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

I know you have discussed this sentence already and have found out the right meaning, but I think I can help you with understanding the grammar:

When you have the whole sentence,

you can cut out the 南へゆっくりさがる坂の町で part. This part only describes the town, like a little sub-clause:
“being a town with hills gradually sloping to the south”

and the main part of the sentence is (as you all arlready translated):
“This town… had small roofs the color of charred bread lined up”

—>“This town, being a town with hills gradually sloping to the south, had small roofs the color of charred bread lined up.”

… Well, I just want to say it makes sense to have the word “town” two times in the sentence. :slight_smile:


On page 8, what does その一つ mean? I really can’t make sense of it in this sentence

Please remember to mention what edition you’re using, as the page numbers vary.

So I don’t know what sentence you mean, but その means “that” and 一つ means “one”. So, “that one”?

Sorry! I figured it wouldn’t make a difference on the first page. I’m reading the furigana physical copy. The sentence is その一つは、町の高い木という木のてっぺんにぶらさがっている銀色の鈴です。

Something like “It is a bell hanging from the top of the tallest tree in town.” I don’t get what purpose the その一つ serves, unless it is some kind of conjunction.

その一つ = one of those things

The previous two sentences provide the context by essentially saying “It seems like an ordinary town, but if you take a closer look you’ll find things an ordinary town doesn’t have. One of those things (その一つは、)… is that there’s a silver bell hanging at the top of every tall tree in town”


Ohhh okay, thank you!

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Page 16 (red book): …そのかたっぽうをキキがいやがるのですから…

What is this そのかたっぽう? From the context I think it’s referring back to making medicines (which Kiki doesn’t have the patience to do properly). But I can’t find the vocab or grammar for this phrase.

I haven’t got this far so don’t know the context, but I found a dictionary entry translating かたっぽう as warmth, so it should mean ‘because Kiki dislikes this warmth’, if that makes sense here.

It may be referring to 片一方 which means “one side” or “one of a pair”, I’ve seen the reading for it being かたいっぽう, かたいっぽ, and かたっぽう

I don’t have it in front of me so I’m unsure of context, but maybe it could be referring to “the one side” of something Kiki doesn’t like?


After looking at the context, this seems to be the correct word. @jstrout (one side of the remaining two pieces of magic that her mother is passing down, she doesn’t like (at least that is how I took it))

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I’ve only tackled the first page of the chapter so far and it’s told me how lacking my grammar and vocabulary is. I got from the first page that it was a small town with woods and hills, and I got that there is a town hall, police department, and school. I also got that there’s something in the small town that you can’t see in an other towns. I think I missed out on a lot of the details though, as I was having a hard time parsing where some of the hiragana only words began/ended. I haven’t gone beyond the first page, as I’m a little fearful of how woefully inadequate my skills are at this point.

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That’s what we’re all here for! Granted, my grammar level is not as high as my reading ability so it takes some time even for me to go through a page. This is my first Japanese book so it definitely takes some getting used to, and I found that it’s a slow start but your brain gradually starts adapting and you’ll get better and more efficient at parsing the sentences and recognizing things as you go on. If there’s any sentences you need help with, don’t hesitate to ask, we’ll figure this out together :+1:


Languages are vast…That is part of the awesomeness of learning a new language. There are tons of new words/grammatical structures out there for you to learn. Reading is a great way to do that. So just keep plugging away. Just think…the kids who are reading these books have been raised in this language their whole life and are probably encountering tons and tons of new words and structures every single day which they add to their knowledge, whereas you are, presumably, jumping into this ocean later in life and are surprised when you can’t swim. All I can say is, when you are thrown into an ocean you learn to swim or you drown…So don’t drown, and just keep swimming…I am surprised by how little I know too…but I am also excited by it because it means that I can fill in gaps in my knowledge a little bit more on my overall journey to become proficient in Japanese. Anyway, enjoy the trip and keep fighting…with a different perspective it can be a lot of fun.




Here’s what I’m doing that may help other newbies:

I photocopied (well, scanned and printed) each page of the book, enlarging it as much as I could to make the pages 8.5x11" (i.e. a full printer page). Stapled the chapter together into a handy little packet.

Then, as I go through each page, I lightly and in pencil (1) draw lines between the words; (2) fill in furigana for any kanji that I needed to look up; and (3) write meanings (sideways, so I can fit them in) next to any words I needed to look up.

And yeah, when you’re not even sure where one word ends and the next begins, this can be hard — so when you go to jisho.org to look something up, type a little more (a whole phrase or whatever), and see how it breaks it up. Or mouse over it with Yomichan. Usually you’ll see one way of breaking it into words that makes sense, while the others are nonsense.

Doing this word by word is pretty tedious, especially at first (though it does get easier eventually!). But once you have all these annotations, then you can go back and re-read a whole page or even chapter, and it goes much faster because you’re not having to look stuff up. I recommend even reading things out loud when nobody’s around, to help it stick. It’s actually enjoyable at that point, which serves as the reward for all the hard work you did looking stuff up the first time through.

Hang in there, and try to enjoy the journey!


I was hoping someone would catch that…

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I’ve been doing it the same way and found this to be extremely helpful.

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I’ve had a lot of trouble with this sentence but after a bit I think I might have understood. Please confirm or correct me.

Although this is page 6 for me, I believe it is Blue Book page 8 and Red Book page 12


うつして is one on the things that confuses me the most, but I found a definition in jisho that says ‘to change the target of interest or concern’ which makes sense to me. The final みましょうか was also confusing, but I guess the narrator is talking to the reader. If those are correct, I interpret the sentence to mean:

Well then, let’s change our gaze to the eastern outskirt of town. Shall we take a peek at the house where Kiki lives?

Is that correct? (Sorry if the translation doesn’t sound natural, English is my second language, feel free to improve it.)


I think you’ve got it!

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I am in agreement with @jstrout. Looks solid.

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