コンビニ人間: Week 2 Discussion

I think I can help break down the first sentence:

First of all, let’s look for the general frame:

オープンまでの二週間、… ひたすら練習が続いた。
In the two weeks before the opening, … devotedly continued the training.
Who is doing this? Our protagonist.

Now how is she doing it? That’s what is in between:

二人組になったり、
they formed groups of two people (this is not a literal translation, になる means “to become”, but I’m having a hard time finding a good English tranlsation)

社員を相手にしながら、
here, 相手にする means e.g. “to associate with”, so this gives us:
while associating with an employee, (my understanding is that they form groups of two new part-time hires which are then accompanied by an employee)

架か空くうの客に向かって、
facing an imaginary client,

So my understanding is that she is doing all of this.

Please correct me if I’m wrong! :slight_smile:

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The [other] employees would become our partners (as they’re practicing in 2-members per team probably because there’ll be 2 employees on each counter), and we would face the imaginary customer [and then practice our lines]

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I don’t think you have to take the jisho translation here, simply look at it literally: she made the 社員 her 相手.

I hadn’t thought of that but it makes sense; otherwise we would probably have something like „alternating“ to indicate they are switching roles within their 2-person team.

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I tried to translate this literally, but I did not know where to fit the を…
Because then it would be (社員を相手)にする - meaning something like: they decided on the employee to be a partner - but I think NをN is not a grammatical structure? So I figured that 相手にする needed to be a verb… (?!)

So in general, do you read this as “one of the part-timers teamed up with an employee” or “two part-timers teamed up and were accompanied by an employee”? I am leaning towards the latter interpretation because the first part of the description mentions that they were forming groups of two, and that is somewhat unrelated to the teaming up (because it is followed by ~たり, i.e. they were doing things like pairing up, and also doing the accompanying). But it is just a hunch. Any further insights are welcome :slight_smile:

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Just to note, the sentence pattern [AをBにする] generally equates to “make A into B”.

All of them are employees, so it’s just that employees are teaming up in 2.

I don’t think this changes the meaning, because I considered the followup sentence a part of the same context. If I want to translate it while keeping this nuance of having ~たり: “We would form teams of 2 [and such], making partners out of the other employees and then facing the imaginary customer”. So you can do the same even in English. (Notice that “社員を相手にしながら” didn’t even have a ~たり ending, which supports this argument)

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Earlier there was a トレーナー社員 who handed out their clothes and one (could be the same person?) who trained them on what to say and how to act. I read it as 社員 referring to people from the franchise company, different from the 店員, who is there to be trained/work in the store.

So they (the 店員) are forming groups of two, then under the supervision of a 社員 the group practices on imaginary clients.

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I also think that they make a difference between 社員 (referring to the people training the new hires) and アルバイト or 店員 (referring to the new hires). Hence my confusion regarding the teaming-up :slight_smile:

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I read it as them working in pairs, which has the result of them becoming partners (getting to know each other better) as well as learning how to deal with the customers.

(But now I’ve reread it after reading all the other comments and I’m confused again :joy:)

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Oh, haven’t thought of that at all. I would need to reread in context.

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Just a quick note, which doesn’t change the meaning at all: who is doing this is not the protagonist, it is the “devote” d training which continues. 練習が続く not 練習を続ける, if I’m not mixing up my verb pairs. :upside_down_face:

On the role play training, I also read it as: the バイト pair up and are then in that pair partnered with a 社員 (the one who trains them) who acts the part of customer, (presumably giving near instant feedback).

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Is there an additional meaning for ポスター besides “poster” (or perhaps an abbreviation)?

On page 20:

服装チェックのポスターに従って

笑顔のポスターを見ながら


I really like this line for some reason:

ほかの生き物に着替えているようにも感じられた


Oh man, for a few seconds I fell into the 「私はコーヒーです」 beginner trap. :laughing:
On page 21 it says 私は「本物だ」と思った. For a second I thought she was thinking that she was the real deal (as in, finally a real part time worker). Then after reading the next line I basically did a :man_facepalming: and realized she was talking about the customers being the real deal.

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I liked that line, too! :slight_smile:
Don’t we all have that :man_facepalming: moment every now and then…

As for the ポスター, I think they mean an actual poster. One that shows how to correctly wear the uniform, probably with an actual person in uniform on it, maybe some arrows and text showing important details.

Don’t know any other meaning for it either. :thinking:

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That was the only idea I had too, but I wanted to double check.

Clothes_in_convenience_store(1)

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I’m really glad I’m rereading this section. With the added context of the 店員対社員 explanation, the segment on pages 23-24 became a lot clearer. I had a lot of trouble figuring out who was speaking the first time I read it.

I also really like the part before the gap on page 25, with her basically saying that she feels like a normal part of society for the first time, and it’s like she was born that day. As with the first week’s reading, I think the author is doing a great job of establishing the main character.

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I just finished this reading (which I also started today, shame on my cow) and I’m loving it.
Not only does it feel incredibly smooth to read compared to all other books I’ve read before in Japanese, but I’m also really enjoying the content for now.

For this week’s reading I only had one question:

Question

いつまでも就職をしないで、執拗といっていいほど同じ店でアルバイトをし続ける私に、家族はだんだんと不安になったようだが、そのころにはもう手遅れになっていた。

I think this means (not very literally) something like… My family got gradually concerned that I would continue to work a part time job in the same shop and never find a (full time) job, but by then if was too late.
However I’m not sure how to parse and interpret the 執拗といっていいほど bit pls help

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I’ll give it a try. The middle part is と言ってもいい, I think, just a bit casual (which means that the も of ても gets dropped), meaning “you might say”.
執拗 means “persistent” or “stubborn”.
ほど means “degree”.

So I take it to mean something like “somewhat stubbornly”.

Also, I agree with your non-literal translation of the whole sentence.

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Ohh. Great, knowing that is supposed to be と言ってもいい pretty much solves the whole thing. Now it all makes sense. Thanks!

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I agree with your analysis, however I’m not sure that “somewhat” captures the nuance very well. I think with ほど, it has more the sense of “to the extent that you might call (me) stubborn”, i.e., “to persist (し続ける) to the extent of being considered stubborn”.

(In fact といっていいほど is kind of a fixed expression “so much that you can say ~” / “almost ~”.)

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