Intermediate Japanese Book Club (Currently reading: コーヒーが冷めないうちに)

On a related note, we will run our next poll in early May, so if you want to propose a new manga or book, now would be the time for it :blush:

Also, there are only 4 spots left, so don’t wait too long if you want to be in!

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I don’t think I can read with the bookclub so not making a nomination post and all but just leaving this here for anyone interested. This book and this author sound very, very interesting.

"We find a similar reference to youkai discourse in the work of best-selling mystery writer Kyogoku Natsuhiko (b. 1963), who has achieved extraordinary popularity and acclaim since his 1994 debut novel, and who won the prestigious Naoki Prize for popular fiction in 2003 for Nochi no kosetsu hyaku-monogatari (Sub- sequent Hyaku-monogatari Rumors). Like his mentor and source of creative influence, Mizuki Shigeru, KyOgoku explicitly looks to the Toku- gawa period for thematic inspiration. Some of his stories are set in the distant past, while others are more contemporary, but one of the gov- erning conceits of his work is the referential homage he pays to Sekien. He has even produced several short-story collections named after the works in Sekien’s HyakkiyagyO series; each story is prefaced with a re- production of one of Sekien’s drawings, and the theme of the narrative itself is loosely based on the title yOkai.9

Set in the 1950s, KyOgoku’s most famous series of novels concern the cantankerous owner of a used bookshop, KyOgoku-dO (the name of the shop as well as the hero), who solves mysteries through an EnryO-like ra- tionalistic consideration of facts bolstered by eclectic knowledge of an ar- ray of subjects, including folklore, religion, philosophy, and psychology. In a sense, KyOgoku-dO represents Komatsu’s multidisciplinary yOkaigaku scholar, probing yOkai not only to solve the specific mystery in the novel but also for insight into the greater mysteries of humanity. Each novel in the series takes its title and theme from one of Sekien’s yOkai and features a Sekien illustration on the frontispiece. The first of these novels, for ex- ample, is titled Ubume no natsu (Summer of the Ubume) and concerns a mysterious pregnancy—an issue, of course, appropriate to the yOkai of the title." - Pandemonium and parade Japanese monsters and the culture of yōkai by Foster, Michael Dylan

I greatly enjoyed the short story Nikuya Omuu by Shinji Ishii in Read Real Japanese. If he has a novel that anyone can recommend that would be suitable for this book club, I would be interested. I’ll research more on his novels as well.

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I’m a bit fuzzy about the usual timeline, but I think voting should start in a week or so. So, it’s about your last chance to nominate anything for this round.

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I’m very excited to join this book club. I can’t wait to vote…can’t wait to read…can’t wait to struggle through the book!

This is me, waiting for the poll to start:
Shiba_2

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リング

Summary

Japanese

同日の同時刻に苦悶と驚愕の表情を残して死亡した四人の少年少女。雑誌記者の浅川は姪の死に不審を抱き調査を始めた。――そしていま、浅川は一本のビデオテープを手にしている。少年たちは、これを見た一週間後に死亡している。浅川は、震える手でビデオをデッキに送り込む。期待と恐怖に顔を歪めながら。画面に光が入る。静かにビデオが始まった……。恐怖とともに、未知なる世界へと導くホラー小説の金字塔。

English

After 4 teenagers mysteriously die simultaneously in Tokyo, Kazuyuki Asakawa, a reporter and uncle to one of the deceased, decides to launch his own personal investigation. His search leads him to “Hakone Pacific Land”, a holiday resort where the youths were last seen together exactly one week before their deaths. Once there, he happens upon a mysterious unmarked videotape. Watching the tape, he witnesses a strange sequence of both abstract and realistic footage, including an image of an injured man, which ends with a warning revealing that the viewer has 1 week to live. Giving a single means of avoiding death, the tape’s explanation ends suddenly, having been overwritten by an advertisement. The tape has a horrible mental effect on Asakawa, and he doesn’t doubt for a second that its warning is true.

Availability

Amazon
BookWalker

Personal Opinion

Don’t know much about this book. I was reading about another book by this author, らせん, because it had won 吉川英治文学新人賞 and it turned out らせん was a sequel to リング. The name sounded familiar and I was surprised to find that it was the basis for a famous movie (which I actually never watched, but have a general gist of the plot)

Pros and Cons for the Book Club

Pros

  • A genre that is currently not represented in the nominations
  • Relatively famous novel or, at least, the movie is
  • Modern day setting

Cons

  • Horror may not be for everyone
  • A bit long and from the first pages looks like the writing is quite dense

Pictures

First Three Pages of Chapter One



Additional Pages



Difficulty Poll

How much effort would you need to read this book?

