正欲 💦 Informal Book Club 🦆

Hello! I’m kicking off the 正欲 informal reading club. This is an offshoot of the ‘Profoundly Weird’ Book Club.

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What is this book about
Japanese summary:

あってはならない感情なんて、この世にない。
それはつまり、いてはいけない人間なんて、この世にいないということだ。
息子が不登校になった検事・啓喜。
初めての恋に気づいた女子大生・八重子。
ひとつの秘密を抱える契約社員・夏月。
ある人物の事故死をきっかけに、それぞれの人生が重なり合う。
しかしその繋がりは、"多様性を尊重する時代"にとって、
ひどく不都合なものだった――。
「自分が想像できる"多様性"だけ礼賛して、秩序整えた気になって、
そりゃ気持ちいいよな」
これは共感を呼ぶ傑作か?
目を背けたくなる問題作か?

English machine translation which I lightly edited because the machine got confused

There is no such thing in this world as feelings that should not exist.
In other words, there is no person in this world who should not exist.
Hiroki, a prosecutor whose son has stopped attending school.
Yaeko is a college student who has found love for the first time.
Natsuki is a contract worker with a secret.
Their lives overlap after the accidental death of a certain person.
However, this connection is terribly inconvenient for “an age that respects diversity”
The “diversity” that I can imagine is all I can admire, and I feel like I’m putting things in order,
It feels good, doesn’t it?
Is this a sympathetic masterpiece?
Is this a masterpiece that inspires empathy or a problematic work that makes you want to turn away?

As this is an informal reading group there is no schedule. Join at any time for discussion or questions. The sections are a means of referring to where you are at in the book. I do not have a physical copy so these will be % based. I also split the book into 2019年5月1日まで and から because the section titles include those but they make the table harder to read.

Section No. % into book it ends at
Unnamed first section 2%
Unnamed second section, newsreport 3%
2019年5月1日まで。。。
寺井啓喜、515日 6%
桐生夏月 、515日 9%
神戸八重子、515日 13%
寺井啓喜、444日 15%
桐生夏月 、443日 18%
神戸八重子、395日 21%
寺井啓喜 、365日 23%
桐生夏月、311日 26%
神戸八重子、267日 32%
寺井啓喜、267日 34%
桐生夏月、249日 41%
神戸八重子、172日 44%
寺井啓喜、154日 46%
桐生夏月、121日 49%
神戸八重子、121日 51%
寺井啓喜、121日 53%
桐生夏月、121日 57%
佐々木佳道、89日 62%
諸橋大也、23日 66%
寺井啓喜、あと1日 70%
2019年5月1日から。。。
佐々木佳道、19日 75%
諸橋大也、50日 78%
寺井啓喜、51日 80%
佐々木佳道、51日 86%
諸橋大也、52日 91%
田吉幸嗣、80日 93%
寺井啓喜、82日 97%
神戸八重子 100%

How do I get it?

Bookwalker link | Amazon link
As a note there is an audiobook available for this title on both Audible (availability may vary by your country) and audiobook.jp.
Those of you wishing to add this to your Natively library may do so here.

Do you plan to participate in reading this book?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Maybe later
  • I wish to click a poll
0 voters

Will you be reading physical, ebook, audio, or combo?

