I am a Cat (Chapter 9 a) Section 281 Study Guide

Practice text with full furigana

風呂場ふろばにあるべきかがみが、しかもひとしかない鏡が書斎しょさいている以上いじょう鏡が離魂病りこんびょうかかったのかまたは主人しゅじんが風呂場からって相違そういない。持って来たとすればなんのために持って来たのだろう。あるいはれい消極的しょうきょくてき修養しゅうよう必要ひつよう道具どうぐかもれないむか学者がくしゃが何とかいう智識ちしきうたら和尚おしょう両肌りょうはだいでかわらしておられた。何をこしらえなさると質問しつもんをしたら、なにさいま鏡をつくろうおもうて一生懸命いっしょうけんめいやっておるところじゃとこたえた。そこで学者はおどろいて、なんぼ名僧めいそうでも甎を磨して鏡とすること出来できまいうたら、和尚からからとわらいながらそうか、それじゃやめよ、いくら書物しょもつんでみちはわからぬのもそんなものじゃろとののしったと云うから、主人もそんな事をかじって風呂場から鏡でも持って来て、したりがおまわしているのかも知れない。大分だいぶ物騒ぶっそうになって来たなと、そっとうかがっている。

かくとも知らぬ主人ははなはだ熱心ねっしんなる容子ようすをもって一張来いっちょうらい鏡をつめている。元来がんらい鏡というものは気味きみわるものである。深夜しんや蝋燭ろうそくててひろ部屋へやのなかで一人ひとり鏡をのぞにはよほどの勇気ゆうきがいるそうだ。吾輩わがはいなどははじめて当家とうけ令嬢れいじょうから鏡をかおまえけられたときに、はっと仰天ぎょうてんして屋敷やしきのまわりを三度さんどまわったくらいである。いかに白昼はくちゅうといえども、主人のようにかく一生懸命に見つめている以上は自分じぶんで自分の顔がこわくなるに相違ない。ただ見てさえあまり気味のいい顔じゃない。ややあって主人は「なるほどきたない顔だ」とひとごとを云った。自己じこしゅう自白じはくするのはなかなか見上みあげたものだ。様子ようすから云うとたしかに気違きちがい所作しょさだがことは真理しんりである。これがもう一歩いっぽすすと、おのれの醜悪しゅうあくな事が怖くなる。人間にんげん吾身わがみおそろしい悪党あくとうであると云う事実じじつ徹骨徹髄てっこつてつずいかんじたものでないと苦労人くろうにんとは云えない。苦労人でないととうてい解脱げだつは出来ない。主人もここまで来たらついでに「おお怖い」とでも云いそうなものであるがなかなか云わない。「なるほどきたない顔だ」と云ったあとで、なにかんがしたか、ぷうっとっぺたふくらました。そうしてふくれた頬っぺたを平手ひらて二三度にさんどたたいて見る。何のまじないだかわからない。この時吾輩は何だかこの顔にものがあるらしいと云う感じがした。よくよく考えて見るとそれは御三おさんの顔である。ついでだから御三の顔をちょっと紹介しょうかいするが、それはそれはふくれたものである。このあいださるひと穴守あなもり稲荷いなりから河豚ふぐ提灯ちょうちんをみやげに持って来てくれたが、ちょうどあの河豚提灯のようにふくれている。あまりふくれかた残酷ざんこくなので両方りょうほうとも紛失ふんしつしている。もっとも河豚のふくれるのは万遍まんべんなく真丸まんまるにふくれるのだが、お三とくると、元来の骨格こっかく多角性たかくせいであって、その骨格どおりにふくれがるのだから、まるで水気すいきになやんでいる六角ろっかく時計どけいのようなものだ。御三が聞いたらさぞおこだろうから、御三はこのくらいにしてまた主人のほうかえが、かくのごとくあらんかぎ空気くうきをもって頬っぺたをふくらませたるかれぜんもうとおのひらほっぺたを叩きながら「このくらい皮膚ひふ緊張きんちょうするあばたにつかん」とまたひとごとをいった。

