As I mentioned in my previous response to that question, if it were me, I wouldn’t have been caught up in such a situation because I don’t talk to masked strangers. With that being said, given the circumstances that the protagonist is in, I don’t really sympathize with him. Just like with Ai in Autumn Prison, he doesn’t seem to be very interesting to likable. Though I don’t condone what has befallen him, he got what he deserved for being patronizing and involving himself with something that has nothing to do with him. Had he really thought about it, he would have realized that the situation was super sketchy, but he took the entire situation so lightly (probably due to being a little intoxicated).
Unlike the replayers who were caught unsuspecting by forces beyond their control, this story’s protagonist walked into the situation with his figurative eyes wide open. So from my perspective, I’m neither rooting for him either way and seeing what will happen to him at the end of the story. Call me cruel or lacking empathy, it doesn’t change the fact that the author hasn’t revealed enough about the protagonist to get me to care about him yet.
Ok, so I finished the second story a few days ago and I enjoyed it very much just like Autumn Prison.
The beginning of the story was quite hard in terms of vocabulary, I was looking up words in almost every sentence.
When I was re-reading Autumn Prison I found, that I didn’t remember many words that I had looked up when read for the first time, so I decided to add all the new words into my own Anki deck and it ended up being 258 words.
For this story I created separate Anki deck and added all the new words there (334 words). Now I am re-reading the second story and it’s just brilliant! I remember almost all the words or can understand their meaning from the context and I have to look up maximum 1 or 2 words per page.
So I definitely recommend creating your own Anki deck. I understand that every person has his or her own methods of learning but this one is worth trying.
Also now, when I read the story without concentrating too much on translating the words I started noticing some sentences which I can’t completely understand. I remember that I translated all the words but the meaning eludes me.
Is there another statue of Buddha in the pile? Or the statues in the pile look different from the statue in the house? Or the statue in the house would look different if it was in the pile?
The pleasure of reading would go if he read fast, so he decides to take his time (?) (so he enjoys the time in the house?)
Due to being sick and having to work at the same time and then being out longer than expected for the past two weeks, I’ve become quite behind. I hope that this week I’ll finish the second book and be on track for this week’s reading as well. Sorry for not being as active as I could have been.
My understanding after reading through this passage is that the protagonist walks through the house to see the Buddha saint in the inner room, but when he goes outside, the book says this:
In the back, firewood was stacked up and around that area a pile of wood statues were abandoned.
From this sentence, the narrator talks about these statues which the sentence you brought up:
If a statue like the one that was in the house were there (in this pile of rejects or abandoned statues), there were other different designs also in this pile like animals.
In essence, it sounds like the protagonist notices this mountainous pile of carvings and assumes that perhaps the previous inhabitant most likely carved the Buddha statue in the house because it likely that failed attempts at doing the Buddha statue were likely in that pile along with other completely different concepts and designs.
For the second sentence, この先 means “from this time on; hereafter; in the future; from this point.” So when the protagonist realizes the limitations of entertainment options available to him in this house: pretty much a super old-school existence, he makes this observation.
If I read (these books) quickly, the pleasurable things (available in this place) will be used up. Taking my time, I read without rushing.
He mentions earlier that he doesn’t really like reading books, but since there’s no TV, internet, or modern conveniences for him to enjoy, reading is one of the few outlets he could use to kill time. If he reads too fast, not knowing when he’ll be able to leave, he’ll be left to his own devices to entertain himself.
I hope these interpretations help you understand those sentences better. This can be tough trying to make sense of these passages. You asking these questions really helps me look at these passages more attentively.
Did any one read this week? I’m been going through a lot of problems and stress lately so I’m finishing up the last chapter of the second book. If guys haven’t read then I’d like to push the start date of the third book to tomorrow (making the past week a gap week) And I’ll even see if I can post some discussion questions for this and next week.
Personally, I have not. I fell behind for the last 3 weeks, but I think I am going to sit down for a while tonight and catch up. So as far as I am concerned, starting the third book tomorrow would be ideal, but if others have other thoughts or have kept up better than I have, then I will just work harder to catch up so that is fine. Surprisingly the last few chapters feel somewhat easier to read.
