponds to a numbered list. Nothing special. Listing is called 箇条書き in Japanese.

Modification to your translations:

姫ゆかり (name of the cracker?), a bite of which spreads a thick/bold flavour of shrimp within your mouth.

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