Week 2: 狼と香辛料 - Spice and Wolf 🐺

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Week 2


Start Date: Sep 03
Previous Part: Week 1
Next Part: Week 3


Week Start Date Chapter Start Page Page Count
Week 2 Sep 03 Chapter 1 End 43 28

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I got really hung up on this sentence - my brain was refusing to accept it as valid. Initially I parsed it as 近寄り + (particle が) + たい雰囲気 (?) which I decided was like an anti-atmosphere. After some searching I came across this advice column on why you might get labeled 近寄りがたい. This gave me the revelation I needed - I didn’t know the n3 grammar がたい. :man_facepalming:

guess that stuff is important after all, who would have thought.


I found an interesting translation error.

The original passage


was translated as

“Adding embarrassment to his fear, Lawrence became angrier and angrier at what he felt was his failure as a man.”

But I took it as

Embarrassment coupling with real anger, Lawrence had a growing feeling he’d be a failure of a man if he stayed angry.

These are so different! And they paint such a different picture of Lawrence!

*I edited this because I don’t know how I feel about either one haha


Isn’t ますます qualifying 気がする instead of 怒って (as per your translation)?


Oh yeah lol I switched it around, thanks!


Huh, I read ますます as a qualifier on 男としてだめ… (That is, he’s already ‘failed’ as a dude by showing his fear, and then to lose his temper over being teased about it would be even worse.)

My attempt at a translation:

Lawrence felt real annoyance mixed with embarrassment, but he had a feeling that to lose his temper here would be even more of a failure as a man.

(Don’t much like ‘failure as a man’ as a phrase, but whatever.)


That’s how I’d interpret it too.


Yeah, now that I look at it again, that makes the most sense! Thanks!


Hmmm… I think I’m not yet with you.
Looking at it technically, ますます - Jisho.org is an adverb, so it should only be able to qualify a verb, is my take on it. And the sentence only contains the verb 気がする, so I figured it must be qualifying that one. (I mean, technically として - Jisho.org somehow also contains the verb する but I think we agree with Jisho that the full thing now acts as an expression and no longer as a verb.)

So I’d still rather translate it as “…he increasingly felt / he got more and more under the impression that he was useless as a man.”

What am I missing here that makes you believe otherwise?


By the way here is your chance :joy_cat: (about halfway through the second week’s section)
but in kana only unforch


how did you even remember this exchange from a year ago lol


When I read that back then, I was just so surprised that seanblue had never seen that word, and that somehow got stuck in my brain :rofl: (sometimes I’m weird like that.)
And each time I came across that word, I remembered that exchange :woman_shrugging:

I guess I basically SRS’ed that conversation :crazy_face:

Now I wish I could do that with any random vocab word sigh


Well, I didn’t translate it by thinking analytically about it, I just looked at it and thought “that’s what it means” :slight_smile: But anyway: adverbs can qualify things other than verbs. Some examples borrowed from wikipedia of adverbs modifying i-adjective, na-adjective, verb, noun and adverb:

  1. 出来上がりが、たいそう美しい。(形容詞を修飾)
  2. 彼の仕草ははなはだ愉快だ。(形容動詞を修飾)
  3. 気力がめっきり衰えた。(動詞を修飾)
  4. もっと上を探しなさい。(名詞を修飾)
  5. もっとゆっくり歩け。(副詞を修飾)

(The noun case surprised me; the others I was expecting.)

My interpretation has ますます modifying the na-adjective だめ.

It’s certainly possible that it’s modifying 気がする – here’s a Tatoeba Project example sentence and translation where that happens –

I’m beginning to see that it’s going to be impossible.

– but in the context of the whole passage, it just doesn’t feel to me like that’s what’s happening. I think maybe that’s because of the ここで怒っては which is saying “to lose his temper here, now”: that’s a point in time where Laurence has this feeling, so it’s not a “over the course of the last 5 minutes he’d gradually been getting the impression that ~” kind of situation.

Anyway, all that said, I could be wrong. I’d be curious what the native-speaker view of the sentence is.


Both honestly make sense to me, but I interpret it as what Nicole is saying. I just feel like if it was for the dame they would have worded it differently.

Ill ask one of my coworkers tomorrow though, since honestly I’m not 100%. There are a couple that are notably better at japanese, so I’d rather wait and ask them to increase the chance of getting a good answer.

Edit: one good person I know happened to be online and his answer was for the だめ. Might still ask tomorrow. His reply:


I really gotta stop thinking so much when I don’t know any actual grammar rules lol. I had a whole message typed out on how this way sounded better to me and I did a full 180 the more I thought about it.


I asked this question on HiNative. I’ve got one response so far.

And after reading this passage multiple times, I agree with this first response from a Native speaker. Lawrence is more and more of a failure (as a man).

The response:

ますます->だめな です。
It should be correct below.



Ok that explains a lot. So basically translating 副詞 as “adverb” is super-misleading because it’s basically a “helper-sentence-part” (as per the literal translation) which can attach basically anywhere like you showed in the examples. Thank you, that was very enlightening!

Good call! I asked one of my language partners and she instinctively said it modifies だめ (“because the other options sound weird”) but when I asked once more why it doesn’t modify 気がする she became insecure and said she’ll go and ask her daughter. If this brings any new insights (I suspect not) I’ll post an update. (EDIT: The daughter said the same.)

Innit? The more I think about it the more I can’t really distinguish between “he increasingly felt useless” and “he felt more and more useless” in my head :crazy_face:

Ah there you go. I think the natives all agree so far. Thanks for checking as well!

:joy_cat: We should send this to the author!


This has been so much fun! I’ve learned a lot. Thank you, everyone!

Yeah let’s talk to him :rofl:


I’m all in favour of not getting hung up on English grammar terms, but as it happens English adverbs also can modify things other than verbs:

  • He is surprisingly young (modifying an adjective)
  • Cheetahs can react extremely quickly (modifying another adverb)
  • The wind is blowing violently (modifying a verb)
  • Hardly anyone would do that (modifying a pronoun)

Side note: your use of romaji here makes you sound like you’re in a 1940s film noir detective movie :slight_smile:


I don’t know if it helps, but in my initial message I just had typed out that it felt weird to modify 気がする as increasing to me. Like either 気がする or 気がしない. But not 気がした and now it’s even more 気がする. That’s what my intuition told me, but the more I thought about it the more I didn’t know if that was actually right. If it is, that may be your answer for why. If not, well who knows