I did fall behind on the reading due to being sick and a variety of other reasons, but I’ll be probably finished with the second book by today. However I’m ambivalent about slowing things down on my account. If other people like to take up your proposal, I’m not against it. The thread has been fairly silent of the holidays, which means one of two things: many are behind or many have nothing to say because no discussion has been brought up.
Hello all. I finally finished the second book on the train ride back from my outing yesterday. I wanted to post these questions yesterday, but didn’t. I’m blurring them all just in case there are a handful of people who are still playing catch up, like I’ve been doing.
Later in the story the protagonist encounters 韮崎進 in Fukushima Prefecture. After having a brief chat with 韮崎, he escapes from the house and returns home to find his entire life in shambles.
Do you think the protagonist was mentally prepared for life outside of the “house”? Why or why not? Do you think him leaving the house was a mistake? Why or why not?
After hearing about the crimes being committed with bodies being discovered in different places, the protagonist suspected 韮崎 and started making plans to intervene. So he decided to confront 韮崎 and the crimes he committed. What is your impression of this decision? Should he have decided differently?
In end, the protagonist realizes that he really liked this cursed place and was mentally preparing himself to stay there until he died. What do you think prompted this change of heart?
What was your impression of this story? How would you compare it to the previous story?
EDIT: Realized my original question 2 and 3 were pretty much asking the same thing, so I merged them into one question.
(I’ll be sending my responses to these questions later)! I love to hear everyone’s impressions.
I don’t think he was expecting things to fall back into place like he never left, but I think he expected to at least be missed by someone. Finding that his job wouldn’t rehire him and his girlfriend found someone else might have been a pretty tough blow. So I feel wasn’t prepared for the idea of realizing that life goes on even in the event of one’s sudden absence.
Was it mistake? At the time when it happened in the story, I had a feeling that he would regret his decision later on. That certainly turned out to be the case when the people who replaced him started murdering people.
Although I understand his feelings of guilt, his idea to confront a person he thinks is a murderer was TERRIBLE. I feel he should have notified the police about the whereabouts of the house when it appeared in the park and called it a day. Obviously leaving the premises would have been an issue, but it’s not right to act as the judge, jury, and executioner as the protagonist decides would be right.
This story shows the actual curse of the house is not just the fact a person must stay on it’s premises at all times, but also life goes when a person disappears from society. I’m sure he wondered whether people searched for him or missed him. Ironically the only thing that was “there” for the protagonist when he returned was his house. His original house wasn’t as nearly interesting I’m pretty sure. Additionally thinking about the legacy of センジさん, who lived in the house (as far as we know) peacefully, seeing 韮崎進 destroy that legacy probably made him a bit resentful.
The concept of this story is interesting, but like I mentioned before, I was not a fan of the protagonist. This made it very difficult for me to like the story because I could really identify with the protagonist’s thought process. It was surprising to see that he actually ended up loving the house that imprisoned him, but otherwise an interesting concept like the first story. I’m hoping for characters I like in the next story.
I’d be very happy to move the start of the third book to today. I actually didn’t even realize the third one had already started.
I went away over new year and massively misjudged how much free time I’d have. I haven’t read a single thing for at least two weeks so I’m basically going to write the second book off and make a fresh start from book 3. Seems most comments so far are also in favour so unless there are any active objections, I’d say we can agree with a one week schedule shift. (Apologies to @LucasDesu that I can’t join the discussion and answer the above questions, but I’ll hopefully be more active for this final story.)
OK…after a bit of catching up, I have finished a full story in Japanese for the first time ever which is exciting (even if it was a short story).
I don’t think he was, but I think that was a comment the author was making about modern life in general. We are so busy doing the various things that make up our daily life that we are distracted from thinking about whether or not they are worth doing. When the protagonist was removed from the daily grind, he was able to sit back and think and experience leisure and adventure. Then, when he was thrust back into society with this experience to compare it to, there was no way he could ever be satisfied with the daily grind ever again especially since there were no people with whom he was particularly close, it seems, and nothing in society that he particularly loved doing.
