I am a Cat (Chapter 9 a) Section 278 Study Guide

Practice text with full furigana

いくら功徳くどくになっても訓戒くんかいになっても、きたないものはやっぱりきたないものだから、物心ものごころがついて以来いらいうもの主人しゅじんおおいあばたについて心配しんぱいして、あらゆる手段しゅだんつくしてこの醜態しゅうたいつぶそうとした。ところが宗伯そうはくろうかごちがって、いやになったからと云うてそうきゅうちやられるものではない。いまだに歴然れきぜんのこっている。この歴然が多少たしょうにかかるえて、主人は往来おうらいをあるく度毎たびごとあばたづら勘定かんじょうしてあるくそうだ。今日きょう何人なんにんあばたに出逢であって、そのぬしおとこおんなか、その場所ばしょ小川おがわまち勧工場かんこうばであるか、上野うえの公園こうえんであるか、ことごとくかれ日記にっきつけんである。彼はあばたかんする智識ちしきにおいてはけっしてだれにもゆずるまい確信かくしんしている。せんだってある洋行ようこうがえ友人ゆうじんおりなぞは、「きみ西洋人せいようじんにはあばたがあるかな」といたくらいだ。するとその友人が「そうだな」とくびげながらよほどかんがえたあとで「まあ滅多めったにないね」と云ったら、主人は「滅多になくっても、すこはあるかい」とねんれてえした。友人はのないかおで「あっても乞食こじきたちぼうだよ。教育きょういくのあるひとにはないようだ」とこたえたら、主人は「そうかなあ、日本にほんとは少し違うね」と云った。

哲学者てつがくしゃ意見いけんによって落雲館らくうんかんとの喧嘩けんかおもとまった主人はその書斎しょさいこもってしきりになに考えている。彼の忠告ちゅうこくれて静坐せいざうち霊活れいかつなる精神せいしん消極的しょうきょくてき修養しゅうようするつもりかもれないが、元来がんらいちいさな人間にんげんくせ、ああ陰気いんき懐手ふところでばかりしていてはろく結果けっかようはずがない。それより英書えいしょでもしちれて芸者げいしゃから喇叭節らっぱぶしでもならったほうはるかにましだとまではいたが、あんな偏屈へんくつ男はとうていねこの忠告などを気遣きづかいはないから、まあ勝手かってさせたらよかろうと五六ごろくにち近寄ちかよりもせずにくらした

Rough translation

Whatever merit these pockmarks may possess, and whatever cautionary tale they may impart to his charges, filthy and unsightly is filthy and unsightly. Since reaching the age of discretion, the state of the master's face has troubled him greatly, and there's no measure he hasn't tried in his efforts to clear his skin. Unlike old Sōhaku's traveling litter, however, pockmarks are not readily dispatched at the whim of their owner. They're still there, plain as day. They weigh on the master's mind, and as he wanders the streets, he's known to make an accounting of like-marked faces. Entered into his diary each day is a record of such faces. All details are recorded. Whether male or female, for example, or whether sighted in the shopping district at Ogawa or the parks of Ueno. When it comes to knowledge of pockmarks, the master's resolved to be second to none. The other day, when a friend called after traveling to Europe, the master queried him. "Tell me, did you see many pockmarked faces?" "Let me think," his friend replied, and sat pondering for a moment. "Almost none," he finally replied. "When you say 'almost none,' then you mean you did see some?" the master asked in return. "Some, yes, but we're talking beggars or vagrants. Not among the educated classes," the friend replied with evident disinterest. "I see. So not quite like Japan," the master added.

Having desisted from confrontation with Rakuunkan, on the advice of his friend the philosopher, the master has holed himself up in his study, dwelling on who knows what. Accepting the other's admonishment, perhaps he's practicing quiet reflection, training his mind to be calm and aware. Then again, the man's spirit is fundamenatally timid and small, and sitting there in his gloom, hands in pockets, is not likely to yield any hoped-for result. It occurs to me he'd do better by far in pawning his foreign books and learning music from a geisha. He's a man of narrow mind, though, and not about to listen to said cat. Deciding he's best left to his own devices, then, I keep my distance for a number of days.

Vocabulary

功徳くどく virtue; merit訓戒くんかい cautionary taleもの things物心ものごころがついて reach the age of discretion以来いらい since ...うもの being the case that ...主人しゅじん masterおおいに very much; greatly心配しんぱいして begin to worry; come to fret over手段しゅだん means; measuresつくして use up; exhaust醜態しゅうたい shameful sightつぶそうとした tried to rub out; worked to efface宗伯そうはくろう old Sōhakuかご litter (travel box with carrying poles)ちがって different from; unlikeきゅうに quickly; suddenlyちやられる be banished; be dispatchedいまだに still; even now; to this day歴然れきぜんと clearly; unmistakablyのこって remain; be left多少たしょう to some extent; to some degreeにかかる weigh on one's mindえて seem; appear (to)往来おうらい street; road度毎たびごとに each time; every timeあばたづら pockmarked face勘定かんじょうして count; calculate今日きょう this day; today何人なんにん how many people出逢であって met; saw; encounteredぬし ownerおとこ male; manおんな female; woman場所ばしょ place小川おがわまち Ogawa-machi (place name)勧工場かんこうば marketplace; shopping district上野うえの Ueno (place name)公園こうえん parkかれ he; him日記にっき diaryつけんである have been noted; have been enteredかんする with regard to; concerning智識ちしき knowledge; informationけっして by (no) meansだれにも to (no) oneゆずるまい have no intention to concede確信かくしんして be sure of; be resolute; be determined洋行ようこうがえり returned from the West友人ゆうじん friendた came; visited; calledおり time; occasionきみ you (used here as form of address)西洋人せいようじん Westernersいた asked; enquiredくびげながら tilting one's head (as a sign of considering something)かんがえた considered; thought about滅多めったにない very seldom; rareすこし somewhat; to some degreeねんれて for good measureえした asked in response; asked in following upのない indifferent; uninterestedかお face; (facial) expression乞食こじき beggarたちぼう tramp; vagrant (i.e., someone standing around waiting for a job)教育きょういく educationひと people; personsこたえたら answered; responded日本にほん Japan 哲学者てつがくしゃ the philosopher (referring here to a recent visitor)意見いけん opinion; view落雲館らくうんかん Rakuunkan (name of a private middle school)喧嘩けんか quarrel; fight; confrontationおもとまった gave up on; decided to desist fromその after that; thereafter書斎しょさい study; den; reading roomこもって shut oneself in; hole up inなにか something or other忠告ちゅうこく advice; admonishmentれて accept; listen to; take into account静坐せいざ sitting calmly and quietlyうちに while ...霊活れいかつなる is spiritually aware精神せいしん mind; soul; heart消極的しょうきょくてきに passively修養しゅうようする train; cultivateかもれない it may be that ...元来がんらい by nature; fundamentallyちいさな faint of heart人間にんげん person; manくせに though ...; being ...陰気いんきな melancholy懐手ふところで with one's hands in one's pockets; idlenessろくな decent; worthy; satisfactory結果けっか result; outcomeよう materialize; appear英書えいしょ English (language) booksしちれて pawn芸者げいしゃ geisha; female entertainer喇叭節らっぱぶし Rappabushi (name of a popular song)ならった practice; learnほう alternative (of two choices)はるかに far and away; by farいた realized偏屈へんくつな narrow-minded; stubbornねこ catく listen to気遣きづかいはない there's little likelihood ...勝手かってに as one likes; as one pleases五六ごろくにち five or six days近寄ちかよりもせずに without approaching; steering clear ofくらした lived; got along; passed one's time