魔女の宅急便 (Kiki’s Delivery Service) Discussion Thread: Chapter 6

I obviously have no special expertise here, but I read that as “Certainly, this (painting) is as good as the real thing” — almost the same as your interpretation, but less mean. :slight_smile:

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= p134 of the red book
I am going with 以上 meaning more than, or beyond. I think they are saying that the picture makes Kiki and Jiji look even better than they do in real life (in a good way).

According to my trusty 研究者, できばえ means workmanship, but there is a usage note as follows:
普通は日本語の「できばえ」の持っている意味は英語では work(=作品)というような名詞に含まれていると考えられるので、特にそれを表す単語を使う必要がないことが多い。Example: 彼の作品は見事な*できばえだ(⇒彼の作品は見事だ)His work is marvellous.

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Is the definition basically saying that 出来栄え is superfluous in many common usages? (I read the usage note on my phone without looking up any words, so I may missed some finer points.)

Anything, thanks for the explanation. I think that makes sense.

Ah sorry, I should have mentioned that it’s a Japanese to English dictionary. So if I understand it correctly, they are saying that it’s often surperfluous to insert an English word to directly translate できばえ as it’s usually implied by the context.

All right, pressing bravely on…

Does anybody understand the conversation with Sumire-san, the laundry woman? She appears to need something (cookies?) delivered to her older sister, but there was a lot in there I couldn’t understand. Let’s see, how about this line (p. 140, red book):


The second part appears to be “it absolutely has to be today,” but I don’t understand the first part… I see recognize the -たら conditional, but that’s about it. Any help?

(And where is everybody? Have we lost most of our book buddies? :frowning:)


She is saying “If I say I’ll bring it today, then it has be [done] today.”

So let’s break it down:
きょう today
もっていく this word has many meanings one of which is to bring or take something
って quoting particle
いったら 言う in ~たら form (see the obvious conditional) If I say

Hopefully that helps!

Still here! I pop in on the thread to answer questions, if I have time. I can’t speak for the others, but I can tell you in the intermediate thread, we’ve deal with something similar I think it’s because people a) don’t have any questions they like to ask, b) would rather stalk the thread rather than write posts because they don’t feel like they have anything useful to contribute, c) gotten busy and haven’t been able to keep up with reading, among other reasons.

One thing we try to do is have discussion questions about the story which relies entirely on the opinion of those participating who have also been reading the story. That way if they fall under groups a) or b), they have an avenue to contribute (if they like). But if the thread seems to be people asking questions about things they don’t understand, and they a) don’t have questions (because they search elsewhere for answers) or b) don’t feel qualified to answer other people’s questions, the participation on the thread can go down the tubes.

Just my two cents on this.


Maybe this wasn’t towards me at all, but you’re getting a bit ahead of me. And since I don’t like spoilers, I generally won’t read (let alone try to answer) questions for content I haven’t gotten to yet.

I’m still here! :grin:
I tend to read a sizeable chunk of text to get the overall gist of things. I mark the words I’m not sure about as I go, then I go back later, reread and look up those words (and fill in the vocab chart if I can). I usually save answering questions until after the second read.
So it’s often not a very smooth progression, but I’m definitely going to be here for the duration.

Just out of curiosity, does anyone else read the book aloud as they go? I find that is the best way to check that I actually do know the word/where a word starts and finishes. Not so easy when reading in public though. :joy:

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@Kyasurin I read everything “out loud” in my head… So not literally out loud, but I say the words in my head. This goes for everything I read, not just Japanese. It’s one of the reasons I get stuck sometimes, because I hate not knowing how to say the words as I’m reading.

EDIT: Some of this is a repeat of @jstrout’s question above, but oh well. It would be so much easier if we all had the same version of the book…

Anyway, I just made the possible mistake of trying to read while I was tired, and I didn’t really understand much of the two pages I read. Maybe @Kyasurin will get there in a day or two and can help, or maybe @jstrout you can tell me what you remember from this section.

So it’s the two-ish pages that starts with 「暑かった夏もすぎ、周りは少しずつ、秋の景色に変わろうとしていました」, and my questions on page 122 of the blue book.

Here’s what I got:

  • It’s now fall.
  • Kiki’s in a bad mood for no apparent reason. She tried to make an excuse to herself that she’s just tired after all the serious events that have happened, but realizes at least a bit that there’s more to it.
  • She’s been spending time with Tonbo. I think Tonbo was kind of flirting with her, but I’m not sure.
  • Also, she was kind of rude to that customer.

Now onto the main part that is really confusing me.

I’m not really sure what せい is doing here. Is this the same せい that people use when blaming someone / saying something is the cause of something, or is it some other word? And what is さばさば? I found the definition “relieved; refreshed” or “frank; candid”, but I’m not sure how either of those would fit in.

