We are reading the first volume of 夜カフェ as the Beginner Book Club!.
This thread is for chapter related discussion. We are reading together from the aforementioned date on, but this thread will be kept open mu~ch longer (like 10 years longer). So don’t be shy to ask questions even if you are late to the party
Feel free to add any words you looked up as well! Page numbers may be off by one or two because of differences between physical and digital editions, but we try to keep the words roughly in order of appearance
The book is also available over at koohi.cafe (formerly known as floflo).
Please blur / hide any major events in the current week’s pages (however early they occur), like so: [spoiler]texthere[/spoiler] result: texthere
When asking for help, please mention the page number, and check before posting that your question hasn’t already been asked
I have a cultural question for the end of the chapter
I’m very confused about what is considered normal and what isn’t for young children to do in Japan, as it’s so different to where I live. I understand that in Japan it’s normal for children of all ages to commute to and from school unaccompanied, and that it’s not strange for them to do chores like shopping on their own (an example being the Old Enough series on Netflix, where toddlers as young as three years old cross busy avenues to go shopping for their families. I realize there’s a camera crew following them at all times, but I got the impression that what they’re doing is nothing extreme. I may be wrong of course.). So why then would a little girl alone in the park at 9 o’clock warrant an immediate, almost panicked response from Aiko? From the text we only know that she’s young, but not how young. From the picture I’d say 7-9? Not a toddler, definitely.
The whole first errand thing is a big deal for kids growing up in Japan (it seems)…and that TV show is adorable!!! It feels to me like a right of passage… not quite the same but when you are 16 and getting your first drivers license or what not that freedom you get (though it’s different from when I grew up)…
My impression in this case, is that it’s a small community and this is an extremely unusual case and could be dangerous as it’s getting dark… and since it takes a village as it is said… people are simply looking out for one another… (though as I said I’m not finished yet)…
if you think back to when you were in school and your parent was late picking you up and it was not a typical occurrence … something unusual may/could have happened, car accident, sick, who knows… that’s my take anyway… edit… (some of us grew up before everyone had cell phones and internet all the time)
…mainly about the behaviour of the friend of Risa’s mother and her purpose for staying over. So, am I understanding correctly that when Risa opens her door with her key, they are all greeted with said friend, who a) is staying over (presumably to watch Risa?), but b) isn’t even particularly panicked by her absence and wasn’t looking for her either? Am I understanding all of this correctly? Is it just about waiting for her to come, and her coming late happens often and is no cause for alarm?
…and on top of that, she has to go home now for her own children, and rather than taking Risa with her, she’d leave her with some rather random woman?
I haven’t been this confused since the chapter where Aiko-san reveals that she has a random boy who fell into her yard living in her house now.
I don’t think it’s that she watches the girl, as in babysits her and stays at the home. I got the impression, rather, that she was a friend of Risa’s mother who comes to check on the girl from time to time at her mother’s request, but that she wasn’t able to come and check until just then.
She just barely found out that Risa wasn’t home (like she was supposed to be), and it was just circumstantial timing that the group showed up with Risa when they did. Presumably, she was about to go searching, if I had to guess. I don’t think she was just hanging out at the house the entire time waiting for Risa to come home, either way.
The latter part about leaving Risa with Aiko is a bit odd, but maybe Aiko has a reputation for taking in kids at this point. It’s a relatively small community, I think, and the sentence is literally opened up with, “Ah, you are the owner of the Third Street Cafe, right? That’s a relief.” So it seems Aiko is fairly known, at the very least, and if she is the mother of kids at her own home, I can understand the desire to get back to them quickly. Since Aiko explained the situation up till now just before this lady started speaking, I’m guessing the offer of Aiko watching over the girl was already brought up, and this woman takes her up on the offer since Aiko is a known personality, even if not known to her personally (also understandable if she has kids at home. Adding another kid can be a bit stressful, I’m sure, depending on the ages, right?)
Thanks! I’m pretty sure I have seen (in films and anime, granted) elementary school kids running around after dark too, and I’d expect in winter they might need to return from school clubs or 塾 in relative darkness, but it’s good to know that it’s generally regarded okay for them to be unaccompanied during daytime but not nighttime. It makes sense.
Some questions while reading the chapter a second time…
ebook page 102:
I didn’t know いいなあ, so earlier on, I thought it was Tina expressing that she is happy to do all these things with everyone (especially since they have already decided that Tina can join them from time to time), but after googling, it seems いいなあ expresses jealousy? So… in this sentence Tina is saying that she is feeling jealous that Hanabi has this all the time? Or does it have a different meaning in context?
ebook page 104:
That’s “When I went there, I found that my father had been invited, too.” according to DeepL, but I am not sure about multiple things:
What the で means here.
Is it てみる because he went to see how it’ll go?
Where the “I found that” part comes in.
ebook page 105:
What’s the ほう here?
Is he feeling like he’s speaking too much about his problems, or surprised that he is opening up so much about it?
What’s the で there? Something like “about” would fit there, but I don’t see it in the meaning list for で.
