魔女の宅急便 (Kiki’s Delivery Service) Discussion Thread: Chapter 2

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Starting date: December 17th
Finishing date: December 23rd

:arrow_down: Start of the Repeat Club Discussion


Vocab Sheet: Original Club

  • キキ - a young witch
  • コキリ - Kiki’s mother (a witch)
  • オキン - Kiki’s father (non-magical)
  • ジジ - Kiki’s black cat (黒猫)

Chapter Summary

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…

Discussion guidelines:

  • Please use spoiler tags - [spoiler]like this![/spoiler] - where appropriate; anything from later chapters or the anime, and any major or interesting information from this chapter.

  • When asking for help, search the thread before posting to see if your question has already been asked, and write out the relevant text so that others can find your question (don’t hide Japanese text behind spoiler tags).

  • Don’t be afraid of asking questions, even if they seem embarassing at first. All of us are here to learn.

  • Have fun :slight_smile:

We’re discussing grammar, vocab usage and its context, checking if our reading comprehension is right, interesting plot/character development, etc.


Isn’t this in the wrong section?


Oops! Nice catch :slight_smile:

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No prob… I moved it.

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I really enjoyed Chapter 1. I’ve now got Chapter 2 scanned, embiggened, printed out, and ready to go! I’m going to have to work harder to get through this one in a week, but I’m looking forward to it.


Yoo hoo :grin: Going through this book with everyone here really reinforces my memory.


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.

And then I’m having trouble with:


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?

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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.”

Sorry if this isn’t very helpful. :no_mouth:


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.


Kiki was worried by this inviting way of talking (sarcasm?),

but the strangeness of it also helped her (nerves)

and as soon as she had learned to simply take off and land,

she followed after Kokiri’s example (loose translation)

nervously mounted the broom,

and kicked off the ground.

:grinning: Did anyone have a different understanding of this sentence?


Ooof! Barely keeping up. =) I just finished Chapter 1, and I am regretting not having the furigana. But it is what it is.

I will have to be more diligent this week, though. Two pages per day!

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:

かあさん が 魔女 だから あたし も、 かんたん に 考える の は どうも 気 が すすまなかった の です。

The key is that と in the middle, which I didn’t understand the first time through — it’s the quoting particle. So this is an indirect quote, making the whole thing something like:

Because mother is a witch, she thought simply, I’m not very interested in it.

Then on page 20 (red book) there’s something similar:


Again there’s a と here indicating the indirect quote. So it works out to something like:

Kokiri-san was delighted, but as for Kiki, she told herself, I decided this on my own.

Hopefully this helps somebody else… and of course, if you can correct/improve my translations, please don’t hesitate to do so!


@Sylph Jiji is actually the one saying


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.”


Oooh, totally missed that. Now it makes a lot more sense.

Thanks for posting that, these are always so helpful for everyone :slight_smile: I only have a slight difference in interpretation for the second sentence, specifically for the 「と自分にいいきかせていました。」part

自分に言い聞かせる means to persuade/convince oneself, so I think the nuance here is that she had to convince herself that she decided this on her own, indicating a tinge of insecureness over it


@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).”


@jstrout Good pickup. It kinda throws you off because と is separated from its usual place right in front of the verb by another word.


I agree this phrase of 珍しさも手伝って is rather difficult to interpret.

It actually does have additional meaning beside help. Which include “be a factor in” and “contribute to”.

So looking at it that way, one could interpret the passage:

Kiki was a little uneasy by the luring kind of way it was said,

but the newness of situation was also a factor.

When her mother straight away taught her the basics of flying and landing,

she followed after Kokiri’s lead and…


Thank you for explaining this! I was lost on this sentence, until I read your note. It makes sense, with the comma there, I just don’t know if I would’ve figured it out on my own!

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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…

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