かがみの孤城 Week 2

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 too 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”


Yes, but that’s written from Kokoro’s perspective, I think. She thinks that it’s a mask, because that is what you would rationally assume, of course. Doesn’t it say somewhere that she starts to realise that the ‘mask’ actually has an expression? Or do I misremember that?

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I thought she says that she cannot see her facial expression due to her wearing a mask, and also at some point she blocked her ears, and it was explicitly mentioned that she blocked them where they really were under the mask, not the mask‘s ears.


I feel like it would use そう or に見える or something if we weren’t supposed to think it’s a mask (or to put it another way, even if it’s not a mask, we’re supposed to believe it is for now)

they can’t see the girl’s expression because of the mask (お面のせいで、表情がわからない顔で、睨む). it also says that she covers her real human ears and not the ones attached to the mask at some point…

besides, お面 would be an unusual way to refer to her face given that 顔 is usually used

finally, if you image search for “お面” you get a lot of masks in the results


Oops, I stand corrected! :sweat_smile: Clearly I misremembered/misread it. That changes my whole perspective on the wolf girl :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

And now that you mention the ears, I do remember that I started to doubt myself at that point.