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I'm reading a beginner book with short stories and simple sentences. I'm having trouble understanding the translation of this sentence.

In the story a girl is walking down the street and then:

歩道のわきにタンポポがたくさんさいています。

I understand that:

歩道 - sidewalk
の - possessive particle
わき - ?
に - location particle
タンポポ - dandelion
が - subject particle?
たくさん - lots
さいています - blooming (from context)

From this, I understand that are lots of dandelions blooming 'on someplace' on the sidewalk. My problem is with the わき part, I did find the word 脇 (near, by), but my dictionary doesn't says that it is usually written in kana alone.

  • The use of kanji is not required even if available. – A.Ellett Jul 22 '17 at 20:21
  • わき here means "side". I'm not answering though because I don't feel qualified to speak on the topic of why (or why not) use kanji in a particular situation. I think a native speaker can probably much better address that. – A.Ellett Jul 22 '17 at 20:23
  • Don't trust the dictionary's "Usually written using kana alone" too much. Everything has a possibility of being written in kana alone. – Sweeper Jul 22 '17 at 22:52
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歩道のわきにタンポポがたくさんさいています。

I understand that:
歩道 - sidewalk の- possessive particle
わき - ? に - location particle
My problem is with the わき part, I did find the word 脇 (near, by), but my dictionary doesn't says that it is usually written in kana alone.

Generally, many of us prefer わき in hiragana, but it's the writer's choice.
わき alone can't function as anything in a sentence, but together with に, わきに describes a detail.

わき itself is 'side', but with the help of に, わきに means 'by/near'.
Here we have 歩道の to modify わき, so it's saying "at the side of the sidewalk" (By the sidewalk).

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