I am a Cat (Chapter 9 a) Section 282 Study Guide

Practice text with full furigana

こんどはかおよこけて半面はんめん光線こうせんけたところかがみうつして。「こうして見ると大変たいへん目立めだ。やっぱりまともにの向いてるほうたいらに見える。奇体きたいものだなあ」と大分だいぶ感心かんしんした様子ようすであった。それからみぎをうんとのばして出来できだけ鏡を遠距離えんきょりってってしずかに熟視じゅくししている。「このくらいはなれるとそんなでもない。やはり近過ちかすぎるといかん。――顔ばかりじゃないなんでもそんなものだ」とさとったようなことをつぎに鏡をきゅう横にした。そうしてはな中心ちゅうしんにしてひたいまゆ一度いちどこの中心にむかってくしゃくしゃとあつめた。るからに不愉快ふゆかい容貌ようぼう出来上できあがったおもったら「いやこれは駄目だめだ」と当人とうにんがついたと見えて早々そうそうやめてしまった。「なぜこんなに毒々どくどくしい顔だろう」と少々しょうしょう不審ふしんていで鏡を眼を三寸さんずんばかりの所へせる。右の人指ひとさしゆび小鼻こばなでて、撫でたゆびあたまつくえうえにあった吸取すいとがみの上へ、うんとしつける。吸い取られた鼻のあぶらるくかみの上へした。いろいろなげいをやるものだ。それから主人しゅじんは鼻の膏を塗抹とまつした指頭しとうてんじてぐいと右眼うがん下瞼したまぶた裏返うらがえしてぞくべっかんこう見事みごとやって退けた。あばたを研究けんきゅうしているのか、鏡とにらくらをしているのかそのへんは少々不明ふめいである。おお主人ことだから見ているうちにいろいろになると見える。それどころではない。もし善意ぜんいをもって蒟蒻こんにゃく問答もんどうてき解釈かいしゃくしてやれば主人は見性けんしょう自覚じかく方便ほうべんとしてかように鏡を相手あいてにいろいろな仕草しぐさえんじているのかもれない。すべて人間にんげんの研究と云うものは自己じこを研究するのである。天地てんちと云い山川さんせんと云い日月じつげつと云い星辰せいしんと云うもみな自己の異名いみょうぎぬ。自己をいて研究すべき事項じこう誰人たれびとにも見出みいだわけだ。もし人間が自己以外いがいこと出来できたら、飛び出す途端とたんに自己はなくなってしまう。しかも自己の研究は自己以外にだれしてくれるものはない。いくらてやりたくても、もらいたくても、出来ない相談そうだんである。それだから古来こらい豪傑ごうけつはみんな自力じりきで豪傑になった。ひとかげ自己がわかくらいなら、自分じぶん代理だいり牛肉ぎゅうにくわしてかたやわらかい判断はんだんの出来る訳だ。あしたほうゆうべみちを聴き、梧前ごぜん灯下とうか書巻しょかんを手にするのは皆この自証じしょう挑撥ちょうはつするの方便のに過ぎぬ。人の法のうち、べんずる道のうち、乃至ないし五車ごしゃにあまる蠧紙とし堆裏たいりに自己が存在そんざいする所以ゆえんがない。あれば自己の幽霊ゆうれいである。もっともある場合ばあいにおいて幽霊は無霊むれいよりまさかも知れない。かげえば本体ほんたい逢着ほうちゃくするときないともかぎらぬおおくの影は大抵たいてい本体を離れぬものだ。この意味いみで主人が鏡をひねくっているなら大分はなせるおとこだ。エピクテタスなどを鵜呑うのみにして学者がくしゃぶるよりもはるかにましだと思う。

Rough translation

Next he turns to the side, letting the light strike his face in profile, and views the result in the mirror. "Only makes them all the more prominent. Looks clearer when facing the light. Curious thing." He seems to be fully engrossed. He extends his right hand, holding the mirror as far from his face as possible, and quietly studies the reflection. "Not so bad at a distance. Close up is the problem. -- Same can be said of anything, not just faces." He speaks as though citing some newly-discovered truth. Next he flips the mirror onto its side. Putting the base of his nose at the center of the frame, he scrunches his eyes, cheeks, and brows in closer to his nose. Immediately unhappy with the outcome, he mutters, "Nope. No good," and promptly desists. "How can a face be so unsightly?" He draws the mirror in closer, as if doubting his own eyes. With his right index finger, he rubs the flat of his nose. Then he presses the tip of that same finger against a sheet of blotting paper on his desktop. A circle appears where oil has been transferred from nose to finger to paper. He's just getting started. He turns over his fingertip, still daubed with oil from his nose, and draws down the lower lid of his right eye, executing to perfection a common gesture of contempt. At this point, it's no longer clear whether he's examining his pockmarks or merely facing off against the mirror. It would appear, on the surface at least, that the master's short attention span has the better of him, but such is not the case. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, one could interpret his actions as a path, albeit a meandering one, to self awareness through dialog with one's own gestures and expressions as reflected in the mirror. All human studies are studies of the self. Study of heaven and earth, of mountains and streams, of the sun and the moon, of celestial bodies, are all but proxies for study of self. No man is capable of setting aside his own self in the interest of other entities. The moment he jumps outside of himself is the moment he loses himself. To liberate another from his self, or be to be liberated by another, however much wished for, is simply not an option. Back to antiquity, it naturally follows, all great men have been self made. It's no more possible to know oneself through the good offices of others than it is to taste and judge the quality of beef through the chewing and swallowing of another. Morning sermons, evening lectures, and books read by lamplight are all but implements, tools to spur the process of self discovery. One's true self can never be found in the words of a sermon, the teachings of a sage, or the pages in heaps of moth-eaten tomes. What seems to be self is merely an apparition. Even an apparition, though, is preferable to a blank void. Chasing shadows is not necessarily futile, as a shadow tends to fall in proximity to its source. Most shadows, as it turns out, connect to their sources. In this vein, the master's twisting and turning of his mirror is not so far off base. Better this course than putting on scholarly airs and regurgitating Epictetus.

