Please read the guidelines on the first page before adding any words.
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?
It seems the consumption of insects has really been ramped up. Not only do we see a wider range of insects than before, but they are also being eaten in a myriad of different ways. Our old favourite, the 蟬, for example:
We also get the closest thing to a smoking gun that the insects are a proxy for the murder-birth-system (save the author telling us in a footnote ):
Again, we see Ikuko refusing to eat insects, but strangely enough Sakiko is eating insects (an ant salad and a semi bagel). I wonder what that’s about She still seems as invested as ever in fighting the system. This discrepancy is another thing the book is all but shoving in our faces:
Oh wow, week’s almost over and only one post so far.
I got a bit lost in the end. Concerning the three going to the hospital to visit Ikuko’s sister (What’s her name? I swear, names in Japanese are the worst aspect sometimes) in the hospital. But Ikuko denied her sister being a Birthgiver to Misaki and instead said she was working abroad or something? How does this work now that they visit her in a hospital? I think I either forgot or misunderstood something.
Also what the heck is going on with the insect eating… it’s so super weird especially the way she’s is writing those scenes. I do really enjoy the writing style and themes though. Konbini Ningen and this story have been great so far!
Whoo, thank you! Looks like it went over my head when I was reading it. I just reread the scene and it all makes sense now.
I would stay on schedule. It’s not unusual for the later weeks to die down significantly. I was just surprised because the last thread has 20 posts. If you’re concerned you could do a poll and see if people want/need a break or not?
It’s only three more weeks for this story, so I would actually prefer finishing it and maybe having a break in between stories if people need time to catch up?
(But I haven’t really heard complaints about the speed, so )
I for one have been really disciplined with the weeks‘ assignments but I couldn’t guarantee for anything if we decide to have a break in the middle of things
I’m disappointed nobody’s answered yet because the whole sentence with this had me stumped for a bit. Here’s my best translation attempt. In context, this is one of a list of ways in which 育子’s boss is abusive.
The core of the clause is 嫌味を言い続け: Continues saying hurtful words.
If we modified 「嫌味」in a more simple way, we’d get 説教つかない嫌味: Hurtful words without the purpose of scolding.
So if we expand to 説教ともストレス発散ともつかない嫌味: Hurtful words without the purpose of scolding or stress relief.
Saying “purpose of” is my attempt at smoother translation. Looking at つかない more literally it would be “hurtful words without scolding or stress relief attached”.
It’s still a bit confusing. I guess it might be suggesting that his words are more cruel due to their lack of discernible purpose? Although being cruel even if it were for the sake of stress-relief sounds just as bad.
A busy Memorial Day weekend pushed my reading more from the front end to the backend of my reading week so I’m just getting around to responding now. I’m not too concerned with pace. I also think this section just happened to be a bit of a break in the action between two much more significant sections.
To add a bit to the breakdown @jhol613 has already done, 〜とも〜ともつかない has its own entry in weblio, so maybe that helps? It means it’s not quite clear which of the two it is, but in any case he kept complaining.
Still reading on even if I’m perpetually a couple of days behind! I’m happy to keep reading until the end of this story though I wouldn’t mind a week off before the next one.
This week wasn’t quite as gripping as previous ones, though I had a good chuckle when the coworkers look at Sakiko like she has three heads for explaining that some people use sex to have children.
@Phryne Yeah, I’m also curious about the re-occuring mention of sun screen. The bug metaphors feel fairly obvious to me, but the sunscreen it has to be something right? Or is it just a character quirk? Not sure…
Looking for help with this sentence:
I understand that she is saying that she is co-ercing Sakiko into eating with her so that she doesn’t have to go along, but not clear how the first part works, especially も何だから
Thanks! That clears up my confusion–it’s not so much “Hurtful words without the purpose of scolding or stress relief”, but rather “Hurtful words that were some mix of scolding and stress relief” (i.e. not quite just one or the other).
This is me going out on a limb here, but maybe it’s like, “There wasn’t a point in eating alone, so I coerced Sakiko into it.” 何だ has a few different meanings, like “oh” or “what the heck,” so I guess going along with one of those and putting it more literally, “I eat alone, and so, what the heck, I coercively invite Sakiko.” Sounds messy, and I’m not confident that I’m right, but that’s how I interpreted it.
Can I actually find a way to catch up completely by Saturday? A tall order, but I’m sooooooo close at this point!
Bugs and sunscreen
I don’t know why, but as I was reading through the lunch scene, it occurred to me that maybe the characters who eat bugs are tagged as people who will die at the hands of the system in some way. That’s not to say we’ll see all of them; but at this point, with even Sakiko joining in, there’s literally only one character who’s had the opportunity to partake and hasn’t (Ikuko). It’s a working theory, of course; Week 7 could blow it right out of the water. I’m curious on how Murata-sensei chose which bugs to incorporate; セミ have short lives, and the story takes place in summer, so their inclusion is pretty easy to see. Something I’ll have to ruminate on more, perhaps.
As for the sunscreen, it’s interesting that she reapplies it upon coming back into the office, where there’s a much lower chance of her being hit by UV rays. The more logical thing would be to reapply a little bit before you go back out. Maybe that’s unimportant. In terms of her use as a whole, I kind of feel like it’s another instance of her rejecting part of the natural world because she thinks it will harm her. This is a very physical instance, but she also has those feelings regarding the bugs (it arguably harms her psyche) and the birthing and killing system (seen as “natural,” but obviously she’s got doubts about that).
Ikuko and her boss
I’m surprised more people didn’t talk about this section! I liked being able to see Ikuko have to work through her feelings of, “I want to kill this person” in the moment. This not only portrays a toxic work culture, but it sets up a dynamic of one person who’s in control of their emotions vs. another who just lets loose with them. This is pretty indicative of the culture that the 殺人出産 system promotes: don’t control your feelings of anger toward someone; let them writhe around in you, keep fanning their flames, and reach the point of letting them out by killing someone. During Ikuko’s mental run-through, she says this:
It made me really think about the punishment for killing without fulfilling the contract of a birthgiver. Ultimately, the outcome is the same: children are born at the expense of another life. It’s seen in society as a “punishment,” but to the government, I’d imagine it doesn’t really matter, because their needs are met either way. We’ve gotten to hear about how teachers promoted the idea of both 産み人 and 死に人 sacrificing themselves for the greater good, but how do they reconcile with the same circumstances when done out of order? Perhaps they don’t, which could also be indicative of Murata-sensei’s views on society.
This was a bit of a mind dump, but thanks for indulging me if you read through it.
ARE WE FINALLY MEETING THIS SISTER?! Pretty pumped.