Week 5: 小川未明童話集 - Ogawa Mimei’s Collection of Children’s Stories

Well, not far from it, actually. Ogawa was born in 1881 so that’s 明治 and wrote stuff mostly in 大正 and 昭和. According to Wikipedia, 江戸 ended in 1868. Haven’t been there so can’t confirm :stuck_out_tongue: . But I guess if he was reading from an early age, he could’ve been influenced by literature from that period.

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Well yes, but the start of the Edo period was 1603.

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I have a small question about vocabulary: when the old lady hears the salesman’s footsteps, there is the following sentence:

おばあさんは、いつもに似ず、それをききつけました。

Does anyone now more about how 似ず is used here? It seems to be a pretty rare word because the iOS autocompletion doesn’t even suggest it for this reading.

The definition of 似る on Jisho didn’t really help me at first (”not resembling always”?) but after some more thought, maybe the best translation for いつもに似ず might be ”like never before”. Does that sound about right? (I’ve added it to the vocab sheet with a question mark because I’m not completely sure.)

The only other dictionary entry that I could find is 物に似ず in the 大辞林 which has the definition 他にくらべるものがなく, which seems similar enough.

Also, 巷 was in the vocab sheet with “street” as a translation with a question mark. I’ve removed the question mark and added “quarter” because 大辞林 has 町の中の道路 as a definition (among others) and the Genius J-E dictionary has “gay quarters” as the translation for 歓楽の巷, so I think it can refer to streets or sections in a town.

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That might’ve been me. I wasn’t sure what to put into the sheet. Thanks for the addition!

EDIT:

Interesting. Is the other definition “pleasure quarters” or “red light district” maybe? There is 歓楽街, for instance and I know 男色 as a kind of slightly old term for gay men?

Right? :man_facepalming: Apologies, I swear this always happens when I try to figure out Japanese eras. Last time I got the years wrong :smiley: .

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いつも - Jisho.org does not only mean “always” but also “usual”. I think your translation captures the essence well, but when looking at the details, I don’t really see the “before” part in the Japanese text. Therefore I would probably choose “unusually” or something like that. Just for the sake of some nitpicking :relaxed:

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No, Genius only says 歓楽の巷 =
gay quarters, but if I look up 歓楽, then it gives “pleasure” and indeed pleasure district/red-light district for 歓楽街. But no mention of gayness specifically for 歓楽, interestingly.

Ah yes, I agree. My translation might have been a bit too strong. I’ve put your suggestion in the sheet and moved mine to the remarks column with a comment.

Yeah but in your defense: how can one era be so long?! That is just ridiculous :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

By the way, I’ve also added hard of hearing for 遠い, because that confused me completely (ears that became distant?!) on my first read-through :grinning:

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About half-way through the first page of the word-doc, I have a question:

Question

The sentence(s) are
このとき、外の戸をコト、コトたたく音がしました。おばあさんは、だいぶ遠くなった耳を、その音のする方にかたむけました。

The second sentence above is a bit difficult for me to understand. I want to read it roughly as “with her ears very far (from the sound from outdoors), she concentrated on (hearing) it”. Is this somewhat correct? Even if yes, are there some useful general rules being applied here. For example the 音のする方-part seems like it could be (or is it just の as possession marker paired with a verb, like “sound of making/doing”).

Edit: I had for some reason read 戸 as 声 (don’t know why, and don’t know if the sentence really makes sense with the latter). Now it seems more is if there’s a banging on the door, and おばあさん, from the far-distant-place she’s been “in” (day dreaming, ish) now concentrates on this banging sound on the door. Anyway, the questions remain :upside_down_face:

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That’s the の used instead of が thing. It could’ve been just as well 音がする方 and actually in the first part of the sentence it’s 音がしました.

I would go with the following translation:

このとき、外の戸をコト、コトたたく音がしました。おばあさんは、だいぶ遠くなった耳を、その音のする方にかたむけました。
At this time there was a knock knock sound (coming) from the outside of the door. The old lady, being very far, cocked her ear in the direction from which the sound came.

EDIT:
@omk3 big thanks for the correct translation! I added extra records to the vocab sheet.

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耳が遠い means hard of hearing. (Jisho, def 4)
耳をかたむける means to listen carefully (Jisho)
So the sentence would be “The old lady strained her ears, which had become very hard of hearing, towards the direction of the sound.”

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Ahh, @FirstMate-san , @omk3 thanks a lot, now it makes sense!

That’s the の used instead of が thing. It could’ve been just as well 音がする方 and actually in the first part of the sentence it’s 音がしました.

So because in the phrase 音のする方 we modify the noun 方 we can use の instead of が, contrary to the first sentence where it’s simply the verb する “applied” to the noun 叩く音 (hence we get 叩く音がしました).

耳が遠い means hard of hearing. (Jisho, def 4)
耳をかたむける means to listen carefully (Jisho)

Thanks! I completely missed these translations (too many jisho-look-ups for me, sometimes they just get over my head…).

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I fully agree with your interpretation.

A small detail by the end:

Butterflies in japanese culture (as far as I know, of course) are often associated with departed spirits and death in that sense, so it matches very well the context.

Your writeup helped me a lot to make sure I also got things right! :slight_smile:

This is my favorite story so far from the book, along with the telephone pole hehe.

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