コンビニ人間: Week 10 Discussion

Repeat Club Discussion Starts Here!

##13 March 2021

End Page (PB): 121
End Page (HB): 112
End Kindle Location: 1165
End Phrase: 私のかけがえのない同志だった。

Welcome to Week 10!

Feel free to use past discussion for reference, but please don’t hesitate to post any questions or comments! The more we discuss the more we all learn, and the more fun it is! Also, I strongly recommend setting each week’s thread to “watching” to stay abreast of the discussion. Please try to mark any spoilers as such.

  • I’m reading along
  • I’ll catch up soon
  • I have no intention of catching up or the club has already finished, but I’m using the forums as reference

0 voters

Live Reading Sessions

The next live reading session will be 2021-01-24T03:00:00Z If you haven’t already, join the Japanese Book Club Discord. When the time comes to start, just enter the コンビニ人間 voice channel.

For live readings, we will take turns reading as much as we feel comfortable with (up to ~1 page), then go back and translate a section of our choosing together. Expect sessions to take anywhere from 1-2 hours, but feel free to join late or leave early as your schedule allows. We will be starting promptly at the designated time. Please post any questions regarding live reading session logistics in the Discord channel or on the home thread.

Vocab Sheet

Anybody should feel free to add to the vocab sheet. Read the guidelines on the first sheet- even if a word is not yet included you can use the spreadsheet as a tool to get help.

Discussion Questions

  1. What sentence/passage gave you the most difficulty? Feel free to request some help, or if you figured it out on your own break it down for the rest of us!

  2. What was your favorite new vocab word from this week’s reading?

  3. Was there any passage that you found particularly intriguing? Did it resonate with you (either positively or negatively)? Was it surprising? Offer any insight or new perspective? Was it just beautifully written?

  4. Is it a betrayal for Keiko’s coworkers to take a greater interest in Keiko’s love life than in store affairs? Are they being supportive by embracing her “relationship”, or are they being dismissive or hypocritical?

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Favorite word of the week
ヒモ which means a man who depends on a woman financially I love short words that represent a more complex context.

And after this week’s developments I really hope she doesn’t carry Shihara’s baby! It’s kinda weird… but we’ve been reading this book for 10 weeks now, so I feel like I know Keiko personally and I want her to be happy. That’s a strange effect from a longer book club. If this was in English I would have read the whole book in one afternoon and would have forgotten about it by now. But with the longer time period, I had more time to reflect about the characters, which is a nice change :slight_smile:

11 Likes

I gotta say, that last part was kind of stressful to read.

Spoilers

I think this is the first time we’ve seen Keiko showing any kind of strong emotion, so her panic at the store about her coworkers finding out about her and Shiraha hits differently. Especially given that they didn’t seem to be reacting that differently from her friends to the news. Did I miss anything in the reading about why it’s so important to her that people at work don’t find about about them, besides Shiraha himself telling her to do so?

Honestly, I can’t blame them, if it was me I’d probably act in a similar manner. Of course it’s unprofessional, but it’s big news, especially coming from Keiko, so I totally see why it’s waay more interesting than selling からあげ棒.

Same here! Plus the discussions on here are part of it for me as well, they make me consider the characters’ motivations far more than if I was reading on my own.

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Oh. I finished this week’s reading already. Could have sworn I still had a few pages to go…

I kinda felt like it was less panic and more confusion about how her personal life can possibly be more important than store work.

I swear, every single time I read that, I read it as Xから、あげ棒…

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To me, the way she threw herself into the からあげ棒 sales had a rather desperate vibe to it, as well as how much attention she was paying to the manager and Izumi still being in the backroom before. I might be misinterpreting things though.

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I agree about the desperate vibe, but I think it was more because コンビニ was in danger and they weren’t helping with the rescue, and not directly because of coworkers finding out about her and Shiraha.

Of course, coworkers finding out is a problem, too, I just don’t think it’s the direct cause of her panic. She’s focusing on the current issue for now - からあげ棒 aren’t ready yet!

My interpretation is that even if he seems oblivious to the fact that he was nearly arrested for stalking/harassment, he more or less is aware that his actions were problematic and he doesn’t want to be uh, detected again by people who have seen him acting in so desperate and wretched way and who know that he was basically kicked from the job.
He didn’t even took his personal belongings from the locker, and he wasn’t picking up the phone, so I assume he really really doesn’t want to be noticed by konbini people again.


Anyway. At first I wasn’t sure what POP means and somehow assumed it’s the batter :grin: It was confusing for a while.
I was wondering a few weeks ago what exactly counts as “preparing” food in the konbini, and after this week’s description it seems @seanblue was right, it seems it’s mainly about heating, considering Keiko brought frozen items with her and that they were able to prepare them so quickly.
seanblue’s quote:


Two questions/doubts:
と面識のない人にならいくら話してもいいけれど、コンビニにはの存在を漏らさないで欲しい。
(Kindle Locations 1127-1128; 68%)

Wait, did Shiraha change his pronoun within one sentence?


