I am a Cat (Chapter 10 a) Section 326 Study Guide

Practice text with full furigana

先刻さっきからこのていたらく目撃もくげきしていた主人しゅじんは、一言いちごんわずに専心せんしん自分じぶんめし、自分のしるんで、このときはすでに楊枝ようじ使つかっている最中さいちゅうであった。主人はむすめ教育きょういくかんしては絶体的ぜったいてき放任ほうにん主義しゅぎつもりとえるいま三人さんにん海老茶式部えびちゃしきぶ鼠式部ねずみしきぶかになって、三人とももうあわせたように情夫じょうふをこしらえて出奔しゅっぽんしても、やはり自分の飯を食って、自分の汁を飲んでまして見ているだろう。はたらのないことだ。しかし今のの働きのあるひと拝見はいけんすると、うそをついて人を事と、さきまわってうま眼玉めだま事と、虚勢きょせいって人をおどかす事と、かまをかけて人をおとしいれる事よりほかになにらないようだ。中学ちゅうがくなどの少年輩しょうねんはいまでが見様みよう見真似みまねに、こうしなくてははばかない心得こころえちがをして、本来ほんらいなら赤面せきめんしてしかるべきのを得々とくとく履行りこうして未来みらい紳士しんしだとおもっている。これははたらと云うのではない。ごろつきと云うのである。吾輩わがはい日本にほんねこだから多少たしょう愛国心あいこくしんはある。こんな働き手を見るたびになぐってやりたくなる。こんなものが一人ひとりでもえれば国家こっかはそれだけおとろえるわけである。こんな生徒せいとのいる学校がっこうは、学校の恥辱ちじょくであって、こんな人民じんみんのいる国家は国家の恥辱である。恥辱であるにもかかわらずごろごろ世間せけんにごろついているのは心得こころえがたいと思う。日本の人間にんげんは猫ほどの気概きがいもないと見える。なさけない事だ。こんなごろつき手にくらべると主人などははるかに上等じょうとう人間と云わなくてはならん。意気地いくじのないところが上等なのである。無能むのうなところが上等なのである。猪口才ちょこざいでないところが上等なのである。

Rough translation

The master, bearing witness to this chaos around him, has offered not a word. He's been focused on eating his own rice and drinking his own soup, and he's now picking his teeth with a toothpick. When it comes to his daughters' upbringing, the master appears to have committed himself wholeheartedly to non-intervention. All three could, before too long, be donning the shrimp-brown hakama of college girls, or a rat-gray hakama for that matter, and all three could, as if on cue, abscond with their beaus. The master, for his part, would be unperturbed, still eating his own rice and drinking his own soup. He's void of all ambition. On the other hand, when one looks at ambition in this day and age, it seems to consist of nothing more than snaring the innocent with lies, wielding shrewdness to get oneself ahead, intimidating others through false fronts, or entrapping the gullible with trickery. Middle schoolers, even from their first year, are quick to pick up on this conduct, deluding themselves that this is how one makes one's mark. What should by all rights be grounds for shame, they practice with great fanfare, imagining themselves gentlemen in the making. These are not what one can call productive citizens. They're better referred to as thugs. I'm a Japanese cat and am by no means unpatriotic. When I see such men posturing as citizens, my first instinct is to level them good with a hard smack. Each and every one is a blight on the national honor. Any school housing such students only debases itself, as does any country hosting such citizens. Despite being grounds for shame, such men these days seem to litter the landscape in ever-increasing numbers. Why is beyond me. The men of Japan, it seems, lack the mettle of the nation's cats. A wretched situation, indeed. Compared to these thugs, I have to say that the master is by far the better man. He's better for lacking in ambition. He's better for lacking in competence. And he's better for lacking in audacity.

Vocabulary

先刻さっき a short while agoていたらく predicament; mess目撃もくげきして witness; observe主人しゅじん master一言いちごんも (not) a single wordわずに without saying専心せんしん with singular purpose; with focused attention自分じぶんの one's ownめし riceい eatしる soupんで drink; sipとき time; moment楊枝ようじ toothpick使つかって use; apply最中さいちゅう in the middle ofむすめ daughters教育きょういく education; schooling; upbringingかんしては concerning; with regard to絶体的ぜったいてき absolute; unreservedly放任ほうにん noninterference; hands-off主義しゅぎ principle; mindsetる take; adoptえる appear; seemいまに before too long三人さんにん three (people)海老茶式部えびちゃしきぶ girls' school student (reference to maroon-color hakama worn by female students in Meiji period)鼠式部ねずみしきぶ rat-colored (play on previous reference to maroon-colored hakama)もうあわせたように as if on cue情夫じょうふ beau出奔しゅっぽんして run away; abscond (with)まして indifferently; without concernはたらき action; activity; achievementこと situation; case age; era; generationう is said to ...; can be said to ...ひと persons; men拝見はいけんする see; look atうそ lies; falsehoodsる lure; entrapさき ahead; in advanceまわって circle roundうま眼玉めだまく exercise shrewdness虚勢きょせいって bluff; bluster; put up a frontかまをかけて trick a person (into revealing information)おとしいれる trap; ensnare; frameなにも (no)thingらない not know; not be familiar with中学ちゅうがく middle school少年輩しょうねんはい youngsters; young ones見様みよう見真似みまね learning by imitation; following afterはばかない have no influence; make no mark心得こころえちがい misunderstanding; misconception本来ほんらい proper; rightful赤面せきめんして be embarrassed; be ashamed得々とくとくと triumphantly; proudly履行りこうして perform; execute未来みらい future紳士しんし gentlemenおもって think; believeはたら able man; productive citizenごろつき thug; hoodlum; punk吾輩わがはい I; me; myself日本にほん Japanねこ cat多少たしょう to some extent; in some small measure愛国心あいこくしん love of country; patriotic feelingsなぐってやりたくなる want to lash out at一人ひとり one personえれば increase; grow (in number)国家こっか state; country; nationおとろえる decline; decayわけ situation; case生徒せいと students学校がっこう school恥辱ちじょく disgrace; shame人民じんみん citizens; populaceにもかかわらず despite ...ごろごろ all over the place; in great numbers世間せけん the world; society心得こころえがたい is hard to grasp; is hard to accept人間にんげん people; human beings気概きがい mettle; backbone; fighting spiritなさけない miserable; deplorable; wretchedくらべる compare (to)はるかに far and away; by far上等じょうとうな superior; first-rate意気地いくじ pride; drive; willpower無能むのう incompetent; incapable猪口才ちょこざい impudent; cheeky