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The Henna Artist, Translated (Part 2 of X)

Posted on:July 3, 2022

Read Part 1 here.

Every day for the past week, the girl had lain in wait on the outskirts of the village for the postman, who cycled in sporadically from the neighboring village. This morning, as soon as she spotted him, she darted out from her hiding place, startling him, and asked if there were any letters for her family. He had frowned and bit his cheek, his rheumy eyes considering her through his thick glasses. She could tell he felt sorry for her, but he was also peeved—she was asking for something only the headman should receive. But she held his gaze without blinking. When he finally handed over the thick onionskin envelope addressed to her parents, he did so hastily, avoiding her eyes and pedaling away as quickly as he could.





  1. The difference between 毎日 and 連日 is quite subtle. 毎日 describes an action that has no “end” to it, whereas 連日 describes something that happens over a period of a few days in a row. For example 毎日、バナナの一本を食べます。 I eat a banana every day — here, the description is of a habit that happens every day, without any expectation that the habit will cease. 連日暑い日が続いている The hot weather has been going on for a few days in a row. Here, it’s implied that hot weather is not usual. However, if we say 毎日暑いです then one assumes that the weather is hot every day, without exception. Because of that, 先週の毎日 as a phrase doesn’t really make sense, especially since 先週の already implies that it’s something that was only done in the last week.
  2. The original sentence is confusing. Mark 彼女 explicitly as the subject who’s doing the perceiving: “She could tell…“. Also, instead of もどかしい, 苛立ち is a better description of “peeved”.
  3. 目を逸らす is a better collocation, as is 視線を避ける.
  4. できるだけ is commonly collocated with 早く.

Now, standing tall, her shoulders back, she strolls past the women at the riverbank. They glare at her. She can feel her heart flutter wildly in her breast, but she passes, straight as sugarcane, mutki on her head, as if she is going to the farmers well, two miles farther from the village, the only well she is allowed to use.





  1. 通り過ぎる needs to be used in relation to a specific position. “Passed in front of the village women” vs “Passed the village women”.
  2. I didn’t think sugarcane was a thing in Japan, but I was wrong. They do exist in Okinawa, and the term for it is サトウキビ.
  3. 行くかのよう means to seem like she was going, but not actually. Contrast this with 行くよう, where the speaker does actually think that she is going to said place.

The gossip-eaters no longer whisper but shout to one another: There goes the Bad Luck Girl! The year she was born, locusts ate the wheat! Her older sister deserted her husband, never to be seen again! Shameless! That same year her mother went blind! And her father turned to drink! Disgraceful! Even the girl’s coloring is suspect. Only Angreji-walli have blue eyes. Does she even belong to us? To this village?





  1. The correct term for locust is バッタ. 蝉 is cicada.
  2. いなくなった is completely fine. There’s a more “flavourful” word to use — 蒸発, meaning to evaporate, but also used to refer to someone who disappears without a trace.
  3. その is more appropriate here because it’s referring to a year that has already been mentioned earlier (the year the girl was born). Use あの when the year hasn’t been established (meaning the speaker assumes the listener is thinking about the same year as she is).