Intermediate Japanese Book Club // Now Reading: Spy x Family・Next: TUGUMI

This is also addressed. :slightly_smiling_face:

I’ve read this one, it’s a wonderful book. Also a very difficult one.
Unsurprisingly, the math stuff wasn’t hard to understand, but it contains a fair bit of baseball discussion and for a person who doesn’t know anything about baseball it was a pain.
The book is written in a very literary style language (I mean lots of metaphors, comparisons etc.) and the breadth of author’s vocabulary is amazing (I was constantly looking up words even near the end).
Even though the book is written from the first person perspective, it also has very few dialogues, so first 80 or so pages are just walls upon walls of text.

I am not discouraging people from reading this book, I just want them to be ready to what they are getting into. This book is actually THE BEST piece of Japanese literature I’ve read so far.

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Oh! gulp :sweat_smile:
Thanks for the review, I’m sure this is very helpful during the voting!

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I’ve also read it, and I didn’t think it was too horribly difficult. However, I did kind of let some of the math flow over me, lol, and I know enough about baseball that it didn’t occur to me previously that that could be a stumbling block in this book. I think it’s on the harder end of books I’ve read, but it’s also one I really loved. <3

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So, I’m hoping to open the votes when we only have 6 weeks left, leaving only ~10 days for nominations and grading. Could a regular update the title to reflect that we are now looking for nominations?

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Since you asked for it so nicely… :wink:

Note: This nomination was moved to the Advanced Book Club because it turned out to be more difficult than I had foreseen.

乳と卵 - Breasts and Eggs

Summary

Japanese

娘の緑子を連れて大阪から上京してきた姉でホステスの巻子。巻子は豊胸手術を受けることに取りつかれている。緑子は言葉を発することを拒否し、ノートに言葉を書き連ねる。夏の三日間に展開される哀切なドラマは、身体と言葉の狂おしい交錯としての表現を極める。日本文学の風景を一夜にして変えてしまった傑作。

English

Breasts & Eggs paints a portrait of contemporary womanhood in Japan and recounts the intimate journeys of three women as they confront oppressive mores and their own uncertainties on the road to finding peace and futures they can truly call their own.

It tells the story of three women: the thirty-year-old Natsu, her older sister, Makiko, and Makiko’s daughter, Midoriko. Makiko has traveled to Tokyo in search of an affordable breast enhancement procedure. She is accompanied by Midoriko, who has recently grown silent, finding herself unable to voice the vague yet overwhelming pressures associated with growing up. Her silence proves a catalyst for each woman to confront her fears and frustrations.

On another hot summer’s day ten years later, Natsu, on a journey back to her native city, struggles with her own indeterminate identity as she confronts anxieties about growing old alone and childless.
(from this review of an English version)

Availability

amazon.co.jp
BookWalker

Personal Opinion

I became aware of the author through this Japan Times article about the most important Japan-related books of the 2010’s, and it turns out that she is quite the celebrated author right now. Therefore I would love to read something written by her.

Pros and Cons for the Book Club

Pros

  • The book won the Akutagawa Prize in 2008
  • I like the subject of criticism towards society and its norms
  • Very short (only 133 pages), so it’s a quick read
  • There are at least 2 English translations available, called “Breasts and Eggs” (one of which interestingly translates Osaka-ben to Manchester dialect).

Cons

  • Kawakami’s writing often employs Osaka-ben
  • She also incorporates experimental and poetic language into her short stories and novels, citing Lydia Davis and James Joyce as literary influences
  • (I actually don’t think these are con’s, it might just make the book harder to read, so I listed them here.)

Pictures

First Three Pages of Chapter One



Additional Pages



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I know I’m not in this book club buuut Wow, I honestly didn’t think I’d see this book mentioned anywhere, ahaha. My professor recommended this book to me several years (because I did a presentation in class on math), and I don’t really know what the scale is for “intermediate”, but I’ll be the third person to say it’s a good pick :slightly_smiling_face:

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For the current proposals list, which books are you planning to remove because of consistent unpopularity? Like I said before, please remove Ame&Yuki; it was never that popular anyways and now I’ve read it on my own. Also, what about Hyakunin Isshu? As we are kinda planning to read this separately (are we, though? :eyes:) we can also exclude it from the nominations, I guess… ?

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I already removed unpopular books from the list according to the rules we discussed a few months ago.

Roger that.

Right, that was also my plan. However, I’m currently drowning in book clubs (and work) so I’m not doing anything to set it up, and nothing seems to be happening. I do hope we set up something, though. I leave it up to @Belthazar to decide if we should remove it or not, but I’d leave it there as long as we do not have any solid plan to read it independently.

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Oh, I see! (I had expected Ame&Yuki to be due to be removed due to unpopularity, but this seems to have been a misperception then.)

Fair enough :slight_smile: As this project was kinda slow to take off, I left my already-purchased book in storage for the duration of my travels around Japan. Therefore I’m also not eager to push it now. (If it happens, it happens, and that’s also fine with me, but I won’t be the one to make it happen.)

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Yep, it cleared the bar, I just checked :ok_hand:

Same here. I do hope it happens, but I won’t be the change I want to see this time :stuck_out_tongue:

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It’s basically a case of noone did anything because noone did anything. :stuck_out_tongue:

But hey, if it can manage to actually win the next round of voting…

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Same here, I’m also moving around too much to have the book always available, so I’m actually kind of glad nothing is happening in that direction yet. :sweat_smile:

I also think it’s fine to wait for this round’s results before doing anything, since that should coincide nicely with when my life will become a bit more stable.

Well, if someone else decided to work on setting this up before then, I’d join in as much as I was able, but yeah. Sub-optimal. ^^

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I blame noone for this.

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I just received the book and I’m actually super excited to read it, but I also have to agree, life and other commitments is too much at the moment so I’m low key glad it’s being unofficially postponed :sweat_smile:

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Kino Chapter 4 is really testing my motivation to read. Ugh.

No breakpoints and no real story progress is making me not want to pick up the book that often.

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Haha, I remember that. We did get a significant drop in readership at that time :sweat_smile:

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Definitely a pro :wink:


Osakaben best ben

recently found volumes 1-15 in used bookstore and very happy

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One of the characters in Yuru Camp (the next BBC book) inexplicably speaks in Osaka-ben, despite having grown up in Yamanashi like most of the other characters. :slightly_smiling_face:

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It’s explicable because why wouldn’t you choose to speak that way

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