  • No effort at all
  • Minimal effort
  • Moderate effort
  • Significant effort
  • So much effort my head might explode
  • I don’t know

0 voters

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When I was in Japan, I basically asked everybody about their favorite authors and books, and one of the recommendations I got was for this book :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:
But I also got a bit of a warning along with it, so I’m guessing this is rather a serious member of the horror genre…


On an unrelated note, I just discovered that the nomination for the manga “City” has been withdrawn. This leaves us with 4 more open spots. So make sure to get your nomination up if you want to be in! :+1: We will probably launch the next poll on Thursday.

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The Poll is upon us!

Have a look at the List of Proposed Books section in the first post for details on each book. Every book has a difficulty associated with it (based on book club members voting, thus subjective) out of 5, where 1 means “no effort at all” and 5 means “impossible, even with everyone’s help”. The difficulty is annotated in square brackets after the book’s name.

Do not rely solely on difficulty when making a choice. Please have a look at nomination posts if you haven’t already.

Expected reading pace: We aim to read books at ~15 pages per week (that number might vary a bit throughout, depending on the book’s breaks and chapters). For manga, depending on difficulty and chapter length, we will probably read one to several chapters per week. The pick’s exact reading schedule will be negotiated before the book club kicks off.

Start of Book Club: We will start the next book on June 19th (after a one-week break).

Poll duration: I will close the poll within a week (and most likely before that), whenever it looks like voting has dried up. You can choose up to 5 options .

  • ブギーポップは笑わない [3]
  • ポーション頼みで生き延びます! [3.55]
  • All You Need Is Kill [3.31]
  • ifの悲劇 (if no higeki) [2.5]
  • もやしもん - Tales of Agriculture [2.89]
  • 変愛サイケデリック [2.5]
  • ヨコハマ買い出し紀行 [1.87]
  • きらきらひかる [2.67]
  • コーヒーが冷めないうちに [2.6]
  • 日本人の知らない日本語 [2.3]
  • 言の葉の庭 [2.45]
  • 山と食欲と私 [2.5]
  • くま クマ 熊 ベアー [2.45]
  • 天気の子 [2.67]
  • ガイコツ書店員本田さん (Skull-face Bookseller Honda-san) [2.33]
  • リング [2.5]

0 voters

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I also need a regular to update the thread title, pretty please :bowing_woman:

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Uh oh. How are there suddenly six things I want to read?

(Ah well. Guess I reserve the right to reposition my votes if need be. I imagine there’ll be a point where I can’t vote something to the top, but I can help stop something else dropping off the bottom.)

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I have the same issue :sweat_smile:

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If the one I voted for wins, does that mean I have to put down 本好き for long enough to actually read along? :upside_down_face:

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Yes.

Don’t listen to Naph’s advice on this matter. :stuck_out_tongue:

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No. Just read moar.

Do not listen to Belthazar’s opinion on this matter. :wink:

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A quick note for the Bookwalker addicts regular customers out there: They have a golden week sale going on right now which gives some discounts (on select few books) and large-ish coin cashbacks (on about every book). This sale lasts until 2021-05-09T14:59:00Z (in your local time). If y’all get your votes in quickly, you might be able to lower the price tag a bit when purchasing the poll’s winner :slight_smile:

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The current leader of the poll is available here:
(コーヒーが冷めないうちに - 文芸・小説 川口俊和:電子書籍試し読み無料 - BOOK☆WALKER -)
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I bought this one anyway a few months back and was prepared to read it on my own - so although there are others I’d like to read, I’m really crossing my fingers for this one! :sweat_smile:

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I saw this book at my local library, when it was still open… I’m waiting for it to open again (should happen soon), and then I’ll read it - but sadly not with the book club because at top I can loan it for 3 weeks.

Though it’s not like I can’t wait for it, because I already read it in translation, and it felt a bit cheap (regarding the methods the author wants to make you shed some tears), but I still think it would be a nice read in Japanese.

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I watched the movie and I kind of felt the same way. It’s still a nice and touching story, and I’d probably read it if it gets picked, but I can live with only having seen the movie.
But who knows, maybe there’ll be more details and more backstory in the book :grin:
(Idk if this counts as a spoiler, but I put one in for people who don’t want to read impressions before reading the book for themselves)

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You’re right, I’ve added a spoiler tag to my part as well.

I’ve also seen the movie (thanks to JFF online), and it left out parts from the first book, and added some from the second book. So if anyone only read the first one and plans to read the sequels, don’t watch the movie, because spoilers.

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