Well, when she first appears, the narrator goes on at some length describing the new girl’s beauty, from her graceful face framed by coils of dark brown hair, to the knee-high boots shining on her slim legs. Kiki sees her figure まるで空中に浮いているように眩しく — as if floating in the sky.
Trying to greet this beautiful girl, Kiki stumbles over her いらっしゃいませ. キキはすっかりあがって、ことばがのどからよく出てきません — Kiki thoroughly (あがって — rose?), and couldn’t get the words out of her throat well. The newcomer has a similar reaction; her throat clogged in the same way.
Then after Kiki tells her not to worry, the new girl nods and 黒い目を機借りと光らせると、わざとらしくゆっくりと瞬きをしました — her dark eyes flashing momentarily, she blinked [winked/bat her eyes] with deliberate slowness.
Now if a writer in English laid it on this thick, it would be clear they were setting up some romantic tension. I’m sure in Japanese it means no more than the girls are impressed with each other. And maybe the slow blink/wink is meant to foreshadow that the girl’s request is usual?
But hey, that’s what jumped out at me in the first two places, and what’s a book club for if not to discuss such things?
Yeah, the first part is just the narrator, so I don’t think it really says anything about Kiki. For the part with Kiki’s statement getting caught in her throat, it does seem like Kiki was impressed with the other girl’s looks. It doesn’t have to mean attraction though. It could be envy or just appreciation. For the wink, it becomes clearer why she did that when you read on, as you expected.
Well sure enough, there is no love lost between these two — clearly Kiki is fairly cheesed off, though I’m not entirely sure why (I think the other girl is just smug and insufferable).
But I’m having difficulty with one bit, on page 155 (red book):
I know せいいっぱい is “with all her might” or “all she could do,” and とげのあることば is hash words, so I expected this to be something like it was all Kiki could do not to say some harsh words. But I don’t understand あっさりす通りです at all.
And the very next sentence stumps me as well:
I get: On the contrary, the girl was not even staring intently somewhere, which makes little sense.
I would have expected something similar to what you thought. す通り could be 素通り, meaning “passing through without stopping” or “passing by”. But that doesn’t seem relevant either. I was kind of hoping す was 酢 for “vinegar”, but I don’t see anything for that.
Isn’t the ではありませんか at the end just like ending a sentence with じゃないか? I think this is still saying the positive, not the negative, like:
“On the contrary, isn’t it that the girl was staring absentminded somewhere?”
So here are my own questions now, just a bit after @jstrout’s question. Page 140 blue book.
I found とでもいうよう meaning “as if …”, “as if to say …”, “as though …”. Though it’s missing the よう at the end, so I’m not sure if it’s the same thing. Also, I assume ふう is 風. So maybe this means something like saying that “embarrassment” is really giving off the appearance of having good feelings. But that’s making some big assumptions about the individual pieces of the sentence.
Why この自分 and not just 自分? Is there a subtle or significant difference?
I think this means something like:
“Even though she is the same age as me/Kiki, she looked like an adult the whole time and Kiki was suddenly shocked as if her chest was being pushed”
Ugh, I have so much trouble translating long sentences. I think this is close-ish. Basically, even though the girl looked and still looks adult-like, Kiki is shocked by her immaturity. That’s my thought on it anyway, but I’m not too confident in this, and the specifics of my translation are very awkward.
I feel I’m a little behind you in comprehension, but in case two brains are better than one, here are my thoughts on your questions.
Basically, right, but of course this is Kiki talking, so I think the nuance is a little different:
“I assume the present isn’t something weird, right? If a frog jumps out when it’s opened, or something like that, I wouldn’t want to do it.”
I didn’t understand this too well either. The first sentence I read as: “I had heard of witches, but didn’t know anything [about them].” Then continuing, “All girls are about the same, doing things like that as play, don’t you think?”
I really don’t know what she’s talking about though. But yeah, it really ticked Kiki off.
General comment on the chapter so far. I just finished the first section of the chapter (page 144 in the blue book), when Kiki and the girl finally finish talking. I’m not really happy with where the book is going lately. It’s getting into too much teenage girl drama at this point. Specifically, I’m not happy that Kiki is actually seeking advice from this obnoxious, childish girl. Kiki was annoyed at her for a while (and as far as I can tell is still annoyed at her personality), and yet she thinks this girl is somehow knowledgeable about how to interact with boys. I hope this doesn’t end with Kiki doing something childish to flirt with Tonbo.
It does seem to be, at that. But I’m taking a beggars-can’t-be-choosers attitude here… it still beats studying isolated lists of vocabulary words, or the sort of contrived dialogs that appear in textbooks.
Is she? I didn’t get that. It seemed to me that Kiki rushed to avoid any such conversation near the end. Can you point out what you’re thinking of here?
That’s true at least. It’s still mostly enjoyable and it’s good to do something with real Japanese.
She was rushing to end the conversation. But also, how I understood it, Kiki made a specific request in return instead of what the girl was going to give. The girl gave a knowing response, which I took at advice about boys. I’ll double check and get some specific quotes for you later.
Perhaps I read slightly too much into this by saying Kiki was actively asking for advice. But at a minimum she wants to use this situation as “research” to see if it actually works. And I think this is likely so she can decide whether to do something similar with Tonbo.