地球星人 🌏 Book Club ・ Week 6

地球星人 ・ Week 6

Week 6 8 January 2022
End page 103
End % 32
End phrase じっと見つめていた.
Pages 16
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Please remember to set this thread to “watching” in order to stay abreast of the discussion.

  • I’m reading along
  • I’ll catch up soon
  • I’ve read this already but I’m here for discussion
  • I have no intention of catching up or the club has already finished, but I’m using the forums as reference

0 voters

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.

Spoiler Courtesy

Please follow these rules to avoid inadvertent ネトバレ. If you’re unsure whether something should have a spoiler tag, err on the side of using one.

  1. Any potential spoiler for the current week’s reading need only be covered by a spoiler tag. Predictions and conjecture made by somebody who has not read ahead still falls into this category.
  2. Any potential spoilers for external sources need to be covered by a spoiler tag and include a label (outside of the spoiler tag) of what might be spoiled. These include but are not limited to: other book club picks, other books, games, movies, anime, etc. I recommend also tagging the severity of the spoiler (for example, I may still look at minor spoilers for something that I don’t intend to read soon).
  3. Any information from later in the book than the current week’s reading (including trigger warnings that haven’t yet manifested) need to be hidden by spoiler tags and labeled as such.

Discussion Questions

Feel free to use these questions as a framework or a starting point for responses. I also encourage people to post their own 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. What do you know about Japanese funeral traditions? How do they compare to your native country’s? How do Natsuki’s thoughts and behavior at the funeral reveal more of her character?

  5. How is Natsuki’s father’s character developed in this section?

  6. What factors drove Natsuki to make her request to Yuu? Given her situation, does this seem like a reasonable course of action?

3 Likes

Well, more sad stuff!
Did anyone else read the first sentence (the one with the mother standing there in black clothes) and think “oh no, Yuu??” at first? Glad I was wrong.

  1. What factors drove Natsuki to make her request to Yuu? Given her situation, does this seem like a reasonable course of action?

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Seems like something like another coping mechanism to me - a way to keep some sort of control over her own body, make her own choices with it, because she doesn’t see any way out of the situation with the teacher.

This line was heartbreaking:
「お願い。一生のお願い。私の身体が私のものじゃなくなる前に、どうしても由宇と身体も結婚したいの」

Honestly though, I kind of think it’s not really fair for Natsuki to sort of drag Yuu into this by making that request. “We’re married so I’ll do whatever you want” is not a great reason to sleep with someone, even for adults, and they’re just kids. Obviously she doesn’t mean any harm and it’s somewhat understandable based on the trauma she’s experienced but still… oof.
Can an adult please stop these children maybe and ideally get them some help ;_; (based on everything that’s happened so far… probably not)

This was also sad:
「……由宇は、自分の命が自分のものじゃないって思ったことある?」
由宇は一瞬言葉に詰まり、小さな声で言った。
「子供の命は自分のものじゃないよ。大人が握ってる。お母さんに捨てられたらご飯が食べられないし、大人の手を借りないとどこにも行けない。子供はみんなそうだよ」
「だから大人になるまで、がんばって、僕たちは生き延びるんだ」

What a sad way for a child to look at the world. Perfectly understandable from their view point here, but man.

  1. What do you know about Japanese funeral traditions?

4

Honestly, nothing :sweat_smile: So similarly to the obon stuff in the beginning, this was some nice cultural insight. Everything from the 坊さん being at the house, to the family carrying the casket themselves, to the ceremony with the 数珠 was unfamiliar to me.
This is probably not specifically japanese but I also had to google why you stuff cotton in the nose of the dead body :sweat_smile:

10 Likes

I was a bit on the fence regarding this, but this part cinched it for me:

いつもおどおどとされているだが、今日堂々とした態度だった。

And this bit made me sure of my suspicion that Yuu’s mother might be parentifying him:

由宇はまるでのように、おばさんの背中でていた

I agree with @Scylie about the ethics of dragging Yuu into this. But I wonder if this might be not just about staking a claim to her own body, but also about experiencing sex in a safe environment, as a ‘trial run’ for what she knows she’ll be forced to endure later?

