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Chapter 2 - Pencil Sharpener

Questions, discussions and translations on Murakami's Yoru no kumozaru

RE: Chapter 2 - 鉛筆削り(あるいは幸運としての

Postby pikctsach » Fri 05.05.2006 5:47 am

I can’t find this kanji薄污い, what’s the pronunciation

I looked back the book, it was 薄汚い=うすぎたない。
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RE: Chapter 2 - 鉛筆削り(あるいは幸運としての

Postby richvh » Fri 05.05.2006 7:10 am

X)That day, I had been working at the kitchen table for the sake of something... ??

for a change of pace
W)水道関係の修理屋 (I don’t understand this either ….)
Plumber = 水道屋,配管工 ??

A waterworks connection repairman - in short, a plumber.

Here's my translation:

If it weren't for Watanabe Noboru, I would certainly have continued to use that shabby pencil sharpener, perhaps even until today. It is thanks to Watanabe Noboru that I got a shiny new pencil sharpener. Such good fortune is not common.

As soon as Watanabe Noboru entered the kitchen, his eyes fastened on that old pencil sharpener of mine. For a change of pace, I was working at the kitchen table that day. Therefore, I had placed the pencil sharpener between the soy sauce jug and the salt shaker.

While Watanabe Noboru was repairing the sink drain pipe - the fact is that he was a plumber - his eyes would continually stray to the table top. Since at that time I had no reason to know that he was an avid collector of pencil sharpeners, I had no idea what kept drawing his sharp glances to the table top. There were many things scattered about in the mess on top of the table.

"Hey, mister, that pencil sharpener sure is nice" Watanabe Noboru said when he finished repairing the pipe.

"This?" I said in surprise, as I picked up the pencil sharpener. It was an ordinary hand-operated gadget which I had been using for the more than 20 years since my middle school days, not one bit different from any other. The metal parts were rusted together, and an Astro Boy sticker had been stuck on the top. In a word, it was old and drab.

"That, sir, is known as a 1963 model Max PSD. It's extremely rare" Watanabe Noboru said. "The way the teeth meet is slightly different from other types. Therefore, the shape of the shavings is ever so slightly different."

So that's how I got a brand new, latest model pencil sharpener, and Watanabe Noboru got a 1963 model Max PSD (with Astro Boy sticker.) The fact is that Watanabe Noboru always carried a new pencil sharpener in his bag for trading. Such good fortune does not happen often in life.
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RE: Chapter 2 - 鉛筆削り(あるいは幸運としての

Postby keith712 » Fri 05.05.2006 4:50 pm

thanks Richard and Shirley... my reading of 刃のかみあわせ方...ちょっと違うんです。is wrong!!! I was scratching my head over it so I should have asked you guys about it before I leaped into the unknown. I hope coco-san is still working on it so we can get her definitive explanation...

I want to add my 2 cents worth on:

彼は水道関係の修理屋なのだ

Richard is right; Watanabe is 'in short, a plumber' but Murakami just can't be this straightforward... to get the 'flavor' of his chatty/gossipy/pedantic style I think it's best to translate all the kanji something like this:

水道 water company, water works, water pipes
関係 relation, connection
修理 repair, mend
屋  shop

literal: he is a water company connected repair shop

1st draft: his repair shop had a connection with the water company

2nd draft: his repair shop had an arrangement with the water works

or maybe:

literal: he is a repair shop with water pipe connections

1st: his repair shop had water pipe connections

2nd: his repair shop dealt in water pipes

3rd: his repair shop dealt in plumbing supplies

it just occurred to me how humorous this is... we know Watanabe is a plumber but Murakami's explanation is confusing!!!

じゃあまた
Last edited by keith712 on Fri 05.05.2006 5:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Chapter 2 - 鉛筆削り(あるいは幸運としての

Postby richvh » Fri 05.05.2006 7:47 pm

No, I think it's standard Japanese. (Waterworks connection repairman). Remember that a shop owner is known by his shop name, a 靴屋 is both a shoe store and a cobbler, etc. Also, I was told by a pen pal that my profession (electronic technician) would be 電気関係の座術者, which follows the same logic as 水道関係の修理者.
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RE: Chapter 2 - 鉛筆削り(あるいは幸運としての

Postby richvh » Fri 05.05.2006 8:08 pm

I've edited the original text of 鉛筆削り out of Shirley's post. Quoting parts of the text for vocabulary/grammar questions is fine and covered by the fair use doctrine; quoting the entire story is a violation of copyright. Even posting translations is a grey area.
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RE: Chapter 2 - Pencil Sharpener

Postby keith712 » Sat 05.06.2006 3:19 pm

Richard... thanks for all your help... I love talking with you guys... I'm learning a lot...

