地球星人 🌏 Book Club ・ Week 4

For your first question, I am with your second interpretation: If she cannot find the spaceship and get away with Yuu, she needs to fulfill her role in society, and for that she clearly needs another person.

For your second question, I am not sure, but here are some thoughts:

First of all, お嫁 - Jisho.org means “bride”.

Secondly, I found this hinative post: 【嫁の貰い手】とはどういう意味ですか? - 日本語に関する質問 | HiNative which says that お嫁の貰い手 means “bridesgroom”, basically (i.e. the person who is the receiver of the bride). This makes sense to me (I actually speculated it could be that before I read the article), but what confuses me is that it is followed by ない (and not いない as I would have expected to be used for a human). But maybe that’s just the mother speaking sloppily, or maybe there is some other reason.

Putting it all together, it means something like “she can’t possibly expect to find a husband” (with lots of translator’s liberties :upside_down_face:)

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Thank you @NicoleRauch! That makes sense. We probably shouldn’t worry too much about the missing い.

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Is there some cultural context? The best I could find were what looked like some browser or phone games? Interestingly the English translation localizes it as “Godzilla Sasamoto

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Ha ha, no not particularly. I was a little surprised like you when I tried to google and couldn’t find anything appropriate, because for some reason the term immediately clicked for me. For me, クラッシュボンバー conjures up associations with someone who has a tendency to crash into a situation and explode (a crashing bomber plane perhaps that appears out of nowhere?), which for me matches the mother’s tendency to criticise Natsuki out of the blue in public in ways that are inappropriately negative and she seems unaware that she is crossing that line. And it also matches her bad temper and emotional instability, which I think the colleagues were also referencing. I don’t know, it’s hard to explain. For some reason I immediately thought that it was an apt nickname. I am quite curious if Murata based it on anything specific. It is interesting that the translation uses a different (and arguably more obvious) term!

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I also got curious and googled it. I found a game with that name which seems to just be a ‘match 3’ kind of game. The bombs count down when you match them, and matching number 1 bombs causes them to explode. If they’re referencing this game, maybe the nickname is an allusion to her seeming like a bomb with a lit fuse that could explode at any time? It’d make sense from what we know so far. I’m not sure how well known this game is, but then again the naming had to come from somewhere, too. So it’s possible that the sound of the words themselves brings that sort of image to mind.

Here’s a short YouTube video showing the game:

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I definitely think it’s just a connotation-of-the-words thing not a specific reference.

Hulk Hogan had a wrestling move when he wrestled in Japan called the アックスボンバー, and Mega Man 2 has a weapon called クラッシュボム, which is just to say the naming scheme doesn’t seem that unusual to me when it comes to silly nicknames for things (and I think that game is another separate example).
I figure it’s as simple as she crashes into people and explodes at them, so she’s クラッシュボンバー笹本. :slight_smile:
(and in context that’s what the two extras are complaining about when they mention it)

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Interesting then that they localized it to Godzilla. Definitely a creative liberty. The Japanese nickname does pack more of a punch though—it’s pretty funny.

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That’s how she is called in the English translation.

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Merry Christmas to all of you!

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I decided to read Chikyuu Seijin and trying to catch up with the book club. I just finished this part and I made a mistake by reading a few paragraph more than the end line and now I’m shaking with anger.

My thoughts so far:

Natsuki and family

Hysterical and bullied older sister. Absent and silent father (stereotypical Asian father). A mother who is always tired and irritated. This is a recipe for disaster.

The older sister is bullied and her body is weak. The mother is always taking care of her. The sister is slowly becoming resentful and jealous of her “normal” and “happy” little sister. This is ironic because Natsuki doesn’t think she is “normal”, but from other people’s perspective, she seems “normal”. Natsuki has friends, hangs out with her friends normally, goes to school and cram school normally, nothing seems out of ordinary. But this is exactly because she is making a great effort to look “normal”.

The mother is described as someone who is always degrading Natsuki when talking to the neighbors or relatives. In Asian culture, it’s “normal” to slightly degrade your child to appear humble. And Asian parents have a habit of comparing their children to others’.

:woman_curly_haired: : “What a smart kid!”
:woman:t2: : “Oh, not really, she’s actually very lazy. Your kid is better. I wish my kid is more like him.”

Of course what Natsuki mother did was beyond normal, to the point that it made the other party uncomfortable. Nowadays people are accepting that this is unhealthy and gradually they stop doing it. It’s precisely because, just like in this book, the children would accept it as the truth. It breaks my heart that Natsuki keeps referring to herself as 「出来損ない」 “good-for-nothing”. Whatever bad things that her mother said about her, she would accept it as the truth without any resistance, and she’s building her identity around it.

I can understand that the mother must be going through a lot of stress. Her oldest child doesn’t want to go to school and gets sick easily. Her husband is absent from the household matters and is not someone you can share your troubles and worries. The money is not enough and she has to take a part-time job. Nobody likes her at work and they’re calling her names behind her back. But really, this is not an excuse to use her unproblematic child as the stress reliever.

It really makes me sad that Natsuki feels that she has no ally in the family. Interacting with her family members only results in negative emotions being built up inside of her, and so she doesn’t feel like she belongs to this family. But she still does her best to please them all because she doesn’t want to be “thrown away” for being “useless”.

