Why is へ used in this sentence? What does なんの気なしに mean?

I’ve been attempting to read a short story from Aozora Bunko called 大きなかに. I previously created a thread with a question about a sentence that had me stumped in that story, and I’ve run into another that has me just as puzzled.

First some context from what I’ve understood so far. The main protagonist’s grandfather is telling a story of what happened when he got lost in the snowy fields on his way back home. The sun is setting sooner than he had anticipated, but he sees some lights in the distance, where five or six people seem to be talking. Grandfather reaches the conclusion that they must be fishermen. Then he tells the following part of his story:


Let’s start with:


which in my analysis it turned out like this:

家へ : towards home.
みやげ : present / souvenir
に: particle indicating what grandfather intended to buy (the present). 買う is a transitive verb, so normally I’d expect を, but since the verb is being modified by 行く, に should be used instead, as far as I understand.
買っていこう: 買う in Te form with 行く as an auxiliary verb conjugated in volitional form. Basically meaning grandfather wanted to go and buy some presents.
と: makes the previous part of the sentence a subclause.
思って: to think + Te form to connect with the next sentence.

So my best attempt at translating would be:

“I thought of buying presents on the way home,”

My question is: why is the particle へ used there? へ is used to indicate direction, so my best guess is that it is used to imply that this was something to do while en-route home. Or is it because of the presence of 行く and I am totally misunderstanding the relationship between 買う and 行く?

My second question is in the next part:


なんの means “what kind” / “what sort”, but what is 気なしに? Since 気 means energy / mood / motivation, I was guessing this was 気無し, as in, without energy. So grandfather is … sort of “tiredly” doing what happens in the next part of the sentence? I am having some trouble connecting that with なんの

As for the rest of the sentence, I believe I understand it: when grandfather tries to go to the spot where those people are, he finds they are drinking alcohol / sake.

Any help understanding this is greatly appreciated :slightly_smiling_face:

I might be able to help with the first part:

家 can also mean “family, household”. So 家へ could mean “for the family” (same as 家族へ)

おみやげに買う the particle に combined with 買う can denote the purpose of sth you’re buying (xをみやげに買う - “to buy x as a gift”)

(But maybe wait for other people to confirm this :sweat_smile:)


This appears to be a set phrase meaning: unintentionally; inadvertently; calmly; casually; nonchalantly; innocently​

I don’t have time to comment on the rest as that this part was easy to look up for you. :wink:


That would make a lot of sense. I will check if I can find other examples with this kind of usage.

Thanks for the help :slightly_smiling_face:

I don’t even know how I failed to find this when I searched jisho before making my post :sweat: Must have typed something wrong.

Thank you for the help :slightly_smiling_face:

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