コンビニ人間: Week 7 Discussion

Repeat Club Discussion Starts Here!

20 February 2021

End Page (PB): 89
End Page (HB): 82
End Kindle Location: 846
End Phrase: へと向かった。

Welcome to Week 7! We’re halfway there!

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. Have you experienced societal pressure contradicting your own personal desires like Keiko? How have you chosen to deal with it? Share only if you feel comfortable.

2 Likes

Currently reading the part where everyone’s going around and saying what’s new, and I just want to go into the book and save Keiko from these husbands SO BAD.

3 Likes

I know I’m double posting, but I just finished the barbecue scene.

The final section really got to me. Keiko “realizing” why her family is trying to “cure” her, and how “normal” people are the ones who “dispose of” those that don’t make the cut, it was hard not to sympathize with her. I hated how everyone was getting on board with the online dating idea. Not a single one of those “friends” ever asked if that was what she wanted. I understand they might think they’re helping her, but my blood was boiling, nonetheless. Gonna cool down a bit before continuing.

Honestly, Murata-sensei really did a great job writing the scene and establishing Keiko’s character up to this point. She’s becoming one of my new favorite authors.

6 Likes

At least the reader gets the satisfaction that they all ate the meat sprinkled with saliva.

4 Likes

Did any of you read any other books after all?
I did check your bookmeters immediately :sweat_smile: and I only found things in 読みたい section, but I might have missed something.

3 Likes

I read her love letter コンビニエンスストア様, which is a short essay (?), but other than that not yet. I’ve this affliction of jumping into all the book clubs, which slows down my other reading quite a bit.

4 Likes

Ah, I read that one. It was so charming and adorable :heart_eyes:
I treated is as a fiction (magical realism?), but now I have doubts about the right category :upside_down_face:

1 Like

I haven’t yet, but that’s mostly down to lack of finances and laziness :joy: Still firmly planning on reading more of her work though.

2 Likes

Haha yeah I find it difficult to fit into a category too. It’s very unique. I got the feeling that it was a mundane building, but there was a lot of feeling bestowed on it. I read it last year, so my memory is possibly not completely reliable.

I browsed through her books again, and the one I’d likely read first is しろいろの街の、… both because it’s half the price of some of her other books, and the summary spoke to me. (Also the reviews. :eyes: )

Have you read that one too?

1 Like

Nope! Beside コンビニ人間&コンビニエンスストア様, I’ve only read 地球星人 (in translation), Faith (short story, in translation), 殺人出産 (in Japanese) and now I’ve just started 丸の内魔法少女ミラクリーナ (in Japanese).
But I want to read them all eventually and I’m trying to figure out in which order, so I was hoping for some clues. ^^

しろいろの街の is the longest of her books, which is demotivating to me. :sweat_smile: But I also noticed it seems quite well-received.
I wonder about the price, on Kindle only some of her newest ones are more expensive, and for physical editions, it varies whether it’s a paperback bunko or a tankobon hardcover… and for some older ones, hardcover versions are hard to get anyway… (and I’m not even sure 授乳 ever had a hardcover)
…but I don’t know which shop you use.

2 Likes

Anyway, going back to this week’s plot -

「白羽さん、前に強い男が女性を手に入れるって言ってましたよね。矛盾してますよ」

I loved how cold it was :white_heart::cold_face::white_heart:

4 Likes
sorry, more derailing

Sometimes I’m lucky to find something on ebay, but… If I’m looking for something specific, amazon.co.jp. I stick to kindle where I can to at least save on shipping. :sweat_smile:

Of the ones you’ve read, is there one you would recommend as a good next book to someone who’s only read konbini so far?

1 Like
happily derails

Prices:
if you’re using Kindle too, then, afaik, anything released before Konbini is in the 500-750 yen price range, and anything released after Konbini is 2x more expensive (these are also the books which don’t have paperbacks yet).

