I am a Cat (Chapter 6 b) Section 192 Study Guide

Practice text with full furigana

本当ほんとうさ。げんぼくのおやじがけたことがある。そのとき僕はなんでもむっくらいだったろう。おやじといっしょに油町あぶらまちから通町とおりちょう散歩さんぽと、むこからおおきなこえをしておんなはよしかな、女の子はよしかなと怒鳴どなってくる。僕等ぼくらがちょうど丁目ちょうめかどと、伊勢源いせげん呉服屋ごふくやまえでそのおとこわした。伊勢源と云うのは間口まぐち十間じゅっけんくら戸前とまえあって静岡しずおか第一だいいちの呉服屋だ。今度こんどったら来給きたまいまでも歴然れきぜんのこっている。立派りっぱうちだ。その番頭ばんとう甚兵衛じんべえと云ってね。いつでも御袋おふくろ三日みっかまえくなりましたと云うようなかおをして帳場ちょうばところひかえている。甚兵衛くんとなにははつさんという二十四五にじゅうしごわかしゅすわっているが、この初さんがまた雲照うんしょう律師りっし帰依きえして三七さんしち二十一にじゅういちにちあいだ蕎麦湯そばゆだけでとおしたと云うようなあお顔をしている。初さんの隣りがちょうどんでこれは昨日きのう火事かじされたかのごとく愁然しゅうぜん算盤そろばんもたしている。長どんとならんで……」「きみは呉服屋のはなしをするのか、ひとの話をするのか」「そうそう人売りの話しをやっていたんだっけ。じつこの伊勢源についてもすこぶる奇譚きだんがあるんだが、それは割愛かつあいして今日きょうは人売りだけにしておこう」「人売りもついでにやめるがいい」「どうしてこれが二十世紀にじっせいき今日こんにち明治めいじ初年しょねんころ女子じょし品性ひんせい比較ひかくについてだいなる参考さんこうになる材料ざいりょうだから、そんなに容易たやすやめられるものか――それで僕がおやじと伊勢源のまえまでくると、れい人売りがおやじを見て旦那だんな女の子の仕舞物しまいものはどうです、やすけておくからっておくんなさいと云いながら天秤棒てんびんぼうをおろしてあせいているのさ。見るとかごなかには前に一人ひとりうしに一人両方りょうほうとも二歳にさいばかりの女の子がれてある。おやじはこの男にむかって安ければ買ってもいいが、もうこれぎりかいとと、へえ生憎あいにく今日はみんなつくしてたったふたになっちまいました。どっちでもからっとくんなさいなと女の子を両手りょうてって唐茄子とうなすなんのようにおやじのはなさきと、おやじはぽんぽんとあたまたたいて見て、ははあかなりなおとだと云った。それからいよいよ談判だんぱんはじまって散々さんざ価切ねぎったすえおやじが、買っても好いがしなはたしかだろうなと聞くと、ええ前のやつ始終しじゅう見ているから間違まちがいはありませんがね後ろにかついでるほうは、なにしろがないんですから、ことによるとひびがってるかもれません。こいつの方ならえないかわりに価段ねだんいておきますと云った。僕はこの問答もんどういまだに記憶きおくしているんだがその時小供こどもごころに女と云うものはなるほど油断ゆだんのならないものだとおもったよ。――しかし明治三十さんじゅうはちねんの今日こんな馬鹿ばか真似まねをして女の子を売ってあるくものもなし、はなして後ろへ担いだ方は険呑けんのんだなどと云う事も聞かないようだ。だから、僕のかんがえではやはり泰西たいせい文明ぶんめい御蔭おかげ女の品行ひんこうもよほど進歩しんぽしたものだろうと断定だんていするのだが、どうだろう寒月かんげつ君」

Rough translation

"It is the truth. In fact, my father once bargained for one. I must have been about six at the time. We were walking from Abura-machi toward Tōri-chō when a vendor approached from the opposite direction. 'Girls for sale! Girls for sale!' he sang out in a loud voice. Just as we reached the 2-chōme corner, where the Isegen drapery stands, we met up with the man. Isegen has a block-long storefront and five warehouses. It's the foremost drapery in all of Shizuoka. Next time you're there, you must stop and see it. It's little changed from back in the day. A grand establishment. The head clerk was Jinbei. He was always there at the front desk, and always with a sullen look, as though he'd just lost his mother. Next to Jinbei sat Hatsu-san, a younger companion in his mid twenties. Hatsu-san was pale in complexion. One imagined him a disciple of Unshō Risshi who, in accordance with the 37 Practices of Bodhisattva, ate nothing but soba broth for 21 days at a time. Next to Hatsu-san was Chōdon, hunched over his abacus with a sorrowful air, as though he'd just been burned out of house and home. Along with Chōdon ..." "What's the topic here, the drapery or the selling of girls?" "Ah, yes. It's the selling of girls, isn't it? I've got some Isegen stories you wouldn't believe, but we'll have to save those for another day. Back to the girls." "You can save all your stories for another day." "Certainly not. We're comparing the character of girls today, in this twentieth century, to the character of those of the early Meiji years. To that end, what I'm relating is highly relevant and can't be easily dispensed with -- so anyway, my father and I are in front of Isegen, and the vendor addresses my father. 'I've several unsold girls, and I'm ready to deal. How 'bout one?' So saying, he lowers his shoulder pole and dabs the sweat from his brow. On his pole are two baskets, one forward and one aft. In each basket is a small girl of two or so. My father tells the vendor he might be interested if the price is right. He asks if there are any others, and the vendor replies that, regrettably, they're all sold out and he's down to these last two. 'Either one is fine, but do take one.' With that, he holds one out to my father, cradling it in both hands like a pumpkin. My father gives it a couple of raps on the head and expresses his satisfaction with the sound. The bargaining begins, and the vendor yields on price. 'I might take one,' my father tells him, 'but how do I know which one's good?' 'I've had my eye on the one in front,' the vendor replies, 'so that one I can vouch for. I don't have eyes in the back of my head, so the one behind may well be no good. I can't vouch for her, so I'll let her go for less.' I still remember this exchange. It occurred to me at the time, in my child's mind, that one can't be too careful when it comes to girls. -- Today, however, in this 38th year of Meiji, we don't suffer the absurdity of girl vendors. Nor do we hear talk that a girl out of sight, slung back over one's shoulder, is a dubious thing. One can credit Westernization, as I see it, with elevating the character of today's girls over those of yore. Wouldn't you say, Kangetsu?"