All I know is that Kiki thinks this was a complement, but her commenting on it means she’s probably not sure herself. She also seems to be confused by the 「女の子っていう気がしないもんな」part and is comparing this statement to a previous statement Tonbo apparently made saying her eyes were prettier than the painting (or the painting’s depiction of her eyes). I think her thoughts on it were something like, “Despite calling my eyes cuter than the painting, this time 『さばさば』… What’s with 『さばさば』 anyway? Of all the girls in such a big town, am I really that special? Am I really that different?”.

Anyway, can someone explain the sentence I quoted above and maybe correct any mistakes with my interpretations of that and the follow up?

As far as this part goes, I’m pretty sure it’s saying that Tonbo is praising Kiki. I’m pretty sure 自分 can be used for someone to talk about themselves. Especially with the くれた, I think that’s the meaning.

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Red book p136 / Blue book p122

Yes I think it is the same せい, indicating the reason for something.
I think さばさば in this case might mean easy going or open-minded (probably the same as frank/candid). I get the impression they hang out and talk about all sorts of things when he comes over.

Tombo says: “Kiki, maybe it’s because you fly in the sky, you’re very open-minded and I feel at ease (with you). I don’t even feel like you’re a girl. I/we(?) can talk about anything.”

I read it the same way at first, but ~てくれる implies someone has given something to you. I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t use it if you were giving something to yourself. So Tombo has given Kiki a compliment (or so she thought at the time, before it started bothering her).

In conclusion… I think she’s a bit miffed that Tombo has gone from that gorgeous but slightly awkward “you didn’t paint her eyes as cute as they are in real life” compliment to “it’s like you’re not even a girl”


And now for something not relating to grammar!
Did you realise the washerwoman and her sister are named after flowers?

野菊(のぎく)Wild chrysanthemum or Aster


Pictures copied from http://hanakotoba-labo.com/


Also, how cute is this kanji for washtub?


I’m here :wink:
I skipped out when I saw a question further ahead of where I was in my reading. I want to read it myself first, see if I could understand it and then follow the questions and answers.
And honestly, I mostly lurk since I have too much I don’t understand to question it, and can only answer based on what my translated version said since my grammar is still in early progress =P

But as Lucas said, I do sometimes join in on actually talking about the subject if it happens. So anyone feel free to do questions that have less to do with grammar and more to do with the story itself =)
I’m more likely to join in then. I always read everything posted though, and enjoy every Q&A and try to learn from other peoples questions, so keep those coming too! <3 :durtle_love:

…we need a book durtle…


When you guys read and come across vocab you don’t know, do you stop and take time to write it down (like on an index card or something)? I’m asking since there are sooooo many words I don’t know and there’s no chance for me to instantly memorize the word by looking it up in the vocabulary excel sheet.

Just wanted to know what people’s study habits are as it pertains to memorizing vocab.

I don’t do anything for the words I don’t know in the book (which is also a lot for me). I’m already learning vocab via WaniKani and iKnow, and frankly I don’t have time to learn more vocab by drilling or using SRS. I add words to the vocab sheet (which is helpful for when I reread a section), but I don’t do anything to specifically learn the words.

I’ve learned a small number of words from the book through repeated exposure. But there’s probably even more that I’ve looked up a dozen times because the meaning won’t stick.

I write unknown vocab into the spreadsheet, and into the book (much to @seanblue’s horror!) but I don’t expect to memorise it all.

I just enjoy the satisfaction of being able to understand something which, to the rest of my family, is a page of meaningless squiggles. :smile:


I’m the same way. I actually photocopy (well scan, enlarge, and print) each chapter into a little packet, and then I write the meaning of any words I look up right next to the Japanese, in between the lines. Occasionally there’s something noteworthy enough that I make a footnote or write in the margins. I also write in furigana for any words I’m not confident about. The goal with all this annotation is that when I’ve finished the book, I’ll be able to go back and read through my packets again without looking anything up, and actually enjoy the story, even though I’m still cheating. :slight_smile:

But yeah, I don’t do anything to memorize this vocab — I’m not even making use of the vocab spreadsheet, I’m sorry to say. I just have too many other things going on. But repeated, in-context exposure really does work.

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Here’s something interesting. The word for the washerwoman’s bob cut was おかっぱ. The kanji for this is お河童 (with the お being the typical honorific prefix). But what’s a かっぱ? Well that’s a mythical creature in Japanese lore. If you look at the two pictures below, there’s some (small) resemblance with the hair.

@Kyasurin Based on your past comments about things like the Badger and the flowers for the names, I think you in particular might find this interesting.




Also, this is a really random question. But do most girls and women use あたし in casual settings? I think up to this point in the book every female character has used あたし, including Osono-san and Sumire-san.

I think it’s pretty common.