Week 6: 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 6


Start Date: Oct 2nd
Previous Part: Week 5
Next Part: Week 7


Week Start Date Chapter Pages 1951ed. Pages 2013ed. Page Count
Week 6 Oct 2nd 5. 金の輪12 + start of 13. 大きなかに1 (until 床の中に寝ているのでした。) 175 48 4 + ~4

Vocabulary List

金の輪: Ogawa Mimei’s Collection of Children’s Stories Vocabulary - Google Sheets
大きなかに: Ogawa Mimei’s Collection of Children’s Stories Vocabulary - Google Sheets

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Oh, 大きいなかに, my old nemesis. One of the first short stories I tried to read after starting WK - I remember I eventually kind of managed to make out what each sentence meant, but could never piece together what on earth was the story about in the end. I certainly hope it goes better this time, 3 years later… =._.=


Not much to say about 金の輪. I was left with a big “why?” (as in, why even write such a story?). Apparently the answer is because Ogawa Mimei lost two of his own children.

Amazingly, based on the style of the illustrations I found, it seems people actually choose to read this story to their (very young) children?



Why is the main character of the next story also called Taro?


The first story refers to 輪回し, a game Japanese children play/used to play. It’s very simple:

And yup, the ending caught me by surprise. That’s actually a plausible explanation, @omk3. I didn’t know about that.


Interestingly, I read that comment before I read the story, and so when the other child appeared for the second time, I was actually wondering whether he was something like an angel and whether the MC would die at the end… But I would not have guessed that without your remark, that’s for sure.

In Japanese, Taro is like the prototypical male character name. So you will see lots of (especially old) stories where a male protagonist will be called Taro. I even found a forum thread on the name :joy_cat:

Today I have some time to point out a few grammar points.


In Part 1:
遠くの方まで遊びにいったものとみえます。- it seems like - https://japanesetest4you.com/flashcard/learn-jlpt-n4-grammar-とみえる-to-mieru/

Last sentence of Part 1:
懐かしに見えました。- seeming, giving the appearance of - https://japanesetest4you.com/flashcard/learn-jlpt-n2-grammar-げ-ge/

Second paragraph of Part 2:
その少年のことを考えました。- How to use Noun + のこと ( = no koto) / のことだから(= no koto dakara) + のことだし( = no koto dashi) – Maggie Sensei


ある日のこと - see above :slight_smile:

これから出てゆこうとしたおじいさん - grandfather who was about to leave - meaning - What is the difference between "verb+て+みる" and "verb+(よ)う+とする"? - Japanese Language Stack Exchange
Btw ゆく is just a different (and I think a bit old-fashioned) spelling for いく, i.e. 行く.

「。。。今夜はお泊まりなさったにちがいない」When reading I took a wrong turn here at first, so I thought it’s worth mentioning that this is not 日がいない but instead に違いない - without doubt

その夜にかぎって - especially / only on that night - https://japanesetest4you.com/flashcard/learn-jlpt-n2-grammar-にかぎって-ni-kagitte/

いつもなら、太郎は日が暮れるとじきに眠るでしたが - In order to understand why there is a の right in the middle of nowhere, let’s pick the sentence apart a little bit:
いつもなら、太郎は X でしたが - If it were (a) normal (day), Taro would have been X but… . Please keep in mind that the shape of the sentence requires X to be a noun.
日が暮れるとじきに眠る - sleep at the time when the sun sets This is the desired meaning of our X, but as you can see it is not a noun, so we need to attach の in order for this whole sentence to become a noun that can fit into the spot of X in the overall sentence.

この鳥に乗って帰ってきなすったのだ - this is an old form consisting of 来る + なさる, it is polite but the meaning is the same as きた, i.e. “he came home riding on this bird” - Learn Japanese Forum - 来る vs 来なすった

And finally, there is this sentence:

彼は、朝起きると、入り口に、大きな白い羽の、汚れてねずみ色になった、いままでにこんな大きな鳥を見たこともない、鳥の死んだのが、壁板にかかっているのを見てびっくりしました。It was pretty much smooth sailing until now, and all of a sudden we get hit with such a truckload of a sentence :joy_cat: (I am convinced that this is a strong stylistic choice, maybe to already indicate that this is not real but actually a dream?) Anyways, let’s look at the contents.
The general structure is this:
彼は、朝起きると、X を見てびっくりしました。- When he got up the next morning, he saw X and was surprised.
This is X:
入り口に、Y が、壁板にかかっているの - a noun (note the trailing の) that describes “at the entrance, Y was hanging from the wall”
Now this is Y:
大きな白い羽の、汚れてねずみ色になった、いままでにこんな大きな鳥を見たこともない、鳥の死んだの - it is a noun that is being described by two properties:
Property 1:
大きな白い羽の、汚れてねずみ色になった - don’t let the comma confuse you, these two parts still belong together. The の before the comma is a case of の as a replacement of が (Replacing が with の | WordReference Forums), so the sentence could be rewritten as 大きな白い羽が汚れてねずみ色になった - the big white feathers were dirty and had turned grey
Property 2:
いままでにこんな大きな鳥を見たこともない - until now [Taro] had never seen such a big bird
Finally, the noun:
鳥の死んだの - in this case, in my opinion the final の serves as a placeholder for an unsaid thing (here most likely something like “body”) - have a look at https://www.imabi.net/theparticlenoii.htm and scroll down to the section labeled “One”. In English this would be “the bird’s corpse” or “the dead bird

Side discussion:
Interestingly, the word 壁板 - Jisho.org has the furigana しとみ - Jisho.org. This could be an outdated reading? Anyways, I take the overall meaning to be that the house was built of wooden boards or that the outside was coated with wooden boards.


I think it also kind of helps to think of that name in terms of kanji - 太郎. It just screams “generic”, right? :smiley:

Big thanks for the grammar notes!

Correct. It came up a couple of times in the previous stories as well :slight_smile: .

Hecking hate when authors do that が to の thing, but since there is both の and が after, it doesn’t help either way :joy:


Now, if only that spelling was used consistently, it would make it a lot clearer whether 言う or 行くis meant whenever there is a いっ… (that seriously took some thought a few times in these stories) :sweat_smile:


It looks like 金の輪 is full of some very nice, poetic phrases, which might be a little confusing at first (at least to me :sweat_smile: ). I will try to add some translations:
たっているときには - when the Sun was shining
日当たりのいい - sunlit, sunny
まださくらはなも、ももはなにははよございました - still (too) early for both cherry flowers and peach flowers to bloom/blossom

なにかいいたなようすをして - giving the impression/appearance as if wanting to say something
The 〜げ grammar point mentioned above by Nicole.

その不審ふしんこころにありながら - with this doubt in their heart
I haven’t seen ある used like this, but I’m sure there is plenty more to come in those stories :smiley:

Some flower photos for mood


I tend to think that when the furigana seems to point to a different word than the kanji, it’s best to go with the furigana, as the kanji may just be an alternative way of writing the word. These are children’s stories after all, probably meant to be read out loud, so it must be the sound of the word that matters most. Here’s what a 蔀 (しとみ) looks like:

I think it’s more likely than a 壁板 in this context, which seems to be just a wooden wall covering.


Curiously, according to furigana.info, across all of Aozora Bunko, 壁板 is かべいた a quarter of the time, しとみ a fifth of the time, and したみ the remaining, uh… eleven-twentieths of the time. More than half, basically.

Which I find odd, because 下見板したみいた, with an extra 板 tacked on, are these things:

I really wish I knew the reasoning behind some of these furigana choices. Whevener it comes up, it seems like the words take a reading that’s different to what’s in the dictionary far more often than not.


Here’s an answer on Stackexchange that I found interesting, on the subject of furigana and kanji not matching. A quote I found particularly relevant:

Obviously, I don’t know who it is who says that, and whether they truly know what they’re talking about, but it’s something I’ve been suspecting so it felt right to me.

PS. I’ve been trying to find illustrations of 大きなかに just in case someone had happened to illustrate this particular part, but I haven’t had any luck yet. In an audio narration I found (I wanted to check the reading), it seems the dream was skipped enitrely.


“They”, clearly.


Sometimes in manga authors use kanji for katakana terms as well right? And I think some countries with katakana names have kanji, too. At least that’s what I’ve seen in Jisho. It’s a bit of a meta approach to language, but why not :slight_smile: .

They do provide furigana so we know what to expect. Fair game to me :grin:.


I’ve read through both parts now and I have to say it’s nice to have some “mental break” between stories before your head gets a little worn out. Probably an early-days thing. Nonetheless some question emerged. Some of them were instantly answered by reading @NicoleIsEnough’s post. So thank you for that! Also thank you to @2OC3aOdKgwSGlxfz as well; I didn’t quite understand the fox part. The others were:

In 金の輪
から at the end of a sentence

Shortly after the beginning of the story we have the sentence 「かつてこんなに美しく光る輪を見なかったからであります。」Does the から at the end roughly translate to our “since”? So “Since he had never seen such a beautifully shining ring”?

