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

I like that one! :laughing:

Impressive logic here

It makes sense too!

Excuse me people, but I am as confused as I was before. If I knew how I would make a poll:
Shall we leave only くせ、only くせに in the spread sheet or both? :sweat_smile:

I read this chapter once and I had the feeling I understood more or less what it was about, then I listened to it about hundred times and read it again and I thought now I could read it in one go and enjoy understanding it without having to stop every two words but apparently I understand it less than before. What to do? :shushing_face:

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Hehe, I think I was the last in line of those then :joy_cat:

Fun fact: I first read it as “although she was small” but your post together with my “grammar evidence” made me reconsider :woman_shrugging:

I still don’t really see how this な can connect to it, but I found overwhelming evidence in this Maggie Sensei post:


So yeah, everybody please forget what I said, the others are right!


I think that even though くせに is a conjunction, it’s still treated as a noun (due to くせ) for connective purposes.


Agreed. Checking a monolingual dictionary it says:

くせ に【癖に】

It even talks about how it connects:


Juding from the word list on floflo, this book has a lot of onomatopoeic words, which I also struggle with. This review from @KazeTachinu talks about it and the book a bit. Because of this and the lack of kanji usage, Kiki (by looking at the sample) actually looks sometimes harder to read than some of the “intermediate” books I’m reading.


gulp Alright. Time to read up on them more! I’ve (digitally) acquired the book “Nihongo Pera Pera: A User’s Guide to Japanese Onomatopoeia” in the hopes of gaining a bit of clarity… and also seeing them in action more throughout the book should help. But it is a part of Japanese that isn’t addressed as much in textbook, so I’m excited to learn more - I didn’t realize until a couple of hours ago that ちょっと fell into that category, but now that I do, it makes a lot more sense as to how it can be used in so many different situation it’s conveying the feeling of small/little bit, rather than the action/meaning.

Now on to reading the second half of the chapter…


You know, it’s weird- I’ve never had any issue with the onomatopoeic words. I mean, they’re not immediately obvious in meaning, so I have to look them up if I don’t know them, but once I understand what they mean, they seem to fit in grammatically just fine.


Well, yeah but the most difficult thing is understanding the nuance without looking them up :smiley:

They usually make a good fit in context, but on their own you need a lot of exposure to start to get a feel for them naturally. I gave up on adding them to SRS because they just don’t seem to stick on their own…


I’ve read the first two pages! It’s a lot of work and I’m having to rely on Google a lot, but I’m surprised that I’m able to remember so many Kanji! Hey, if worst comes to worst, at least this has been a great exercise in reading aloud xD


I (re)read chapter one and… wow, this is the real proof of how much I’ve learned since I attempted this originally. I didn’t even know what a なくちゃ was (do I even know now? :stuck_out_tongue:).

I just did some quick investigating and it seems last time I got to chapter 4 before dropping it due to difficulty/lack of time. I don’t even remember much of it, to be honest, but I guess it’ll come back to me as we read. Kind of excited to be able to read this in a way that is pleasurable and not absolute torture.

Anyway, this is just to encourage anyone that is struggling along. If you keep it up, it will get better. But even if you get overwhelmed and have to drop it, whatever you have managed up to that point will have helped.


一人でも多く in my dictionary is “as many (people) as possible”


I would remove くせ and just leave in くせに


So, it seems my habit has become to read about a page per night, but to begin by rereading the previous night’s page and posting my thoughts/questions. Seems to be working well so far.

My thoughts from the page 4: (Page 8 in my red book)

  • たまにはいやがる子もいる - This was hard to parse. I actually didn’t fully grasp it until I pasted it here! “Occasionally, there will also be a child who dislikes (becoming a witch)”. I had difficulty reading もいる as も and いる.

  • ひとり立ちをすることになります - This one is easy to understand, but I’ve never seen phrasing quite like this before. It takes a noun, then verbifies it, then nounifies that, then sorta verbifies it again. It seems a little extra.

  • たったひとりで暮らしはじめることです - I’m not sure exactly what the たった is referring to. No more than by oneself?

  • もちろん、小さな女の子にとってそれはたいへんあことだったのですが、今では魔法の力も弱くなり、数もめっきり少なくなってしまった魔女たちが生きのこっていくためには、たいせつな習慣なのでした。- I have not yet developed a tolerance for run-on sentences in Japanese. I get most of this at the beginning and end, but 4th section somewhat eludes me.

I imagine I’ll be back tomorrow to talk about the next page and a half or so, as I actually ended my reading partway into the next page.


To ease your mind, 事になる is a grammar point that you can simply remember as-is if you like. (There are a bunch of similar ones out there, so make sure you remember it exactly :joy:)

But since we are already doing a literal breakdown of sorts, just some small remarks:

Nする may look like a verbification of a noun, but in fact this noun is also called “suru-verb” which means this is actually a normal verb in Japanese :slight_smile: Only suru-verbs can be used like that, other nouns cannot. I guess it’s a bit like in English: “the walk” and “to walk” is both a noun and a verb, but for other nouns this does not hold true.

Nすること is not the same as N. It is rather the nominalization of the act of Nする. Like as in English: “independence” vs. “the being-independent” gives a different nuance.

Also, なる means “to become” so this is not just a verbification again but indicates a transformation (something did not exist before but exists afterwards).

So if we take this all together, we end up at meaning #2 in Jisho: to be the result (of); to be the outcome

But here I really think the meaning is #1: to have been decided (so) that; to have been arranged (so) that​
(and this also applies to everything that comes earlier in that long sentence)



The になります adds politeness in this case (Nicole explained the すること part). Stripping this away from the sentence, it could have been ひとり立ちをすることです. In a conbini you will hear something like 102円になります instead of 102円です to tell you what the price is.


たった is “only, just”. たたひとり is a common way to say “alone, by herself”.


“Of course, this is hard for a young girl, even now the power of magic (in general) is getting weaker, for the witches who got remarkably smaller in number to keep on living on, they have those important customs.”

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We actually discussed this yesterday, but you may have missed it because we used spoiler tags so that people have the option of deciding whether or not they will read the translation…


Funny you give that example - one of my Japanese teachers once had a good rant about this construction because it is wrong Japanese… The correct polite sentence would be 102円でございます。I even found an article describing this at length (well it goes about コー ヒーになります which you hear equally often).

Money quote:




I’m getting careless :grimacing: I spoiler blurred the translation.

Ohh interesting to know, and makes sense now that I think about it. But yes this is happening a lot in modern Japanese, there are quite a few grammatically incorrect expressions that are becoming more common (but well, the language is what the people use so sometimes even natives don’t know about this).


Yes, true :slight_smile: And Japanese evolves just like any other living language. In 100 years you will probably find this in every textbook…