魔女の宅急便 (Kiki’s Delivery Service) Discussion Thread: Chapter 9

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Starting date: April 22nd
Finishing date: May 5th

:arrow_down: Start of the Repeat Club Discussion


Vocab Sheet: Original Club

  • キキ - a young witch
  • ジジ - Kiki’s black cat (黒猫)

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.

Chapter 9… I need to get cracking! I finished chapter 6, then…life ^^;
I haven’t given up though! Two chapters, I can do that in a good week… but still so much life in the coming month =P
Life, why u do this! :wink:

Welcome back! We can still help with the earlier chapters if you have questions, or you can just skip those chapters and start at Ch 9. I don’t think it will make much difference. I don’t think the last 2 chapters have assumed any knowledge of Kiki and Jiji beyond what we learned about them earlier in the book.

Worst case scenario I’ll read the two chapters in Swedish in no time, and return for the Japanese version later =P

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Where is everyone this chapter?

Also, Discourse is stupid. I accidentally posted this in the Chapter 8 thread, and it doesn’t want me to put the exact same message here.


How do you translate あまり・あんまり when it’s not in a negative sentence? I think I understand the general idea (“too much”, “excess”, etc.) but I have a lot of trouble translating it naturally. Here’s the specific sentence from page 187 of the blue book.


It is basically saying: “In that moment, with a start (too much surprise), it seems like it made his hand slip from the window.”

あんまり aside, I’m finding it incredibly difficult to translate causative + そう + になる all together.

Maybe using “so”? e.g. He was so surprised that…

I have started reading this chapter but not yet looking up the words I don’t know (as you have probably noticed from the spreadsheet). But I hope to be back on track soon.


Well bookclub buddies, it’s Saturday night and I’m sitting here with a hot chocolate, dried figs and of course our good friends Kiki and Jiji. Too bad you don’t live locally because it would be fun to invite you over.

Kiki feeling homesick because she’s away from home on New Year’s Eve for the first time reminds me of my own experience being away from my family at Christmas for the first time, while on student exchange in Japan.
Actually I just wanted to share something from the first page.
Kiki is cooking 肉だんご.
There is a cute collectible known as 猫だんご。
It’s a cute pun…


That is cute, but I don’t think it’s a pun.

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Not a pun in the book, but I still think nekodango is a pun on nikudango.
We’ve owned the nekodango for over a year and it only just occurred to me when I read this page. :joy:

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Ah, I misunderstood what you meant. 猫だんご could be a pun I guess.

I’ve gotten through the chapter.

This is what I found about あんまり. So perhaps you could interpret that sentence as, “In that instant, he was overly startled which resulted in what seemed to make his hand slip from the window.”

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A couple questions about page 188 of the blue book.


  1. In this context, does 家 mean “family” rather than “house”?
  2. It sounds like he’s saying “since the watch seller’s grandfather’s generation”, but then I’m not sure what the 「五つほど前」 part is supposed to mean. Maybe it’s saying “from (the extent of) five grandfather’s worth of generations ago”. But then if you’re counting by grandfathers, would that actually mean ten generations?

Yes, it does refer his family here are some links that help expound upon this concept: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3 (I know this is about Chinese, but it is related to how this character is conceptualized.

He’s not saying “since the watch seller’s grandfather’s generation” but rather “since his great, great, great, great grandfather his family has been in the clock business”. 5つほど前 means “as far back as five (grandfathers) before” I’m not 100% certain about how that translates to the western notion of familial generations, but maybe seven generations in the business? Just calculating in the open, you would have the current guy <7th>, his father <6th>, his grandfather <5th>, his great grandfather <4th>, his great, great grandfather <3rd>, his great, great, great grandfather <2nd>, and his great, great, great, great grandfather <1st>, which would include 5 grandfathers back.

At least that is my take on this.


Ah LucasDesu you are a treasure! Thank you for popping in to help with our random queries.

I am feeling unexpectedly bamboozled by this line from p 207 of the red book, which comes after the mayor hears the clock making odd noises and all but launches himself out the window to look up at it.
My translation: As he did, the clock made a slight creaking sound and came to a standstill, as if informing the mayor and giving him peace of mind. (??!)

This seems to be the opposite of what I’d expect, so what have I missed here?


Another grammar question… past tense.
In the middle of p209 red book, the 時計屋さん looks into his toolbag and realises he doesn’t have the spare part he needs. Why does he say 替えの歯車がなかったんでした? Why doesn’t he just say 替えの歯車がないんです?

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Even though the 歯車 isn’t there (present tense), he just looked in his bag (past tense). In this context, saying “the spare gear isn’t there” versus “the spare gear wasn’t there” is basically the same thing. Though maybe using the past tense emphasizes that he just looked, whereas present tense would be a more general/neutral statement.


One page 198 of the blue book, it says 「十二時五分前です」. Is that a common way to say something like “five of twelve”?

This one is a tough…but I think if you rearrange how you translate this sentence it makes a little bit more sense.

First of all the translation,

"When he went out to look, the clock, as if it were relieved or something, told the mayor delicately raising it’s voice, “ククク”, then stopped.

It’s important to know who is being 安心. In the sentence, the clock is the personified subject and it is informing the mayor. If the mayor was being relieved by the clock’s action it wouldn’t be 安心でもしたように, but 安心でもしてあげるように. In fact, it seemed like the mayor sticking his body out to look allowed the clock to “die” in peace. At least that’s how I’ve looked at this.

This is also a really good question. I too had thought, why couldn’t he have said, 替えの歯車がなかったんです? Like what @seanblue said, it’s a past expression. But I don’t know why the explanatory phrase must be in past. Unfortunately the internet doesn’t have much information on this. One possibility could be found at this link. So I intend on asking some friends if they understand the difference between ~たんです and ~たんでした.

Maybe you meant, “five (minutes) to twelve (o’clock)”? If so, yes. Here’s another link


Yeah, both mean the same thing. Thanks!

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