かがみの孤城 Week 2

I think it became clear this week that they don’t really understand or pay attention to how Kokoro really feels (in the scene with the Gyoza skins) and Kokoro obviously didn’t tell them about 「あれ」(right?). Last week gave me the impression that everyone (parents and teachers) is handling the situation too ‘softly’. Why do they let Kokoro’s behaviour slide (which even Kokoro herself is surprised about)? Probably because they want to avoid being confronted with the actual truth. Hiding their head in the sand of daily life. Anyway, that’s how I feel, maybe I’m wrong, maybe I’m being too hard on them.


I’m sure they’re quite out of their comfort zone with this. I agree that it would be nice if we saw some of that, but I feel like there’s a lot we may have missed, as well, in the year not told.

Maybe we’ll see some of that in future flashbacks?

The frustration the mother showed in the first chapter feels like something that built up over time. She doesn’t know how to deal with a こころ who won’t talk to her. (We saw how difficult it was for her to say anything in the face of imagined or real conflict out of fear of disappointing her mother more.)

And sure, maybe they’re being too soft, but it can probably be argued that they’re afraid of being too hard and alienating her from them, making her even more closed off. I feel like things like this get even less coverage in Japan than they do here. The school is probably the most helpful thing they have found so far. They must be feeling very helpless.

Anyway, I agree that there’s more that could be done. But I don’t think that means that the parents of teacher are bad people, they simply don’t know how to handle this situation any better, and they’re not getting much if any help with this.


Yes, agreed! They’re not bad people and I think the book does a good job so far to show how hard such a situation can be. I shouldn’t forget that it is very very hard to deal with a child (or anyone for that matter) who refuses to talk about what is going on. I’m sure we’re going to learn a lot more about what happened before and about what is going on under the surface. And I assume all the other kids will have their own difficult situations. So much book still to go!


It’s been like a month though, right? Book starts in May. Japanese school year starts in April.


This is where book club discussion has left me a bit uncertain. (But I hadn’t had enough time to get into asking about it.)

What I got from reading was that this is her first year in middle school (junior high), she had issues that left her not going to school, and after a while she was recently enrolled in “school”.


To quote the relevant part of a post I made on this topic last week. Since she says she didn’t experience this until ‘last year’, I think that that is also when she stopped going to school. After April of last year, not this.

I also thought it was the same year before actively hunting for hints. Did I misread 今年 for 去年?


I should also mention I’m still so very new to novel reading that a minor two word sentence will easily escape my memory. (That, and I just have a bad memory in general…)

Hopefully it’s touched on a bit more later in the story.

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It does indeed say 去年 in the book. But depending on the exact usage of “until”, it could mean up to and including the time specified. I will admit that I don’t understand the exact nuance of まで temporally, and reading a Japanese definition didn’t help. But the example in Goo is 「明日まで待ってください」, and I would certainly expect this to mean “please wait until tomorrow” inclusive of tomorrow. So taking that back to the sentence from last week


I think it’s reasonable to interpret this as 見るものではなかった was up to and including last year, implying this year is different. Also, I think it’s reasonable to assume all this talk about years is really about school years. It wasn’t something that happened last school year. This school year it is.

Here’s more from the very end of the first week’s reading that I think supports what I’m saying.




青緑色のセーラー服のえりえん色のスカーフ。四月には自分も着ていた制服。 それを、ぼんやりとながめる。

I think that last paragraph pretty strongly supports it being only a month since she stopped going to school. Since it’s already May, 四月には自分も着ていた制服 could only reasonably be referring to the April immediately prior to the current date. That is, last month. If it was the previous year’s April, it would have to say something like 去年の四月には自分も着ていた制服.


I think you are right. First I was of the impression that she skipped school for over a year, but since her classmate comes every day and brings her homework, I was wondering whether she would still do that after a whole year…

It does feel a bit rushed to me, though. School started in April, and she went there for two weeks or so until she decided to stay home. Now it’s May, let‘s say middle of May, so within one month the parents found the new „school“, they went there to have a look, and then she enrolled. But yeah, that’s probably a somewhat realistic timeline anyway.


I think you’re right that it could be read that way. I suppose the teacher coming by ‘multiple times’, the mother being this frustrated, こころ having grown sick of the freshness of daytime tv, having gone to a 見学 and enrolled in a special supplementary ‘school’, these all suggest a bit more time must have passed to me. If it hasn’t even be a month, isn’t that a bit much?

The first 2 weeks went ‘well’, so unless the teasing all happened in one day and she stayed home the next, it sounded to me like she went to school a bit longer than that. Which would mean at best she’s been staying home for a month, if it’s close to the end of May. If it’s the middle of the month it’d be less than.

But I’m not really sure anymore, so I really hope there will be something that makes it crystal clear soon. :smiley:


I agree, neither timeline seems completely logical and that’s probably why we’re having a hard time pinning it down :upside_down_face: I agree that a year is definitely too long to still be bringing homework, so a month it is. I think… :smiley:

Also, if she had been having stomachaches for year, they should seek medical attention, not a new school :stuck_out_tongue:


Out of experience: A month feels like a reeeeally long time when your child refuses to go to school.
This book’s beginning has been giving me major flashbacks to a rather challenging time.

(BTW, in our case it turned out to be lactose intolerance, not school phobia. Who would have thought you could confuse those two, including the student herself?)


Sounds like a challenging time indeed!


From the parents’ perspective though, the longer Kokoro is out of school the harder it would be for her to catch up. So if they get the impression she’s unwilling to go back to her regular school, they may have decided to look for an alternate school sooner rather than later.

It seems like a very individual situation anyway. I can imagine some parents acting exactly like Kokoro’s parents, others giving their kid even more space to breathe, and still others forcing their kid back to school no matter what. We just happen to be following a protagonist with parents in the first group.


Yes, I agree. I was a bit confused when I initially thought about a possible timeline, but it sounds more and more plausible now. Thanks for elaborating :slight_smile:


Managed to finish this week’s reading last night. Things got serious! Well, in an Alice in wonderland meets hunger games kind of way. Hopefully it won’t turn to dark, ha.

I got confused in a couple of places, but was able to sort things out by referring to the manga version. For example, I was really confused at first, due to lack of mandatory plurals in Japanese who was being called 赤ずきんちゃん until I realize she was referring to all of them.

Re: parents, I agree with what others have said. I’ve heard of school refusal being described as a “five alarm fire” when it comes to kids, so it makes sense to me that the parents moved relatively quickly. I can also sympathize that they are trying their best to create an atmosphere of normalcy (with the small talk about gyozas) so that she doesn’t retreat any further. They are obviously in talks with professionals, so this is probably the advice they have been given. Her parents might be a bit clueless as to what exactly the stressors are, but I feel like in general kids are pretty bad at communicating… so I feel bad on both ends really!


I also get the impression (don’t recall if this was mentioned by someone already) that Kokoro herself doesn’t know the “why”, so even if she could express anything, she wouldn’t know what to.

As for the very end of this week’s reading, any chance the wolf-mask girl actually wears a wolf mask so the wolves don’t eat her when she’s still around after 5PM?


Well, the book did mention that an 「あれ」happened to Kokoro which led up to her not going to school anymore.


Funny thing. Everyone says she is wearing a wolf mask but I was sure it was her real face. She called everyone 赤ずきんちゃん so little red riding hood. She is the wolf. If they don’t go home early they get eaten.
Seems like the original story of the little red riding hood but with a twist.
Can’t wait to find out more about this.


When they first meet, it says 狼の面をつけた女の子が立っている. the bit in bold means “wearing a mask”