Vocabulary

かお faceよこに to the side; sidewaysけて turn (toward)半面はんめん face in profile光線こうせん (rays of) lightけた received; caughtところ sceneかがみ mirrorうつしてる reflect and see; try reflecting大変たいへん very much; a great deal目立めだつ stand out; be prominent sun; sunlightほう alternative (of two choices)たいら flat; even; smooth奇体きたいな odd; curiousもの thing大分だいぶ very much; a great deal感心かんしんした was impressed; was taken with様子ようす appearance; lookみぎ right (side) handのばして extend出来できる can do; can accomplish遠距離えんきょり far distanceってって take; move; carry (to)しずかに quietly熟視じゅくしして concentrate on; scrutinizeはなれる be separated; be distant近過ちかすぎる too close; too nearなんでも anything; everythingさとった became aware of; realizedう say; stateつぎ nextきゅうに suddenly; abruptlyはな nose root; base中心ちゅうしん middle; center eyesひたい forehead; browまゆ eyebrows一度いちどに at onceむかって send towardくしゃくしゃと crumpled; wrinkledるからに at a glance不愉快ふゆかいな unpleasant; displeasing容貌ようぼう looks; appearance; features出来上できあがった was finished; was formedおもったら thought; decided駄目だめ no good; hopeless; in vain当人とうにん the person in question; he himselfがついた realized早々そうそう quickly; immediately毒々どくどくしい odious; loathsome少々しょうしょう somewhat; to some degree不審ふしん doubt; distrustてい appearance; airる be distant from三寸さんずん 3 sun (about 10 cm; about 4 inches)せる draw near; bring closer人指ひとさしゆび pointer finger; index finger小鼻こばな wings of the noseでて rubゆびあたま fingertipつくえ deskうえ top; surface吸取すいとがみ blotting paperしつける press againstあぶら oilるく in circular formかみ paperした surfaced; appearedげい arts; crafts主人しゅじん master塗抹とまつした smeared; daubed指頭しとう fingertipてんじて turn; reposition右眼うがん right eye下瞼したまぶた lower eyelid裏返うらがえして turn over; reverseぞくう to use the common termべっかんこう making a face by pulling down one's eyelid (= べかこう)見事みごとに in splendid formやって退けた pulled off; managed研究けんきゅうして study; investigateにらくら staring contest; staredownそのへん on that matter不明ふめい unclear; uncertainおおい fickle; flightyこと about; concerning善意ぜんい favorable sense蒟蒻こんにゃく問答もんどう meandering dialogueてきに in the manner of解釈かいしゃくして interpret見性けんしょう自覚じかく self consciousness and self awareness方便ほうべん expedient; means相手あいて other party仕草しぐさ gestures; behaviors; mannerismsえんじて act out; performかもれない it may be that ...人間にんげん human beings; men自己じこ oneself天地てんち heaven and earth山川さんせん mountains and rivers日月じつげつ the sun and the moon星辰せいしん celestial bodies; starsみな all; everything異名いみょう alternate name; aliasぎぬ is nothing more than ...いて set aside; excludeに other than; apart from事項じこう items; topics誰人たれびとにも (no) one見出みいだぬ cannot find; will not discoverわけ situation; case以外いがい separate from; apart fromす jump over; rush out (to)こと出来できたら was able to ...途端とたん as soon as; at the moment ofだれも (no) oneもの personてやりたくて want to do (on behalf of another)もらいたくて want to have done相談そうだん ask; request; conversation古来こらい of old; in times past豪傑ごうけつ heros; great men自力じりき one's own effortsひと a person; anotherかげで due to; owing toわかる be understood自分じぶん oneself代理だいり agent; proxy; stand-in牛肉ぎゅうにく beefわして have eatかたい toughやわらかい tender判断はんだん judgment; determination; conclusionあした morningsほう (Buddhist) sermonsき listen to; hearゆうべ eveningsみち (Buddhist) teachings梧前ごぜん灯下とうかに before a table and under a lamp (i.e. in a reading room)書巻しょかん books; writings自証じしょう self-discovery挑撥ちょうはつする provoke; arouse; stimulate tools; implements; utensilsく advocate; preach other (persons); othersべんずる deliver; talk on乃至ないしは and; or五車ごしゃ five cart(loads)蠧紙とし堆裏たいり piles of moth-eaten books存在そんざいする exist所以ゆえん reason; grounds幽霊ゆうれい ghost; spirit; specter場合ばあい case; instance無霊むれい lack of spirit; soullessまさる be superior to; be better thanかげ shadow; traceえば follow; chase本体ほんたい substance; real form逢着ほうちゃくする encounter; come face-to-face withとき time; occasionないともかぎらぬ can't be ruled out; may well come aboutおおくの many; most大抵たいてい generally; for the most part意味いみ meaning; senseはなせる understanding; sensibleおとこ man; fellowエピクテタス Epictetus (Greek Stoic philosopher; c. 50–135 AD)鵜呑うのみにして swallow hook, line, and sinker; accept without questioning学者がくしゃぶる assume the airs of a scholarはるかに far and away; by far