魔女の宅急便 (Kiki’s Delivery Service) Discussion Thread: Chapter 11 [Final Chapter!]

Yes. If it helps, you could think of it as “whichever ~ (you look at)…”
I think this usage of も might work for every kind of question word although perhaps using verbs not nouns.
e.g. どこに行っても… Wherever you go…

目 is functioning as a counter. At the point of one year, Kiki will come home.
間 refers to duration. So you could use it to refer to something Kiki did for the whole year, but I think not to talk about action relating just to the point at which the year is complete.

Hopefully @Lucasdesu 先輩 can confirm this!

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The only counter-like thing for 目 that I know of is that it changes numbers to ordinal numbers. In this case changing from "one year " to “first year”. Maybe it’s a use case I don’t know about or maybe it just doesn’t translate literally.

I agree that 一年目 does mean “first year”, but I don’t think it was meant in that sense but rather “after one year”. I asked one of my Japanese friends (he’s in his fifties), and thought the wording was strange too because of the adverbs that were thrown in (きっかり & ぴったり) . He wasn’t the only person that I’ve heard this comment about the oddness of the wording from this book. For the record, he felt 一年後 (without the adverbs) was essentially the meaning the author was aiming for.

I asked my friend, and he said that in this case it’s not a repeated action (like I initially suspected) but a series of actions that happened in succession. She held the stomach warmer, flipped it, flipped it, then looked at it closely. The は serves to emphasize the contrast between the unrelated actions. hopefully that helps


Maybe it’s still an older way of saying things though, despite your friend being in his fifties. The novel was published in 1985 and the author was already fifty at that time. So there’s still a thirty year gap between the age of your friend and the author. Or maybe the author just speaks strangely, who knows. :man_shrugging:

Or alternatively, it may be a regional thing (as we’ve already established regional differences in our own language!)

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@Kyasurin Here’s a great example of where we need more kanji. (page 237 blue)


First, despite not having dyslexia, I mixed up あたし and あした (which I’ve done a few times in this book). Then, I was trying to figure out what verb かあさって was (while thinking that having か followed by あ in a verb sounded strange), until I realized it was just 明日か明後日. Oh how I miss you kanji!


On page 238 blue, can someone explain this sentence?

I only included the second sentence for the context. Basically, I’m not sure what the きりない is. It says, “If that kind of thing is on your mind, (blank). When you’re here, you’re here.”

This is a case of colloquial speech, where the speaker drops particles. If you add が into the mix, it makes more sense.


切りがない means endless, boundless, etc. Hopefully that makes more sense with that knowledge. Gotta go to work.

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I am officially finished! Woot woot woot!

Here are this chapter’s pictures from the red book.

Kiki receives a gift from Tombo

Kiki arrives back at her parents’ home.

Kiki sits on the slope of the 草山.

Kiki sees コリコ in the distance.


But wait! There’s more!
Following the end of the chapter is a double page spread of Koriko.

And then I went back to the beginning of the book, where there is a double page picture of Kiki’s hometown.

I hadn’t realised it at the time, but this picture answers one of the earliest questions I remember, which was whether or not there was one 鈴 or many. If you look carefully, you can count them! (I found 13) You can also see Kiki and Jiji in this picture!


Let others join the conversation

This topic is clearly important to you – you’ve posted more than 34% of the replies here.
Are you sure you’re providing adequate time for other people to share their points of view, too?


Apparently I’m bad at Where’s Waldo. I only found 5 before you said there were 13, and I’ve still only found 11. Plus, I didn’t notice Kiki and Jiji until I saw your comment.

Anyway, I’m done now too! As always, authors like to be super literary in the last sentence, but eventually I figured out what it meant!

So should we discuss the book, spoilers and all, here? Or create a separate thread to prevent potential future readers from getting spoiled?

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You post-hog! :rofl: I’ve only made more than 24% of the replies

Keep looking at tall trees!

By the time people reach this thread, I think they may know most of it already? But I think I would prefer to use Hide Details rather than starting a separate thread.

Or just talk openly then haha.

Here are my questions:

  1. What did you think of the book overall?
  2. How’d you like the very end (from when Kiki got to her parent’s house)?
  3. What was your favorite chapter (if you can remember them clearly enough)?
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The book overall:
I think it was a good choice (just a shame it was too challenging for many of the intended reading group) and I would be happy to read something of similar difficulty again. I really enjoyed the sense of accomplishment (Look at me, I read a whole novel!) From a language perspective, the biggest challenges for me were in the dialogue, when characters used colloquial language; and disentangling vocabulary which was in hiragana but might have been easier to understand if it was in kanji (oh the irony! :joy:)
In terms of the story, I liked the various characters, and the interaction between Kiki & Jiji. I enjoyed seeing Kiki mature as the year went past and she overcame various minor catastrophes. I would like to see some of the characters reappear, but maybe that happens in subsequent books. Clearly Tombo is going to feature again! I was pleased that I could pick up on the humour in various places.

My favourite chapter: I’m not sure if I had one. I liked different parts of most of the chapters.