The only ally that Natsuki has is Yuu. But Yuu also has his own problems. His mother telling him that he’s an alien (i.e. not her own child) and treating him like a lover is a major red flag. Yuu setting the 3rd marriage rule to be 「生き延びる」 “to survive / to live long” somehow means that there are times when he thought he might not live for long. I really hope this doesn’t mean he has suicidal thoughts.

Natsuki's world view

Natsuki emphasises a lot on “being useful to society” by “getting married and making babies”. It seems that “being useful to society” is the core belief of Japanese society. That’s why when someone is unable to be useful (e.g. NEET), they’re judged by their surroundings. The pressure can result in them becoming a hikikomori, because they don’t want to go out and meet other people and be judged for being “useless”. As a woman in this society, “being useful” means “getting married and making babies”.

Natsuki is very mature and observant for realising all this. She is also very mature at understanding what’s going on around her. She realised that her mother is using her as a punching bag. She realised that her mother is not scolding her to teach her a lesson, but it’s to release her stress. She realised that it’s the same with her sister. The family is using her as a “trash can”. What bothers me a lot is that despite realising all these, she doesn’t understand yet that these things are not okay. She’s still too young to know that this treatment is toxic and as a result, she’s accepting all this abuse. She accepts that it’s normal for her to be treated as a “trash can” because she’s a “good-for-nothing”. To cope with the situation, she uses “magic”. It’s like, “Oh, mother is getting angry again. Time to cast the magic to remove this uncomfortable feeling that is swelling inside of me.”

This is a very dangerous mindset because it can lead to her normalising all the abusive treatment that she receives, not only from her family but also from other people. It makes her an easy target for predators. Bastards like Igasaki can do anything and Natsuki would think, “This is my own fault because I’m a good-for-nothing.”

This 1.5 chapter already sets up the foundation of Natsuki’s character and I’m really dreadful of what kind of tragedy would unfold later on…

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Oh god same, the first mention of オス and メス gave me a little eye twitch :joy:

Some thoughts about chapter 2 so far:

It’s really sad to see how matter-of-fact Natsuki is about how she’s being mistreated by her family. About how her role in the family is being the punching bag, the trash can for other people’s emotions. And to think that she’s many years away from actually getting the independence she’s working towards…

During the last scene with Igasaki, I just sat there staring at my book in horror, once again gross scenes hit even harder in Japanese :nauseated_face: And since this is only the beginning of chapter 2, I’m really worried about just how many more messed up situations Natsuki will have to suffer through…I’m feeling really protective about her in a way I rarely ever do with fictional characters :no_mouth:

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Ooooff, well that escalated quickly

I did find it interesting how oblivious her mother is to what she sounds like to those around her. Often with abuse, things happen behind closed doors - but in this case it’s spilling out in her interactions with outsiders. I am interested to know more about her history and what has been the case of the bitterness.

The sentence that I found the most sad was this:
褒め言葉に飢えている. Natsuki is sooo starved for praise and really does want to make others around her happy.

Like others, I found the scene with Igasaki pretty disturbing. The specificity of the incident is part of why I think that it hit so hard. I suspect things are only going to get worse from here, which makes me sad.

By contrast, it was refreshing how normal her conversation with friends sounded. While she appears not to be close enough to confide, at least she is having some normal interactions in her life.

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After finishing this week’s reading, I feel like I don’t have much to add except for my raw emotion.

My raw emotion

My “impressions” of Mr. Igasaki? That he’s someone who this story needs to punish ASAP, those are my impressions. :rage: I swear, the moment 奈月 said she hadn’t talked to him in a while, I thought, “Oh no, what’s he gonna do now?” Something COMPLETELY TWISTED, that’s what. Every progressive sentence made my anxiety increase until all I was doing was saying “no” out loud continuously. Never have I wanted to enter into a story and protect someone so badly as 奈月.

I think that some of the group’s assessments about her strength are correct. An obvious comparison is her sister. The solution 貴世 gravitated toward is to hide away and take her feelings out on 奈月. Considering her mother’s feelings toward her, 奈月 doesn’t really have that same option. Still, her bottling up her emotions can only lead to future disaster.

After I initially finished reading, I pretty much hated all of the adults in her life (save for two). With others saying the mother likely has her own issues she’s contending with, I’m trying to humanize her a little more. However, she’s still horrible, and I’d give her as swift a kick as 貴世 gave 奈月.

[コンビニ人間] It’s interesting people were reminded of Keiko. What’s interesting to me is how Murata seems to be coming at a similar issue from a slightly different angle: try as Keiko might, being “normal” didn’t come natural to her at all, and on some level she was aware of her own unhappiness. (She also, in a way, had Shiraha to guide her to her own feelings, even if he did harm in the process.) Obviously, 奈月 is still a child, and her way of thinking is “make my future self happy and the adults in my life happy.” She does have some self-awareness, but she absolutely lacks a strong guide in her life. The closest so far is 篠塚先生, though I have no clue how much of one she’ll be. 奈月 does seem like a “normal” child, albeit clearly a traumatized one. I’m curious about how 奈月 will develop as she gets older, as well as how much of that Murata will show us.

I am both dying to keep reading and terrified of what will happen next. :fearful:

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