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

I’ve read ahead and still think that this story was probably the most difficult to read so far due to the kind of language used in the story. I’m sure we’ll come across others that might be a little bit more challenging. I would definitely say that this is easier than reading Kiki’s delivery service for the beginner book club.

I just try to sound out the name the best I can and guess what their name should be in English. With Framton’s case someone else on the thread used that spelling, so i just copied that spelling as well. The others were pretty straightforward.

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That’s how his name is spelled in the original English version as well.
(Someone posted the pdf in this thread)


After reading the English version just now, I gotta say I think the Japanese was much creepier. But maybe that was just from not knowing what was going to happen. Also the Aunt seemed much more upset and angry at Frampton in the Japanese version.

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Yeah I’m curious, did anyone predict the ending at all? Because I was completely fooled all the way up until the last line :laughing: I wonder if I would’ve been able to catch on had I been reading it in English.

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I’m a bit late to the party, but here goes!

  1. I don’t have much to add here that others haven’t already said. Some kind of mental illness/anxiety/stress.

  2. Yeah I probably would have believed it. I certainly did when I was reading the story! I definitely would have felt sorry for Mrs. Sappleton, since it seemed like she was delusional about her deceased husband and brothers. On the other hand, I don’t believe in ghosts or anything, so once they started coming home I would have realized that either the story wasn’t true or that I had misunderstood something. It was quite an amusing turn of events, although I was a bit slow to pick up on it at first.

  3. I don’t think Frampton was being rude to bring it up, but it is annoying when someone is only talking about themselves all the time. That being said, I don’t blame Frampton since he was pretty desperate to change the subject.

  4. Yeah, I didn’t really think about it at the time, but there’s no way Vera’s family wouldn’t know that she had a habit of telling crazy stories.

  5. I really enjoyed it! I thought it was pretty clever and enjoyed the dialogue quite a bit. I had to look up quite a few words, but overall I didn’t think the level was too hard. I was slightly confused by the twist at the end, but I think that was mostly because I start reading really fast when there’s any kind of suspense. Once I slowed down and took a second look, I was able to understand.

  1. I assumed from context that it was a problem of depression/mental health. City life was making him seriously unhappy and for some reason going into the countryside and meeting people seemed to be an ideal solution. The countryside has a slower pace of life a lot of the time and is more relaxing so maybe he was just really stressed?? Hard to really know.

  2. I definitely would have. Even at the end of the story I was confused. I still thought the story she told Frampton was true and that she was only lying to her grandmother until I saw what people were saying on the thread. (I kind of want to re-read the Japanese to check if that interpretation has any validity, though I assume it does not, would be neat if it does though).

  3. Yes, it was really rude on her part, especially if she is not a crazy old lady like I first thought. It was normal on Frampton’s part since he was giving an explanation of why he was there.

  4. In my family, we lie to each other for fun about trivial things to test each other and see how well we can read each other. We are pretty good at reading people, but we are also decent at lying from playing this game and unless the lie is particularly unbelievable, it can be very hard to tell with a good liar, when they are telling the truth versus when they are lying. Also, even liars have to tell the truth some times so as a family it would be too much of a bother (unless it was for the sake of a fun game) to always start with the assumption that your family member was lying.

  5. I thought it was interesting overall. I like stories where there is a sudden twist at the end and so far all of these stories have delivered that sensation fairly well, this story included.

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Actually, something interesting I picked up on the second read-through: Because his doctor recommended that he talk to as many people as possible, he decided to move to the country in direct defiance of that advice, in order to avoid other people. Only his sister had caught wind of it and pushed him to meet some of her old friends in the area so that he wouldn’t turn into a complete hermit.

I’m really back and forth on whether Framton’s meant to be a sympathetic character - he could be suffering from some sort of mental illness, but the way he’s written it seems that the author may be making fun of him. The story is laced with irony - particularly the fact that he came to this house with the explicit purpose of talking to people, in spite of his misgivings. After his treatment at the house though, all of his insecurities about strangers have probably been confirmed. This makes me feel more sympathetic towards him. The way Mrs. Sappleton and her niece treated him, I’m not surprised that he dislikes other people.


I didn’t predict the ending at all. Like you, after Vera gave an explanation, I was thinking, “what’s going to happen now?” Then, boom; the twist.


Also I announced it in the main thread but here:

The main story for this week is 幸せグラフ. Feel free to discuss/ask questions about it as well as the other two stories in this thread, just don’t forget to blur spoilers!


In 父の時絵 on page 25 (of the physical copy) there seems to be some inner-dialogue. Am I reading it correctly? The paragraph starts with 何か買いたい。。。then in the middle of the paragraph are speaking brackets, but they don’t seem to be spoken by anyone. :zipper_mouth_face:

It’s to express what the son is telling to people. (He is not supposed to exactly say that, it’s just a paraphrase).


I think I would translate that paragraph like this:

It wasn’t that he wanted to buy something, she said. He just kept saying “give me some money.” The wife, at first tried to dissuade him, then got angry, but finally he wore her down. “OK, but you have to return it eventually,” she conceded, and loaned him 10 dollars.

The whole paragraph is the author relating what the wife told the husband. 「という」at the end of the paragraph lets us know that this is something related by someone. We know it was related by the wife.


So, about 幸せグラフ, am I the only one who think the message of the story is not only wrong, but also dumb and dangerous?