Richard and Shirley what do you think about this:

彼は水道関係の修理屋なのだ = he is a water company repairman

is 水道関係の修理屋 more polite then Shirley's 水道屋 or 配管工 or do these words describe somebody different from a 水道関係の修理屋 or ???
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RE: Chapter 2 - Pencil Sharpener

Postby coco » Sat 05.06.2006 4:21 pm

richvh wrote:
Even posting translations is a grey area.

これもインターネット上で掲示する場合は著作権所有者の許諾が必要になります。『夜のくもざる』の翻訳権をどこかの出版社が所有していた場合、その利益を害することになりますから。苦情はサイト運営者に来ることになりますのでClayさんの判断をまず伺ってから、訳文の全文掲載を考えるというのが本来のあり方だろうと考えます。
---
SS-san
ALC で「技術者」と「技術屋」の両方を調べてみてください。
Please check both wrods, 技術者 and 技術屋 on "ALC".

や【屋】
{接尾語}職業を浮キ。その性質をもつ人。理屈屋。屋号・雅号につける語。専門とする人。
  

技術屋(ぎじゅつ・や) の場合は、「その性質をもつ人」の意味で使われます。
---------
keith712 さん。
「水道関係の修理屋」は決して ていねいな(丁寧な)言葉ではありません。
「屋」は、俗称であり、公式な場では使われません。
本屋→ 書店
パン屋→ 製パン業者
花屋 → 生花販売業者
技術屋 →技術者

・水道工事業者
これが公式な場での一般的な阜サだと思います。
Last edited by coco on Sun 05.07.2006 8:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Chapter 2 - Pencil Sharpener

Postby keith712 » Sun 05.07.2006 6:58 pm

cocosan, just like Shirley I thank you and I got it. now I have more questions! I'm sure you're not surprised...

Is the reason that Murakami describes Watanabe as a water company repairman instead of saying plumber something like he is pedantic or doesn't know the correct word (he's naive?) or is it his sense of humor? Is it the same reason he says 'stuck on with a scrap of metal' instead of saying it's rivetted?

let me try this in my bad Japanese:

村上さんは、衒学的なのでとか、正しい言葉はしらない(うぶな人?)とか、ユーモアのセンスとか、配管工っていうかわりに「水道関係の修理屋」として渡辺の特徴を話す理由ですか。リベットで留めるっていうかわりに「てっぱんに唐驕vというのは同じ理由ですか。
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RE: Chapter 2 - Pencil Sharpener

Postby coco » Sun 05.07.2006 8:17 pm

おもしろい解釈ですね〜。
SSさんにはチャットで私の解釈を説明したのですが、「水道関係の修理屋」と敢えて阜サしたのは、「僕」が、「渡辺昇」の職業について関心を払っていないことを匂わせるためだと思います。
「僕」が「渡辺昇」に関心を抱いたのは、(少なくともこの短編では)鉛筆削りに対するマニアックな知識であり、彼(渡辺昇)の社会的属性ではない、ということを言外に示しているのだと解釈できます。

あくまで、私の解釈ですから、違うかもしれませんけれど。:)

少なくとも、(村上春樹が)「水道工事業者」という言葉を知らないということはあり得ません。;)
Last edited by coco on Sun 05.07.2006 8:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Chapter 2 - Pencil Sharpener

Postby Mukade » Tue 05.09.2006 7:43 pm

keith712 wrote:
Is the reason that Murakami describes Watanabe as a water company repairman instead of saying plumber something like he is pedantic or doesn't know the correct word (he's naive?) or is it his sense of humor? Is it the same reason he says 'stuck on with a scrap of metal' instead of saying it's rivetted?


It's definitely Murakami's style to phrase things in odd, quirky ways.

Not only his phrasing, but the things he focuses on are often a bit strange.

I think it was in Norwegian Wood where, when the main character meets his love interest, he spends a page or two talking about her ears.

Murakami's certainly not naive. He speaks fluent English (he's an accomplished translator), went to Waseda (a good university), and was a successful entreprenuer (of a jazz club in Tokyo) before becoming a writer.

It's just part of his sense of humor, and, in my opinion, one of the pleasures in reading his work.
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RE: Chapter 2 - Pencil Sharpener

Postby AJBryant » Wed 05.10.2006 1:19 am

It's just part of his sense of humor, and, in my opinion, one of the pleasures in reading his work.


