おじさまと猫 (Ojisama to Neko) Chapter 2 Discussion

With no further delay, here is the Chapter 2 Discussion Thread!

We have a vocab sheet .

Shoutout to @Sarabrina for starting this book club and @frayderike for starting us off with such a lovely vocab sheet.

Original Club Thread

Chapter 1 Thread

Chapter 3 Thread

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Aw this chapter was cute too :heart: I feel like every week I’m gonna fall more and more in love with this series


I am not understanding the grammar of 「手が掛からなくなったら飼ってもいい?」on page 7.

I understand in general that she’s saying something along the lines of wouldn’t it be good to raise a cat since we’ve raised our children, but I don’t understand 掛からなくなったら. How much of that is verb ending? I assume there’s some grammatical element I haven’t learned yet. :sweat_smile:


This is quite a bunch of stuff actually :slight_smile:
Let’s pick it apart:

The expression is https://jisho.org/search/手が掛かる (“to be a lot to deal with”)

So the main verb here is 掛かる. The conjugation chain goes like this:

掛かる -> 掛からない (negation) -> 掛からな (turn into adverb) -> 掛からなくなる (add なる “to become”) -> 掛からなくなったら (たら-form, meaning “if”)

All together “If it doesn’t become a lot to deal with” (and the rest says “would it be ok to keep one?”)


I think this verb packs more layers than Shrek and onions, gosh golly!

Thank you! I really appreciate the breakdown and correction :slight_smile: It makes a lot more sense now.


Yes, it’s really a cool demonstration of what Japanese verbs can do :wink:

The ~なくなる construction is very common so you will probably see it a lot in books etc. But together with たら that’s yet another layer indeed!


Hi! Sorry about arriving so late–I was going to post in the week 1 thread but was unsure about how much to read for each week and got a bit frazzled trying to check through it all, wound up skimming a bunch, then finally got around to checking the thread and realized it was a lot less than I was expecting. :’)

Thank you so much for the breakdown above, Nicole–there were a lot of sentences on that page I was going to ask about, another of which is…
I’m both unsure about the kanji after ‘guest’ and the meaning of the sentence overall. The best guess I can have is something along the lines of ‘It’d be about time/we’re at the right age for kids, so one houseguest’ with the implication of like, ‘one houseguest would be fine’, but that’s basically just a context guess. I recognize から as explanatory and かった as marking past tense, but I can’t puzzle that out into a sentence that fits…

EDIT: Actually, thinking about it (and since they’ve mentioned having kids before), would the thing I read as ‘right age for kids’ not refer to their position but maybe be more along the lines of ‘the kids are around the right age for it’?
EDIT 2: And then considering, you know, the very next sentence mentions ‘the kids have grown up’ I’m gonna stop guessing and just wait for a clarification. :’)

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Hi, no worries! I changed the titles to go along with the chapters, so it’s no longer by week. The current plan is to read one chapter a week, but there has been discussion on the original 猫 book club page about going faster.

Could you be specific about “guest?” I don’t see it on that page :sweat_smile:

子供 is children, 頃 is about, 一度 is technically once but I think now fits the context better, and 飼 is part of the verb raise.

みたかった should be てみる (to try) + たい (want) + かった (past)

So> Since our children are old enough now (pretty sure she means moved out), I was wanting to try raising a cat.

That’s paraphrased, but the idea I think.


Oh argh, that explains it–I was just mixing up 客 for guest with 度 for time, but in fact they’re pretty cleanly the other way around! That makes a lot more sense now, thank you!

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Ah, wait. I don’t think that’s entirely correct. 子供の頃 is a set phrase that means “when I was a child”, and the から in this sentence means “from” or “since”. So the entire sentence means “Since I was a child, I’ve wanted to own a pet (at least) once.”


Oh woah, good catch!


Aah, double thanks! _b I was thinking the ‘one time’ felt like ‘I’ve wanted to try raising a cat once’ but that didn’t seem like it clicked smoothly with the children leaving in a ‘because/since’ sense. That phrase definitely clears it up, though!


I’m pretty sure I’m going to be inundating this thread with a bunch of small grammatical questions, so I hope that’s alright. For [ここには私しか住んでいないからね], I’m wondering what the いない does in that sentence? Without it I’d assume this was something like “Since it’s just me living here, you see.”. At first I thought it was a negating thing (jumping to conclusions from ない!), but is it just supposed to be inai as in within, so more like ‘Since it’s just me living here’, and then ね for emphasis?