  • Physical book only
  • Ebook only
  • Audiobook only
  • Reading and listening
0 voters
Names cheatsheet
Name Reading Description
佐々木佳道 ささきよしみち 30 in 2019, suspect/ringleader, works for major food company, married, (spoiler for up to 18%) Natsuki’s schoolmate
矢田部陽平 やたべようへい 24 in 2019, part-time elementary school teacher
諸橋大也 もろはしだいや 21 in 2019, third year university student, dancer, beauty contest winner (準)
寺井啓喜 てらいひろき 40s, prosecutor
寺井由美 てらいゆみ 40s, Hiroki’s wife
寺井泰希 てらいたいき 不登校, 小学4年 at start of book
桐生夏月 きりゅうなつき 30, born in 1989, works at mattress store
那須沙保里 なすさおり 30s, works at general store opposite, aspires to get married
脇元 わきもと Saori’s colleague
神戸八重子 かんべやえこ 1st year university student at start of book
久留米よし香 くるめよしか 1st year university student at start of book
桑原紗矢 くわばらさや 3rd year 先輩
冨吉奈々江 とみよしななえ mother (husband:dentist)
冨吉彰良 とみよしあきら son, 不登校
random volunteer, age 26
広田亜依子 ひろたあいこ Natsuki’s schoolmate, now 西山あいこ(にしやまあいこ)
西山修 にしやましゅう Natsuki’s schoolmate, married to 亜依子
西山莉々亜 にしやまりりあ their baby
渡辺かおる わたなべかおる schoolmate, married to 門脇
門脇 かどわき schoolmate, married to 渡辺
穂波辰郎 ほなみたつろう schoolmate, about to get married to 桂真央
桂真央 かつらまお schoolmate, about to get married to 穂波辰郎
Satoru Fujiwara youtube commenter
高見優芽 たかみゆめ スペード representative
平野千愛 ひらのちえ おじ恋 producer
越川秀己 こしかわひでき Hiroki’s coworker, early 30s
藤原悟 ふじわらさとる 45 in 2004
桑原真輝 くわばらまき Saya’s 姉、27
5 Likes

I read up to 6%. Interesting writing, not easy, but not too hard either. I’d say about 半落ちlevel?

I think it’s no spoiler to mention it as it’s also in the summary, but after coming across it many times, I still struggle to understand this trend of kids just deciding not to go to school, especially in elementary school. Where I’m from, many kids don’t like going to school, but it never crosses their mind that there’s even a choice. Middle school and up some of them may start skipping classes, but it’s extremely rare to take it so far as to miss a whole year of school. And it’s usually more as a form of rebellion against the “system”, than because of bullying or a general feeling of discomfort. Anyway, I don’t think I ever thought I could get away with not going to school, beyond briefly pretending to be ill. :sweat_smile:

If there was any doubt about this being a good fit for the Profoundly Weird Club, I think this sentence from the prologue should help:
私はずっと、この星に留学しているような感覚なんです。 いるべきではない場所にいる。そういう心地です。
:grin:

Edit: Forgot to add, I wonder why we’re counting down to the end of Heisei? :thinking:

2 Likes

Woo! Going fast! And I agree, I mentally placed it around ~37 and checking Natively 半落ち is graded at 39 which isn’t far off. This book doesn’t have as many metaphors and similes scattered throughout, but it loves long sentences and the vocab used is quite wide.

Yeah, the idea of just refusing to go to school at that age is also not something in my experience growing up in America. I will say that dropping out of high school wasn’t uncommon, though, and I knew a handful of people who did just that, typically in junior or senior year (which is to say, ages 16-18). Even then, it was drugs or pregnancy, not bullying.

I’m up to 18% and I still don’t know for sure, but I suspect it’s either (very minor minor spoilers, second section at ~3%)

leading up to the incident where the men are in the park with the children, or it’s just a reference to 令和 being a ‘new age’ and this book analyzing the changing landscape of Japanese society. I suspect, based on what I’ve heard about this book, that the scene in the park is not all that it seems.

2 Likes

13%. In the 桐生夏月 part, I only barely understood some of the dialogue - casual dialogue continues to be my nemesis. In the 神戸八重子 part, at first I was bored by the beauty contest stuff , but then was intrigued by all that was left unsaid. Why is she afraid of boys? Why is her house cold? Why does she need to prepare herself to face her parents? Why is her brother a hikikomori now? What happened in his room? I understand that she has low self-esteem, especially as regards her looks, probably as a result of her mother constantly comparing her to her “perfect” brother, but that can’t be all there is to it. Something happened. Abuse?

So up to now we have a public prosecutor with a son refusing to go to school. A young woman who chose to distance herself from all her past acquaintances/work colleagues, and does not want to talk about her love life (or lack thereof). In contrast, a loud acquaintance who is only waiting to trap a man by getting pregnant and quit her job for marriage (this too seems to be a common theme, and apparently it’s not even a secret to be only quietly talked about, wtf). And a student who lives in an uncomfortable home situation, hikikomori brother included, and who just found the one and only boy that doesn’t cause her to shrink in fear just by existing. :eyes: Let’s see what comes next!