I think he should have called the police on the date the house arrived. However, that gets tricky because you have to explain how you know what you know. I am not sure what clever plan he could have thought up to avoid looking like an accomplice or like someone who knew for a long time and did nothing about the situation.
I think being thrown back into a society that really had no deep hold on his heart made him realize that life in this house would be the best option from his viewpoint. Also, when he saw this place that he had come to love being desecrated by the murderer dude, he realized that he felt attached to it and wanted it to be treated the right way.
4. I thought it was an interesting story. I agree overall that I did not like the main character very much. Some of the side characters were fun. The plot was neat in my opinion. It felt unconvincing that a guy that the protagonist trusted so much to be a happy, good person who could comfortably leave society that he left him behind, would suddenly turn out to be a murderer. Did anyone catch if he had been a creep all along or whether being shut in the house led to him becoming one? The writing style was also kind of weird. It felt really offhand how suddenly the protagonist is just leaving the house, then back in society, then confronting the murderer and then the story just ends. The flow was strange the whole way through in my impression. Overall, it was a good first story to read in Japanese though I think.
I did not get the chance to read the previous story yet so I cannot compare it. It seems like everyone liked that one better though so maybe I will have to go back and give that a try as well.
[spoiler]1. I guess it wasn’t all the way ready since he said he couldn’t sleep and all the first few days and that the water tasted disgusting. I think in his case leaving the house was a mistake because then he wanted to go back but could not because it burned it the ground. So he should of just stayed where he was if that is what he wanted.
2. I see what you mean about it being a horrible idea. But I guess with the elusiveness of the house, and still the lack of proof, he wanted to make sure himself. Plus it would be hard to explain/make up the situation to the police. I wouldn’t have tried to kill dude, but I don’t think it’s so wrong for the propagandist to do it.
3. I don’t know, I thinks he’s really weird for that. I guess He just liked life there better after he was able to compare it. And this time he was given a choice and was prepared with books and stuff.
4. I liked this one as well. I really liked the ending and the lines when he said he knew just what to do for the sake of the victims, and himself etc. and the one where he said he could hear laughing, angry voices ect. I thought those two lines where really decent.
@TamanegiNoKame I agree the flow of the story was very weird, and I also found it hard to believe that murderer dude turned out to be a murderer. I want to guess that he was always a weirdo and we just didn’t catch it the first time.[/spoiler]
So since there were no objections, then we will move the start date of the last book to this week. I’ll update the description. Never mind I’m not doing that. Maybe later but not now.
I was gonna come up some questions, but lucas already did and I just can’t with life right now, so I’ll get 'em next week.
i don’t think he was really prepared, but he thought he was. He did talk about how he expected that he wouldn’t have a job when he got back, but it never went into what he was planning on doing about it. It seemed to me he obsessed about leaving so much he never thought about what he really wanted to return to. I think it was definitely a mistake to leave, but one that he was going to make sooner or later.
I don’t know if he could have done any differently. Since not everyone can see the occupant of the house, there is no guarantee that even if he could convince the cops to show up, that they would find him there.
I think he had to realize that he never had anything to return to in the first place, before he could accept what the house had to offer.
overall i enjoyed the first story much more. The protagonist here was never very well developed as a person, so its hard to sympathize with him, and the whole narrative had kind-of a strange flow that was hard to follow at points.
So, I’ve read chapters 3 and 4 (I think that matches our revised schedule for this week…), and I’m finding this a lot better going than the second story - both in creating interest and in ease of understanding.
However, despite more than one reading, I’m still pretty confused by the first chapter. It’s supposed to be from リオ’s perspective, right? I’m basing this mostly off the line: 私と祖母の二人きりだった on pg 141, which I translate as “There was no one but me and Granny.” This matches with the following chapters, but doesn’t tally at all with the first couple of pages of chapter one where she talks about all the “customers” that come to visit.
I’m clearly missing something pretty major here. Fortunately it doesn’t seem to be interfering with the rest of the story (I think chapter one might have been better titled as a prologue), but I thought as I read on I’d get some more context to help me understand - but not so far. Anyone have a clearer idea of what’s going on there?