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3 Jan 2012
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M: あのう、すみません。こちらで5冊本を借りて、今日返しに来たんですが、1冊が見つからなかったんです。とりあえず今日、4冊持って来たんですが、どうしたらいいでしょうか。
Er, sorry. I borrowed 5 volumes of a book and I came to return it today but, I couldn't find 1 volume. Anyway, today I brought 4 volumes with me. What should I do?
F: すみません。カードをお借りできますか。。。。えっと、何という本ですか。
Sorry. Let me borrow your card... Well, what is the name of the book?
M: 日本漫画研究です。
Japanese manga researching.
F: この前借りられたのが10月15日なんですが、その本は入ってませんよ。その日は4冊しか借りてらっしゃらないです。
The previous loan is October 15th but, there is no mention of this book. At that day you only borrowed 4 volumes.
M: えっ、そうなんですか。でも、借りて読んでたんですけど。
Eh? Really. But, I borrowed and read.
F: ええ。前回借りてらっしゃいます。10月3日です。でも、そのあと、ちゃんと返してらっしゃいますよ。その前にも一度お借りになってますけど。
Yeah, you borrowed last time. October 3rd. However, after that you've to return properly. Before that time you can only borrow once.
M: じゃ、いま、借りてないんですね。
Then, now, it can't be borrowed?
F: そうですね。システム上も、ずっと在庫1のままですし。おそらく棚にあるはずですよ。
Right. The system is at stock 1 all the way (?). I'm sure the volumes are on the shelves.
M: そうですか。わかりました。
I see. Understood.


1 借りた本はちゃんと返してほしい

2 その本を返すのは次に来る時でもいい

3 今ならその本を借りることができる

4 その本は今借りていない

I wasted several hours trying to understand this. Just post this to confirm anyway: 冊 is the volume of a book right? Because if there were 5 books, it doesn't make sense at all. I was obsessed with this from the very beginning.


12 Oct 2004
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No, 冊 is the general counter for books.
If you bought three books at a bookstore, you'd say 本屋さんで本を3冊買いました.
"Volume" is usually expressed by 巻 (第1巻、上巻、下巻, etc.)

Your answer is correct but you seem to be misunderstanding a number of important nuances here.

>However, after that you've to return properly.

I can't quite tell what you mean by this English here, but the Japanese is saying (honorifically) "you returned it (properly)".

>Before that time you can only borrow once.

Where are you getting "can" and "only" here? This is simply the honorific equivalent of その前にも一度借りていますけど。

>Then, now, it can't be borrowed?

Again, as above, this isn't potential (can), but a simple statement of fact.
Also, the subject of 借りる here is the speaker ("I")

>Right. The system is at stock 1 all the way (?). I'm sure the volumes are on the shelves.

システム上 would probably be best understood as "according to the system" (i.e. according to our digital records).
ずっと is simply "this whole time." In other words, since the customer returned the book a while and the system shows having one copy in stock the whole time, it's almost certainly on the shelf where it's supposed to be. (note that the subject of the final sentence is the individual book in question, not plural "volumes").
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