I'm reading a children's book in Japanese.

In the story, Weasel runs a cake shop, and he's gotten a mysterious order for a cake - he doesn't know who it's from.

Here's the sentence:

いったい どんな おばけが ケーキを とりにくるのかしらと、どきどきして いたちさんが まっていると、「やあ、できてる?」

I'm reading that as something like,

Weasel was waiting, his heart pounding, wondering just who the heck (what shape-shifter) was coming to pick up the cake, asking "Well, is it ready?"

Are the と at the end of とりにくるのかしらと and the と at the end of まっていると the quoting と or the if/when と?

Is the 「やあ、できてる」 something a customer is saying to Weasel (asking if the cake is ready), or something Weasel is saying to a customer ("are you ready to order?")

How close is my understanding to the actual Japanese?


  • Where is the relative clause? – l'électeur Jul 30 '15 at 5:59
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    You don't even explain if there is someone else in this scene. Could you share some sentences after 「やあ、できてる」? – naruto Jul 30 '15 at 6:25
  • Sorry; there's no one else in the scene until the next sentence: さいしょにやってきたのは、たぬきさんでした。「なあんだ、ケーキを ちゅうもんしたの、たぬきさんだったんだね。」But it turns out not to be Tanuki, and Tanuki buys a chocolate roll and leaves. Sorry I wasn't clearer - I thought I should limit the excerpt to just the part I was asking about. – Kristi Wachter Jul 31 '15 at 6:12

Your understanding of the sentence looks OK, but as I said this in a comment above, I have no idea what part you are referring to as a "relative clause". I see no relative clause used anywhere.

My "answer" below is based on the assumption that the sentence actually ends where you ended it. In children's stories, punctuations are often "ignored" so it is sometimes difficult to tell where the sentence ends if a "sentence" is taken out of the context.

いったい どんな おばけが ケーキを とりにくるのかしらと、どきどきして いたちさんが まっていると、「やあ、できてる?」

『いったい どんな おばけが ケーキを とりにくるのかしら?』(#1)、どきどきして いたちさんが まっている(#2)、「やあ、できてる?」

」(#1) is quotative. Weasel was thinking (or saying) to himself 『いったい どんな おばけが ケーキを とりにくるのかしら?』. "What kinda monster would come pick up the cake?"

」(#2) is "when" as in "B happens when/while A is happening." Weasel heard someone say 「やあ、できてる?」 = "Hi! Is it (the cake) ready?"

  • Thanks very much for your helpful reply. I apologize for my confusion over relative clauses. I think at some point I was thinking of it as "Weasel, who was wondering what kinda monster would come pick up the cake". Sorry about that. I don't think there's actually much more context I can provide; the story so far was about how Weasel got an anonymous order for a cake; he spent the previous several pages trying to put the cake together. Then there's my excerpt above, and then さいしょに やってきたのは、たぬきさんでした。 So Weasel's alone til then. ... Anyway, thanks very much - your answer is helpful. – Kristi Wachter Jul 31 '15 at 6:10

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