It’s one thing to tell people to be content with their situation in life, but the story says to not achieve your goals or you will be empty inside ever after… I say achieve your goals, then find new ones to achieve, and keep going. There’s no reason for the main character’s line to go to zero until the end.

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I think I understood what the story was trying to say. At least from my perspective, I feel like sometimes I want something so much but once I finally got it it can lose it’s appeal a little. Like I wanted an ipad pro so bad, I’d constantly look at one the website, but after I got it not too soon after I would pay it little attention. It didn’t hold my fascination as much as when I didn’t have it.
Another example I have is a friend who used be fat and lost a lot of weight it said it he thought he’d be happier. He said he thought he could finally get the ladies but it didn’t happen. So he realized his goal and realizing it didn’t make it happy.
Last example is a friend of mine who grew up with a lot of privilege. Her parents are wealthy enough to take care of her forever so she has no ambitions or motivation. Why work so hard to find a job if you don’t need one? I for one struggled with the same feelings, and the only reason I’m working so hard is to to change my living situation. Without that I think I’d be aimless. There is also this

and I get that. If I were poor and had not food, all I’d think about is food, and I’d think If I just had a full stomach every day I could live my life a bit happier. We always want what is just above our grasp, and we work for it and if we achieved it the desire would no longer be needed and we’d have to desire and aspire to achieve something else. But what if you achieved every singled thing?
Now for me personally, and here’s where I think the true meaning of the story lies, I don’t think it’s ever possible to achieve everything you’ll ever want. So I don’t think anyone would ever get to the point this guy did, and lose all happiness at once. I think the story is saying that happiness does not lie after you’ve achieved your goals/lived your life, ect. happiness is working towards your goals, living life, the journey it’s self. I think it’s telling people to stop and smell the roses,and to focus on their journey, and not so much of the end goal because that’s just not what is most important. Because once you fulfill your goal, that aspect of you life can’t give you purpose anymore, and you’ll be on to the next road which will be the next center of your happiness. Once you receive that ultimate satisfaction, nothing would be able to top it. Sure you could keep doing what you did to achieve that goal, that it’s nothing you’ve not done before. It won’t make you any happier that the day you were at you’re happiest. You know how they say the good thing about hitting rock bottom is that you can only go up? Well the reverse is…
So i don’t know, not to the literal extent that the story told it, I don’t think that achieving your goals will erase your happiness at once, but I think it has some truth to it that achieving your goal will be the peak in your happiness for that goal. (not talking about love and family btw) And I for one, as an artist I believe that I’ll never get to be a perfect one, and that I’ll always have something to learn and improve myself and I like that. Because where would all my motivation and hard work go if I ever did reach perfection? I wouldn’t pour countless hours into every day to get better, I’d just draw once in a while when ever I felt like it. But if that was my sole purpose I would have lost that and everyday I guess I’d just stare the wall. Lucky I’ll never reach that stage in my artistic career and I also have other hobbies. Same with Japanese really, I spend countless hours practicing it, but once I get to a satisfying level I’ll only use the skill to speak or read a book once in a while. And what if that was my only pleasure in life? I feel like I reiterated a bit too much but I hope you understand what I meant.


I’m on my phone, so it’s a bit annoying to reply, but, yes, that’s what the story says, and I disagree.
You can always be harder, better, faster, stronger, like the song says. Accomplished your goal? Great! Now aim further. There’s no end, there’s no apex. If there seems to be an end, try to find a way to go beyond.

The protagonist was his happiest when working on the project. Assuming he cannot think of any further improvement, he can just find a different project.


Yessss, bring on the philosophical discussion :grin:

I’ll be back with a couple questions on that a bit later. Gonna go ahead and put up the first one on its own:

  1. Please share a new word or phrase that you learned from the story! Feel free to provide more information about the context surrounding the word, and how looking up/deducing the meaning of the word helped your understanding of the text.
  1. 万事順調 everything is well. I knew 順調 meant “being/doing fine”, and 万事 would literally be 10000 things. Like 万人 meaning “all people”, I expected it to mean “all things” (I just checked, and that was a correct guess).
    There was also 西洋占星術 western astrology. I actually didn’t check the meaning/translation, but the kanji are pretty explicit.

I understand, I just think this is a fictional exaggeration of the topic so that we can exam the phenomenon in an extreme case. Some people lament over the fact that they will never reach perfection or attain everything they desire. And I think it’s pointing out to them, what would you do if you reached that point anyway? I don’t think it’s saying anyone will reach their apex either, and I think that part was purely a fictional exaggeration.

There were quite a few words that I didn’t know, but one that really caught my attention was かつて because it reminded a lot of 改めて. And 改めて took me a few times to see in context to understand it,so I just thought of かつて as 改めて. I hope that’s correct…


Well, yes. And I think it’s a dangerous (and leading) question. It sounds extremely demotivating to me. The right answer (as far as I am concerned) is “once you get there, you keep on pushing”.

Speaking of “once”, かつて+negative means “not even once”.

かつて経験したことのない苦労 hardship he had not even once experienced (before)


幸せグラフ Questions!

  1. In the story, Charlie sets out to create a line graph that would measure the highs and lows of a person’s life. What sort of life events do you think would factor into such a measurement?

  2. At the end of the story, Charlie concludes that “Humans are happiest when chasing after their dreams. Once all their dreams come true, that happiness disappears.” Is this how you personally interpreted the story? Do you agree with Charlie’s conclusion?