Rough translation

Given that said mirror, which belongs in the bathing room, and of which there is only one, is now here in the study, it follows that either it walked itself here in some state of delirium or the master went and fetched it. Assuming the master went and fetched it, one has to wonder why. Then again, is it perhaps an essential element in his practice of quiet reflection? Long ago, a certain scholar once called on an esteemed priest, a Chishiki so-and-so. He found the esteemed priest stripped to the waist and polishing a roof tile. When he asked what the other was up to, the priest answered that he was hard at work fashioning a mirror. The scholar was taken aback. Even a renowned priest, he declared, polish though he might, can never produce a mirror from a roof tile. "Is that so?" the priest responded with a laugh. "I'll desist then. I suppose it's like you and your books. Read and read as you might, you'll never awaken your mind." The master, perhaps, having fetched the mirror from the bathing room and triumphantly tilting it this way and that, had taken some cue from this lesson. Concerned where he'll go with it, I quietly sit and watch.

The master, oblivious to my concerns, gazes intently into his prized mirror. Mirrors, by nature, are eerie things. It takes great courage, they say, to sit up late in a candle-lit room, alone with a mirror, and peer into its depths. I remember when the daughter here, for the first time, thrust a mirror in front of my face. Horrified by the sight, I tore round the house three times. Even in the full light of day, to gaze and gaze at one's own reflected face, as the master is doing, has to be unsettling. To begin with, it's hardly a sightly face. "Indeed, an offputting face," the master finally mutters to himself. I have to give the man credit for acknowledging his own ugliness. While his actions seem over the edge, his words ring true. One step further, and his own ugliness will begin to appall him. No man, until he fully recognizes in himself the terrible wretch that he is, can be said to be wise in the ways of the world. And unless he gets wise in the ways of the world, his soul is good as lost. "The horror," should be the next words out of his mouth, but they don't emerge. After "Indeed, an offputting face," thinking who-knows-what, he draws in a breath and puffs up his cheeks. He brings the flats of his hands to his puffed-up cheeks, patting them two or three times. I've no idea what this rite is about. I can't but feel though, in this moment, that this face before me is familiar. On further reflection, it comes to me. It's Osan's face. A little bit on Osan here, if I may be allowed to digress. Her face is terribly puffy. The other day, a certain caller brought the master a paper lantern, in the form of a puffer fish, from the Anamori Inari Shrine. Osan's face is no less puffy than that lantern. It's so puffy, in fact, that the eyes are all but absent. Whereas the puffer fish inflates to a perfectly round form, however, when it comes to Osan, whose underlying facial structure is multi-planar, her puffiness is far from uniform. Imagine a six-sided clock face afflicted by dropsy. Osan would take great exception to all this, so I'll leave off here and return to the master. As I was noting, the master has drawn in his maximum breath, puffed his cheeks full of air, and patted them over with the flats of his hands. "With the skin this taut, who would notice these marks?" His words, again, are directed at himself.

