夜カフェ ☕ Chapter 1 (Beginner Book Club)

夜カフェ Book Club - Chapter 1

Let’s get the party started!

Start date current chapter: 26th March 2022
Next chapter: Chapter 2
Home thread: 夜カフェ Book Club Home Thread

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We are reading the first volume of 夜カフェ as the Beginner Book Club!.
This thread is for chapter related discussion. We are reading together from the aforementioned date on, but this thread will be kept open mu~ch longer (like 10 years longer). So don’t be shy to ask questions even if you are late to the party :heart:

Vocabulary List

Feel free to add any words you looked up as well! Page numbers may be off by one or two because of differences between physical and digital editions, but we try to keep the words roughly in order of appearance

The book is also available over at koohi.cafe (formerly known as floflo).

Discussion Guidelines

  • Please blur / hide any major events in the current week’s pages (however early they occur), like so: [spoiler]texthere[/spoiler] result: texthere
  • When asking for help, please mention the page number, and check before posting that your question hasn’t already been asked
  • Join the conversation — it’s fun!

Participation poll

  • I’m reading along
  • I’m planning to read but haven’t started yet
  • I’m from the future and reading way later
  • I’m not reading, just passing by

0 voters

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I haven’t actually read it yet, just skimmed the line where 優 is because of that note on the vocab sheet, and isn’t 高見沢優 a name, not a compound word?

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It’s definitely a name, which I thought I noted in the sheet in my initial run (Something along the lines of: “suspect it’s a name, will check during the actual reading”)… I’ll update the sheet accordingly.

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Read the first page, and I already have plenty of questions lol. Thanks in advance for any answers.

(I don’t think anything here counts as spoilers, if they do, please let me know)

  • Is the name of the school 「流星」/“shooting star”?
  • There is a と after 「ゆっくり」, is this for emphasis?
  • 「そっと」 means “gently/softly” so is 「そーっと」 written as such to indicate emphasis?
  • I don’t understand the phrase「試験だって、かなりできたんだがら」, does it mean “Because it’s a test, surely be able to do it”?
  • Does 「他の学校は落ちている」 mean “no other schools left”?
  • In the phrase 「涙も出てこない」what is the “konai” at the end?
  • In 「あんなにがんばったのに」what does “anna” mean?
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Yes

Yes, you’ll often see a っ or ー where they don’t belong for emphasis (common ones are すっごく and ほんっと).

こない is the negative form of 来る. When used as an auxiliary, it’s often written in kana only.

あんな is related to こんな, そんな, and どんな, so it’s “like that,” but more distant in some way than そんな
Edit: Rather, since it’s あんなに, then it’s “to that extent/degree,” but more distant in some way than そんなに

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Hello! This is my first time joining the beginner book club, and while it isn’t my first time trying to read a Japanese book (not including manga) hopefully this will be the first time I actually finish one!

I am actually surprised by how easy this first part was for me. But as I type this, I also think it took me longer than I would have thought and I definitely looked up multiple words on every page…. But that is part of the learning process!

I like the story so far. Main character seems like a nice girl, and it is unfortunate that she was bullied in elementary school and that it seems it will continue in middle school. (Also unfortunate she failed three school entrance exams and couldn’t get away from the bully).
Then we find out her home life is also in a bit of a delicate situation, with her parents both busy and now fighting about housework.

I’m looking forward to seeing where things go from here!

New words I added to my sentence mining cards (not all the words I didn’t know).

深呼吸
きっかり
かなり
なぐさめ
半紙
あおむけ
だきかかえる
うずめる
うかぶ
あからさま
取り巻き
ようやく
息をひそめて
ウキウキ
かぎり
ひそか
復帰
おろそかに
訴え

Questions
…ホッとしたのもつかのま…
Can anyone explain this part please? I understand ホッとした, it is theもつかのま throwing me off.

お米をとごう
Does this mean “cooking rice?” What is the verb/kanji for it?

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I think it’s “another school failed.” If it were “no other schools left,” it would be in the negative (though I’m not sure it’d use 落おちる)

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so in the full phrase 「くやしくて、悲しくて、涙も出てこない」means something like “though frustrated and sad, tears do not come out”?

So here the sentence 「あんなにがんばったのに」means something like “even though I did my best”?

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I think it’s “another school failed.” If it were “no other schools left,” it would be in the negative (though I’m not sure it’d use 落おちる)

Ah right, that makes more sense. I thought it had to do with the “missing/omission” meaning of 落ちる.

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Eh? I thought this was the beginner’s book club XD

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Oh woops! Got them all mixed up in my mind, since I’ve joined the absolute beginner club before, and have been looking at the intermediate one also. Somehow completely skipped beginners in my mind when writing this :joy:

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I found (つか)(), which means “moment; brief space of time,” which may be it. ホッとしたのも束の間

Update: found the other!

It means “washing rice.” The kanji would be お米を磨ごう (磨ぐ)

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Haha, no worries. I certainly wouldn’t mind discovering that I was part of the intermediate book club lol.

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This is the quotation particle, and it comes after onomatopoeic words, such as ゆっくり.

I read this as “after all, she had done pretty well on the practice tests.

