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.
Will you be reading along with us this week?
I’m reading along
I have finished this part
I’m still reading the book but I haven’t reached this part yet
I’m reading this book after the club has finished
I’m no longer reading the book
If you’ve already read this book but are still going to join the discussion, please select “I have read this part.”
For this one I decided to mix things up by looking at the rakugo first before reading the short story. This is the rakugo plot summary. If you want an advanced listening challenge, there’s a 20-minute performance of it on youtube. (I would have been completely lost trying to follow that if I hadn’t read the plot summary first. On the other hand the joke at the end of the video makes much more sense to me than the last line in the plot summary…)
I had assumed all the short stories were going to be independent, so it was a surprise when this one turned out to be a continuation from the first one. I imagine the last story in the book will be too, which is why this one doesn’t really have a conclusive ending.
I read “Where the Wild Things Are” as a child; apparently the Japanese translation’s title is かいじゅうたちのいるところ. I’d forgotten that the boat is so prominent on the front cover until it was described here:
Anyway, I liked this one, and it was nice to see Shigeru gradually recovering. I wonder if his mother asked a favour to get him the job at this clearly rather supernatural factory, and whether there are any other ordinary humans working there at all…
Next week’s story is also noted as based on the same rakugo, so my guess is that we’ll find out about who is buying this mysterious incense, and whether it works the same way as the stuff in the rakugo…
That one kind of whooshed on me, though while reading it I did have a sense that the obachan of the first story had killed herself with a towel as well (cause I thought huh, what is it with towels with these people?), but then when I went to look it up I couldn’t find any mention of a towel I should’ve realised they were the same Shigeru lol
I love how the translation is so kind as to spell out for us what’s going on in the last paragraphs “Her slanted eyes and narrow face had a vulpine quality to them, Shigeru noted. And come to think of it, weren’t the kitsune—the fox spirits capable of transforming themselves into humans—supposed to love deep-fried tofu above all other foods? Wasn’t that, in fact, where the dish had got its name? But he brushed off these thoughts as quickly as they had come to him.”.
I was surprised to be happy to see the characters from the first story again. How the mother’s lover seemed to genuinely grieve her (and to have had happy times with her in the past), how the now hairy cousin changed and grew in confidence, and how Shigeru is slowly overcoming his own grief. I’m sure his mother must have intervened to find him this job, yes.
I looked for the relevant page from “Where the Wild Things Are” where Max leaves and the wild things say おれたちは たべちゃいたいほど おまえが すきなんだ。たべてやるから いかないで。I wonder if the wild ladies will try and eat him up if and when Shigeru decides to leave the factory?
Either I didn’t read enough pages this week or you read too many and accidentally posted spoilers for next week’s story Could you double check to make sure, just in case? I’m currently on my phone, so I don’t have the book to hand, but I don’t want to risk a spoiler kerfuffle because the last time that happened it was a bit rough for everyone involved
EDIT: Another possibility just occurred to me Maybe there’s a whole lot that went over my head while reading this week lol
Erm, reading the previous posts I’m pretty sure we all read the same story. Which parts were new to you? Some of the things I mentioned were only mentioned in passing or hinted at, if I’m being honest. Maybe that’s what caused the confusion?
No worries! I wouldn’t want to risk spoilers either (even though this is not the kind of book that would be affected by spoilers too much, I think.)
On those details:
We saw the lover clearly devastated at the funeral, and we saw memories of him and Shigeru’s mother from Shigeru’s childhood, and how happy she was whenever he came over. And the hairy girl was briefly mentioned as the cousin who called Shigeru about not going to the grave so often. He comments about her having changed recently, and seeming way more confident. These are all very brief mentions, but they’re there.
Yep, you’re a lot more perceptive than I am! I never connected the dots on those passages Sometimes I wonder if I should even be reading novels for adults when seemingly 100% of my brainpower goes to deciphering the language and the contents go completely whoosh on me
Me too. I supposed that all the stories in this book were unrelated, so I didn’t think of any connection with the first story. And even when I read the first comments here, linking this story’s Shigeru to the Shigeru in the first story, I didn’t realize that the hairy woman must be the now confident cousin.
I wasn’t very satisfied with the present story at first, but now I think that this change of perspective on the same event is quite interesting.
Put me down as another who didn’t realize the connection. To be honest, I struggled a little bit trying to remember what happened in the first story; you’d think the shenanigans would’ve been memorable enough. :S
On that note, I think I’m going to put the book down here. It’s been an okay read for me so far, but I’ve been so busy and distracted lately that my weekly readings have kind of fallen into just checking this off the list (and feeling stressed when I don’t) and not really easily getting into the story when I do start.
I definitely wouldn’t mind coming back to this in the future, though! It being all short stories really helps, too. Thank you all for the lovely conversation these past few weeks~
This one was a lot less painful to read than the last, and I finished it in a single day. Though the man Shigeru’s mother cheated with showing up did spoil it a bit for me. Makes sense he would show up, though, especially considering the bastard is Shigeru’s father. It took me a hot sec to realize he was both though, since at first I thought he was just Shigeru’s father and he and the mother were divorced (even though it didn’t match with what I knew of divorce in Japan—but, hey, just because there usually isn’t any contact afterward doesn’t mean that’s the case 100% of the time) because I must have missed/not taken in “愛人.” Even though he’s a dick, I suppose we should just be happy he brought gifts for Shigeru at all, right.
Was—Was the voice singing a Clare Harner poem? “Do not stand at my grave and weep / I am not there, I do not sleep”? Was not expecting that lmao. I thought, “Hey, these lyrics sound familiar… Wait!!” Or since Shigeru and his mother had heard it on the Kouhaku Uta Gassen, I guess it might be a song with lyrics taken from it. That part I’m not surprised by; it’s a great poem.
For the most part, I liked this one, but I still like ひなちゃん best so far.