1 Like

All caught up! (if you haven’t read past 18%, that is)

So I looked back to double-check the volunteer’s age with the paedophilia articles, and while I didn’t get a hit, I realized I had missed a much more obvious connection. Tatsuya, the boy our Yaeko isn’t afraid of, was (or rather, will be, as the articles were published in July 2019, after the era change) one of the suspects. Hmmm. And as I read on, another one surfaced: Sasaki, the boy who suddenly changed schools in the middle of the third year of high school, and who was close, or at least shared a moment with Natsuki, is the suspected ringleader. We still haven’t come across the third one, I think.

I’ve started to keep a name list, as it seems I’m too quick to forget names. Let me know if you’d like me to share it here.

2 Likes

I made a name list as soon as I hit the news article :joy: I’m horrible with names so I knew I’d have to. If yours is tidy feel free to add it, otherwise I can tidy mine up. Will put either in the top post.

As for the people you mentioned:

Yep, I have 佐々木佳道 - 30 - リーダー - 大手食品会社勤務 – 桐生の同級生 and 国公立大学3年生の 諸橋大也 (21)-- 八重子のcrush (lol, I couldn’t think how to say that Japanese so threw in English), but for the final one I only have 小学校の非常勤講師である 矢田部陽平 (24). I assume we’ll come across him in relation to 泰希, 啓喜’s son? But so far as I’ve noted he hasn’t been introduced yet.

Since you’re caught up to where I stopped I’ll begin reading again tonight :tada:

1 Like

This is not a book to read when tired at night :sweat_smile: I read up to 寺井啓喜 、365日 23%

I had something of a flashback to 嫌いなら呼ぶなよ during the scene with Yaeko where they were talking about their special commenter :joy: I don’t think she’s going to find love there, though. I wonder if her lack of fear of him is due to his complete noninterest in her/all women?

The next chapter was much more interesting. The random connection of involuntary tears during sex becoming intertwined with enjoyment of the act itself with ‘this criminal said he gets off on seeing water spurt’ made me laugh. I do wonder though why he needed to steal the knobs, though. Surely he could just get a sprinkler or go to water parks… :thinking:

1 Like
Also read up to 23%.

The Yaeko part continues to bore me. All this festival organization just leaves me cold.

I wonder what’s up with 天沢聖司 from 耳をすませば (is it a prerequisite? I haven’t read or watched it). That’s the second time he gets mentioned, and the first one was on Natsuki’s side, about a commenter on a Youtube channel she’s following. The commenter signing as Satoru Fujiwara - the 蛇口 thief from 2004. :thinking:

That’s what I was thinking as well.

Next she’ll be (嫌いなら呼ぶなよ spoiler) setting bags on fire :rofl:

Right? I don’t get it either. Nor why this is supposed to be anything more than a fetish. I’m reminded of the group in the initial articles giving the kids water guns (supposedly so that their clothes would be see-through, and so they’d get a chance to wipe them dry). But seriously, if you get off on just seeing water spurt, surely it’s everywhere? Go watch a water fountain. No need for elaborate plans.

My name list needs a tiny bit of tidying up, but not much. I’ll post it shortly.

The descriptions are in English, I find this quicker to find when needed. Feel free to edit if you prefer Japanese. I hope I haven’t included any accidental spoilers in there.

I have included people (well, one I think) whose names we don’t even know, in case they turn out to be important later. And I have a double entry for one person, because we learn about him from two different sources, and I felt that anything I could add would be a (mild, at least) spoiler. I don’t know. I’m sure this kind of thing will come up often enough in this book.