Btw, I created this list for myself with publishing order and number of pages and maybe I’ll post it here because why not (pages are from paperback versions up to Konbini, and then from hardcovers).
murata_pages

About recommendations…

  • 地球星人/Earthlings is darker than コンビニ人間. It has some triggers, but it’s hard to list them without spoilers. There’s more anger and grudge towards the society.
  • 殺人出産 is a short stories collection and I picked it up because of the provocative title and premise of the title story - 10人産んだら、1人殺せる. It’s a collection of what-ifs with rearranged ethics. Fun, but more concentrated on world-building than on plot. Less emotional than 地球星人.
  • 丸の内魔法少女ミラクリーナ - I literally chose it because the 魔法少女 in the title and the pink cover. Another short stories collection. I only read the first story so far (again, the one after which the book is named). For a change, it was extremely sweet and heart-warming. Okay, there was some abuse, but it was on “Shiraha is a stalking creep” level, not “someone may feel traumatized after this” level. Seriously, cotton candy in a written form. I love when Murata gets dark, but I also loved this, it made me happy. But it’s possible it just clicked with me personally very well.
    My fav quote:
    「中二病がかわいいのは中2までだからね」
    「中二病も、80歳まで貫けば真実になるのよ」
    「あんた、そんな年まで続けるつもりなの!?」

…But I still don’t know about any of the other stories. :sweat_smile:

As for Faith, it’s available in English for free on Granta’s website:
Faith | Sayaka Murata | Granta
And as far as I know, originally, it was published in some magazine and isn’t yet collected in any Japanese book form.
On the same website there is also another Murata’s short story, Clean Marriage, which comes from 殺人出産 and it’s in my opinion the weakest point of that volume.

2 Likes
further derailing

Which means they’ll probably drop to paperback price once those get released! That’s good to know, I’ll probably stick to pre konbini for now then. Although I’d like to find out how Murata does fluff… eventually.

殺人出産 sounded interesting too when I was going through summaries (though only the title story got a summary :sweat_smile: ), and the short stories could make it a nice little something to read in between… That would actually suit my book club addiction quite nicely, maybe I’ll pick that one up first after all! :open_mouth:

I like your list, btw, I totally do that too! :smiley: I didn’t really notice going through the list on Amazon, but there’s an abundance of katakana there.

1 Like
cannot be stopped now

If you’re interested in summaries for the others:

  • three-person relationship as a new norm, with completely different sex customs, couples seen as outdated and weird
  • sexless marriage, but want a kid
  • you can choose your death date
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These all sound super interesting! Thanks! Guess I will read this one next then. :blush:

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I’m surprised by how much I flew through the section this week! I chalk it all up to Murata-sensei’s storytelling abilities (plus the fact that I didn’t have too much trouble understanding what was happening).

That ending scene, though. I read the posts above about how people like 白羽 as a character. On the one hand, it’s hard for me to sympathize when his toxic thinking has repercussions for others, particularly re: women’s privacy/safety. One the other hand, I get that this book is exploring those who society would rather “toss aside.” If 恵子 can find a way to help this guy, that’d be pretty great. There’s an entitlement to his character that I obviously don’t jive with, but I guess I’d be lying if I said I’ve never felt like the world was conspiring against me sometimes. Basically, I’m a conflicted soul. :joy:

Regarding the fourth question for this week, I don’t know if it’s more “societal” pressure or “in-group” pressure. I’ve felt varying levels of pressure from my family probably my whole life, though I wouldn’t necessarily say that those always aligned with what I think society wants from me. I think the best way I’ve dealt with it, honestly, is simply by tuning it out. It’s taken a lot to reach the very reasonable conclusion that my life is my own, and although some of the decisions I make might hurts other people’s feelings, they don’t have a say in how I choose to live. It’s not always easy adhering to that life lesson, but I’ve been trying harder to remind myself of it lately.

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I just want to say that I know firsthand that reaching that conclusion is a hard work already, and I wish you the very best at sticking at it :sparkles:

Re: 白羽

I mostly appreciate that there is one other “tossed away” character beside MC, because it gives a nice comparative scale. Keiko struggles with society, but when she’s put next to Shiraha, she suddenly seems quite well-functioning. She keep keep a job, self-support herself financially and so on. And Shiraha character also works as a nice reminder that people can be messed up in many different ways and aspects.