You’re scaring me . It’s my first Murata too. I had wanted to read コンビニ人間 first, but no time. I really like her writing so far. I’ve actually read a little further when I tried the book sample in English, but I’m excited (and a little nervous) to see how the story develops.
I also jumped into this book without knowing anything. This definitely looks interesting, but it took me more than an hour to go through the first 3 pages. I don’t feel like I’m having too much trouble with understanding the grammar, but I need to do lots of kanji lookups (you can see that from the wordlist :D). I will try to go forward, but I don’t know if this is the correct level for me yet.
An ebook version helps with this by its builtin dictionary (google translate for bookwalker on android). While the translations are not always correct, you get at least (almost always) the correct pronunciation and that simplifies the kanji lookup.
Awesome to see some new faces! If you still like Murata by the end of this book, we’ll be sure to funnel you into the Murata Book Club
As for kanji and vocab lookups, they can be a bit of a pain… So for novels, I buy the kindle version, de-DRM it with Calibre and extract the raw text (easy to find when you ‘edit’ the book in Calibre). When I plug that into japanese.io I get one-click lookups. Makes it a lot less painful
The most obvious comparison seems to be 美佐子 from コイビト. Both 美佐子 and 奈月 have this whole narrative for their stuffed toys, including their stuffed toys giving them orders of sorts. I wonder whether 奈月 will turn out to be equally deranged
Compared to 授乳 this certainly seems more like the Murata I know and love, especially as far as the difficulty of the Japanese is concerned. These shorter sentences make less of a demand on my working memory, so the reading is smoother for me. I also get the impression the vocabulary is a bit more everyday so far and the descriptions a bit less flowery.
I just finished コンビニ人間 a couple weeks ago so I’m really excited to read another work from Murata as well. I enjoyed this first part, I’m going in blind so I definetely didn’t expect the whole magical girl with stuffed toy from another planet lol. Definetely excited for what comes next.
Also, when 由宇 says …秋級の山で、宇宙船から捨てられてたのを拾ってきたんだよって」I’m a little confused on how I should read the name of the mountain (I’m assuming it’s a mountain (?), I couldn’t find any translation). Is it just あききゅう or does it mean something ?
(page 9 on my kindle version but might be different for others)
I don't quite understand the structure of this sentence
At the edge of the stuffed toy section Piyyut had come to look like he was going to be thrown out.
Then that sentence seems to be nominalised and made into an object with のを. But then what is it the object of? 買って seems to me the only option, but then my interpretation of that whole preceding sentence being the object doesn’t make sense. Which means my interpretation of の doesn’t make sense… But if it means something like ‘I bought the one that looked like it was about to be thrown out’, why do we have ピュートが in there as well?
See, I read a sentence and think nothing of it, then someone asks about it and I’m getting confused all of a sudden.
My thoughts on the sentence
I think it could also be written like this:
ピュートが is the subject of the phrase ぬいぐるみ売り場の端っこで捨てられそうになっていた,
then all of that phrase is the object of 私がお年玉で買ってあげた。
Translating in English while keeping the sentence structure does take some mental acrobatics, but the result is the same: I bought ピュート, who looked like he would be discarded at the edge of the stuffed toy section, with my New Year’s pocket money.
I agree that that is probably what is meant by that sentence, but I am not sure how the grammar yields that interpretation. I do not recall having seen this before, that Xが〜の is written, where 〜X is actually meant. If the whole phrase is the object, wouldn’t the object be ‘the fact that at the edge of the stuffed toys section Piyyut looked like it was about to be thrown out’?
I think の can stand in place of any implied noun, or make the whole preceding phrase into a noun. The way I see it, の stands for Piyyut here, as he’s been already mentioned, so it wouldn’t mean “the fact that”. I’m no grammar expert, mind, that’s just how I understand it.
I may be wrong but here are my thoughts on that sentence.
The way I read is that the のを phrase is the object of てあげた. 奈月 is doing ピュート a favor by rescuing him/her from being thrown out. I think it also shows 奈月 treating ピュート as a person/living thing, maybe even of an equal status due to the use of あげる instead of やる which you might expect instead if she thought of ピュート as something like a pet. I’m not really sure how kids normally talk to pets or stuffed animals though.
ピュート is the one the favor is being done for so I think there’s an implied ピュートに in this sentence which is left out since it would be redundant. So ピュート is the indirect object and the situation ピュート is being rescued from (…のを) is the direct object of the favor (買ってあげた).
EDIT: I forgot to mention that 奈月 is the subject here (the one doing the favor of buying, which is again omitted from the sentence since it’s clear she’s talking about herself) while the ピュータが at the beginning of the sentence applies to the phrase before のを and not to the overall 買ってあげた. My mind is all over the place today so I’m sorry if this doesn’t make any sense.
Note: I referenced the てあげる section in A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar.
