Week 1: 小川未明童話集 - Ogawa Mimei’s Collection of Children’s Stories

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小川未明童話集 - Ogawa Mimei’s Collection of Children’s Stories Home Thread

Week 1


Start Date: Aug 28th
Next Part: Week 2


Week Start Date Chapter Pages 1951ed. Pages 2013ed. Page Count
Week 1 Aug 28th 10. 野ばら123 22 111 5

Vocabulary List

Discussion Rules

  • Please use spoiler tags for major events in the current chapter(s) and any content in future chapters.
  • When asking for help, please mention the chapter and page number. Also mention what version of the book you are reading.
  • Don’t be afraid of asking questions, even if they seem embarrassing at first. All of us are here to learn.
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I’ve finished reading and I do have some questions that I’ll post later when I have some time, but how do we handle the page numbers now that we have different mediums for reading these stories? (Or did I miss a message about that?)

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Okay, silly me. The rules already state that I should mention which version I’m reading :sweat_smile:. The PDF version has quite big pages, though, so maybe we should also include some indication of where on the page?

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Which version are you talking about, the aozora ones? I think, they are searchable anyways.

In general, I’d say provide the sentence you have a question about and describe where to find it to the best you can. We can then go from there. If no one can find it, people will ask for more details, I think :slight_smile:


Sounds sensible. I am using to the PDF version linked to in the home thread.

I’ll start with two questions then.

The first one is about the following sentence that is about midway on the first page of the PDF:

I was a bit thrown off by that からでありました at first because I thought that it was a perfectly fine sentence without it, but I guess it is the same as からです and is used to indicate that this sentence explains a reason for something that was said in the previous sentence? So, they became close friends… because there was no one else to talk to and they were bored. Is that a correct interpretation?

My second question is about the use of the 差 kanji in the part where they are playing Shogi. Does anybody know if this is irregular kanji usage? I couldn’t find this meaning in Jisho (or any of my other dictionaries) for 差す but it is included in the meanings of 指す.

I have more questions, but I’ll post those later.

By the way, how is everybody finding the difficulty? I found it to be harder than I expected (definitely harder than Flying Witch or Aria), but maybe that is due to my limited vocabulary knowledge… Also I found some of the sentences and expressions hard to dissect. The kana/kanji usage also seems strange to me with some common kanji written out as kana even though much harder kanji (for me) are included, but maybe that’s just me?


That is my understanding aswell.

On weblio both are listed in the same listing were you can also find the definition relevant for shogi. Maybe this is an outdated kanji usage but that is pure speculation.

It definitely has some vocabulary that I’m unfamiliar with. I think it will slowly get easier once you get used to the author. Though having short stories is a bit of a challange in itself since you can’t rely on knowledge you have build up on the world and characters.


I thought I might give y’all a bit of a head start by looking up some grammar that you might consider unusual if you don’t have that much experience with reading texts. Also, as the text is a little bit on the older side, there might be some outdated grammar hidden as well.

なにごとも起こらず - This so-called ず form attaches to the ない-stem of verbs and means “without”. In our case: …without anything occurring…

平和でありました。- The verb at the end is である which has the same meaning as です and was often used in literature of the time (and is still in use). In our case: …there was peace.

いい天気でございますな。- でございます is the polite (keigo) form of である (see above). In our case: It is nice weather.

教わりましてから - “after”. See Guide To Learning Japanese: Learn How to Use “-tekara” and “ato de” to Say After Doing Something . In our case: after he was taught.

There is some more which I will post about later.


Back when I first learned this, it made the words 思わず and 相変わらず suddenly make so much sense. Before then, these words were such big mysteries in that they seemed to mean the opposite of what I expected.

There are so many words I never encounter in my nearly-exclusively-manga reading! That made it very difficult to work through.