「これはね、お釣りが出る商品券だからね。お釣りをお渡ししてね!」
(Kindle Location 1137; 69%)

I was extremely surprised about the fact that you can get お釣り from 商品券. Is it normal in other countries, too?


Plot talk

People at the party hear that Shiraha is fishy, and recommend pregnancy as a solution.
People at work know Shiraha, and they still don’t seem concerned about Keiko safety/well-being. What’s more, 泉さん even says お似合いなんだけど!
Even Keiko herself seems more aware of the issues with her arrangement, calling Shiraha 詐欺師 at the beginning of this week’s reading, than people around her. :stuck_out_tongue:
Seriously, everyone’s reaction is extremely creepy for me.

This time I want to go into the book and shout at them. “Don’t encourage her! She was happy with her previous life! And ffs prepare these からあげ!”

8 Likes

Isn’t that what is being explained in this sentence? :thinking:

お釣りが出る商品券だから - That’s because it’s a money-returning gift certificate

is how I read it (but I’m out of context, so please ignore if I misinterpret it…)

3 Likes

Eh, this dialogue doesn’t have too much context anyway beside what I quoted.

So, at first I thought it’s a gift voucher - a type where you can buy products for X money in a specific shop.
In Poland, you can’t get any cash from this type of voucher, you either lose the remaining small amount or buy something a little more expensive and pay the difference yourself.
(Or of course, ideally, buy the product which costs the exact amount specified on the voucher.)

But after your reply I’m having doubts if it isn’t a different kind of voucher, maybe something related to money-returning itself, as you said.

I checked both translations I have an access to.

English: “This is a money-back voucher. Give them their change, okay?”
Polish: “Widzisz, to taki bon, z którego wydaje się resztę. Nie zapomnij o niej, dobrze?”
My (literal for the sake of discussion) translation of Polish version: “You see, it’s a kind of voucher, from which you give a customer their change. Don’t forget about it, okay?”

…And now I’m feeling ever more unsure, and I guess I want to give up, it’s not that important anyway. :sweat_smile:

5 Likes

For me the English, the Japanese and your translation match up perfectly :wink:
I imagine this to be a kind of special voucher where you get the surplus money back if you choose to hand it in for an item with a price lower than the voucher‘s value. I have not heard of these so far, and I guess they‘d be illegal in Europe because of anti money laundering laws. But in principle a voucher is just a contract which can take all sorts of shapes :woman_shrugging:

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I used to get gift cards for the (german) mall in my city and I typically just got some chewing gum because they’dgive me the change in cash. So I’ve definitely had this kind of interaction before.

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… I’m still confused what it means, ha. Enlighten me?

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https://jisho.org/word/POP広告

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I agree with your interpretation! I found it quite sad the way she was paying attention to what was happening in the back room (most probably talking and laughing about her).

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Ooooooookay, I caught up with the reading this week and read through the thoughts posted here, so here’s my two cents.

Click to read my two cents :

First of all, I can’t necessarily blame her friends for bringing up the anecdote about the friend whose husband changed when she became pregnant. They’re all assuming Shiraha is somewhat normal, but perhaps just lazy. Because Keiko only divulges the bare necessities of details, they’re filling the rest in (much like her sister did). I don’t necessarily agree with their perspective; pretty risky to just hope someone being a light weight in the relationship will change their tune once a baby’s in the picture, but whatever. Their reaction came off to me more like the sister’s: they’re happy for Keiko and trying to be helpful, since they know she doesn’t have any experience in romantic relationships.

Now, the convenience store section. Holy moly, was I tense throughout this part. The second she said, “Shall I take (Shiraha’s stuff) with me?” I was like, “Girl, you know you can’t lie on the spot! Why, Keiko?!” :fearful: I found it interesting that the manager assumed she was going out with Shiraha just because she left without answering his question right away; she gave a valid excuse for leaving, and knowing Keiko, I probably would have thought that she was just trying to be helpful and volunteering to go to Shiraha’s address and drop his stuff off.

So our girl Keiko is doing her best to help out at the registers because Izumi’s too busy with beverage orders to notice the chaos, and then she heads into the back room and spends her time gossiping with the manager, leaving the newbie and Keiko to fend for themselves? :unamused: Honestly, I thought from the start that she was aware that Keiko was a little different from other people, so when she said 「お似合いなんだけど!」, I didn’t take it as, “She’s happy for Keiko,” but more like, “She thinks they’re good for each other because they’re both strange.” The fact that Keiko thinks she hears Izumi laughing and her and the manager stay in the back room the whole time tells me they’re likely poking fun at the situation.