Vocabulary

本当ほんとう truth; reality; factげんに actually; in factぼく I; meけた set a price on; negotiated forことがある has ...とき time; occasionなんでも anyhow; at any rateむっつ six (years old)油町あぶらまち Abura-machi (place name)通町とおりちょう Tōri-chō (place name)散歩さんぽ walk; strollる go out; set outむこう far; yonder; the other directionおおきな big; loud (voice)こえ voiceおんな girl怒鳴どなって call; cry (out)僕等ぼくら we; us丁目ちょうめ second block or district (of a town)かど cornerる come (to); arrive (at)伊勢源いせげん Isegen (name of a shop)う called ...呉服屋ごふくや fabrics shop; draperまえ front ofおとこ man; fellowわした ran into; encountered間口まぐち frontage; width (of a building)十間じゅっけん 10 ken (about 18 meters; about 20 yards)くら warehouse; storehouse戸前とまえ five (storehouses)静岡しずおか Shizuoka (place name)第一だいいち first; foremost今度こんど next timeったら go to; visit来給きたまえ go and take a lookいま now; at present歴然れきぜんと clearly; unmistakablyのこって be left; remain立派りっぱな grand; splendid番頭ばんとう (head) clerk甚兵衛じんべえ Jinbei (name)御袋おふくろ one's mother三日みっかまえ three days priorくなりました passed away; diedかお face; (facial) expression帳場ちょうば front deskところ location; placeひかえている be in waiting; be holding one's postくん (suffix of familiarity for males)となり proximity; next toはつさん Hatsu-san (name)二十四五にじゅうしご twenty four or twenty fiveわかい youngしゅ companionすわっている be seated; assume one's position雲照うんしょう律師りっし Unshō Risshi (priest in highly disciplined Shingon sect of Buddhism; 1827-1909)帰依きえして adhere to; follow三七さんしち 37 (refers to the "37 Practices of a Bodhisattva")二十一にじゅういちにち 21 daysあいだ interval; span (of time)蕎麦湯そばゆ soba water; water left in the pot after one has boiled sobaとおした got by (on)あおい pale (facial color)ちょうどん Chōdon (name)昨日きのう the day prior火事かじ fire; conflagrationされた was burned out of house and home愁然しゅうぜんと with a subdued or sorrowful air算盤そろばん abacusもたして hunch overならんで be lined up withきみ youはなし story; talk ofひとり human traffickingじつは actually; in fact奇譚きだん curious tales割愛かつあいして (reluctantly) omit; leave out; spare今日きょう today; this day二十世紀にじっせいき twentieth century今日こんにち this day; the present day明治めいじ Meiji (Meiji era; 1868 - 1912)初年しょねん early years (of a reign or era)ころ around; about (a certain time)女子じょし women; girls品性ひんせい character比較ひかく comparisonだいなる great; tremendous参考さんこう (point of) reference材料ざいりょう material; information容易たやすく easily; simply; lightlyまえ front ofれいの the aforementioned旦那だんな sir仕舞物しまいもの unsold goodsやすけておく discount; sell for cheapっておくんなさい please buy天秤棒てんびんぼう shoulder (carrying) poleあせ sweatいて wipeかご basketなか inside; within一人ひとり one (person)うしろ behind; in back両方りょうほうとも both; the two of them二歳にさい two years oldれてある had been placed (in)むかって turn towardく ask; inquire生憎あいにく unfortunately; regrettablyつくして sell out; exhaust one's stockふたつ two (things)い good; fineっとくんなさいな please take両手りょうて both handsって hold唐茄子とうなす squash; pumpkinなんぞ or some such thingはな noseさき tipす hold out; presentあたま headたたいて tap at; knock onおと sound談判だんぱん negotiations; bargainingはじまって start; begin散々さんざ thoroughly; completely (usually 散々さんざん)価切ねぎった bargained down the priceすえ end; result; consequenceしな article; item; goodsやつ thing; object始終しじゅう all the time; constantly間違まちがいはありません certainly; without doubtかついでる carry on one's shoulderほう alternative (of two choices)なにしろ at any rateがない can't see; can't watchひびがってる has a flaw; is defectiveかもれません it might be that ...えない cannot assure; can make no guaranteeかわりに in exchange for; in return for価段ねだん price; cost (usually 値段ねだん)いて reduce; lessen; lower問答もんどう dialogue; exchangeいまだに still; yet記憶きおくして remember; can recall小供こどもごころ the mind of a child (usually 子供こどもごころ)油断ゆだんのならない treacherous; deceptive; untrustworthyおもった thought三十さんじゅうはちねん thirty eighth year馬鹿ばかな foolish; absurd; idiotic真似まね behavior; conductはなして take one's eye off of険呑けんのん dubious; undependable; untrustworthyかんがえ idea; thinking泰西たいせい文明ぶんめい Western civilization; Western culture御蔭おかげで due to; thanks to品行ひんこう (moral) conduct; behavior; deportment進歩しんぽした progressed; advanced断定だんていする judge; conclude寒月かんげつ Kangetsu (name)