Names up to 23%
Name Reading Description
佐々木佳道 ささきよしみち 30 in 2019, suspect/ringleader, works for major food company, married, (spoiler for up to 18%) Natsuki’s schoolmate
矢田部陽平 やたべようへい 24 in 2019, part-time elementary school teacher
諸橋大也 もろはしだいや 21 in 2019, third year university student, dancer, beauty contest winner (準)
寺井啓喜 てらいひろき 40s, prosecutor
寺井由美 てらいゆみ 40s, Hiroki’s wife
寺井泰希 てらいたいき 不登校, 小学4年 at start of book
桐生夏月 きりゅうなつき 30, born in 1989, works at mattress store
那須沙保里 なすさおり 30s, works at general store opposite, aspires to get married
脇元 わきもと Saori’s colleague
神戸八重子 かんべやえこ 1st year university student at start of book
久留米よし香 くるめよしか 1st year university student at start of book
桑原紗矢 くわばらさや 3rd year 先輩
冨吉奈々江 とみよしななえ mother (husband:dentist)
冨吉彰良 とみよしあきら son, 不登校
random volunteer, age 26
広田亜依子 ひろたあいこ Natsuki’s schoolmate, now 西山あいこ(にしやまあいこ)
西山修 にしやましゅう Natsuki’s schoolmate, married to 亜依子
西山莉々亜 にしやまりりあ their baby
渡辺かおる わたなべかおる schoolmate, married to 門脇
門脇 かどわき schoolmate, married to 渡辺
穂波辰郎 ほなみたつろう schoolmate, about to get married to 桂真央
桂真央 かつらまお schoolmate, about to get married to 穂波辰郎
Satoru Fujiwara youtube commenter
高見優芽 たかみゆめ スペード representative
平野 ひらの おじ恋 producer
越川秀己 こしかわひでき Hiroki’s coworker, early 30s
藤原悟 ふじわらさとる 45 in 2004, (spoiler for 23%) arrested for faucet stealing
2 Likes

Thanks for mentioning this! Not a book I‘d want to read then :woman_shrugging:
I think somebody had mentioned that earlier as well, as the book had disappeared from my wishlists already, but I guess I forgot that. So thanks for the reminder :+1:

2 Likes

Is that something you avoid?
The books is not focused on kids at all, if that’s what you’re worried about. All main characters are adults, and the subject matter is very adult too. It’s just that one of them has a son.

2 Likes

If it impacts your decision at all, the perspective is entirely from the adults as @omk3 replied faster :joy: It’s a worry of the father, but overall isn’t what I’d call a major plot point of the book. TBH I’m still not sure what the major plot points are :joy:

2 Likes

Diversity, but not the kind you expect :wink:

2 Likes

I’m finding that thought quite aggravating tbh, and there are so many books out there that I want to read that I don’t see the need to expose myself to it rn :woman_shrugging:
But if the main story is not related then I am not extremely opposed, just somewhat wary.

2 Likes
Read up to 26%

I was about to comment on how very disturbing the whole youtube thing was, and how surprising that 電気あんま is even in the dictionary (as “pressing one’s foot on the genitals of a supine person while pulling on their feet” - seriously, why is there a word for that??), when something even more surprising happened. That’s not at all who I was expecting to die (not that I had any idea who would). How on earth might he be connected to the others?

2 Likes

Several years back I looked into the rather disturbing world of child content creators(?) and how many of them would get ‘challenges’ from viewers, which to an open eyed adult were clearly fetish requests. Squishing bugs ‘challenge’. Take off your shirt and roll on a spread of legos ‘challenge’. And the comment sections were equally obvious. Likewise, I’ve heard that “family vloggers” get more engagement on videos with children in swimsuits/the bath/etc. It’s quite uncomfortable. 桐生 just reading the comments, knowing what they are, and being like, “oh hmm, rubber fetish?” but not caring is just…disturbing indeed. No better word.

Likewise was taken aback by that (and 桐生’s reaction, good lord she is strange). For the moment I’m just going to assume 佐々木 killed him :person_shrugging:

I’ve read through 26%, but plan to read the next two sections tonight if I can. The following 桐生 section is long and I want to focus on it tomorrow.

1 Like
Up to 32%

So her brother became a hikikomori because he was teased at work for being inefficient and a virgin, and she fears all men because he was watching an illicit porn video of a girl her age? Not that it’s not super icky, but still I was expecting something worse. At the very least a hole in the wall between them, through which he was watching her, or something.

Up to 34%

It took long enough for Hiroki to realize that his son being exposed like that might be a bad idea unrelated to not going to school. :thinking:
Why is who inflated the balloon such a mystery?

The next section’s audio is 70 minutes long! :astonished:

New names

桑原真輝 くわばらまき Saya’s 姉、27

And we have a full name for the producer:
平野千愛 ひらのちえ おじ恋 producer

1 Like

Up to 32%:

Yeah, it definitely felt like an overreaction. Maybe because the age gap between them is significant the fact he was watching JK 妹 stuff was extra creepy? But all the same, I think this is a ‘book needs a tidy scene to point to for her issues’ more than anything. In real life I can see something like that being influential, but it’d be because it was compounded by lots of other things.

up to 34%

I don’t think they really grasped it to be honest. Maybe I’m just jaded by being on the internet a lot and for a long time :skull:

up to 41%

I had to go back to check the earlier section where Satoru Fujiwara was mentioned because I was like ‘how could this event had happened while Natsuki and Sasaki were in school, but also while she is watching the kids’ channel? Turns out I’d missed that they called out the date of the article was 2004 :person_facepalming:
Also we finally have them both admitting they get off on water, but IIRC he’s married when he’s arrested? I wonder if they marry each other for that sweet, sweet social respectability.

1 Like
up to 41% (which is 39% in my version but no matter

It’s Fujiwara who was arrested when they were in high school, and yes, he was married. We don’t know anything else about him at this point. Someone using his name is leaving comments on all the right youtube videos, but it could be someone else.

What are the chances that two people who get off spurting water are in the same class?

In any case, I once again fail to see what the big deal is. I get the attraction of water, I love it in all its many forms, and feel happier near (or in) water. The feeling isn’t sexual, but the leap isn’t so great. I mean, you can show you enjoy water (maybe toning down the excitement a bit) without being a social oucast. It’s harming no one. Now if there really is no desire for human companionship (sex and a relationship don’t necessarily have to go together, and possibly getting off the same things might make a good couple, if they also like each other), then they can just say they’re aromantic or asexual or something, which is a recognized minority after all. It’s not that we have to explain what arouses us to everyone we meet.

1 Like

No, I mean 佐々木 in the news article in the beginning. I just skimmed it looking to jog my memory and it says this:

佐々木に関しては否認しているようです。わけのわからない主張を繰り返しているらしく、精神鑑定に持ち込むつもりなのかもしれません。不起訴になったとて、勤めていた大手食品会社はクビでしょうし、離婚は免れないでしょう。

So he was married at the time of the crime, which is in the future.

I suspect that would be too much of a minority/inviting too many questions for their comfort. Natsuki seemed to be quite impacted by the way the class laughed at the man who was arrested, and both of them seem to have something of a complex around not feeling the same attractions as their peers.

1 Like

Ah, you’re right, I got completely confused. In fact, we don’t even know if Fujiwara was married at all. I got the two arrests completely mixed up. I shouldn’t be posting before I’ve had my morning coffee. :sweat_smile:

From what I remember from my high school, it wasn’t the most tolerant place. In fact you only had to dress or speak a little differently, or not like the same kind of music bands, to be laughed at and ostracised. So the schoolmate’s reaction means nothing to me. The world beyond school is wider and more colourful, and you can always find people you get along with. In fact, she even found one right there in her class, unlikely as it seems.

In any case, the book seems to be about how we pretend to be accepting of diversity, when in fact we’re not, and uses this water fetish example to prove the point, but it doesn’t click for me. Totally average heterosexual couples may still have all kinds of weird fetishes, and that’s totally fine as long as they’re not harming anyone, but hardly the subject of polite conversation.

I guess the way I see it is like this: What arouses us sexually concerns no one really, other than our sex partners. It’s the falling in love part, and the choosing to formally be with someone, or choosing to never be with someone, that may be a problem, because society may not be accepting of same sex partners, or multiple partners or whatever. Natsuki is unlikely to want to marry water, (introduce water to her family, go with water to formal events, buy a house together with water), so society shouldn’t care about how she feels about water. What society cares about is that she’s not married or willing to be. Still uncomfortable, but less so. There have always been people who never married for whatever reason, in all generations. And nowadays, saying “I’m just not attracted to anyone” would be accepted by most, wouldn’t it?

1 Like