Keiko’s reaction…I think it’s from mutliple things boiling over at once. They have to sell 100 からあげ棒, none of which have been made; those two are in the back, not lifting a finger to help the whole time; the only person who’s helping her doesn’t understand Japanese well; she’s regretting letting the Shiraha situation slip out; and she knows something’s off. Whether Keiko understands the nuance of the manager and Izumi’s reactions, I don’t know, but I think she’s aware that the way they reacted was less than ideal. Maybe it has more to do with “Shiraha said not to let people who know him know,” but I also kind of think she feels embarrassed (私が血相を変えて). If it was just about messing things up for Shiraha, I don’t think she’d be as affected by the reactions as she is. The last sentence, too–sooooo relatable. I remember being embarrassed by something in elementary school, and all the kids except one of my friends laughed at me, and that was the same exact feeling I had.

Anyway, I hate everyone except トゥアンくん, and Keiko should grace a different コンビニ with her work ethic.


Edit: 沢口さん is okay, too, since they worked overtime to make all those signs.

14 Likes

Yes, this phrase is a sad reveal that Keiko only thought that she’s blending very well at least in konbini, when in fact they were thinking of her as strange all along :pensive:

100% agree :100:

9 Likes

Catching up with this week, and this has been all kinds of uncomfortable. The party with her friends and the incident at the konbini were things that really aren’t surprising in their outcomes. Keiko is somebody who’s lived her entire life dictated by the pacing and preferences of those around her. Doesn’t help that the one time in her adult life she’s shown to take initiative, it’s in the most startling way possible.

For Keiko, this change in her life is logical and straightforward. She inhabits an EXTREMELY different set of values and mirrors what goes on around her without truly internalizing how they fit into other peoples’ “standards”.

Because of this, I’d say that both sides have some truth to them re: her desperation with the karaage situation. Yes, she’s uncomfortable with people prying into her life and questioning her choices, but at the same time the ONE place that made sense to her is rapidly coming apart because of something that she did. After spending your entire life avoiding risk, the one time where Keiko takes a risk has resulted in severe destabilization, which would just feel awful.

8 Likes

Honestly I kind of expected something like that ever since they were talking a lot of smack about Shiraha behind his back. Although it was somewhat deserved, it still surprised me that they were going on for quite a bit (I could understand their reactions when he slacked off etc., but IMO you can tell quite a lot about a character by how much he likes to talk behind someones back). I don’t know, if they were also gossiping about Keiko’s “relationship” and maybe it will be covered in the next few pages, but that doesn’t make it any better, since they could’ve just helped with the work.

5 Likes

Excellent point. She hasn’t made such a bold decision since she first decided to apply at the コンビニ, and for her, that was the most positive life change she’d made. That may have been the only decision of her adult life that was more dictated by a truly personal preference rather than strongly from the desire to fit in with the rest of society. You’re also spot-on about her sense of values and how she mirrors things. She treated the move with Shiraha like any other logical next step to get people to stop questioning her. Ah, if only her sister had been more of a listener than a talker! Maybe Keiko could’ve explained the situation more and her sister could’ve given her some decent advice about choosing “romantic” partners. Then again, this could really help Keiko start to question the relationships she has in her life, and maybe push her to live for herself rather than others. Or it’ll all spiral into a complete mess, but I’m hoping for her happiness, whatever that ends up looking like.

5 Likes

(take two, in the right thread this time!)

This was one of my favourite weeks so far: I felt like things that had previously just simmered in the background, finally came to a head. I found it interesting to finally see Keiko come to a boiling point - I had expected her to feel this type of frustration when dealing with Shiroha at the convenience store (and he was being generally useless), but as other’s have said, I think it’s all the things accumulated. The other part I found interesting is when talking to her friends, how she notes that they just project all these things onto her, to the point that it’s like she listening to them talk about fictionalized version of herself and Shiroha. What I’m interested in seeing is how her experience at the convenience store will colour her perception of him staying at her place.

Does this perhaps mark the beginning of the end of her love of the convenience store? Can’t wait to read the next part.

This was also one of the easiest weeks reading-wise. My one sticky point was actually the first sentence!

ほとんど、詐欺師をそれとわかっていて家に住まわせるような感覚で白羽さんを家に置き始めた私だが、意外と、白羽さんの言うことは当たっていた。

My attempt to break it down

ほとんど = Practically
詐欺師を = swindler
それとわかっていて = understood (not sure what それと is adding)
家に住まわせるような = Let stay at the house
感覚で = Feeling
白羽さんを家に置き始めた =Leave
私だが = I, however
意外と = unexpectedly
白羽さんの言うことは = Thing Shiraha said
当たっていた。= To be right

“Practically, with a feeling of having let a swindler stay at my house, I started keeping Shiraha at my house but unexpectedly, what Shiraha said was correct”

Bonus round:
すごい、これ、全部作りマスカ
Me when I first read this: wait, what word is that at the end? looks up the word in the dictionary
Me once I read the next sentence: oooooh, it’s supposed to be broken Japanese. Ha.

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These 私-modifying phrases just get crazier and crazier. Is this common in all first-person writing or is it particular to Murata’s style?

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