Chapter 2. Kiki approaches the time when she will set out independently (provided by @Kyasurin)
Kiki and Jiji sit in the garden, and Kiki remembers the first time she flew. When she was ten and her friends were starting to talk about their future careers, her mother suggested she try out flying. She loved it instantly, and it catalysed her decision to become a witch herself. (Kokiri attributes Kiki’s decision to her bloodline, but Kiki believes it was her own decision.) Kiki has secretly made herself a new broom, which she keeps hidden in the garden. She wants to fly it for the first time when she leaves home, part of her plan to set out with only new things. While talking with Jiji, she decides to depart at the next full moon, only five days away. After dinner, she tells her parents. Kokiri becomes flustered and asks Kiki to delay by a month, but Kiki assures her mother that she has made preparations, and shows her parents the broom she has made from willow branches. Kokiri tells Kiki not to risk an untried broom, especially when flying is her only magical skill, and to take hers instead. Kiki objects to using such a stained and unfashionable broom when she has made a beautiful new one, but relents when her mother says she will use Kiki’s new broom in exchange. Another argument follows when Kokiri tells Kiki that she can only wear clothing in the traditional black, which she will make for Kiki, not the floral outfit she wants from a shop in town. However, her father Okino agrees to Kiki’s request for a red radio so that she can listen to music as she flies…
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We’re discussing grammar, vocab usage and its context, checking if our reading comprehension is right, interesting plot/character development, etc.
I just started with this chapter and I need some help.
First of all, I interpreted this sentence:
as Kiki saying something like ‘I’m not saying that I don’t want to become a witch after all this time’, but I don’t quite see how that fits with her saying まさか。自分で決めたことよ right after that, so probably there’s something I’m understanding wrong. Maybe it’s something obvious but it would help if someone could explain it.
That’s a pretty long sentence for me, and although I think I get the meaning ‘Since mum is a witch, even though I knew I would have to decide whether or not to become a witch when I turned 10 too, I haven’t thought seriously about it very much’ (maybe it should be in the third person if the narrator is saying it. But I don’t really understand how the 決めなくてはならない and 考えたことはなかった parts work. Probably because my grammar is very lacking. Asking for you to explain the grammar to me would be too much, but perhaps point me to what I’d have to search to find out about those?
Someone more experienced than me will probably come in and give a better explanation, but here’s my take on it.
いまさら is a word I learned recently, and it means that something is happening now which is too late to have an effect. I would translate this sentence more like “It’s not like I’m saying I don’t want to be a witch now, of all times.” It’s hard to put it concisely into English, but basically it’s far too late for her to talk about not being a witch. However, even though she isn’t saying that she doesn’t want to, in the next sentence, she’s explaining that becoming a witch is something she decided on her own. So she isn’t rejecting the idea, but she doesn’t want to be compelled. まさか。自分で決めたことよ means something like “On the contrary - that’s something I decided for myself.”
This is pretty long, but basically it’s “My mother is a witch, so I knew that I had to decide if I would also become a witch when I turned 10, however I didn’t seriously give it much thought.”
If I become 10 years of age
becoming a witch
whether or not
(I) have to decide
I understood that
And this ends the first clause, with the の indicating that an explanation is being given, and the trailing が acting the same way that けど would in a more casual sentence. Japanese sentence order is often “backwards” from English, so if you’re having trouble it might help you to work backwards. You could phrase it as “I understood that [I had to decide] [whether or not] [to become a witch] [when I turn 10] [because my mother was one].”
In the second clause of the sentence, 考えたことはなかったのです basically just means “I didn’t think about it.” It becomes a noun with the ことは, which I believe is done here to express that she never thought about it, as opposed to not thinking about it at some arbitrary time in the past, much the same way that きったことがない is used to mean “I haven’t heard of that before.”
Hey everyone. This was the first sentence in Ch 2 that gave me trouble. I took the liberty of adding in the kanji for ease of reading and then took a shot at translating it.
In the previous sentence, Kiki’s mother says something like, “You’re a witch’s daughter! (Flying) should be fine.” Then in the next sentence, Kiki starts out a bit nervous by this casual sort of invitation to try flying for the first time.
I was puzzled by apparent sudden shifts into first-person… and then figured it out just as I was finishing my question. So I’m editing my post to explain, in case it trips up anybody else. On page 19 (red book), we have:
Jiji is responding to Kiki（who says they had better begin the trip soon) by saying something like, "That’s right. Now after all this, you wouldn’t decide not to become a witch, right?"
To which Kiki replies, “Certainly not. I decided on my own/made up my mind.”
@keithb Yes, I came up with the same translation pretty much. The part that’s kinda throwing me off is the 珍しさも手伝って section of the sentence. Although I personally would translate the 珍しさ as novelty-ness or new-ness, I’m wondering if there’s some nuance of 手伝って here other than meaning “to help”.
Also, a nitpicky thing which you can ignore, 教えてもらう is one of those てもらう “to get somebody to do something” kinda verbs so I would translate it literally something like “Kiki got her mother to teach her how to…” but more loosely as “her mother taught her how to…”
So with と at the end of the verb, I would translate it together with the section following something like “As soon as her mother taught her how to easily fly up and land, right away she followed after Kokiri ('s example).”
Today’s two pages are proving quite difficult for me.
I have no idea what でも、あれはたっぷりお日さまにあてなくちゃいけないんだよ even means(what is it with the sun?) .
And if I’m not completely lost I think Kiki is trying to sneak into her mother’s ‘secret place’ in the garden?
I also have trouble with また抱いてねたりしたら、かびがはえちゃうよ. With a lot of imagination I thought it might mean ‘If I have to carry you out, it will get old’ but i don’t know how a cat saying that makes any sense…
Pls send help, I’m starting to really feel how far above my level this book really is…