I am a Cat (Chapter 5 b) Section 165 Study Guide

Practice text with full furigana

せんだってじゅうから日本にほん露西亜ロシア大戦争だいせんそうをしているそうだ。吾輩わがはいは日本のねこだから無論むろん日本にほん贔負びいきである。出来得できうべくんば混成こんせいねこ旅団りょだん組織そしきして露西亜ロシアへいいてやりたいとおもくらいである。かくまでに元気げんき旺盛おうせい吾輩ことであるからねずみ一疋いっぴき二疋にひきはとろうとする意志いしさえあれば、ていてもわけなくれるむかある人当時とうじ有名ゆうめい禅師ぜんしむかって、どうしたらさとれましょういたら、猫が鼠をねらようにさしゃれとこたえたそうだ。猫が鼠をとるようにとは、かくさえすればずれっこはござらぬと意味いみである。おんなさかしゅうしてと云うことわざはあるが猫賢しゅうして鼠そこなと云う格言かくげんはまだはずだ。してればいかにかしこい吾輩のごときものでも鼠の捕れんはずはあるまい。とれんはずはあるまいどころか捕り損うはずはあるまい。いままで捕らんのは、捕りたくないからの事さ。はるはきのうのごとくれて折々おりおりかぜさそわるる花吹雪はなふぶき台所だいどころこし障子しょうじやぶからんで手桶ておけなかうかかげが、薄暗うすぐら勝手かってようランプひかしろえる今夜こんやこそ大手柄おおてがらをして、うちじゅうおどろかしてやろう決心けっしんした吾輩は、あらかじめ戦場せんじょう見廻みまわって地形ちけいんでおく必要ひつようがある。戦闘線せんとうせん勿論もちろんあまりひろかろうはずがない。畳数たたみかずにしたら四畳よじょうじきもあろうか、その一畳いちじょう仕切しきって半分はんぶんなが、半分は酒屋さかや八百屋やおや御用ごようを聞く土間どまである。へっつい貧乏びんぼう勝手かって似合にあわぬ立派りっぱものあか銅壺どうこがぴかぴかして、うし羽目板はめいた二尺にしゃくのこして吾輩の鮑貝あわびがい所在地しょざいちである。ちゃちか六尺ろくしゃく膳椀ぜんわん皿小鉢さらこばちれる戸棚とだなとなってせま台所をいとど狭く仕切って、よこむきたなすれすれたかになっている。そのした摺鉢すりばち仰向あおむかれて、摺鉢の中には小桶こおけしりが吾輩のほうを向いている。大根だいこんおろ摺小木すりこぎならんでけてあるかたわらに火消壺ひけしつぼだけが悄然しょうぜんひかえている真黒まっくろになった樽木たるき交叉こうさした真中まんなかから一本いっぽん自在じざいおろろしてさきへはひらたいおおきなかごをかける。その籠が時々ときどき風にれて鷹揚おうよううごいている。この籠はなんのためにるすのか、このうちたてには一向いっこう要領ようりょうなかったが、猫のとどかぬためわざと食物たべものをここへ入れると云う事をってから、人間にんげん意地いじわる事をしみじみかんじた

Rough translation

They say that Japan and Russia are engaged in all-out war. As a Japanese cat I'm partial, of course, to Japan. So much so that, if I could, I'd gladly assemble a cat brigade and claw those Russian soldiers. To a cat brimming so with vitality, what's a mouse or two? I could catch one in my sleep, without effort, if I made up my mind to. Long ago, a certain man turned to his Zen master and asked how best to attain enlightenment. Be like the cat, the master is said to have told him, who's set its sights on a mouse. What he meant was that the cat, once focused on its prey, doesn't come up short. There's an old proverb about a woman outsmarting herself and failing to sell the cow, but there's no comparable maxim about a cat outsmarting itself and failing to catch the mouse. Which leads me to reason that even I, clever as I am, should have no trouble catching a mouse. Not only should I have no trouble catching one, I should expect success on each and every endeavor. If I haven't yet caught one, it's simply because I've never tried.

Spring evenings fall as on the day prior, with a flurry of blossoms set adrift by a chance breeze, some drifting in through the crack in the shōji and landing in the bucket, where they float white in the dim light of the kitchen lamp. Tonight's the night I shine, when all the household marvels at my feats. In preparation, I scout out the battleground, taking in the lay of the land. The front lines, of course, are hardly vast. In terms of tatami, four or so mats, one of which is divided between the sink and the patch of bare floor where the saké vendor and greengrocer call. The cooking stove, far too grand for the kitchen it's in, sports a bright copper kettle. Between the back of the stove and the wainscotting is the strip of floor where my food bowl rests. Along the wall nearest the living room is a long cupboard with serving trays, bowls, cups, and saucers, making the cramped kitchen tighter still. On the adjacent wall are open shelves, the highest just brushing the top of the cupboard. On a lower shelf sits an earthenware mortar, face up, and in the mortar rests a small bucket whose undersurface is angled my way. A daikon grater and wooden pestle are hung side by side, and off by itself sits a charcoal pot. From the point where the blackened rafters intersect, there hangs a pothook, supporting a large, flat basket. The basket, catching the occasional breeze, sways with a gentle motion. When I first arrived in this house, the purpose of this basket eluded me. Later on, when I learned that its purpose was to keep foodstuff out of my reach, the fiendish nature of man hit home most keenly.

