コンビニ人間: Week 4 Discussion

Join the Intermediate Book Club here!

コンビニ人間 Home Thread

Week 4

image
Start Date: July 20th
Previous Thread: Week 3
Next Chapter: Week 5

Reading:

End Page (PB) End Page (HB) End % End Phrase Pages
49* 44* 29%* と店長が言った 13

*Not a real break point.

Word lists - Learn the vocabulary for コンビニ人間

Discussion Rules

  • Please use spoiler tags for major events in the current chapter(s) and any content in future chapters.
  • When asking for help, please mention the chapter and page number. Also mention what version of the book you are reading.
  • Don’t be afraid of asking questions, even if they seem embarassing at first. All of us are here to learn.
  • To you lurkers out there: Join the conversation, it’s fun! :durtle:

Read-along Sessions

Come and read from the previous week’s section, join in the chat about this book or just lurk and listen. Readers of all speeds and abilities welcome - we are here to help each other out. Reading sessions will be held every Sunday at 9:30pm JST.

Week 4 session (in your timezone): Sunday, July 28, 2019 12:30 PM TZ

Participants

Mark your participation status by voting in this poll.

  • I’m reading along
  • I’m still reading the but I haven’t reached this part yet
  • I’m skipping this book
  • I’m no longer reading the book

0 voters

7 Likes

I think it’s worth noting that this is the week that doesn’t stop at a section break.

7 Likes

Alright, I’ll start off with a question for this week. Page numbers based on the paperback version.

Page 40 lines 5-6

ぐっすりと眠るミホの子供を見つめるサツキを見ていると、二人の子宮も共鳴しあっているような気持になる。

So I’m a bit confused about the beginning part. Was this the first mention that ミホ also had a kid? If I understood a few pages back correctly, it said that ユカリ brought along her young kid, but here it clearly says ミホの子供. So I just wanted to make sure on that part.

On to the translation, the first part says:
If you look at Satsuki staring at Miho’s sleeping kid, …

The second half seems to say something about getting the feeling that their wombs are resonating? :laughing: I mean, it wouldn’t be the first time the main character has thought or said something weird, but that sure would be up there. If that is more or less what it’s saying I’m still not sure I get the point. Clearly Satsuki wants to have a kid, but that would be a strange way to say that… Am I missing some additional meaning or nuance here? Or am I completely off?

4 Likes

You’re not missing anything. It’s a very… poetic way to say it, I guess.

3 Likes

I wonder if ミホ、ユカリ、サツキ、シホ being written in katakana and not kanji means that 恵子 just couldn’t be bothered to learn how to write their names. :thinking:

10 Likes

That’s … a really interesting thought actually. It would definitely fit with the already established language and writing style.

3 Likes

It does bring an interesting contrast with the kombini staff, whose names are all written in kanji (if applicable).

5 Likes

For sure. I was going to comment on the oddity, but I hadn’t thought of the explanation @Gyoshi came up with. It does make a certain kind of sense for the character.

1 Like

I’d have to review, but aren’t all the coworkers using the surname, which would be typical of coworkers? Whereas the others are from high school, so more familiar, first-name basis?

2 Likes

Yes, but it still seems strange/unlikely that they’d all use katakana spellings.

I think the fact that they are not in the immediate world of the Konbini is a factor as well.

2 Likes

Meow~ can someone please enlighten me on how to properly understand the following sentence?

At 23%

前からそうだったろうか思いだそうとするが、 記憶が曖昧だ。

前からそうだったろうか
What’s that ろうか at the end? Only thing that comes to mind is the grammar structure のだろうか, but I can’t seem to find any indication that ろうか can be happily used without a nominalizer and with a past tense verb to booth.

Still, given the context that’s my best guess, so is this “was it like that since before?” ?

思いだそうとする
Is that 思い出す in volitional form + to suru to indicate attempting/trying? So something like “trying to remember (if it was like that since before) but…” ?

記憶が曖昧だ
Memory is fuzzy/vague.

Any help is appreciated!

3 Likes

That’s it, just in the past tense. ろうか isn’t by itself, it’s attached to だった.

“was it like that since before?” ?

Yep.

Is that 思い出す in volitional form + to suru to indicate attempting/trying? So something like “trying to remember (if it was like that since before) but…” ?
記憶が曖昧だ
Memory is fuzzy/vague.

Also yep.

5 Likes

Thank you! I’m glad to hear read I wasn’t far off.

2 Likes

To add to what Naphthalene said, だろう (=でしょう) attaches to all predicates directly: nouns, verbs, adjectives. のだろうか is just の+だろう+か. Past tenses in た have a form in たろう=ただろう, though not everybody says that, it seems (dialectal perhaps? at least when spoken). Similarly adjectives also have a かろう form (e.g., 美味しかろう) but it feels dated and I think is mostly only used in writing.

2 Likes

ミホの子供

I showed the relevant piece of text to a native speaker and after looking around for a while she thought it was a typo and the writer probably meant ユカリ. But If it’s not a typo, then yes, no mention or hint that ミホ has a kid until this point.

About that, for that native speaker the use of katakana gave her a feeling of token name. Like if in English we replace all the name by Friend A, friend B, friend C, Kid K etc.

So yes, I think it could be a clue how Keiko see people outside the Combini. She attaches name to them, as a symbol, but she can’t really imagine or empathize with the person behind.

5 Likes

I think that actually makes complete sense, especially remembering her explaining that she thought of the Conbini people as separate entities to their outside self, herself included. So maybe it’s both a writing tool to focus the narrative to the world of the Conbini and a question of perspective as to how Keiko differentiates and recognises the people around her.

2 Likes
During the discussion with her friends

皆、私が苦しんでいるということを前提に話をどんどん進めている
たとえ本当にそうだとしても、皆が言うようなわかりやすい形の苦悩とは限らないのに、誰もそこまで考えようとはしない。そのほうが自分たちにとってわかりやすいからそういうことにしたい、と言われている気がした。

Oh god. This one is abstract and sophisticated, I’m lost.

My litteral attempt :

Everyone is proceeding on the premise that I’m suffering. Even if it were true, although it’s not always true that the way of suffering is easy to understand as everybody say, nobody try to think that far. Because this way is easy to understand for ourselves I/we want to do that, I/we felt I/we was told.

But I just don’t understand the point she is trying to make. :thinking:

Just prior to that section,
her friends are making comments which suggest that they think maybe Keiko is unhappily single because she’s gay or asexual but hasn’t come out as such yet.
So in that section you quote, she is saying that even if she was suffering, there is nothing to say it would be something simple and easy to understand (such as her friends have been suggesting) but they are not making any effort to think about it more deeply. Keiko has the feeling that they just want to do what is easy for them to understand.

7 Likes

Thanks @ Kyasurin! I think I got the gist of it, but in the details I still don’t understand the last sentence.

そのほうが自分たちにとってわかりやすいからそういうことにしたい、と言われている気がした。

そのほうが : what is そのほう exactly ?
そういうことにしたい = want to do such thing. But what is そういうこと exactly ? Is it referencing a precise part of the previous sentences ?
と言われている気がした。Who is the subject of 言われている and した ? “I felt I have been told” “I felt it was said” ?

2 Likes