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I’m finding it hard to keep to the club’s pacing. I was reading casually on my phone, where I haven’t marked the end passages for each week like on my tablet, and I was already way past this week’s end point when I realized. Of course by then, it was just impossible to stop reading. I’ll try to pace myself though, because I suspect knowing what happens next will make discussing the book here difficult, and I’m enjoying these discussions a lot.

So, on to my thoughts on this week:

Summary

Is it bad that I was momentarily glad to hear about the grandfather’s passing? It seemed like nothing short of a death could make the family go to Nagano this year, so there was certainly a positive aspect to the sad news. Natsuki thinking it was her magic that caused it though :grimacing: - things are getting darker and darker for her.

It was interesting to see the father getting into his own finally. In Akishina the mother and sister always fade into the background, allowing Natsuki to shine. The father was always wavering before, but now he finally has a specific role in the proceedings, as a member of the blood family and the son of the deceased, and he seems to come to life. It was nice seeing him and Natsuki interact, but it was probably too much to hope for something deeper between them. Not during a funeral anyway.

The tables have turned on Natsuki and Yuu. In the beginning it was Yuu who seemed to have the most troubled life, the one who needed help the most. This may still hold true, but we now know that Natsuki is in a really bad place. I’m really not sure where I stand on her request, ethically speaking. “Sex” between them, whatever that might entail, would be consensual and between peers, but they’re still just children, and don’t really know what they’re consenting to. And it’s even implied that Yuu is probably a little underdeveloped for his age, not that eleven is by any means old enough for any of this. It was heartbreaking to see Natsuki so sure that her body is soon not going to be hers. It seems she sees no way of avoiding Igasaki’s advances, and also that she understands exactly what has happened to her and what is going to happen next. I agree with @Scylie that she wants to keep some sort of control over her own body while she still has the chance. It’s also possible that she wants a trial run on her own terms as @Phryne suggests, but this would be even more manipulating for Yuu, so I’ll choose to believe that it’s not her conscious intention at least.

The funeral, like Obon, was very interesting to read about. I was surprised to see many parallels with how funerals are held in the countryside of my own little corner of Europe. I must admit I don’t know what the cotton wool in the nose is for though, and I’m a little afraid to ask.

Oh, and like @Phryne points out, we got an interesting brief glimpse of Yuu’s relationship with his mother. It was only a glimpse, but combined with other scattered fragments of information we get here and there, there definitely seems to be something unbalanced there, to say the least.

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Oh it’s nothing horrible in fact. It’s so that nothing can come out (mucus, bacteria) and nothing can go in (insects). It’s necessary because the mechanisms that naturally protect the body from these things are no longer working because the person is dead.

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I forgot to mention the sunflower scene. It seemed somehow significant to me as I was reading it, but I was unsure in what way. Yuu has never tasted sunflower seeds apparently, and Natsuki urges him to try. They take them straight from the plant, but as the seeds are still fresh they don’t taste at all as expected. Yuu doesn’t like the taste, and Natsuki can feel no taste at all. I’m not sure whether that’s because there is no strong taste, or because she has disconnected herself from her mouth and its senses. In any case, I kind of feel this might be a metaphor for the two of them, and how they’re still too “unripe” for what they plan to experience maybe?
Edited to add that it’s the second time the two of them eat something unexpected straight from nature. The last time it was すいこ, and it was Yuu who showed Natsuki that it was edible (and Teruyoshi who had shown him).

Ah, thanks. This sounds reasonable actually.

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Nice catch. I hadn’t really thought about it like that but what you said makes a lot of sense to me!

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I think of childhood the same way. A lot of people like to look nostalgically back at childhood and overlook all the not so great things about it.

This is an interesting counterpoint to Natsuki’s view of being an adult, losing control over herself, and becoming a tool for the baby-factory society. It’s a pretty bleak view of life when put together–we live our childhood bound by our parents’ rules, and graduate to adulthood where we are bound by society’s rules. Is there any room for freedom?

I have to wonder–are things going to get better for Natsuki, or are they just going to keep getting worse?

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Indeed. I’m still enjoying the discussion happening, but knowing what happens colors it in an interesting light.