This と's structure

「けれど、いつまでもその少年の白い顔、微笑とが太郎の目に残っていて、取れませんでした。」The provisional of this と comes right after it, right? This would be a little different from the English sentence structure as far as I can tell. Or does the condition that accompanies this と come before in an implicated way?

In 大きなかに
The title

Uh, what exactly does the title mean? “Big Crab”? Sorry if this is a dumb question but I really can’t figure it out. This is the curse of WaniKani and I don’t just say that because of the かに. :eyes: I often get lost when words don’t have Kanji. Often - after thinking about it - I will be like “oh that word is written here!” which is funny. Also, I’d much rather have this problem instead of struggling with Kanji. So no regrets here.


Do we have “always” and a provisional here? If so, can it be taken as “Even though he always goes to sleep when the sun comes down (…)”? Sorry, I don’t really know how to map out the sentence for you. It’s about half into the story in relation to this week’s breakpoint.


Correct. Sometimes in translations the から is put to the front of a sentence as “because” - Because he has never seen such a beautifully shining wheel before.

I think I understood this sentence a little differently, but I might be wrong:

However, both the white face of the boy and his smile remained in Tarou’s eyes forever and never faded.

Usually と acts as a provisional if the preceding item is a verb in a non-past tense, like すると, 見ると. At least that’s how I’ve seen it used often.

Yeah, I think it’s the crab - カニ.

What do you mean by provisional? なら is sometimes used for emphasis, like これなら - (specifically) this one.

EDIT: Okay, I think I understand what you meant by “provisional”. なら is a very soft provisional and can be translated as such, but in many contexts it doesn’t define a strict condition.

I think in the case of いつもなら the いつも + なら is a little more abstract and I think it can be translated to “normally”. Also, Nicole’s breakdown of the sentence is very good:

In 金の輪:

Since, because, it’s all good. What から does is give a reason, in this case explaining the sentence just before: 太郎たろうをみはりました。 Taro opened his eyes wide. (Why?) Because he had never seen such beautifully shining hoops before.

Like @FirstMate-san said, this と is just a simple “and”, connecting two nouns. The comma is misleading (they so often are, I just try not to notice them as much as possible).

In 大きなかに

いつもなら - なら is a hypothetical form of the copula, something like “if it were”. And いつも can mean always but by extension it can also mean usually, regularly, etc. So yes, I think your translation works just fine. If it were always/the usual sounds clumsy in English, but if we replace it with normally like @FirstMate-san suggests, it makes sense.

As for the title, I guess so. All-kana words where you would expect kanji are always confusing. I’m waiting to read the rest of the story to make sure.


By the way, how does everyone feel about stopping in the middle of stories?
Like @LastStand pointed out, it’s nice to have a mental break between stories. I like letting one story sink in before proceeding to the next one. It’s also a little unsatisfying to stop halfway through a story, not knowing where it’s going. I understand they are all of varying length, and some may be too short or too long for one week, but I still feel like it would be neater to discuss one story per thread instead of parts of stories. Thoughts?
(Looking at the reading schedule, I see this will only happen one more time, so I guess it’s no big deal)


I must say I also found it a bit strange to finish the one story and start the next one straight away without this “mental distancing” in between, but it might have been more extreme for me as I read them both in the same day, while a slower reader might naturally have a break between them?

It will actually happen twice - we will spread two stories over three weeks, cutting both of the stories in the process.
Those two stories in question are ~14 and ~15 pages, so in order to avoid the cutting, we could move them to the end of our schedule and read them in one week each?? If the majority agrees, that is… (The obvious drawback is of course that those stories are somewhat longer than the ones we had before, so not everybody might be able to keep up…)
If you think that might be a good idea, I will set up a poll closer to the weekend (when most people might have read this week’s assignment).


I think because of textbooks we might be paying too much attention to the commas, even though we know they serve mostly as pauses :smiley: .

I would probably read the whole thing anyway out of curiosity :smiley: . The first story was short so one evening, but the second one took me 1-2 days. That being said, I usually over-analyze the text, take notes, etc.

14-15 pages each? Woah, that’s quite a bit :smiley: . I might even switch to the Aozora Bunko online reader app, otherwise I’ll get lost in the text.

Yes, I agree moving them to the end of the series might be a good idea. We’ll manage to develop good pacing by then so they might not be as troublesome.

Also yes to having a break between stories. Good idea!

I just finished the second story (yes, it was a crab - legs, meat and all). Not quite sure what to think of it. Sort of light, but… I might’ve missed the take-home? :sweat_smile:

EDIT: Spoilered out the spoiler


Well, the ring and the crab story together are about 17 pages, so :woman_shrugging: :joy:

And if you could maybe spoiler your remarks for next week’s reading, that would be appreciated! :sweat_smile: