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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!
What was your favorite new vocab word from this week’s reading?
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?
I’ve gathered it’s Sakiko asking Chika if there is anyone she wants to murder, but who responds with やだあ、チカでいいですよお? Is it Chika herself? It seems curious to me that チカちゃんは comes after.
I also like how the semi snacks made another appearance this week. I wonder if we’ll see still more of them, or if their significance has been resolved by the remark that they were some of her sister’s favourite insects to kill.
As for which part made most of an impression on me... That's a bit of a tie!
Yeah, she’s saying this herself. She’s telling her to address her less formally, which isn’t usually something you do for other people. The order didn’t seem particularly strange to me… I think it’s just a stylistic choice.
I’m not liking these glimpses we get into 姉さん’s suffering.
I know it is a rather short story, but things move so quickly… It’s not easy to stop reading every week.
I totally misinterpreted that! I thought it was something like “Chika’s good” ➝ Chika doesn’t want to kill anyone. Was surprised to see that followed up with a sizeable list of people she wanted to kill
Yeah, I am at a stage where sometimes I can’t really make head or tails of a sentence, but once I see the translation and work my way back it seems like the most obvious thing ever. Not sure how to get out of that hole. More immersion I guess? Have been trying to work up the courage to get iTalki lessons too; so far it’s all been passive Japanese for me.
This book is so hard to put down! I’m really fascinated by the world building, especially how normal the system seems to be for Misaki.
I’m super curious how this will play out. From this quote, it sounds like the murdered person will be celebrated despite whatever they did that caused them to get picked to be killed? (Not that there has to be some cause at all, apparently.)
Hahaha I’m glad I’m not the only one who made this mistake. I thought it was something like “Nah Chika’s good (referring to herself in the third person), I don’t really want to kill anyone. Well actually there are three people I’d want to kill, but not enough to become an 産み人”
Also, any consensus on how to pronounce 産み人? I’ve been reading it as “umibito”.
We finally have a victim’s perspective! Poor チカ. I knew something like this would happen eventually but it still came abruptly. I wonder if we’ll learn more of the details surrounding the death at the funeral. I find ミサキ’s nearly fanatical desire to attend really disconcerting, especially in light of 育子 and 早紀子’s conversation about those who remember the old morality being supplanted by this younger generation.
As they keep coming up, I’ve found myself wondering more and more about the significance of the セミスナック motif. I feel like they’re supposed to be an analog for the attitude toward murder, with something that once was disgusting becoming “healthy” and “trendy”. Is it supposed to enhance the main ideas of the story by evoking a more visceral reaction in the reader than the idea of “murder”, which many have become numb to in books and television? If this is the goal, I almost feel like it achieves the opposite because wrapping my mind around eating bugs is not such a tall task as glorifying killers would be. Maybe Murata expects me to be more disgusted by eating bugs? Or maybe the snacks are more about the effectiveness of media brainwashing, because they always seem to be endorsed by popular celebrities. What are others’ thoughts?
Hmmm… in that case maybe Murata doesn’t expect the reader to be revolted. But 育子 definitely is! When ミサキ first introduces the 蟬スナックs (pg. 23-25)、she tells 育子 that bugs were a common food during the (all too famous) 縄文時代 and have recently come into vogue once again. She says that it was only during modern times that they were not eaten because food was plentiful. She also mentions an increasing food shortage driving research on making bugs more palatable and popular. The whole thing seems really similar to the 殺人出産 system except much less… extreme? It seems like a (presumably) government effort to counter a food shortage by altering public perception through media campaigns centered on celebrity endorsement and (questionably scientific) health and beauty benefits.
Regardless of whether or not the actual effect is good or bad, maybe the snacks are meant to show how insidious this sort of doublethink or groupthink can be. I mentioned before that it’s difficult for me to imagine a world that all of a sudden decides murder is commendable. But seeing how easily public perception can be changed makes it feel a bit more chillingly believable, because the change in attitude toward eating bugs doesn’t seem far-fetched at all.
Another thing that I really like about this world is that there doesn’t seem to be any sort of thought police or morality enforcement, but 育子’s conversations with 早紀子 along with her secret resentment toward the system feel almost criminal, as if public opinion is as strong a deterrent as any law enforcement would be.
That 蝉 element feels like a parallel to 産み人 to me as well. Rather than trying to evoke a visceral reaction, maybe it is meant to show a similar shift in a much more trivial matter?
When they first talked above these snacks, ミサキ remarked on how 育子 won’t eat them although she does like grasshopper, and 育子 replies that she’s fine with that because it has been considered a food for a long time, and also during the time she grew up.
In that way as well it parallels the way the new system gradually became accepted, and people who grew up with it don’t think of it as anything but the way things should be.
Interestingly, it seems to be a direct mirror so far - 早紀子 won’t eat them, neither will 育子 though she doesn’t show her distaste as openly. ミサキ and ちか both don’t seem to think much of eating 蝉 or the 生み人 system.
Lol, just had this a lot today and wondered if other people experience it too.
When I don’t really get a sentence I’m reading with ichi.moe I put it in deepl and as long as the translation it’s giving me is quite literal it’s so easy to see how things fall together if I look at the Japanese sentence again. So weird.
It feels kinda similar to when I read some sentences and understand them (or at least I think so) and then there’s a sentence I have no idea what they’re on about, so I check back a sentence or two and realize I completely forgot what I was reading/forgot about the topic. So weird. I guess it’s some kind of weird information overload from trying to decode, idk. But the answer probably is yes, more immersion. lol
I used to have that a lot, especially when there were many words that I did not know. When I checked back I would already have forgotten the words I looked up, so I had to look them up again, which made me forget more about the actual contents so I had to reread more and I had already forgotten the words… ad infinitum
But like you said, I found that it got better the more I read because (a) I am building up more vocabulary so I have to look up less, and (b) I’m developing more stamina for keeping those pesky heaps of relative clauses in mind
Seems very plausible now that you (and others) say that. Maybe it was more natural to eat bugs (for some people) back in the day, but with the advent of more “modern” food and more “western” society this kinda got lost, and now it is as revolting for many as it is for us? Weird chicken parts, on the other hand, are a really standard thing and you get them in every Izakaya so I really don’t have a good feel for what Japanese people find revolting tbh…