Before I started, I thought I might pick up some nice sentences for Anki, the kind where there is only one word I don’t know. At it turns out, many sentences not only had an unknown word, but typically it was two or three unknown words… (For now, I’ll keep my sentence mining centered on manga and anime subtitles…)


Tagging @wiersm as well: I also realized that it might be a bit hard to use page numbers or the like, so I fully agree with @tls‘ method. Given that the stories are pretty short, I hope that we’ll be fine.

I fully agree with it.

Vocabulary will probably always be an issue no matter what you read. Just start to either learn (some of) the new words actively, or keep reading and see what sticks. It will get better with every new word :blush:


Ok, I done read it. Uh… what? We sure this is a children’s story? :stuck_out_tongue:

Young man doesn’t want to let the old man visit his family for a season when they’re at peace, because he’ll have to put up with a replacement for three whole months, but he’s perfectly fine with leaving the old man there alone while he goes off to war? And that ending…

The language is a fair bit more literary, so there’s that.


I bin done read it too. It nearly killed me, at my level :persevere:. Might take me a week to recuperate. But the worst thing, that key sentence at the end of the second last paragraph. What did the young man actually do? What is かいだ ?Perhaps I just don’t want to believe it…


かいだ is the past tense of かぐ.


I don’t know what I was expecting… But that was really sad! :cry:
One of my questions was just answered by @Belthazar, so I’ll just ask something I was also unsure about.


I am not sure what 心に与える would mean. Is it the literal “The scenery is something that is granted to someones heart”?

Well, the young man coming back was just part of the dream :pensive: No happy ending in this story.


The 見る throws off my mental parser, but it helps me to see how KNP parses it:


(The lines show what modifies what.)

Looked at this way, it makes it easier for me to visually piece it together. 与える is our giving, 新しい感じ is what’s being given, 心 is what it’s being given to, and I suppose 見る度に gives us…when it happens?

From that, I get “Even though they are seeing the scenery every day, it gives them a new feeling in their heart every time they see it (ものです).”


Makes sense. I think the ordering of the parts in the sentence threw me off, since I thought that 感じを見る was one thing (which also confused me :joy:).
I guess it is more like
景色を見る度に 新しい感じを 心に 与える。

Thanks for clearing that up!


My thoughts exactly :rofl: I wonder whether it’s just this story or it’s his style or that’s the way children stories were at the time.

I have a few places where I’m not sure I understand the text correctly.


Does it literally mean “nobody ever said who planted it”?


“If it was a real war, you don’t know who (would win).”?

When the war breaks out, the young man said: 私の敵は、ほかになければなりません。

I know the grammatical construction なければ…なりません but I’m confused here. Does it mean something like “to be my enemy you will have to have done more (than just being a soldier of the other country)”. Sorry, my guess is probably missing the target by a wide margin.

I thought if the old man leaves, he’ll permanently be replaced by somebody else? I must have totally missed the part where we understand it’s only for a season. 教えてください?

Thank you for your help and patience!


Maybe I read too much into the fact that he wants to go home because it’s too cold in the winter? (As well as wanting to visit his family, that is.)


ということ is “just” a nominalizer. So I would interpret it more like “without it being planted by anyone”.

I think it is more along the lines of ”My enemies must be elsewhere".


Well that was definitely a way to start a Sunday morning haha - didn’t find it too bad overall, though it did help to have Yomichan (reading the Aozora version) for some of the vocab. A couple of funky sentences that I think have already been covered by others here. I also didn’t particularly get anything too useful to mine from this I feel, though it was nice to see stuff that I’ve been coming across in 時をかける showing up here

Overall I enjoyed the story, definitely had me feeling things by the end


Well, that was a little more challenging than I expected. I got the gist on the first read, but had to go over everything carefully a second time to make sure I wasn’t missing something. The constant polite language threw me at first, I hadn’t seen much of it outside of textbooks. What bothers me the most are the all-kana words where I’d expect kanji, some of them I found quite hard to parse.
Other than that, not exactly a heartwarming bedtime story, but I was almost relieved at the end, I was expecting worse the way it was going. I kind of like that there is no clear moral (other than war is bad and makes no sense).