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I’m sure. I notice that the number of people who “have read this already but are here for discussion” is growing constantly, it’s at 50% at this moment. I’ve been wondering, does the “I’ve read this already” refer to the current week, the current chapter, or the whole book? I’m finding some value in reading slower than I normally would, because it allows me to dwell on details I would have probably missed or forgotten as I kept reading. However, resisting reading ahead for the sake of discussions makes no sense if most club members can’t really discuss things anyway because of spoilers. :thinking:

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For me, it’s the poll about the current week, so I answer for the current week. (Although I must say the wording gives me a bit of a „read this book a long time ago“ vibe so when I was only 1 or 2 weeks ahead, it felt a bit weird).

Hm, not sure what you’re aiming at? Spoilers for the current week are handled ok during discussions, I think… Or do you feel like people are holding back because they know too much already? I must confess I can’t initiate a discussion because I don’t exactly remember what happens in which week, but I have a pretty solid idea of the flow of events and can comment once somebody started.

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Spoilers are handled just fine. I was only commenting on the fact that if someone has already finished the book, or read quite far ahead, they can’t really answer to other readers’ thoughts and speculations in an unbiased way, so they may choose to not respond at all, which leads to a more limited discussion. And of course, many details get forgotten in the long run anyway.
I was mostly thinking about how to handle my own reading. I want to stick to the book club schedule to get the most out of the discussion here. However, if more and more people read ahead, there’s no real reason for me to keep to the current pacing either (this book is a page-turner!). That’s of course something for me to decide, I was just thinking aloud :slight_smile:

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Ok understood, and yes I agree with that. When I reply, it takes some extra effort to put myself back into that spot in the book and to try very hard to avoid hinting at whether or how things might evolve or change. But you are right, overall it might limit the discussion quite a bit.

Yeah, it’s quite amazing. I think I’ve never seen any official bookclub where so many people read at such a fast pace!
Time to move to the Advanced Club, y’all? :rofl:

Oh yes, sure, and of course for different people there are different reasons to speed up. (My reason was that I kinda wanted to get the book out of the way because I’m currently reading three other books for various reasons :sweat_smile:)

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I’ve been wondering the same thing. An intermediate solution can be to write down a post with your thoughts as you read and post it once the thread goes up (even if that is weeks later lol). That way you can still share your unbiased thoughts and enjoy reading other people’s thoughts, even if you might choose to hold off on responding.

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I have already done this once (when I finished reading early during our Christmas break), and I confirm it’s a good way to not only record my thoughts while they’re still fresh, but also remember what that specific part was about later on. If I decide to read ahead I’ll probably keep doing that for each section. :+1:

Time for a poll, maybe? :grin:

Seriously though, I wish the participation poll was a little clearer. It would be interesting to know how many people have already finished or are reading way faster than the schedule, instead of just marking this week’s reading as done.

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Lots of shitty days lately so I’m a bit behind with everything, but apparently I just finished this week’s pages though it felt very short and I finished it quickly. My ebook reader says I’m at 30% instead of the 32% though so I’m a bit confused.
Just to make sure I didn’t miss or skip anything before I start reading everyone’s posts: Roughly: It started with the mother standing next to Natsuki’s bed, then they arrived in Nagano, short dead body scene, sunflowers, carrying the coffin, feast and then bath?

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Yup! Seems like you’re caught up! This week is the shortest in the book (aside from the ramp-up weeks) just based on how the chapters and stopping points broke down.

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I guess the ebook % also kind of fluctuates between different versions then. First time I checked the ending % in the OP because it was so short. :sweat_smile:

I’m not really somebody who discusses books etc a lot so I don’t really have anything to say unfortunately (sorry!), but I enjoy reading all the posts though and most things are already covered when I check in.
However, who the hell exactly died? I first thought it was Teriyoshi, but he’s alive and Takahiro seems to be doing just fine as well. Was it just an unnamed plot device おじいちゃん?

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おじいちゃん, not おじちゃん. It’s the grandfather. Not that we had seen much of him.

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Yes, unfortunately the percentages even seem to depend on your device and settings, so they’re not really reliable. The end phrase is the one to look out for.

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