地球星人 🌏 Book Club ・ Week 7

地球星人 ・ Week 7

Week 7 15 January 2022
End page 124
End % 38
End phrase End Chapter 2
Pages 21
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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 ネタバレ. 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) needs 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. Is Natsuki’s suicide attempt justified? What other options does she have going forward? Why is she so calm after being caught by the adults?

  5. How does Yuu’s reaction to Natsuki’s suicide attempt tell us more about his character and situation?

  6. When the adults found Yuu and Natsuki, how did they handle the situation? What could/should they have done differently?

3 Likes

I found the first paragraph of this week’s reading hard to read. It seems pretty clear to me that Yuu wasn’t truly on board with this. He only went along to make Natsuki happy, but seemed very uncomfortable. He may have consented, but it wasn’t enthusiastic consent and if that’s your benchmark (which for me it definitely is), one could say that Natsuki abused him.

The next part wasn’t much better! My first reaction to discovering Natsuki’s suicide plan was “o no, poor child”, but then that quickly made way for anger. It’s unfair for Yuu to be put in that position (having to find her dead body when he wakes up) and also unfair for her to break her promise to him that she would try to survive. It’s ironic that Natsuki’s inner monologue goes: おばさんは大人なのに由宇を使って生き延びないと生きていられないじゃないか、と言いたかったけれど、私は言葉を飲み込んだ。 Isn’t she using Yuu much the same way his mother is using him? As an ‘emotional support animal’ who doesn’t get a say of his own?

I can’t judge her too harshly, because she is a survivor of abuse herself and only a child. I am sure that whatever she is doing is the best she can manage with the limited mental/emotional bandwidth she has…

For all the misery in this week’s reading, I did chortle when Natsuki said 「おじさん、セックスをしらないの?」:joy: The adults should’ve been worried that Natsuki seemed to think having sex is normal for children. Especially when she mentioned adults wanting to have sex with children, plus the fact that her parents have actually noticed her behaviour has changed. Her mother should really have made the connection to what her daughter has already told her… But these people have not been blessed in the parenting skills department :roll_eyes:

Also, the nerve of them suddenly saying 「学校のお友達が悪いのよ。あんな知識がある子じゃないもの」 when they have only ever compared her to other children unfavourably up to now!

11 Likes

Well, this part was instense.

I wonder why Murata chose to place that scene right next to the grave. Was it just to make the whole thing (even more) cringeworthy? I suppose there is a life and death juxtaposition there. Or maybe it is foreshadowing for the attempted suicide later, and the juxtaposition is between the natural death after a full life and the sudden, self-inflicted death of a mere child.

When Natsuki started taking the pills, I was outraged on behalf of Yuu. I imagined him waking up, naked and vulnerable, after an experience that must have been instense if nothing else, next to her dead body. How could she not care about shielding him from that? It was a pleasant surprise that his reaction was dynamic and decisive instead of confused and fearful. I immediately knew he had had to save his mother from the same thing - what kid his age would instantly recognize the attempted suicide for what it was, and know what to do to stop it? It was good seeing him take the initiative, he has seemed kind of passive in all his interactions with Natsuki so far, willingly going along with everything but not really initiating anything himself. For once he seemed strong and in control, although for all the wrong reasons. Poor boy hasn’t had much luck with the women in his life so far.

I had to look it up, so here's what a ラムネ bottle looks like, if anyone's wondering:

The adults’ reaction there at the end left much to be desired. Of course they are in shock, but when your child does something like that, and even tells you outright about adults wanting to have sex with children (so why can’t children be allowed to do so on their own initiative), you sit down and have a serious conversation instead of shouting and locking them up. Especially the mother should have made the connection with what she already knew but chose to disregard. But then I never really held out much hope for the mother. Hopefully the father at least will try to have that conversation with Natsuki later on? Although from what I’ve seen of him he may feel too awkward to do it, even if he feels the need, and would probably leave it to the mother. So there’s probably no hope at all.

Oh my, the boldness, the cheek with which Natsuki answers back to the adults when they’re discovered! She’s crossed to the other side, just doesn’t care any more. She claimed ownership of her own body, she was determined to die and nearly did, so the shocked adults are only comical to her at this point.
「おじさん、セックスをしらないの?」
「私、さっきから少しも騒いでないよ。騒いでるのはお父さんたちだけだよ」
「子供はセックスしちゃいけないの?子供とセックスしたがる大人って、たくさんいるのに。子供同士だと駄目なの?」
「反省することなんて何もない。暗いのだって怖くない」
私が従順ではないことを大人たちが嘆いている。そのことが滑稽だった。
And yes, the adults lamenting how she’s not obedient, when obedience was exactly what made her vulnerable…
So I guess she’s not going to be obedient any more. Or even polite. She’s outspoken, rude, even a little unhinged, indifferent to any consequences. So much is bound to change now - her own attitude, but the way the others treat her too. How will tomorrow be for them all after this day? They surely can’t go back to business as usual as if nothing has happened, right?

