I am a Cat (Chapter 10 a) Section 314 Study Guide

Practice text with full furigana

吾輩わがはい主人しゅじんちがって元来がんらい早起はやおきほうだから、このときすでに空腹くうふくになってまいった。とうていうちのものさえぜんむかわぬさきから、ねこ身分みぶんをもってあさめしりつけるわけのものではないが、そこが猫のあさましさで、もしやけむりったしるにおい鮑貝あわびがいなかから、うまそうにあがっておりはすまいかおもと、じっとしていられなくなった。はかないことを、はかないとりながらたのにするときは、ただその頼みだけをあたまの中にえがいてうごかずにちついている方が得策とくさくであるが、さてそうはかぬもので、こころねがい実際じっさいが、か合わぬか是非ぜひとも試験しけんしてたくなる。試験して見ればかなら失望しつぼうするにきまってる事ですら、最後さいご失望をみずか事実じじつうえ受取うけとまでは承知しょうち出来できものである。吾輩はたまらなくなって台所だいどころ這出はいだした。まずへっついかげにある鮑貝の中をのぞいて見るとあんたがわずゆうつくしたまま、闃然げきぜんとしてあやしきひかり引窓ひきまど初秋はつあき日影ひかげにかがやいている。御三おさんはすでにたてめしを、御櫃おはちうつしていま七輪しちりんにかけたなべの中をかきまぜつつある。かま周囲しゅういにはがってながれだしたこめの汁が、かさかさに幾条いくすじとなくこびりついて、あるものは吉野紙よしのがみりつけたごとくに見える。もう飯も汁も出来ているのだからわせてもよさそうなものだと思った。こんな時に遠慮えんりょするのはつまらないはなしだ、よしんば自分じぶんのぞみとおにならなくったって元々もともとそんかないのだから、おもって朝飯あさめし催促さいそくをしてやろう、いくら居候いそうろうの身分だってひもじいかわはない。とかんがさだめた吾輩はにゃあにゃあとあまえるごとく、うったうるがごとく、あるいはまたえんずるがごとくいて見た。御三はいっこうかえりみる景色けしきがない。うまれついての多角たかくだから人情にんじょううとのはとうから承知しょうちの上だが、そこをうまくてて同情どうじょうおこさせるのが、こっちの手際てぎわである。

Rough translation

Unlike the master, I'm by nature an early riser, and even at this hour, my stomach's already grumbling. As the lowly cat, I've no hope of being fed in advance of the family members. Such is a cat's lot, but it's not inconceivable that enticing vapors could already be wafting up from some savory broth in my clamshell bowl, and just the thought of this spurs me to my feet. When one's hope lies in fickle fantasies, and one knows them to be fickle, it's best to stay put and just relish the hope for hope's sake. That being said, I can't refrain from searching out the visons playing in my mind's eye. Even in the face of certain disappointment, there's no peace to be had until that disappointment is met head on. Unable to contain myself, I crawl out to the kitchen. First stop is my clamshell bowl in back of the stove. As expected, it's licked clean from the evening prior. In silence and stillness, it glows with the weak rays of early autumn sun that spill through the opening over the transom. Osan has scooped freshly-cooked rice into the wooden serving vessel and is stirring a pot on the earthenware brazier. The outside of the iron pot is adorned with myriad streaks of dried-on rice broth that's leaked down its sides, looking in places like it's been plastered over with yoshino paper. As the rice is done and the pot well along, the time is right, as I see it, for feeding the cat. Where nothing is ventured, nothing is gained, and there's no harm in trying. I may not get what I'm after, but at least I'm going to try. Though a free lodger in this house, I'm hungry nonetheless. Thus determined, I let loose with a series of mews, buttering up, appealing, and also tinged with a hint of discontent. Osan pays me no heed. She's a homely thing, and always has been, and never been known to exude any feminine warmth. It's my mission, though, to cry up to her just so and elicit some sympathy.

Vocabulary

吾輩わがはい I; me; myself主人しゅじん masterちがって different from; unlike元来がんらい by nature早起はやおき rising earlyほう alternative (of two choices)とき time空腹くうふく empty stomach; hungerまいった be in a bad way; be out of sortsぜん (meal serving) trayむかわぬ not head toward; not turn towardねこ cat身分みぶん status; standingあさめし morning meal; breakfastりつける get; obtain; come byわけ situation; circumstanceあさましさ wretchedness; miseryけむり fumes; vaporsった risen up fromしる soup; brothにおい smell; aroma鮑貝あわびがい abalone shell (used as feeding dish)なか inside; withinあがっておりはすまいか might not perhaps be rising up (from)おもう think; consider; imagineはかない fleeting; fickleこと situation; stateりながら (while) knowingたのみ trust; hopeあたま head; mindえがいて picture; imagineうごかずに without moving; without stirringちついている remain calm; lay low得策とくさく best course of actionかぬ is not an option; won't doもの thingこころ one's heart; one's mindねがい desire; wish実際じっさい reality; actualityう match; agree是非ぜひとも by all means; at any cost試験しけんしてたくなる can't refrain from checkingかならず invariably; without fail失望しつぼうする be disappointed最後さいごの final; definativeみずから personally; by one's own initiative事実じじつ truth; reality; factうえに with respect to; regarding受取うけとる receive; accept; acknowledge承知しょうち出来できん can't accept; can't be satisfied台所だいどころ kitchen這出はいだした crawl out (to)へっつい cooking stove; hearthかげ shadow; shelter ofのぞいて peek at; take a quick lookあんたがわず not unexpectedly; as anticipatedゆうべ the evening priorつくした licked clean闃然げきぜんとして in silence and stillnessあやしき unsteady; unsureひかり light引窓ひきまど skylight (opened and closed by pulling a cord)る leak through初秋はつあき early autumn日影ひかげ sunshine; sunlight御三おさん Osan (the maidservant)たての freshly-cookedめし rice御櫃おはち ohachi; ohitsu (wooden vessel for keeping warm rice)うつして transfer (to)いまや just now七輪しちりん earthen charcoal brazier (for cooking)なべ pot; panかま iron pot周囲しゅうい edges; peripheryがって boil up; boil overながれだした began to flow; began to runこめ rice幾条いくすじとなく in myriad streaks吉野紙よしのがみ yoshino paperりつけた affixed; pasted toわせて let eat; feed遠慮えんりょする hold back; refrainはなし situation; circumstanceよしんば even if自分じぶんの one's ownのぞみとおり as one wishes; as one hopes元々もともとで by nature; fundamentallyそんかない (there's) nothing to loseおもって resolutely; decisively朝飯あさめし morning meal; breakfast催促さいそく pressing; urging; encouragement居候いそうろう non-paying lodger; freeloaderひもじい starving; ravenousかわり difference; distinctionかんがさだめた reasoned out; concludedあまえる lean onうったうる appeal toえんずる display one's discontentいて cry; mewかえりみる concern oneself with; take notice of景色けしき appearance; indicationうまれついての innate; by nature多角たかく awkward-looking; homely (woman)人情にんじょう humanity; human emotionうとい knowing little (of); unfamiliar (with)とうから for a long time承知しょうち knowledge; awarenessてて cry up to同情どうじょう sympathyおこさせる stir up; evoke手際てぎわ skill; craft