(to be continued)


I found the dialogue to generally be easier, except for Jiji! I couldn’t make sense of what he said half the time. :rofl: I had a lot more trouble with the descriptions of things and modifiers explaining how things were said, but that got easier as I got accustomed to the writing style and Japanese sentence structure in general. It’s one thing to “know” sentence structure from learning grammar by studying. It’s another thing entirely to understand it instinctually when you see it.

I think I really improved throughout the book, especially when you consider that I almost gave up at chapter 4. I finished the last three chapters early and thought they were relatively easy. And my comprehension noticeably increased during that time as well.

I’d also be happy to do another novel of similar difficulty after a short break by doing some manga. If a novel doesn’t win again for a while, you and I could always pick something and start our own personal book club!

As for the book itself, my biggest disappointment was not actually seeing Tonbo or Mimi again after they were introduced. It was a little too episodic for my taste, though I guess it was convenient as reading practice because if I missed something important it usually wouldn’t matter for the next chapter.


Continuing on

I think my favourite chapter was probably the one with the 腹巻, because it was quite funny and I’d just learned the kanji 船長 and 船員 on WK only a few days before that part of the chapter.

I also liked the underlying theme of dealing with difference - how the townsfolk come to realise that a witch isn’t so terrible when they actually get to know her, and how Kiki comes to value friendship with people who she didn’t really like on first meeting. The whole book could be a metaphor for a big change in life - going to a different school or moving to a new town. I found myself recalling my year on student exchange at various times, and the difficulties of settling into new routines and making new friends, and wanting to go home but also a growing awareness that, for the first time, I had more than one place I could call home. Not to mention the fact that I was also a very different person going home than I had been setting out. So the last chapter really touched a chord for me.

No way! I’m so glad you didn’t. Keeping up with you (and occasionally getting in front of you) on the vocab spreadsheet has been a great incentive for me. :grinning: And I appreciate the opportunities you’ve given me to try and explain various grammar points, because that is a great way to really focus on my own understanding.

I’d be honoured! I think this is effectively what’s happening with the Kawabata book (which I’ve ordered, as I’m not sure I’ll be able to keep up with Hataraku Maou-sama. Even with the word list on flo.flo, I think I will be winging it to keep up, especially once I get back to uni next semester.)

I am very excited to say I will be in Tokyo for 4 days in October, and I plan to spend some time in bookshops so I can increase my library without the exorbitant fees I’m paying for DHL to deliver to Australia. I’m thinking I will pick up at least one more of the Kiki books while I’m there, and probably ask for recommendations for books of similar difficulty in other genres as well.

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I felt that it was an enjoyable read. The story stayed light and progressed through some of the ups and downs that Kiki had. I’m glad that she wasn’t portrayed as a “perfect” protagonist, but one who had a lot to learn as she was coming into her more mature self. Since this book only covered a year in her life, I would’ve appreciated more depth in the story. Although I do understand that this story is one in a series of stories about her life, so I’m sure if a person read them all they would get a better sense of Kiki and the characters she interacted with during this story.

Although I understand that that was supposed to be a point when she begins to realize how much she has grown and gets that validation from her mother. I felt that that portion of the story lost a little bit of momentum. I’m not sure what could have been done differently to change that impression.

I don’t remember which chapter it was (and I’m too lazy to go back and look), but I enjoyed the chapter when the mayor sent her on a secret mission to save the town’s clock. I felt that that was the turning point for her to use her creativity and wits to deliver for her client. It could have easily gone a different route, but she chose the high road and benefited greatly from taking that risk.

@seanblue & @Kyasurin: it was certainly a pleasure going through the book with you. Since I was also reading along with the other book club, not to mention having other things going on, I wasn’t as active on the threads as I would have wanted to be. Nevertheless, finishing a book is a great feeling and as time goes on, I hope to improve my Japanese skills so that maybe one day I could join a book club here in Japan (even for one book).


It was a pleasure reading with you and @Kyasurin too! Thank you both for all your help throughout the book!

I really enjoyed that chapter too, and I was quite pleased by the path Kiki chose. I was worried that the book would take the obvious route and just cause arbitrary conflict, so I’m glad Kiki solved it using her skills and creativity.


Yeah, I even had a mini meltdown on the forums at the time, where I was complaining about the difficulty. Others who was still participating at the time helped motivate me to continue, and I’m really glad I did!

I’ve also considered filling out the vocab sheet with you to be a fun challenge. It made reading the book into a game of sorts haha.


Forgot to respond to this. I agree with your point and I’m not sure how the author could have fixed this. I feel like it almost would have been better if it had just ended with Kiki arriving at her parents’ home, but I suppose the author wanted to show that Koriko was her home now by having her return at the end.

The only other idea I have is that the author could have actually dedicated a whole chapter to Kiki being home. This would have fixed the feeling of squeezing a lot into four pages (which is largely what I think killed the momentum), but I’m not sure what the story would have been. Without a good story with her at home, it could have hurt the momentum even more, so who knows if that actually would have been better.

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