This. Context will tell you if it’s literal or expressing jealousy. I think it’s mostly literal, in this case, personally, but there could be some hints of envy (“It would be nice to have this all the time” type of vibes).
It’s the conjunctive form of copula だ. When used at the start of a sentence like this, it’s similar to saying something like, “And then; then; so; and”
I think it’s DeepL taking some small liberties. I would translate it literally as: And then, when I went (to see how it would go), my father was invited also."
I can see why DeepL adds what it does, because there is the てみる there giving the “to see how it turns out,” and his dad being there is essentially the answer to how it turned out , especially given that てみる is in conditional form. “When I tried verb to see results, these were the results I found out,” essentially.
Just the usual ほう that kinda refers to a person’s side in a situation. As opposed to “Dad is the worst,” which condemns the person directly, the ほう makes it a bit less direct and is more like, “Dad’s side in the situation is the worst,” so it feels more like condemning the actions, than the person directly, I feel.
Little column A, little column B, in my opinion. They aren’t mutually exclusive feelings, and are pretty closely linked, I feel. But we don’t really have a perfect picture into his mind with Hanabi being the narrator, so we can only guess at his feelings.
I think it’s just the usual “means” particle, no? I suck with で, though, so full disclosure, if somebody disagrees with me, they are probably right.
“Things of school, and things of his father with, fully thoughts have been piling up, maybe.”
Slightly more natural wording, maintaining the “means” particle better than “about” (which I would use in fully natural English):
“Perhaps his thoughts have been fully piling up with things about school, his father, and other things.”
I would word it in natural English using “about,” though: “Perhaps he is full of thoughts about school, his father, and other things.”
But this translation changes the verb, which makes the で particle feel like a weird choice, so it doesn’t help with understanding, I feel.
I guess the literal meaning is something like “It’s nice, isn’t”? Is it just an いいね?
Mhmm, maybe that’s what you mean, but after looking it up a bit more, I think either cause or circumstance seem to make a lot of sense here for me. (Sorry for not researching it more before asking the question!)
Yes, though な is a bit stronger than ね, I think (and is thus usually used more by males than females, even though it is technically gender-neutral; it just seems to be a general rule that more assertive language = more masculine)
Yeah, that’s essentially what I mean by the “means” particle; that’s just the most succinct way I’ve found to sum it up, because で can be used in so many different situations.
When it’s used for like “how” you’re doing something (so, using a tool, marking what’s assisting with doing the action, etc.)
A number of other different uses that aren’t coming to mind (because で is so extensive, and I readily admit to it struggling with using it properly)
“By means of…” might be a clearer way to phrase that, upon reflection; I’m just lazy and shorten it to just “means”.
The vocabulary sheet has みがまえ, but seeing it in context, I think it’s a conjugated form of みがまえる instead:
This is where my half-baked Japanese learning bites me, since I don’t know the names of any of these grammar points But this is one of those cases where you conjugate a verb a certain way to connect two actions that happened in sequence right?
And I’m done with the chapter! I finally caught up timing-wise after being a bit behind for a bit
Here’s my final batch of questions.
ebook page 108:
I can’t get a handle on that first part of the sentence. “Surprised and right away having decided to speak, however…”?
(Oh, wait, after DeepL-ing a bit… is that first part of the sentence Hanabi? “I was surprised (by her not matching footwear), and decided to tell her right away, but Aiko-san…”?
ebook page 109:
What’s that second って between 送って and あげる?
ebook page 110:
What’s the も in きょうも?
ebook page 112:
Is that a shortened なにか作ってもらおうか? “Shall we have him make something for us?”?
Grammar I didn't know before - maybe it'll help others
ebook page 107:
The Handbook of Japanese Grammar has “まいとする” as “trying not do something”, a “formal expression often found in writing”, and says that when used in the form of “まいとして”, the “して” is sometimes omitted. That fits well, I think.
Edit: actually, I might be wrong here… my brain filled in an い that isn’t there.
Edit 2: this was correct. Seems that can be dropped in casual speech. (Even though it is いく and that felt weird).
I think it’s the “also” particle. I got the impression that this isn’t the first time she hasn’t been able to check in on Risa until late, especially since she scolds Risa for having been told before not to go out alone at night. Could be that I’m misunderstanding something here though.
When Yamato said for Hanabi to call home, my mental image started to imagine Hanabi looking for a nearby pay phone.
This makes me think of a chapter we recently read in the 三ツ星カラーズ book club, where the main characters (three children) are about to take on a new case when they realize it’s just past 5PM (curfew time), so they have to go home instead.
And this one reminds me of a chapter a bit back in the それでも歩は寄せてくる book club, where Ayumu offers to walk Urushi home because it’s so dark after their shogi club (being winter and all).
I remember when fax machines were new…and before caller ID was a thing…and heaven forbid you accidentally made a non-local toll call instead of local or long distance…lol… my grandma told me that the house used to have a party line (this was years ago when I was a kid and she is long gone now)… 懐かしいなぁぁ