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Can 他 also mean “another”? I assumed it means “I also failed at the other schools.” (literally: “The other schools are failed.”, with the “current state” ている)

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I think whether it’s “another” or “other” depends on whether it’s singular or plural. If it’s plural, it would have to be “other,” but if it’s singular, it could be either. “Another” is literally “an other” - “one other.”

I haven’t actually read the chapter yet, just skimmed a bit. I’ll be reading it tomorrow, and as more of us start reading, I’m sure we’ll figure out what exactly she’s saying there, or if it could be either.

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Ah, sorry, I think I misread what you meant by “another”. I was reading your sentence thinking only about the “one more” meaning, not the “a different” meaning, and thought you meant she was saying something like “[Ah, so that current school that I now failed at is] (one more / another) school that I failed at.”

English is hard.

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? Whether it’s “another school” or “the other schools,” it’s still got that “one more/in addition to” to sense. If it’s “I failed the other schools,” since she’s saying it after getting a failure notice for this current school, then it’s got that sense of “too.” If it’s “Another school failed” (“This is another school that I’ve failed”), then it’s in addition to all the ones she’s failed before, so it’s still got that sense of “too.” Since she’s failing to get into multiple schools, then I feel like that sense of “too” is implied even if she doesn’t say it

English is hard, though, yes

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Since I started this book a while back, it feels like forever since I’ve read it, but I’m excited to discuss this with everyone! I know there’s quite a few of you who are just starting a book for the first time, so this might feel a bit overwhelming but please hang in there!

Definitely use the book to help improve your kanji and vocab studies regardless of your level, but I also believe thinking about the big picture of the story and understanding the underlying issues, themes, character development, etc. will help level up your understanding of Japanese. So with that in mind, I’ll include a few discussion questions to help guide the reading for those who want to participate. (Even if you don’t have the time to type up your thoughts, just thinking about some of the questions while reading might be helpful too.)

Discussion Questions

Safe to read before reading the chapter:

  1. What do you think of Hanabi? Do you like her as a character so far? Do you sympathize with her? Are you frustrated with her? Why?
  2. From what we learn about Hanabi’s school life and home life, what do you think will happen in the coming chapters? Why? If you’re reading ahead, what did you think was going to happen after reading chapter one? Did it line up with what you originally thought? (Try to avoid writing too much detail about the content in future chapters so we don’t spoil anyone who isn’t reading ahead.)
Thoughts

On page 7, when Hanabi describes the bullying she had to endure by Yayako and her followers, I remember the first time I read it, I interpreted the Sports Festival backstory as Hanabi being late or making mistakes, and that’s why Yayako decided to target her. But now having reread it, I realize that Yayako purposely made Hanabi late to events and did things to make her make mistakes. Hanabi did nothing wrong at all except appear lesser than Yayako, in her opinion, and that kind of just makes me dislike Yayako even more than I did before.

Unfortunately bullies tend to target others who appear weaker (and Hanabi lacking the self-confidence to think better of herself makes her even more of an easy pick for Yayako). Seeing this kind of thing happen in schools in Japan quite often made this scene even more painful to read, personally.

And just for some cultural context to anyone interested

In regards to the last couple pages of the chapter, the traditional expectation of a woman’s place in the home (cooking, cleaning, taking care of the kids and making sure the husband is comfortable at home, etc.) is another one of those very real issues in Japan which I’m glad is being taken up as a point in the book because older elementary school and junior high school kids are reading this, and they should be aware of these issues.

Some younger generation families are lucky in that men are more understanding and accepting of women taking on careers, making it basically a requirement for men to help out around the house and also help support the children so women don’t get overworked as well. But those families are still not the norm especially with many men waiting until they’re 40 waiting to settle down and start families (as this is when their jobs and income are stable).

Unfortunately, those men are usually brought up in very traditional households, and unless they’re influenced by outside forces, tend to follow the pattern. If you hang around enough older women in Japan, you’ll hear them describe these men as the 昭和男, derived from the Showa era in which they grew up in.

Just from what my husband told me, some of the expectations his father had from his mother: she was the first to wake up early in the morning to get the laundry done so it could be hung outside to dry for the day, then she would start cooking meals (rice, meat (fish), miso soup, tsukemono typically for breakfast, leftovers packed in bento for lunch, and early prep for dinner - always a balanced meal to make sure the family ate healthy, no exceptions), wash dishes before eating with family, get the kids ready for school depending on age, clean the house when everyone left, finish prep for dinner, and if the food didn’t taste good and her husband was in a bad mood because of work, he had every “right” to shout at her and even flip the table (where do you think this game came from?) because he earned his comfort in the home. Of course alcohol usually played a factor as well, but that’s also another one of many of Japan’s societal issues.

So if you grew up in a home thinking this was normal, you’ll probably expect the same from your family. This sounds like an extreme case, but this is actually more common than anyone really wants to believe. This might not seem like a big point now, but it will help explain some of the content that come up in future chapters.

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I originally read it as “I have failed in the other schools” so I asked my husband for clarification, and he said it would be more appropriate to say “the other schools are failed / a no-go.” It sounds weird, but it implies she had applied to a bunch of other schools. 「これが最後の合格発表」“This is the last school announcement on who passed the exams (and got in)” in other words, this is the last school that she checks the results for, and she hasn’t passed a single one of the other schools either, so her fate is sealed. Hence why she’s sad, frustrated, etc.

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