First an apology for linking both discussion questions to other Murata books–that’s definitely not a prereq and I don’t want to riddle the thread with potential spoilers. Once there’s a bit more than 11 pages of material to work with I’m sure I’ll get more creative.
Also, fixed the typo in the end phrase. Thanks @Scylie for the catch and @omk3 for the fix on the home page.
(Minor spoilers for コイビト from 授乳 here and in above quote）The almost uncomfortable attachment to a stuffed animal definitely calls for that comparison. This also made me think about Madoka Magica–is it common in the 魔法少女 genre for young girls to be granted their powers by a small talking animal?
I also do see a bit of a connection with Keiko from コンビニ, although I’m not sure to what extent I’m letting myself be influenced by future chapters. (Mild early コンビニ人間 spoilers) I think 奈月 shows the same sort of independence and societal detachment that Keiko showed as a kid. In 奈月’s case this takes the form of dating her cousin instead of “violent” outbursts. Like in Keiko’s case, she hasn’t picked up on society’s cues that this behavior is wrong, and clearly nobody has explained exactly why (although I don’t know to what extent a 9-year-old would ever get such an explanation). Maybe it’s a stretch, but the general alienation seems to be there.
I picked this up days after I read コンビニ人間 in English on @Aislin’s recommendation. I found it unlikely that I could like something even more, but this did it. I’m psyched to have the opportunity to get back to it in Japanese a year later, I’m just envious of those who get to read it for the first time in the original language.
Going back to this was a breath of fresh air. 授乳 was starting to make me doubt my Japanese abilities. The style is much more similar to コンビニ. It paints a much more vivid picture with fewer words. I think this section did a great job of establishing a strong sense of nostalgia. Or it might just have resonated well with me because I have very fond childhood memories of seeing certain cousins just once per year.
Now we just need a real life ムータ and ホシオ! Although I’d probably be creeped out to have either of those around.
My reply, which turned out to be an off-topic about 魔法少女 genre in general
It’s funny when you bring Madoka Magica as the thing you know best within the genre, when it’s an example of the genre subversion
But it’s the same for me
I even educated myself a little about 魔法少女 genre after reading another Murata’s work, 丸の内魔法少女ミラクリーナ, and when I say educated, I mostly mean I read the wikipedia article & some of articles in its references section
As for the animal sidekick,
Most Magical Girls have one or more of these, who often overlap with Weasel Mascot, Mentor Mascot, and/or Ridiculously Cute Critter:
source: Non-Human Sidekick - TV Tropes
But when we’re on the common elements, what surprised me most is that fighting evil wasn’t there from the start:
Prior to that, magical girl shows post-Princess Knight downplayed the fighting and functioned more like sitcoms. Their magical powers resembled the antics of Steve Urkel in Family Matters – an excuse for crazy stuff to exacerbates the episode’s social conflict. While they were often still princesses, magical girls dealt with schoolyard problems more often than actual threats. They’d use their powers to go out with boys or live double lives as pop stars.
source: What Makes Magical Girls So Popular? - Anime News Network
And it seems it’s Sailor Moon that changed this:
Sailor Moon (1991), whose anime adaptation was broadcast from 1992 to 1997, revolutionized the magical girl genre by combining “transforming hero” elements from live-action tokusatsu hero shows like Super Sentai and Kamen Rider with feminine interests, such as romance and child-rearing. […] In addition, unlike previous magical girl series, Sailor Moon featured a team of magical girls as the main characters, with male characters supporting them in battle.
source: Magical girl - Wikipedia
I was also surprised that idea of using a compact to transform is so established and widespread and that it was introduced as early as 1969 (Himitsu no Akko-chan anime adaptation).
And I admit I didn’t really think too deeply about this bit until articles pointed this out to me:
A key attribute of the Sailor soldiers is the nature of their transformation. In their sailor collars and miniskirts, with their long hair, manicured nails, and smart accessories, they look singularly ill equipped to do battle. When male superheroes like Kamen (Masked) Rider and the Super Sentai teams morphed, the changes were clearly designed to make the heroes stronger. But the transformation of the Sailor girls functioned primarily to exaggerate their feminine good looks and sexuality. In a major paradigm shift, Sailor Moon represented power using standard attributes of youthful feminine beauty and sexuality, negating the traditional dichotomy between cuteness and strength.
source: Children of Sailor Moon: The Evolution of Magical Girls in Japanese Anime | Nippon.com
I’m by no means an expert on the topic, and maybe all of the above is a common knowledge, but it wasn’t for me
My experience with the genre is pretty much Madoka and a couple episodes of Sailor Moon, so your breakdown here probably more than doubled my knowledge . It will be interesting to read this again with a bit more 魔女少女 context. Also, I’m pretty interested now in reading 丸の内魔法少女ミラクリーナ.