Ten Nights of Dreams - Section 019 Study Guide

Practice text with full furigana







Rough translation

A large man in white appeared behind me with shears and a comb. He gave me a close look. I twisted my thin mustache and asked if anything could be done with it. The man didn't answer, but tapped my head lightly with the amber comb that he held in his hand.

"How about my hair then, can you do something with it?" I asked him.

The man in white didn't answer but began to work his shears with a snipping sound.

I continued my careful watch, intent on observing everything that transpired in the mirror. However, as each snip of the shears brought black hair flying, I finally yielded and closed my eyes. The man in white asked me, "Did the good master see the goldfish seller out front?"

I told him I hadn't. The man in white said nothing further, but worked his shears industriously.

Someone yelled, "Look out!" in a loud voice. I opened my eyes and saw, beneath the sleeve of the man in white, a bicycle wheel. I saw the shafts of a rickshaw. Then the man in white clamped my head in both hands and tilted it sideways. The bicycle and the rickshaw were no longer visible. The snipping of the shears continued.

Finally, the man in white came to my side and began trimming around my ear. Hair no longer assaulted my eyes, so I could safely keep them open. A voice sang out with, "Awa mochi ya, mochi ya-a, mochi ya." A small mallet struck its mortar in purposeful rhythm as he pounded mochi. I hadn't seen an awa mochi vendor since my childhood. I longed to catch a glimpse, but the mochi vendor didn't appear in the mirror. Only the sound of his mallet reached me.


しろい white着物きもの kimono; outfitた wore; was wearingおおきな largeおとこ man自分じぶん oneself; Iうしろ behind; in back ofて come (to); arrive (at)はさみ scissors; shearsくし combって hold; haveあたま head; hairながした looked over; surveyedうすい thin; sparseひげ mustacheひねって twistものになる come to something; be worthwhileたずねた inquiredにもわずに without saying anything; without a word hand琥珀色こはくいろの amber (colored)かるく lightlyたたいた tapped いた askedなにこたえずに without answeringらしはじめた let ring かがみ mirrorうつる be reflectedかげ shape; formひとつ one (thing)のこらず without missingる watch; observeみはって keep one's eyes peeledくろい black hairんでる come flyingおそろしく frightfulじた closedった asked 旦那だんな master; boss (used here as polite form of address)おもて out front金魚売きんぎょうり goldfish seller御覧ごらんなすった saw; noticed (honorific) ない didn't see; didn't notice突然とつぜん suddenlyこえ voice危険あぶねえ watch it!; look out!ける openそで sleeveした below; beneath自転車じてんしゃ bicycle wheel人力じんりき rickshaw (short for 人力車じんりきしゃ)梶棒かじぼう shafts (of a rickshaw)おもう realized; noted両手りょうて both handsおさえて grasp; clampよこ sidewaysけた turned; directed (toward)おと sound まわって came around (to)みみ earところ place; areaはじめた began to trimまえ frontほう direction安心あんしんして without worry粟餅あわもち millet mochi (like rice cake, but made with glutinous millet)ちいさい smallきね malletうす mortar拍子ひょうしって keeping a rhythmいて pound (rice)粟餅屋あわもちや millet mochi vendor子供こども childとき time; period様子ようす situation; appearanceなか inside; withinない didn't appear