I am a Cat (Chapter 5 b) Section 164 Study Guide

Practice text with full furigana

しかし一歩いっぽ退しりぞいてかんがえてと、かくまでに彼等かれら吾輩わがはい軽蔑けいべつするのも、あながち無理むりではない大声たいせい俚耳りじらず陽春ようしゅん白雪はくせつにはするものすくなしたとえふるむかしからあることだ。形体けいたい以外いがい活動かつどうを見るあたわざるものむかって己霊これい光輝こうきを見よとゆるは、坊主ぼうずかみせまがごとく、まぐろ演説えんぜつをして見ろとがごとく、電鉄でんてつ脱線だっせん要求ようきゅうするがごとく、主人しゅじん辞職じしょく勧告かんこくするごとく、三平さんぺいかねの事を考えるなと云うがごときものである。必竟ひっきょう無理な注文ちゅうもんぎん。しかしながらねこといえども社会的しゃかいてき動物どうぶつである。社会的動物である以上いじょういかにたかみずか標置ひょうちするとも、程度ていどまでは社会と調和ちょうわしてかねばならん。主人や細君さいくん乃至ないしさん三平さんぺいづれが吾輩を吾輩相当そうとう評価ひょうかしてくれんのは残念ざんねんながらいたかたがないとして、不明ふめい結果けっかかわいで三味線しゃみせんばしにくきざんで多々良たたらくんぜんのぼような無分別むふんべつをやられては由々ゆゆしき大事だいじである。吾輩はあたまをもって活動かつどうすべき天命てんめいけてこの娑婆しゃば出現しゅつげんしたほどの古今来ここんらいの猫であれば、非常ひじょう大事な身体からだである。千金せんきん堂陲どうすいせずとのことわざもある事なれば、このんで超邁ちょうまいそうとしていたずらに吾身ごしん危険きけんもとむるのはたん自己じこわざわいなるのみならず、またおおいに天意てんいそむわけである。猛虎もうこ動物園どうぶつえんれば糞豚ふんとんとなきょ鴻雁こうがん鳥屋とりや生擒いけどらるれば雛鶏すうけいまないたおなじゅうす庸人ようじん相互あいごする以上はくだって庸猫ようびょうせざるべからず。庸猫たらんとすればねずみらざるべからず。――吾輩はとうとう鼠をとることめた

Rough translation

On the other hand, when I step back and look at the big picture, it's little wonder they disdain me. As the old sayings go, "Noble words are lost on the masses," and "Few can match rhythm to verses of springtime and white snows." How can one exhort this lot, who only see what's plain to the eye, to treasure the splendor of the soul? One might just as well ask a shaven monk to tie up his hair, or call on a tuna to address an assembly, or urge the electric trains to jump their tracks, or counsel the master to resign his post, or challenge Sanpei to take his mind off money. At the end of the day, all are impossible asks. That being said, even cats are social creatures at heart. And being social creatures, however self-satisfied in our pride, we're compelled to conform, in some degree, to societal norms. While disappointed that the master, the wife, Osan, and Sanpei and company don't appreciate me as they should, my greater concern is that their ignorance not precipitate reckless actions and bad ends. I'd rather not be flayed and sold off to the shamisen maker, or minced and served up on Sanpei's dinner tray. I'm a highly exceptional cat, endowed with great intellect and unleashed into this world to wield it, and as such must comport myself with due care. It's said that fortune's child sits back from the edge. Similarly, to flaunt my talents through vain and reckless adventure would be an affont to Heaven and only invite calamity. The fierce tiger, if placed in a zoo, lives side by side with the filthy pig. The grand goose, once captured, shares the poulterer's cutting board with the scrawny chicken. To reside with the common man, it behooves me to act the common cat. To act the common cat, I have to catch a mouse. -- It's settled at last. I'm going to catch a mouse.

Vocabulary

一歩いっぽ one step退しりぞいて move back; withdrawかんがえてる consider; think about彼等かれら they; them吾輩わがはい I; me; myself軽蔑けいべつする scorn; disdainあながち (not) entirely無理むりではない not without reason大声たいせい俚耳りじらず noble words are lost on the masses陽春ようしゅん白雪はくせつにはするものすくなし few can set song to the verses of springtime and white snowsたとえ sayings; figures of speechふるい old; ancientむかし bygone timesこと situation; circumstance形体けいたい shape; figure; form以外いがい apart from; other than; outside of活動かつどう activity; actionあたわざる are unable to ...もの people; folkむかって turn (toward)己霊これい your souls光輝こうき brightness; splendorゆる press; coerce; compel (= いる)坊主ぼうず Buddhist priest; bonzeかみ hairえ tie up; do up (one's hair)せまる press; urge; compelまぐろ tuna演説えんぜつ speech; addressう ask; tell電鉄でんてつ electric train脱線だっせん going off the rails要求ようきゅうする demand主人しゅじん master辞職じしょく resigning one's post勧告かんこくする advise; counsel三平さんぺい Sanpei (name; Tatara Sanpei)かね money必竟ひっきょう after all; at the end of the day注文ちゅうもん order; requestぎん is nothing more than ...; is nothing but ...ねこ cat社会的しゃかいてき social動物どうぶつ animal以上いじょうは given that ...たかく highlyみずから oneself標置ひょうちする take pride in程度ていど to some extent; in some measure調和ちょうわしてかねばならん need to be in harmony; need to comply (with)細君さいくん the wife乃至ないし orさん Osan (the maidservant)三平さんぺいづれ Sanpei and company相当そうとうに suitably; in proper measure評価ひょうかして evaluate; assess残念ざんねんながら while unfortunateいたかたがない can't be helped不明ふめい ignorance; lack of insight結果けっか result; consequenceかわ skin; hideいで strip off; flay三味線しゃみせん shamisen makerばし sell off (to)にく fleshきざんで chop; mince; carve多々良たたら Tatara (name)くん (suffix of familiarity for males)ぜん (dinner) trayのぼす serve (on)無分別むふんべつ rashness; recklessness由々ゆゆしき大事だいじ a serious matterあたま head; mind活動かつどうすべき must put into action; must execute天命てんめい Heaven's decree; mandate of Heavenけて be given; acceptこの娑婆しゃば this world; this life出現しゅつげんした appeared古今来ここんらい for all the ages非常ひじょうに very much; exceedingly身体からだ (physical) person; individual千金せんきん堂陲どうすいせず fortune's child sits back from the edge (i.e. the wealthy live a guarded life)ことわざ proverb; sayingこのんで deliberately; of one's own accord超邁ちょうまい exceptionalism; ascendancyそうとして appreciate; recognize; honor (usually そうとして)いたずらに vainly吾身ごしん one's own person危険きけん danger; perilもとむる seek; persueたんに simply自己じこ oneselfわざわい calamity; catastrophe; misfortuneおおいに very much; greatly天意てんい the will of Heaven; divine will; providenceそむく run counter to; go againstわけ situation; circumstance猛虎もうこ ferocious tiger動物園どうぶつえん zoological gardens; zooれば put; place (into)糞豚ふんとん filthy pigとなり next to; vicinity ofきょ residenceめ occupy; take up鴻雁こうがん wild goose; grand goose鳥屋とりや poulterer生擒いけどらるれば be captured live (= 生擒いけどられれば)雛鶏すうけい scrawny chickenまないた cutting boardおなじゅうす share in common (with)庸人ようじん common man相互あいごする interact (with)くだって humbly; modestly庸猫ようびょう common catせざるべからず must change; must transform (into)たらんとすれば try to be; want to beねずみ mouse; ratらざるべからず must catchことめた decided to; resolved to