Have you ever read his short story, パン屋さんの襲撃? It's a hoot.


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RE: Chapter 2 - Pencil Sharpener

Postby keith712 » Thu 05.11.2006 5:12 pm

Tony & Mukade... thanks for the biographical on Murakami...it confirms my belief that he is smart and talented... I didn't mean to confuse Murakami the writer with the 僕 character in the story but when I re-read myself I did... I was wondering if the 僕 character is pedantic or unsophisticated or ???

I'm excited that even though I'm a non-native reader I think I 'hear' the humor in this story...

but since I'm a non-native reader my interpretations may be based more on my ignorance of Japanese and overactive imagination then on the printed words so thanks cocosan... if I understand correctly the way the 僕 character talks suggests that he is not really interested in Watanbe's occupation or his social status but in his hobby (pencil sharpener collecting)...

cocosan (please be patient!) I have more questions:

I'm struggling with:

[url]...(少なくともこの短編では)鉛筆消りに対するマニであり、...[/url]


= ...(at least in this story) [he] is a manaical ??? who's confronted with a pencil sharpener and...

I apologize for wasting your and Mukade's time explaining to me about how Murakami must know the word for plumber... could it be that Murakami is telling us what kind of a person the 僕 character is by having him talk like that?

thanks all
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RE: Chapter 2 - Pencil Sharpener

Postby coco » Thu 05.11.2006 8:46 pm

こんにちは。^^
I was wondering if the 僕 character is pedantic or unsophisticated or ???
Okay, see page 30.line 3.
now 僕 describes 渡辺昇 as 水道工事人にして鉛筆削りのコレクター.
僕(or Murakami) stopped to use 水道関係の修理屋.

I'm sorry, maybe lack of my explanation makes you confusing.
I had to explain more about 公式の場では使われません。
公式の場で使われない is not same as uncommon. we often use the words like パン屋、花屋、靴屋、even 修理屋. But in public information (like in newspapers, TV news, public documents, etc.)those word are not used, generally. Those words are not [formal nomenclature // legal name] as each occupations.

Since Novels are not public documents, a author rather uses vivid (lively)words. 修理屋 is never polite word, but not uncommon word.

「僕」が「渡辺昇」に関心を抱いたのは、(少なくともこの短編では)鉛筆削りに対するマニアックな知識であり、彼(渡辺昇)の社会的属性ではない、ということを言外に示しているのだと解釈できます。
umm, let me (try to) explain about my interpretation with using your sentences.
as far as reading this short story( not another stories in this book, just only the tale of "鉛筆削り"), he(=僕) is not really interested in 渡辺's occupation or his social status, but (僕 is interested in) 渡辺's knowledge as a Pencil Sharpener maniac.
I'm excited that even though I'm a non-native reader I think I 'hear' the humor in this story...

I'm a native reader though, I think I "hear" the humor in this story.
ehehehe.
 
You do NOT need to say apology ever. Please feel free to ask, because here is a learning site! ;)

I wish my message makes sense.
Last edited by coco on Fri 05.12.2006 5:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Chapter 2 - Pencil Sharpener

Postby keith712 » Thu 05.11.2006 10:43 pm

cocosan, your message makes sense!!!

1) believe it or not I couldn't find 知識 in my dictionary until you rewrote my English and I tried again!

2) I finally found ~に対する (toward ~) after your rewrite

3) 公式の場に使われない = can not be used in formal situations (but commonly used in everyday speech)

じゃあ、また
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RE: Chapter 2 - Pencil Sharpener

Postby coco » Sun 05.14.2006 7:28 pm

keith712 wrote:Posted on 06-05-2006
2) have you noticed that Murakami and other Japanese writers are sometimes reluctant to make to statements without qualifiers in places where an English reader doesn't expect it... おそらく (perhaps) and 違いない (without doubt) in the same sentence is a good example. if they did it all the time I would say that it's just the way they talk/write but because they only do it occasionally I guess it has a difficult or impossible to translate meaning.

(Excuse me, but I will not join that thread, because of "copy right". anyhow I have read that thread.)

Some 国語辞典 explain 違いない like this.
ちがいない【違いない】  {連語}きっと…である。
If you take this interpretation, おそらく and ちがいない both have close meaning.

非常に論理的で、もっともな質問だと思いました。:)
「おそらく〜に違いない」は矛盾する使い方ではなく、比較的目にする言葉です。

渡辺 昇=わたなべ のぼる
Last edited by coco on Sun 05.14.2006 7:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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