Did I understand correctly that Yuu hid the wedding vows in Natsuki’s shoe? If so, Yuu probably got a more lenient treatment than Natsuki after they were found out. I guess his mother just can’t be bothered, or maybe it’s more acceptable for a boy? In any case, the fact that he hid it for her to find seems to mean that he doesn’t resent what happened, and is telling her that their vows still count. Which makes me feel a little better, because he had every reason to feel used and resentful.

I have two language questions this week:
  • 「準備がいいね」
    Does this mean “You are well prepared” or “Enough with the preparations”?
  • あんな知識がある子じゃないもの
    Not exactly sure how to understand this. “She knows such things”?
9 Likes

I took it to mean “she isn’t the kind of kid who would know such things”. That’s why they think her knowing about sex must be due to her friends’ bad influence.

The former makes more sense to me.

10 Likes

That was probably my earliest I’ve ever finished a week’s section. I didn’t plan to suddenly read all of it in the middle of the night but it sucked me in.

Well, this was...

…pretty hefty stuff. Knowing Murata, I first thought Natsuki about to try to kill Yuu when she started to talk about 内臓 and how she wants to get into his skin (or was it the other way around?)
Obviously went in another direction.

I was just a bit confused about the time when they dozed off and when Natsuki tried to end herself. I first thought they slept until dawn, but later it was written it was still dark. I guess the candle was enough for Yuu to see her drinking from the bottle?

Language question

『口』以外の全部の場所で、由宇にさわりたい」This means she wants to be touched by Yuu, right? It would be を if it meant she wants to touch him? Kind of throws me off for some reason.


Oh, this is an interesting thought. I think so too. Especially curious about how her “relationship” with her teacher is going to look like from now on.

Probably a rhetorical question, but that’s my understanding as well. Kind of a relief, really. I was afraid he would be upset at her for some reason but him keeping up their vows like that was really nice.

Also agreeing with Phryne regarding the two language questions. :slight_smile:

6 Likes

I also thought this was going in a very different direction at first. :see_no_evil: I’m glad it didn’t, for all that the direction it went isn’t pretty either. As for which way, maybe a bit of both?

I understood it as she wants to touch (to feel?) 由宇 with everything except for her mouth. It’d need to be passive form if it was the other way around.

8 Likes

Oh the passive, true. I got it right then, yay. I just want completely sure anymore. :exploding_head: Thanks!

I’m not sure anymore if it was explicitly stated?

1 Like

Another chapter done in this wonderful book. I just can’t wrap my head around this sentence: おばさんは大人なのに由宇を使って生き延びないと生きていられないじゃないか… How do you translate 生き延びないと生きていられないじゃない? Do they mean here “unless she uses Yuu to survive she can’t live”?

5 Likes

That’s how I understood it, yes. It threw me off at first too, because “she can’t live if she doesn’t survive” is self-evident. The relevant information is that she’s only surviving 由宇を使って.

5 Likes

Are there stll users of the vocabulary sheets? I just added the sheets for weeks 7 to 9, and noticed that there is not a single entry for week 6?! This should be a community work, not a single person’s task.

3 Likes

I know many members of the intermediate club don’t use the vocab sheets, and some IBC picks don’t even have one. I personally only really use them for proper nouns. Whether or not there’s a good, comprehensive, timely vocab sheet usually depends on whether or not there’s a club member who likes making them. It’s nice when there is a sheet for the sake of club accessibility and it’s nice when multiple people contribute, but don’t worry about it if you don’t find the process of adding to it to be a good use of your study time.

I definitely appreciate the work you’ve put into it thus far!

11 Likes

I’m using the vocab sheet, definitely appreciate whoever did the heavy lifting the previous weeks - I filled in week 6 and will keep doing so. Hopefully it’ll be useful for others in the future! But it can slow down reading, so I get that not everyone wants to contribute.

