Please read the guidelines on the first page before adding any words.
Everybody should feel free to post and ask questions–it’s what makes book clubs fun! But please do not post until you are familiar with Spoiler Courtesy!
Please follow these rules to avoid inadvertent ネタバレ. If you’re unsure whether something should have a spoiler tag, err on the side of using one.
Any potential spoiler for the current week’s reading need only be covered by a spoiler tag. Predictions and conjecture made by somebody who has not read ahead still falls into this category.
Any potential spoilers for external sources need to be covered by a spoiler tag and include a label (outside of the spoiler tag) of what might be spoiled. These include but are not limited to: other book club picks, other books, games, movies, anime, etc. I recommend also tagging the severity of the spoiler (for example, I may still look at minor spoilers for something that I don’t intend to read soon).
Any information from later in the book than the current week’s reading (including trigger warnings that haven’t yet manifested) needs to be hidden by spoiler tags and labeled as coming from later sections.
Instructions for Spoiler Tags
Click the cog above the text box and use either the “Hide Details” or “Blur Spoiler” options. The text which says “This text will be hidden” should be replaced with what you are wishing to write. In the case of “Hide Details”, the section in the brackets that is labelled “Summary” can be replaced with whatever you like also (i.e, [details=”Chapter 1, Pg. 1”]).
Hide Details results in the dropdown box like below:
This is an example of the “Hide Details” option.
The “Blur Spoiler” option will simply blur the text it surrounds.
This is an example of the “Blur Spoiler” option.
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This last story takes inspiration from a 1917 play 天守物語. The entire script is on aozora but that’s too long for me to care to read This web page has a short summary, though it doesn’t include the ending.
I liked this one; it was nice to get some closure on Shigeru’s story and to see that he’s been able to communicate with his mother. Also interesting that the lead character of the previous story is a reincarnation of the original Okiku.
I definitely recommend avoiding the busy tourist times at Himeji – visit first thing in the morning on a weekday so you can appreciate the castle without being in a long queue shuffling through.
Overall, I enjoyed this book – one or two stories didn’t really land for me, but mostly they were fun to read. This isn’t the kind of book I’d be likely to have picked up myself, so thank you to the bookclub for introducing it to me.
Did the Himeji tourism board sponsor this book? I want to go even more now I also loved the little wink to the previous story.
Same here. A few of the stories were a bit ‘meh’, but the book gave me what I was looking for: an excuse to get better acquainted with some classic Japanese ghost stories. I also enjoyed the way the stories were loosely interconnected.
That was fun! I learned a lot and some stories I really liked! Here’s my ratings on each story based on enjoyment:
ひなちゃん 6/5 (it was my fav!)
燃えているのは心 5/5 (loved the atmosphere)
菊枝の青春 5/5 (it was such a cute love story!)
下げりない 5.5/5 (thoughts below)
Last story thoughts:
It was an excellent ending. I love Shigeru and we needed that closure as he is one of the most important characters that really all the activity is centering around, and it made sense for the last story to be his. I’m so happy he finally was able to see his mom. Also that it mentioned the previous story made it even more enjoyable!
I expected this last story to be about Shigeru, and it was nice seeing him grow and progress within the company. I also loved that the previous story’s Kikue was Okiku reincarnated. She’s much happier now. All in all, such a wholesome view of the afterlife!
What I wanted to take out of the book was exactly as @Phryne said, an excuse to get better acquainted with some classic Japanese short stories, and it did what it promised. Overall it was way more positive and wholesome that I had expected. I enjoyed reading it at a slow pace, but I didn’t find it gripping (hard to do with short stories anyway).
I enjoyed the book and I liked the modern approaches to the stories (especially the Kikue story). Thanks to @pm215 for always providing information about each chapter, that really helped with understanding some the stories! I also think the connections between some of stories and reappearing characters helped to tie the book together (although I wouldn’t have been able to spot quite a few of them without the help from the comments )
The book was very pleasant to read. I liked the idea that the different stories appeared at first sight to be independent of the others, but that there was (almost) always a little blink to a previous story. There often were details which made me smile, and it was nice to learn more about the life and working life of ghosts.
Finally the last stories taking place in Himeji reminded me of my visit there in 2019 (I didn’t see the remainders of the monorail, only the castle and its surroundings, and I didn’t meet Kikue/Okiku or Tomihime there).
Thank you @Phryne for suggesting this lovely book!