魔女の宅急便 (Kiki's Delivery Service) Discussion Thread: Chapter 1

Kiki’s mum is lamenting the fact she only knows two types of magic, and Kiki doesn’t like to do one of them, so inevitably that type of magic is going to disappear. I am guessing that かたっぱう is the same as 片方(かたほう) meaning one of a pair.


Yes, I am happy to help with this. I’ve sent you a message!


Sorry for being late to this chapter’s discussion but I have a couple of questions I hope somebody can help me with.
In the red book, on page 15, it says:
I understand it says that Kiki ended with 3 bumps, one in her nose and one in each knee.
But I’m having trouble understanding the use of “ほう” at the beginning.

Also in that page, I have no clue what this sentence means:
Something about Kiki’s gender and the medicine… but I cannot connect the two items together :confused:

Hi @chofas, apologies for the late response, I didn’t see this earlier!

~のほう (~の方) is used to indicate comparison or directionality. So the sentence first talks about what happened to the broom, and then what happened to Kiki. Maybe in English you’d say " The broom was broken, and as for Kiki, she …"

In the second sentence, 性 is read しょう and refers to a person’s nature, not gender (same kanji, very confusing). 性にあわない means not suiting a person’s nature.
Kiki’s mum tried to teach her two things - how to fly on a broom and how to make the medicine for sneezes.
However, the other one (ie other skill) of making medicine
was somehow just not suited to Kiki’s nature.

My dictionary gives these related examples:
この食べ物は私の性に合わない。This food does not agree with me.
この仕事は私の性に合わない。Either: I don’t like this work. or I’m not suited to this job.

Hope that helps! Please post more questions as you have them!


Thank you very much for the explanation. It all makes sense now!


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Repeat Club Discussion (Week 1) Starts Here!

Chapter 1

V1: Pages 9 - 17
V2: Pages 7 - 13
BookWalker: 5 - 10

We’re reading all of Chapter 1 this week.

27 June 2020

Please briefly check whether questions have already been answered above before posting them, but otherwise don’t hesitate.

  • I’m reading along
  • I’m planning to catch up later
  • I’m not reading this book

0 voters


I’ve already read this part because of the headstart schedule :eyes:

But yay! Finally reading the book that I had for a year and never got to due to lack of furigana :tada:


Yay! :tada: I got only a slight headstart (about done the first page). I’m using the BookWalker version of the V2 book. The page numbers seem to change based on the font size, but at the default size, the pages are 5-10 for me.


Cool, thank you - other people using BookWalker, does this look consistent for you?


Seems so :slight_smile: Mine is also pages 5-10.


Okay, added to the start post :+1:

I was so focused on the organisational aspects of this that I forgot I now have to read the book :joy:


Yes - mine is 5-11 as I changed the font size to roughly match the number of pages per chapter in the paper books.

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For all of the people in this book club who are just starting out with reading native content (whether this is your first book or not) and are feeling like this might be too much, I just want to encourage you all to stick with it!

I remember how hard the first 銭天堂 book was for me, but with this book I only had to look up two words in the entire first chapter, only one of those was a kanji related problem it was the 俗 in 民俗学者 for those curious, and it only took me about 20 minutes (I usually read much slower in Japanese). Reading has had an immense influence on my Japanese ability, even beyond just reading, and I never would’ve gotten here if I hadn’t gone in a little over my head to start with. If you stick with it, one day the dictionary won’t be such a crutch, and you’ll have picked up sooo much vocab along the way.

Happy reading everyone!


Where’s the “I read it last time but still feel like I’m part of the tribe” button? :smiley:


Just finished the first page! Super pumped, and definitely made it through a lot more smoothly thanks to the anki deck made from the last group’s vocab spreadsheet. Shouldn’t be any trouble making it through chapter 1 in a week.

There were a couple things on page one that gave me pause, or that my brain kind of skipped over due to a lack of understanding. (Red Book)

  • この町は南へゆっくりさがる坂の町で - The flow on this one was a little rough for me, maybe because I rarely see へ as a particle. When reading it at first, I thought either the town was south of a gentle slope, or there was a gentle slope to the south. Really examining it now, I think it’s saying that the town is on a gentle slope that slopes downward to the south.

  • ちょっとはなれたところにはかたまって - This one eludes me. I understand all of the component words. A little, Became, place, huddling. I get that the buildings mentioned after are huddled together, but not the whole meaning.

  • 木という木 - All I can grammatically parse from this is “A tree called tree”. I’m pretty sure that’s not the meaning, so I just sorta read it as tree. (Though my america-brain really wanted to read it as ‘a tree-ass tree’)

  • またちっちゃなキキが足をひっかけたね - I read this as “Little kiki got her leg caught again, huh?”. I might be right on that one, I’ll have to read further for context.

Despite a few things I wasn’t sure of, I could broadly understand the whole thing! An actual page of a book, not a manga! This is super exciting to me.

EDIT: Just noticing that despite having the red book, it doesn’t look like my page numbers are represented by the pages in the main thread. While the book does start on the 9th page of the book, it’s actually labeled as page 3, making Ch. 1 pages 3 through 11.


I’d say the vital part here is that 「南へゆっくりさがる」 modifies 「坂」. So, it’s “a hill which gently declines to the south” or “a south-facing gently-slopping hill”.

I read this as “In a place little distant (from the station), huddled together are (the school etc)”. So for the whole sentence, I get, “And, near the center of town, there’s a train station, and a little father away, a government office, a police station, a fire station, and a school are huddled together.”

Edit: Scratch what I wrote here, and go with what Kyasurin wrote before.

What I originally wrote (for the curious).

That part had me working on it for a bit. 「町の高い木という」 is a modifier for「木」. Out of all the trees there, the narrator is specifically referring to the tree which is “called the tallest tree in town”. Something along the lines of, “A silver bell hangs atop the tree called the tallest tree in town.”

That’s spot on =D Although, foot might be more accurate rather than leg.


This is actually a specific grammar point: NというN, where the same noun is used in both places. It means “all of the N” 「すべてのN]

I recall some debate about this last time, as to whether it was one tree or many. But if you look at the picture of the town at the start of the book - and count the number of bells - I think that may settle the debate. :wink:


First page in, and I’m already learning new things =D So, this would be atop all the tallest trees in town, do you figure?


I think all your questions have been answered now, but I just noticed for this one, you’ve translated はなれた as “became”. Rather than は なる they’re using the verb 離れる (はなれる) which means to be separated from, apart from etc. That should help you make sense of ChristopherFritz’s excellent translation.


Hey just sat down and read through the first chapter. Enjoyed myself, but it was definitely a challenge. Sometimes I got the gist and other times the whole picture. I’m new to this whole thing so do people just chill out in the thread and like post random snippets and questions? Sounds nice.

One thing that was new to me was seeing じゃない tacked onto sentences. I think I understand how it’s being used, I’m almost reading it like adding ね at the end. Maybe I’m wrong. I was just surprised to see it like this outside of the beginner level usage of like blah is not blah.