Vocabulary

風呂場ふろば bathing room; washroomかがみ mirrorひとつ one (thing)書斎しょさい study; den; reading roomている has come (to); is arrived (at)以上いじょうは given that ...離魂病りこんびょう somnambulism; sleepwalkingかかった suffered (from); was afflicted (with)主人しゅじん masterってた brought; carried相違そういない without doubt ...なんのために for what reason; to what endれいの the aforementioned消極的しょうきょくてき passivity; submissiveness修養しゅうよう (mental) training; self-discipline; cultivation必要ひつような essential; needed道具どうぐ tool; implementかもれない it may be that ...むかし long ago; in former times学者がくしゃ a certain scholar智識ちしき Chishiki (name; often given to Buddhist spiritual guide)うたら visited; called on和尚おしょう esteemed (Buddhist) priest両肌りょうはだいで with bare arms and chest; stripped to the waistかわら roofing tileしておられた was polishing質問しつもん question; queryいま now; at presentつくろう make; produceおもうて think (to do)一生懸命いっしょうけんめいに with utmost intensity; for all one's beingこたえた answered; repliedおどろいて be surprised; be caught off guard; be taken aback名僧めいそう noted priest; celebrated priestこと出来できまい can't possibly ...うたら said; remarkedわらいながら with a grin; with a laugh書物しょもつ booksんで readみち (the) way; pathののしった scolded; rebukedかじって caught word ofしたりがおに with a self-satisfied lookまわして wave around; wield大分だいぶ very much; a great deal物騒ぶっそう too far; over the edgeうかがって watch; examine; scrutinize 熱心ねっしんなる is ardent; is fervent; is eager容子ようす appearance; look一張来いっちょうらいの one's best and only (usually in reference to an article of clothing)つめて watch intently; fix one's eyes on元来がんらい by nature; fundamentally気味きみわるい creepy; eerie深夜しんや late at night蝋燭ろうそく candleてて set up; stand upひろい wide; spacious部屋へや room一人ひとり alone; by oneselfのぞむ look into; peer into勇気ゆうき courage; nerve吾輩わがはい I; me; myselfはじめて for the first time当家とうけ this house; this family令嬢れいじょう daughter; young ladyかお faceまえ before; in front ofけられた had thrust (upon)とき time; occasion仰天ぎょうてんして be shocked; be horrified屋敷やしき residence; grounds; premises三度さんど three timesまわった ran around; raced around白昼はくちゅう daytime; midday; broad daylight自分じぶん oneselfこわくなる become frightful; induce fearひとごと words spoken to oneself自己じこの one's ownしゅう ugliness自白じはくする recognize; acknowledge見上みあげた admirable; respectable様子ようす appearance; look気違きちがい madness; lunacy所作しょさ conduct; behavior; actionsう say; state真理しんり truth一歩いっぽ one stepすすむ advance; progressおのれの one's own醜悪しゅうあく ugliness; unsightliness人間にんげん human beings; people; men吾身わがみ I; meおそろしい terrible; dreadful; frightening悪党あくとう scoundrel; rascal; villain事実じじつ reality; fact徹骨徹髄てっこつてつずいに to the coreかんじた felt; sensed; registeredもの person; individual苦労人くろうにん worldly-wise man; man of the world解脱げだつ liberation from earthly desires; deliverance of one's soul (Buddhism)なに whatかんがした thought up; brought to mindっぺた cheeksふくらました inflated; puffed up平手ひらて palms; flats of the hand二三度にさんど two of three times; several timesたたいて tap; pat; slapまじない ritual; riteわからない don't know; can't sayた resembling; like; similar御三おさん Osan (the maidservant)紹介しょうかいする introduce; talk aboutそれはそれは very much; extremelyこのあいだ the other dayさるひと a certain person穴守あなもり稲荷いなり Anamori Inari (Shrine)河豚ふぐ puffer fish; blow fish; fugu提灯ちょうちん paper lanternふくれかた manner of inflation; state of puffiness残酷ざんこく merciless; unrelenting eyes両方りょうほうとも both紛失ふんしつして be lost; be missing万遍まんべんなく thoroughly; uniformly真丸まんまる fully round; perfectly round骨格こっかく frame; physique多角性たかくせい multi-planarどおりに in accordance withふくれがる puff up; inflate水気すいき dropsy; edema (an excess of watery fluid collecting in bodily tissue)六角ろっかく時計どけい hexagonal clock; six-sided clockおこる grow angry; get crossほう alternative (of two choices)かえる return (to)あらんかぎり as much as possible空気くうき airかれ he; himぜんもうとおり as stated previouslyのひら palms; flats of the handほっぺた cheeks皮膚ひふ skin緊張きんちょうする be under tension; be tautあばた pockmarksにつかん go unnoticedひとごと words spoken to oneself