JBC's 赤い悪夢 (5分後に意外な結末) [red nightmare (an unexpected conclusion in 5 minutes)]

It’s time to start the next book’s discussion!
This post was made into a wiki, so feel free to add/update details.

Link to the original description: 赤い悪夢 (5分後に意外な結末)
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We will be reading 2-3 short stories a week, out of a total of 32. Each week there will be a designated “focus” story, picked by the discussion leader - this will be the story we put the most focus on, although feel free to read and discuss the other stories as well.

Current Week: Week 11
The focus story for this week is: TBD

Proposed schedule:
Discussion leaders:
  • No designated leader this week - anyone who’s read the focus story can feel free to contribute!

Feel free to volunteer if you’d like to lead discussion!

Plot Summaries
開いた窓
  • p. 6 We meet our main character, Framton Nuttel, and learn that he is suffering from some sort of nervous illness, and has just moved from the city to the countryside
  • p. 7 Framton arrives at the house of one of his new neighbors, a woman named Mrs. Sappleton. Framton’s older sister had apparently lived in this part of the countryside several years previous, and had sent an introduction letter to Mrs. Sappleton on behalf of her brother.
  • p. 8 Framton is welcomed into the house by Mrs. Sappleton’s niece Vera, who informs him that her aunt is upstairs and will be down shortly.
  • p. 9 While they wait, Vera points out a large, open window in the room. She then tells him a shocking story - exactly 3 years ago, Mrs. Sappleton’s husband and 2 younger brothers left the house through the window to go hunting. All 3 men then drowned in a bog, their bodies never recovered. Crazy with grief, her aunt insisted that they would return one day, and has kept the window open every day since then in preparation for their return.
  • p. 10 Mrs. Sappleton comes downstairs and joins the two. She mentions the open window and that she’s waiting for her husband and two brothers to come back from their hunt - much to the discomfort of Framton, who tries to change the topic.
  • p. 12 Suddenly Mrs. Sappleton exclaims that the men have returned - fearfully, Framton turns toward the window and sees 3 mud-covered figures standing there. He promptly stands and flees out the front door.
  • p. 13 Mrs. Sappleton and the men express confusion at Framton’s behavior, and Vera explains to them that Framton must have been scared off by the men’s hunting dog. She then relates to them a story about how Framton was once chased into a graveyard by a pack of wild dogs and forced to spend the night in an open grave, thus causing him to develop a phobia.
  • p. 13 (last sentence) It is revealed that coming up with outlandish stories is Vera’s specialty, and that everything she had told Framton was a lie.
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I’ve done a skim through the first story, 開いた窓. And wow, this book is so much harder than it seems O_o
I hope someone makes summaries (put inside spoiler tags so people can decide when to read them) cause I really want to know what it was all about, cause, I’m so confused =P

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Any specific questions about the story? Feel free to post 'em (with spoiler tags) :+1:

Did you catch the twist at the end? The last page or so had me utterly confused, but I think the last sentence cleared everything up.

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I haven’t started yet, but I read the black one (dark homour?) a while ago and the difficulty between the stories was massively variable. Some I could barely understand, some I could almost skim read. Hopefully this one will be the same…

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The first story is a bit difficult due to the register the characters were speaking in. I had asked a friend to define words I couldn’t find in a dictionary so I could get a fuller understanding.

Because it was the more difficult of the two stories, and since I’ve volunteered to be the discussion leader for next week, I’m going to choose 開いた窓 to be the one we’ll focus on. I think putting everyone’s minds together will help provide a clearer story.

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I’m actually at the point where I’m in need of a full summery rather than specific questions *yeah, that bad XD *
This story was a bit over my level, so I mainly got… well, words… ^^;
But hoping the others will go better =)
And I will try to keep up even if they don’t =P
But I’d love it if someone made a short summary of every story, so we can see if we got it right, or help understand it in general =P
Can be put in two, a general summary, and one that explains the end specifically where needed?

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Hm I really like that idea! Perhaps we could keep the summaries in the OP, and have them split into several lines of information that people can un-spoiler as they go along.

I don’t know if we can keep it up for all 30 stories, but we can certainly try! Lemme see if I can get something started for 開いた窓.

EDIT: @Toyger In the meantime it seems I’ve managed to stumble upon a summary for the original English-language version of the story. XD And if the ending still isn’t clear, the last sentence reveals that the niece has a habit of making up wild stories - meaning that the whole story she had told the main character was untrue.

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Also here’s my question: Is it あいたまど or ひらいたまど?? And am I the only one who gets confused by these two readings every time they see this kanji??? XD

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Thanks for the link! =D

And yeah, I love the idea of the summary being in several parts, so people can read one at a time! =D
May I suggest splitting by page number? That way it is possible to read a page, check the summary and know exactly where we are at =)

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Plot summaries ahoy! Started a new section for them in the OP. Anyone who’s interested can go ahead and add to/edit it :+1:

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It’s あいたまど
ひらく is transitive, あく is intransitive.
Putting a verb in たform to act as a qualifier makes the qualified verb the subject. Since there’s no object here, the verb has to be intransitive.
In contrast, 扉を開いた人 とびらをひらいたひと has an object, so it’s ひらく.

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You know that’s what I thought but that didn’t stop me from questioning it anyways :laughing:

Thanks for the detailed explanation!

EDIT: Hm although according to Jisho, ひらく can also be an intransitive verb. This is probably the main source of my confusion :sweat_smile:

With the second meaning listed (to bloom), it is indeed intransitive.
(Because it would be too easy otherwise)

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Same, I am having to look up a lot of words in just the first page, but hopefully it will get easier after reading it a couple of times. :sweat_smile:

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I’ve read a bit ahead. The latter stories are easier to read than the first since the characters aren’t speaking in a polite register the entire time.

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Agreed. There is a variety of levels even within the first few stories. Some are much easier than others.

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For anyone who isn’t familiar with Saki, note that despite the Japanese-sounding pen name he was an Englishman named H.H.Munro. You can find the full original story here (it’s long out of copyright):

It’s worth reading the original just for the last line, which is delicious and far superior to the translated version.

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Not surprising. There’s usually a lot that gets lost in translation, especially in the case of clever writing.

By the way, reading the Japanese translation of a text originally written in English makes me feel like I went full circle :smirk:

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Anyone else getting a little confused when they use different words for the same meaning? I don’t understand why they don’t use the same word. :thinking:

For example: 面識 and 知り合い they both mean acquaintance but I don’t know if there is a subtle difference. The dictionaries don’t give more information.

Edit: I found another one! 顔見知り also means acquaintance! Any one have an idea as to why they keep changing the word?

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Yeah I was also wondering why so many different words for acquaintance were used. Another one I noticed was 知人. But like you said, I don’t really know if there’s a different nuance for them. It seems kind of odd that they would use so many different words to mean roughly the same thing…

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