6 Likes
plot thoughts

Well, this chapter put to rest my question of whether or not Natsuki fully understood what was happening to her: unfortunately the answer is yes, even if maybe it didn’t sink in right away. Like @Phryne I found a lot of the first section hard to read. Yuu was obviously not fully on board, and it somewhat felt that he was defaulting to his carer mode and just giving Natsuki what she wanted without considering his own feelings. Also there is something uncomfortable about reading anything with children and sex - feels voyeuristic and icky, even though I think Murata’s descriptions still generally manages to

One thing that I only really thought about this week is how despite them been close neither of them had felt able to really talk about what is happening to them. Yuu keeps on just letting things slip but Natsuki never really seems to probe further. Natsuki hasn’t talked about her home situation at all. In that way, their bond, while strong mostly tests on escapism, which cannot be healthy in the long run. But they are just children, in impossible situation and neither have had good relationship models. Yuu has only learnt to give: Natsuki has learnt that she shouldn’t talk about her problems, that it will end in pain. And she hasn’t learnt how to ask more question and take turns taking that carer role

As for the suicide attempt, I just feel sad. For both of them. Again, I wish that Natsuki had felt able to talk through her feelings with Yuu, instead of just looking for an out.

The parents reactions were pretty unacceptable from my perspective. Like, maybe don’t leave your child in a shed overnight? It is also the first time we see the father getting mad - not that I had particularly high hopes for him, but I had hoped for better.

With Natsuki new found snarky attitude, I’m interested to see whether that carries in the future, or whether she is bullied back into submission. I am also wondering when they will be able to see each other again - I predict it will be a while.

[quote=“Phryne, post:2, topic:55228”]
For all the misery in this week’s reading, I did chortle when Natsuki said 「おじさん、セックスをしらないの?」:joy:
yup, had the same reaction. The other point of levity for me was when she took out a library book on sex - like that is so painfully relatable to me as a certified book worn at that age. But also emphasizes just how much she is a still a child, forced to become mature too quickly.

12 Likes

I feel exhausted after this week’s reading. Just…so much to unpack.

Natsuki and Yuu's relationship

Two well-adjusted people can have complicated relationships, so when two extremely distraught people form a bond, things can only get even more complex. I do feel bad for Yuu, of course, but I also can’t really bring myself to blame Natsuki. She’s been stealing those pills two at a time, so clearly she’s been severely depressed for a long time. To be at the point of wanting to kill yourself and choosing to do so near the grave so that the adults have an easier time burying you…that’s about as dark as it gets. Yes, there’s a selfishness to it: Yuu doesn’t anywhere near deserve to go through waking up and seeing her dead. But she’s also at a point where she has no hope left. These poor kids…

I agree that neither of them confiding in one another completely is odd, but as others have mentioned, also somewhat understandable. There’s no incentive for Natsuki to say how she feels to others in her life, and even when she wants to, she doesn’t quite know how. I imagine Yuu’s in a similar position. The fact that they can at least confide in one another when it’s relevant is something. Then again, we don’t quite know when this aspect of their relationship began (or what prompted it), do we? I am kind of curious about that.

Aftermath

On the one hand, I’m not surprised by her immediate family’s reaction. What did pique my interest was the response (or lack thereof) from the other family members. No one said anything to her parents when they locked her up in the storehouse? There could be an awkwardness around telling people how to handle their own child, but…I’m sorry, how can no one voice that doing so is extreme? This kind of makes me wonder if everyone in her father’s family is a tad dysfunctional.

As for Natsuki’s change, I don’t know if this is necessarily a permanent thing for her. Just as she acted odd after her last major shock, there could be some kind of permanent affect. However, if she’s renewed her determination to survive, then she may not be willing to continue to act in a way that hampers that possibility. It could go either way, but I would like for her to have more of a backbone moving forward. It could at least protect her from anymore harm from Despicable Igasaki.

I was actually wondering about this. She had to have taken that book out some time ago. Was her being with Yuu something she had planned for some time? I didn’t necessarily take it that way, though she was incredibly prepared. :thinking:

I’ve also been using the vocabulary sheet and adding page numbers/color coding it as I read, so it’s definitely getting some use!

8 Likes

That was my take - based on the fact that she had the pills, it seems to me that she decided she wanted a way out and there were only two ways that was going: either she was going to leave on a space ship or she was going to die.

Thinking about it more, it seems to me that she eventually faced the truth that the visiting alien wasn’t real, though I’m not sure when she decided that was the case. From that, I’m assuming she decided that the last thing she wanted before she went was to be with Yuu as husband and wife. So she planned ahead accordingly.

7 Likes