Vocabulary

日本にほん Japan露西亜ロシア Russia大戦争だいせんそう all-out war; full-scale war吾輩わがはい I; me; myselfねこ cat無論むろん of course日本にほん贔負びいき partial to Japan出来得できうべくんば if possible混成こんせい composite; makeshift; ad hocねこ旅団りょだん cat brigade組織そしきして organize; call together露西亜ロシアへい Russian soldiersいて scratch; clawやりたいとおもう would like to do元気げんき旺盛おうせいな brimming with vitality; full of vigorこと concerning; pertaining toねずみ mouse; rat一疋いっぴき one (animal)二疋にひき two (animals)意志いし will; intent; volitionていても even in one's sleepわけなく easilyれる can catchむかし long ago; in former times当時とうじ at that time有名ゆうめいな well-known; renowned禅師ぜんし Zen masterむかって turn (toward); addressさとれましょう manage to attain enlightenmentいたら askedねらう set sights on; pursueこたえた answered; repliedずれっこ failure; missう say; state意味いみ meaningおんなさかしゅうして the cleverness of a woman (leads to failure in selling the cow)ことわざ sayingそこなう fail to catch格言かくげん saying; maximい not be; not existしてれば in which caseかしこい clever; smartいま now; the presentはる spring; springtime daysれて come to an end; close折々おりおりの occasional; chanceかぜ breezeさそわるる be induced; be enticed (= さそわれる)花吹雪はなふぶき flurry of falling blossoms台所だいどころ kitchenこし障子しょうじ shōji with wooden panel at its baseやぶれ breach; breakんで come flying in手桶ておけ pail; bucketなか insideうかぶ floatかげ reflection; image; form薄暗うすぐらき dim; faint (light)勝手かってようの for kitchen useランプ lampひかり lightしろえる look white今夜こんや this evening; tonight大手柄おおてがら glorious feat; distinguished serviceおどろかしてやろう impress; amaze (them)決心けっしんした determined; resolved戦場せんじょう battleground見廻みまわって survey地形ちけい lay of the landんで take in必要ひつよう need; necessity戦闘線せんとうせん battle lines勿論もちろん of course; naturallyひろかろう expansive; vast畳数たたみかず number of tatami mats (units for expressing area)四畳よじょうじき four-mat area一畳いちじょう one mat仕切しきって divide; partition半分はんぶん halfながし sink酒屋さかや saké vendor八百屋やおや greengrocer御用ごよう (customer) orders土間どま earthen-floored areaへっつい cooking stove; hearth貧乏びんぼう destitute; poor勝手かって kitchen似合にあわぬ mismatched (to)立派りっぱな fine; handsome; elegantもの thingあか red銅壺どうこ copper kettleうしろ in back; behind羽目板はめいた wainscotting; wood paneling space二尺にしゃく 2 shaku (about 60 cm; about 2 feet)のこして leave; save; reserve鮑貝あわびがい abalone shell (used as feeding dish)所在地しょざいち location; place (for something)ちゃ living roomちかき near to; next to六尺ろくしゃく 6 shaku (about 1.8 meters; about 6 feet)膳椀ぜんわん皿小鉢さらこばち serving trays, bowls, cups, and saucersれる put into; store戸棚とだな cupboard; cabinetせまき narrow; cramped; confinedいとど even moreよこ side; width; breadthす extend; protrudeむきし bare; uncoveredたな shelfすれすれ grazing; skimming; almost touchingたかさ heightした below; beneath摺鉢すりばち (earthenware) mortar (for grinding)仰向あおむけ facing upwardかれて be set; be placed小桶こおけ small bucketしり undersurface; bottomほう direction大根だいこんおろし daikon grater摺小木すりこぎ wooden pestleならんで be lined up; be placed in a rowけてある have been hung; are suspendedかたわらに nearby火消壺ひけしつぼ charcoal pot (for extinguishing live coals)悄然しょうぜんと forlornly; forsakenlyひかえている wait; stand at the ready真黒まっくろ deep black樽木たるき rafters (= 垂木たるき)交叉こうさした intersected; crossed; met真中まんなか middle; center一本いっぽん one (long object)自在じざい pothook (short for 自在鉤じざいかぎ)おろろして drop; lower; suspend (from)さき tip; endひらたい flatおおきな big; largeかご basket時々ときどき from time to time; on occasionれて sway; rock鷹揚おうように easily; gentlyうごいて move; stirなんのために for what reason; to what purposeるす hangうち houseたて new arrival一向いっこう (not) at all; (not) in the least要領ようりょうなかった didn't grasp; couldn't comprehendとどかぬ not reach食物たべもの food; foodstuffって learn; come to know人間にんげん human beings; humans意地いじわるい mean in nature; of nasty spiritしみじみ keenly; deeply; to the coreかんじた felt; sensed