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I am not sure that I understand the concept and logic of the shifting between parallel worlds correctly.
I think that it is explicitly stated that when you shift into a parallel world you remain yourself and you stay at the same time.
So when our narrator shifts into a world where the girl has disappeared he cannot have shifted into a world decades ago, when the parallel worlds were yet unknown. On the other hand, if it is the same time, and the shifters are conscious of their shifting, it cannot be an unknown concept (except if the narrator is the only person having shifted into this world). Every shifter could “discover” the existence of parallel worlds and announce his discovery to the other people.
Another question is how the narrator comes to wonder whether he could save the girl in his previous world. He didn’t see anything happen to her, so maybe she backed up in time just as he did in his wheelchair.
Why would they both go to meet in the middle of the street in the first place? Normally I would expect the grandfather to wait on his side of the street and the girl to come towards him.
And a last question: What happens to changes I make in a parallel world? If he wrote his calendar entry in a parallel world, would he later see it when he shifts to another world? (Apparently you take your wearable device with you during the shifts.)
Please correct me if I misread something in these pages.
I just finished the prologue and I agree, it doesn’t seem very difficult.
Some of the things you raise were/are also unclear to me.
Some of my thoughts
Yes, I think you are right.
I took that passage as saying that the fact that he currently has no way of confirming which world he is in reminds him that there used to be a time when no one was able to do that. I don’t think he is literally saying that he is in that time, he’s just comparing his predicament with how things were before.
It wasn’t completely clear to me why he can’t ask passersby, but maybe for them they are in their ‘world 0’, so they can’t help him find out which world he is in?
Note that he did say that he might go to the city hall to get a replacement wearable but that that would take time.
I also found their behaviour in that scene a little strange. Maybe we just have to suspend our disbelief a little here Or maybe it actually becomes relevant/gets explained later, who knows.
A very astute observation! Now you are making me wonder about how that works indeed…
Correct, when you シフトする, the only thing that changes is your 意識 and from that I gather your perception of your reality, but the rest remains the same.
I think what the narrator meant is that there is chance that the world he shifted to is a world where people might not be aware of the shifting as was the case in the past, since until a certain scientist explained the phenomenon, people would 移動する to 平行世界 in a 無自覚 manner. But after re-reading it I see it’s phrased in a way as if he meant it literally, which then points him to his memories of the actual time when people were unaware of constantly shifting between parallel universes.
Maybe she did. But he also kind of might want to rely on him being a kind person and thus any “him” would save her?
Good question. I think it was another “him” who wrote the entry. So someone from another universe than the original universe 000. I don’t think one takes the wearable terminal with them. To my understanding the terminal identifies the universe you’re in. That’s why it was important for our protag to be able to read it. When he mentions the possibilities of the universe he ended up in after the girl disappeared
Also ended up finishing it in one sitting . It’s not super difficult, but there is some kanji at N1 level and some explanations might be a little above N3 level so N2 sounds fair. Later it might get more complicated when all of the scientific explanations come in.
Yeah, this part doesn’t seem explained really .
So far I’m quite sold on the overall theme of the book. However, starting off with the main protagonist dying of stomach cancer and spending his remaining time at home as a story’s opening only to delve into the past is a really depressing way of telling a story and for me personally if more stories started like this, but were actually a massive flashback, I don’t think I would read as much . I also remember that back in high school that kind of opening was considered Bad Writing™.
I am really enjoying it so far! I finished the prologue yesterday and went back today just to review it to ensure I understood. This is my first novel in Japanese, so I’m going through it slowly, but I was pleasantly surprised by how many words I know!
The parallel world stuff confused me a bit, specifically early in the story with the explanation of the 4 digits on the wearable computer, and what happened at the crosswalk. I think I got it now though!
Hmmm maybe I missed something (or I might be misunderstanding your question), but my understanding is that he didn’t wonder if he could save the girl. He wondered if the he from the parallel world that got transported to the crossing where the girl was, was able to save her.
We don’t know in what world he was when he woke up in the morning, but let’s say he was in parallel world M (in the narrative, he assumes it’s world 0, but he isn’t sure since he didn’t check his wearable in the morning). In world M he sees a girl standing in the middle of the crossing, in danger of getting run over. In the moment he extends his hand to her and exchanges a few words with her, he gets shifted to world X.
This implicitly means that the version of himself of world X is now in world M, extending his hand to the same girl. He’s wondering if that person was able to save the girl - specially considering he must have gotten confused by getting shifted. So it seems when people shift worlds, they are exchanged with the version of themselves in that world.
From the description, my understanding is that the girl doesn’t have enough time to go back - she can only walk towards ‘him’ to get saved. It says that she only has a few steps before she reaches his side of the walkway, and that the light is about to change.
もう あと 数 歩 で こちら 側 へ 渡り 終える 位置 なのに
So, going back is probably a lot more distance to cover.
Yeah, that’s what I assume - the “IP” (btw, well done author, using a commonly established acronym with a confusing new meaning… ) is how many “steps away” they are from their own “world 0”, which is probably the parallel world their consciousness was born in. I’d assume everyone’s devices are somehow primed to them and can only show their own IP, so it’s meaningless to ask other people - they could only tell them how far away they are from their world 0.
I understood it so that for whatever unexplained reason, the girl was standing in the middle of the road, so he decided to find out what’s wrong/get her to safety. I don’t think this is a normal situation for him either.
If only conciousnesses (and apparently memories, however that works…) shift, and then they shift back at some point - I’d assume so. I don’t actually remember if it occurs to him that the mysterious calendar entry in question could’ve been made by a parallel world “him”, but that seems like the most likely explanation to me.
Also, nope… this is definitely too hard for me. I can muddle through, but since it’s so much of a struggle (and oh so many lookups) it’s not very enjoyable. I guess the jump from L24 to L30 is a little bit too harsh after all, who could’ve guessed
I guess I’ll go for something around ~L26 first and work my way up before coming back to this book!
Tobias, I have found that in most books, the first chapter (or in this case the prologue) is the hardest part to get through. I’ve just read the second week’s section and I found it a lot more straightforward. Maybe give yourself one more week before you put this book on the backburner.
I‘ve thought about it up until now and I realized that it doesn’t make sense to me to join this read-aloud as I‘m not interested in the book at all (and also pretty busy with work and study and reading books I am really keen on reading) so I‘ll give this a pass. Sorry!