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?
I’m still really satisfied about that knife emoji, because knife appears in two very emotional scenes - the ending, of course, and before, the scene where sister was cutting herself.
I’m actually wondering why 早紀子 didn’t try to save at least her child by claiming it’s breaking the rules to take two lives.
My rough translation would be this:
“My urge to kill is ordinary. The urge to kill resides in every person as a common mirage. Just like a person thirsting for water sees a mirage of an oasis, people who cling to life dream of murder. That’s all.”
I would say it’s insisting that every living person sometimes wants to murder someone and that sister urges aren’t anything insane or exotic.
The protagonist herself said it earlier, that statistically everyone has such urges sometime in their lives.
Btw, I’m still baffled that Birthers are okay with their victim being unconscious. Having a feeling, aware person, maybe just tied, seems much more satisfying.
And now everyone got suck into the system, not only Misaki, but also the protag
I’m also not 100% sure about it, so I’m interested in others’ interpretations, but my take is that the victim is disrupting the killer’s life in some way. So one wants to eliminate them to regain their peace/get revenge, if peace is not achievable anymore/and maybe there is hope that the revenge will bring peace.
But it might just be a fancy way of saying “every living person”
Finished! Like other’s I compressed my reading a lot more than usual this week (though not in one go - my reading stamina isn’t quite that good yet, ha.), because I just had to know what happens.
ALL THE SPOILERS
Murata definitely delivered. I did not see the twist at the end coming, even though in hindsight, it is incredibly obvious. Sakiko makes it very clear earlier that she wants to get pregnant in the scene in the coffee shop.
Good point here - though it is possible that Sakiko didn’t actually know that she was pregnant yet. Considering that people getting pregnant outside of the 産み人 appears to be rare, could be that pregnancy tests are somewhat hard to come by.
Yeah, I felt almost a bit… contaminated reading it (also my Jisho search history definitely looks… questionable after those last couple of pages). The passage that especially got me is the description of the different types of red. This was so incredibly poetic, and evocative, but also, stomach churning. I could see that there might be some sort of adrenaline related euphoria that might set in, but I also imagine that there might be some serious PTSD that set in later on. In the moment it feel good, but I can imagine that the difficulty is afterwards, even if you feel justified in your actions.
Another thought I had is how the co-workers might react to the news of her death. From the sounds of it who killed who and why is somewhat public knowledge (based on the fact that everyone seemed to be in the know at the funeral), so I wonder what they will think when they realize that she was killed more or randomly. Will that make people more or less sympathetic to the system as a whole?
Then again Ikuko is about to become a 産み人 so she doesn’t really have to go to work to find out what they think of her. I found it interesting how her sister seemed somewhat against that idea… not fully sure what to think of that.
On language barriers and improving Japanese
I also agree with others that the language barrier really upped the suspense. A recreation of me reading:
Me: Alright, there is something in her hand. Maybe her heart?
At least 15 minutes later
Me: What two people have been killed? Did the sister stab herself??? Did this become a suicide-murder??? Wait what is a 胎児?
Looks it up in Jisho
As an afterthought, I feel that after having finished コンビニ人間 and this story, my Japanese reading ability has really improved leaps and bounds. While I still have to look up a lot, I very rarely cannot fully parse something out if I take the time. I’m also finding it really satisfying that I’m constantly learning words in Wanikani and then seeing then in what I am reading. Reading is definitely becoming my favourite part of learning Japanese.
I found myself wanting to read faster and faster as the scene developed. I was so hungry to know MORE! So I started skimming more and more, especially at the part you mentioned. When I first skimmed it and saw mention of two people dying, I thought ‘omg is big sister going to slaughter Ikuko?! No wait, is she going to suggest that Ikuko slaughter her?!’ Took me a while as well to catch on to what was happening and when I did I just groaned, lol. It was so much worse than what I had imagined!
Oh god, yes. I actually did the same - except the part my eyes skimmed ahead to were the words 唇を開いている. Which considering the context of her holding something (at that point still unknown to me) in her hands that come from the body suggested an… even more macabre ending (if that is even possible, ha).
Had some time since I was on a road trip and I (finally) finished this story!
A lot of stuff happened and there’s a lot of things to think about but I’m gonna let everything settle first.
I totally agree with what everyone already said, the only thing that kinda surprised me:
Nothing really happened with ミサキ other than the prayer she wrote and the religious turn the took after wanting to be a scientist. Also she probably won’t meet 育子 next year
I don’t really know, what I expected to happen with her, but it definitely wasn’t what I had in mind leading up to the finale of the story
I hope the other two stories are gonna be as interesting as this one!
A little self conscious about the fact that it took me so long to finish this short story, but here I am, regardless. Loved everyone’s posts, and I agree that I also would skim ahead just to see what was happening.
The Satisfaction of the Kill
I got the slight impression that both sisters came away from this experience with the idea that it wasn’t worth it. These lines, in particular, stood out to me:
I suppose this is left somewhat ambiguous; people are often moved to happy tears/tears of relief, but paired with 環ちゃん not wanting 育子 to become an 産み人, I have to wonder if the reality of everything they were doing settled into their minds. The dead fetus is the cherry on top of all the carnage. Even 育子 becoming an 産み人 comes across more as a penance than a desire to kill again, especially since she knows how much of a toll it took on her sister’s health. Having said that, this line complicates my theory:
Perhaps she and her sister have ended up switching perspectives? I’m not completely sure.
I would love to come back to this story in the future and see if my thoughts evolve on a second read-through. It’s not the ending I predicted (boy, was I off), but it was satisfying.
Well that ending was even more graphic and disturbing than I expected it to be. The part with the fetus was seriously messed up. I wasn’t surprised that 環 asked 育子 to help in some way (my first thought was passing her knives and stuff), but I was surprised that 育子 was so willing to participate directly in the killing.
Overall, Murata managed to create a really interesting (and really disturbing) world for such a short story. Not as good as コンビニ人間, but I give it 4/5 stars.