[誰も...撫でてくれる人がいにゃいの?] – I’m assuming these two parts are meant to be read together rather than two separate sentence parts, and allowing for にゃ as a cat speech tic, this feels sort of like ‘no one’s here for a person to pet?’…or it could be tying back to the cat’s experience to the store, but ‘no one here to pet a person’ would seem a bit odd since I’m pretty sure 人 specifically means human, not just ‘someone’ as in any thinking being. でてくれる is tripping me up here a bit. I guess my biggest problem with grammar is, uh, I don’t know a lot of it so even when I can see chunks of what a sentence is (‘everyone/no one’, ‘stroke/pet’, ‘person’) I’m not sure how they get tied together.

It also goes without saying, but the manga’s extremely cute. I can’t wait to see (and hopefully be able to understand) the rest.

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It’s apart of 住んでいない, which is the negative conjugation of 住んでいる. しか has to be used with the negative form of a verb to mean “only/just [verb].” So you’re right about what the sentence means: “Since it’s just me living here, right?”

Let’s break this one down. The thing that’s tripping you up is 撫でてくれる, which is 撫でる conjugated to the てform in order to add the helper verb くれる, which sort of means “doing [verb] for me” or “recieving the action of [verb]”.
So this means “to pet (you)”.

Next, 撫でてくるis modifying 人 to mean “people who will/that will pet you”.

Finally がいにゃいの is just がいない (in cat speech), with the seeking-clarification-の particle at the end.

So, all in all, the sentence is something like:
“No one… Are there no people here to pet you?”
He’s a cat, so he thinks that people get petted like cats do. That’s why he’s sad that the old man lives alone: that means that there’s no one to pet the poor old man!

Hope that makes sense!

Edit: After arguing with myself, I think I have the correct explanation now! :sweat_smile:


To completely derail from the grammar part of this discussion, I absolutely loved these few panels with the flashback art to the shelter of him being alone - it really helped me with the context of ‘oh! he’s remembering when he was alone and had nobody to pet him! and then he’s applying it to the old man!’

I’m really loving his inner monologue, the part about him being unable to leave the carrier because he was used to being in a small box almost had me in tears. :sweat_smile:


That makes sense for sure, thank you so much! I was thinking about the ‘no one’s here to pet you either?’ aspect with the cat tying back to his own loneliness, but without making sense of the connecting bits I wasn’t sure. I appreciate your patience and explanations, and I hope I can contribute something in time :sweat_smile:

@chamellow: Yeah, this manga’s super good at getting you into the mindset of a cat without much world experience, which is a pretty tall order! From what I’ve seen before the book club, the inner monologue keeps being straightforward yet adorable :cat:


This part killed me :sob: so dang cute.
I have a feeling this manga is going to just keep getting cuter and cuter as the cat opens up. This is my first time reading this story, so I’m really excited to see how the cat’s character grows as it experiences love for the first time :pleading_face:

I also had a hard time deciphering this one, and I’m still not totally happy with my personal understanding of it. Planning on tackling the grammar break downs today on my lunch break until my brain has fully wrapped around it lol


I figured out what was tripping me up! I’m probably just dense, but I didn’t realize who he was talking to and the implications of this flashback conversation (which of course adds another layer of sentiment that I was NOT ready for :sob:)

I thought he was talking to a friend or something… so I was confused as to why she was asking for permission 「てもいい」.
But now that I’ve got the characters straightened out, I would translate this as
“If we don’t have our hands full, can we get a cat” or “If it’s not too much, can we get a cat.” Perhaps that’s not a direct translation, but more of a naturalization.

Idk if this actually helps anyone else, but just thought I’d put it out there.


Especially when you consider, if I understand correctly, she’d wanted a pet since she was little, but she’s already gone, so she never got to have a pet =(

Maybe it’ll help to pretend she isn’t “gone” gone, she just divorced him because she actually wanted a dog (suggesting a cat was just to warm him up to the pet idea), and he got fixated on wanting a cat. (I like to look for the positive interpretation =D)


AHHH no I didn’t even think about it like that :confounded::tired_face: