Week 2: 薬屋のひとりごと

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薬屋のひとりごと Home Thread

Week 2

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Previous Part: Week1
Next Part: Week 3

Reading:

Week Start Date Chapter Names Page Count
Week 2 Mar 5th 「壬氏」「天女の笑み」「部屋付」 17

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.
  • To you lurkers out there: Join the conversation, it’s fun! :durtle:

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Proper Noun Readings

Name Reading Notes Proof
猫猫 まおまお Main character furigana
玉葉 ギョクヨウ One of the four (main) wives (title: 貴妃) furigana
梨花 リファ One of the four (main) wives (title: 賢妃) furigana
小蘭 シャオラン furigana
鈴麗 リンリ Daughter of 玉葉; nickname: 小鈴 (シャオリン) furigana
壬氏 ジンシ furigana
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I haven’t (re)read this part yet, so there might be more names coming up. There’s one character that I’m almost sure shows up from this part, and probably a bunch of 官女.

Edit: after reading the part, turns out that it wasn’t for this time.

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What have you done to me @Naphthalene? I have been reading this book (and the manga) the whole week. I’m now at about 60% and I just can’t put it away even though I’m definitely punching above my weight.

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You can comment/ask questions about it in the home thread or the extensive reading thread (with the proper spoiler tags) if you can’t wait for the weekly threads.

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Holly molly. Read the first 2 chapters of the 3 (started thursday since last week took me so long). Here are my thoughts/summary so far.

Thoughts and summary
  • The switch to jinshi’s view was unecessary in my view. I hope we stay with Maumau I much prefer her view of things. I hope we don’t switch characters often :confused:
  • Pff he could remember what she was murmuring but can’t remember her face (1 month later). Sounds somehow like it could be me ^^. I’m terrible with names and faces. He probably sees a lot of different women on a daily basis too.
  • I still don’t really get what his job is. Other than calming down commotions. He seems to have a high level of authority though.
  • 宮官長 how is it read? I did a きゅうかんちょう for this one. 宮官 doesn’t seem to actually be a word and since it’s one of the “3 divisions” I wouldn’t be too surprised if it is made up?
  • 後ろ髪を引かれる haha this time the figure of speech couldn’t trick me!!!
  • Summary of Story: Maumau gave the two kisaki notes after figuring out that it was the whitening powder because she had experience treating the 妓女 for the same problem with her father. Rifa actually had no problem following the advice since it wasn’t really her using it but her 乳母. She is naturally beatiful yadayda. On the other hand kyokuyo is a ***** and didn’t believe the note and as a consequence indirectly killed the crown prince -.-. She doesn’t seem to have learned her lesson since her health is still getting worse (though psychology might play a role now). After hearing all this jinshi rounds up all 下女 that resemble Maumau since he vaguely remembers their encounter at the day of the commotion between the two 妃. He devises the “probably the only one who can read/write” plan and singles out Maumau successfully at the end of this weeks chapter 2.
Grammar

Chapter3:

  • 帝の通いようから次の子も近いかもしれない I understand what it is supposed to mean but everywhere I looked this usage of maskei * you seems a bit unnatural. Anyone else thought the usage a bit strange? (【N1文法】~よう | 毎日のんびり日本語教師)
  • 蒸したての饅頭 what is that たて?
  • おしろいはどく、赤子にふれさすな。The ふれさす is the same as ふれさせる just old right?
  • 寵妃の願いとあらば、必ずや見つけねばならぬな @seanblue link from last week came in handy!
  • Seems chapter 4 sucked me in so much that I didn’t recognize anything in particular in there.

The second part of chapter 4 sucked me in like nothing else. Up to now the writing style was okay but this part somehow really let me forget how much vocabulary I don’t know and was just so engaging somehow. Don’t even know why… ^^ How can a smile be described so creepily :joy:

One chapter to go. Will probably finish tomorrow so I can preread a bit.

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Grammar answers

たて after ます stem means just finished. So in this case means freshly (just now finished) manjuu [1]

Yes have a look at [2] scroll down to " A Shorter Alternative"

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Uff somehow I forgot both of these. Thanks a lot for clarifying.

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Just one question for chapter 3.

Chapter 3 question

赤子の口に入るものなら、もっと気にかけていればよかった

I’m not sure I’ve seen a sentence with both なら and ば like that back to back. The latter is clearly the normal ばよかった structure, but then なら doesn’t really make sense as “if” (not quite at least). In this situation, is it more like “given that”?

I originally interpreted もの as just the normal usage of 物 (above interpretation), but on further looking I see a specific grammar point for ものなら meaning “If [A] is possible [B]”, which I guess makes sense in this context. Is that what it means here?

As for the content of the chapter, I was confused for a bit since chapter 2 didn’t fully explain that Maomao figured out the cause, but I caught on eventually. (Honestly I got tripped up for a while just because was written in kana for some reason.)

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Chap 3/4 + grammar

It happens from times to times, but it’s unfrequent.

He didn’t see her well. He remembers her appearance quite well, though, since that’s he selected who to call.

Indeed.

It’s just 宮官 (one of the three divisions as you said)+長. The position most likely existed in real life, no idea of what it would be called though.

You inverted 玉葉 and 梨花 :sweat_smile:

It’s a random, suspicious note that asks her to do something counterintuitive in an environment where you can’t trust anyone… It’s understandable (although, since she was sick, she had no reason to expect a visit from the Emperor, so she might as well have stopped). The situation is completely different for 玉葉, since asking the 乳母 to stop (or, you know, firing her) has no repercussion on her.

It’s this one
Edit: ah, same as your link. So, no, I don’t find it strange.
Edit edit: wait, actually I’m not sure anymore. I’ll check later.
Edit edit edit: I just checked the example sentences from my link, and it fits.

I think the rest was answered already.

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Ch3

It’s just the regular old もの. They are talking about the 乳母’s breast.

I haven’t thought about the English translation, but yes.

There’s a very good reason.

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Ahhh, okay that makes sense. I’m really bad at reading between the lines.

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I get why you said they are talking about her breasts but taken at phase value it just says something along the lines of "when it’s about things that are put into toddlers mouths… "

The doku without Kanji was just one interesting occurance in that sentence. It’s formulated pretty rough ふれさすな (also no Kanji). Maybe it’s because of limited space because she doesn’t have the right utensils. Maybe she only knows the basics of writing.

I’m excited to find out since naphthalene already teased it has meaning ^^.

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Haha, somehow that made me picture the 乳母 put おしろい on a milk bottle :joy: I, too, would fire that person.

It’s either in chapter 4 or 5 (I quickly read today, so I didn’t pay too much attention to the exact chapter). It represents the fact that she wrote in a very clumsy way to hide how her real writing looks like. (I think 壬氏 mentions that it is clumsy looking too just after seeing it, but I can’t check right now)

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Like I thought in my last post I finished this weeks reading today. (only ch. 5 was left)
For the fun of it I took some simple statistics:
Chapter 5:

  • Unknown words: 33
  • Some grammar lookups (2-3?). eg たところで most was clear before looking it up from context.
  • A lot of reading lookups. Mostly because I was unsure even if I was right most of the time (maybe around 20?)

So this chapter wasn’t as bad and if it keeps this level maybe I could actually stick with this club even after my work break is over.

Questions and thougts
  • The line 手数をかけました is still said by jinshi right (not too sure that’s why I’m asking)? I expect that because I read the next 2 sentences as describing the difference in attitude between him talking to 玉葉 and herself.
  • Haha how she has to think about the words she uses when she talks to 玉葉 in keigo. Such relatability XD.
  • ああ、尚服に携わる下女用のだ Not too sure who says that line. Doesn’t really influence the story just curios how others thought of it. Is it Maumau accepting kinda that it could be related to her or jinshi giving more information on the specifics of the cloth?
  • Not sure how a 乾いた笑み looks like and google images is not helpful for this one. A lifeless smile? なにそれ?
  • Moving up the food chain. Lets see how working under the kisaki will work out for maumau. I’m still suspicous of jinshi. What’s he after, why did he help find maumau? Only because of his own curiosity? Lets find out!
  • ややこ、赤子、赤ちゃん、赤ん坊, … when the hell are we finished with ways to refer to a baby…

It seems I have sometimes trouble deciphering who is speaking in this book since often lines are said without attributing it to any particular character via 玉葉がそう述べた or something similar.

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ch5

No, by 玉葉. She was the one who asked him to find 猫猫.

Yes, he used 敬語 to talk to 玉葉:

かの者を連れてまいりました

(emphasis mine, obviously)

That’s 壬氏 saying that it was a piece of fabric from clothes distributed to servant from the cloth cleaning section. (I don’t remember if it’s established in this series, but in 後宮 settings sections are color coded for everyone’s convenience). That’s the section 猫猫 belongs to (as we have seen her wash clothes and return them). In fact, that piece of fabric does come from her skirt. While she tried her best for the damage to be hard to find, a simple inspection of the inside of said skirt would reveal the part where it came from. She doesn’t expect 壬氏 to lift her skirt in front of 玉葉, but at this point denial would not help.

A quick search didn’t give any good image, indeed. It’s a fake smile, basically (as in, you are smiling, but not actually happy).

Because he was asked to by 玉葉.

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Chapter 3 Questions

帝の通いようから次の子も近いかもしれない。
So this is near the beginning of the chapter, as it’s being discussed that the 東宮 passed away. Is this sentence saying that, due to the Emperor’s comings and goings, it’s likely 玉葉 could end up with another kid soon?

「おしろいはどく、赤子にふれさすな」
Just a quick question on ふれさす; is this some particular form of 触れる?

それが毒とも知らずに
So what’s the deal with the 知らずに here at the end? How does it interact with とも? This sentence comes after a description of 梨花 and how she continued to use the おしろい even after being warned.

And that’s all for chapter 3! Things are already feeling like they’re smoothing out in terms of reading; hopefully that continues on.

It was a fun little detail to see that 猫猫 used plant sap to write the letters with; I guess she wouldn’t have access to ink, given that most of the 下女 can’t read anyway.

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Chapter 3 answers

Yes, that is my understanding aswell

It is the short causative form of 触れる the long one being ふれさせる.

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Ah, dang, I even read through the previous questions earlier, too. :disappointed: Let me go check out the link again, haha.

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Just one for chapter 4!

Chapter 4 Q

宮官長が年がいもなく赤くなっていた。
This is as 猫猫’s looking at 壬氏. I’m afraid I start to get lost as soon as いもなく hits; is the sentence saying that even though he’s older they’re blushing? Or because he’s younger?

Related, but only something I belatedly wondered as I was typing this question, but 宮官長 is referring to 壬氏, yes?

CH4 Answers from my perspective

No, these are 2 different people. One is the head of the 宮官 division and female, a little older. The other is 壬氏 even though he looks female he is male.

Maybe this link helps 「年甲斐もなく(としがいもなく)」の意味や使い方 Weblio辞書 年甲斐もなく is a set expression. I read this sentence as meaning she blushes like all the other 下女 on the sight of 壬氏 even though it is not becoming to her age, since she is older.

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