JBC's NO.6 's Discussion Thread


At first I thought the man whose POV we get in this scene was Rashi, and the man with glasses (the one on the screen) was his subordinate calling in to report. Reading it again though, I think POV-man (who seems to be standing in some room where he can look down on the city - a penthouse, perhaps?) seems to be some other, really important guy. Glasses-guy talks in keigo to him, and he responds casually - the casual speech pattern is what originally made me think it was Rashi, but I think it makes sense that any high-ranking dude would probably talk to his subordinates that way.

2 things I’m considering on my second read-through:

  1. Perhaps it’s Rashi calling in - anyone remember if he was described as having a 細長い顔, or as wearing glasses? It’s probably someone on the police/investigation team since he’s giving a report on the investigation of Shion’s escape. If it’s not Rashi then I feel like it’s still someone important to the plot, since we’re given fairly specific descriptions of him like “perhaps stubbornly believing those glasses suited him the best, he hadn’t changed the frames in these past 10 years” (p. 161).

  2. I didn’t understand their dialogue the first time through but now I’m convinced that POV-man is connected to Nezumi. My understanding is that the conversation basically flows like this:

The Conversation (spoilers!)

“The suspect got away.”

“Seems like it. I heard. Surely that’s not so important [as to warrant contacting me directly]?” (I’m assuming that last part based on the first few sentences that came before this quoted section)

He’s involved. He aided the escape.”

“Are you sure?”

“We’re looking into it now. The voice print matches up”

So, why would some important guy would be called up the moment Nezumi showed up in town? I feel like it must be someone connected to him, but the nature of that connection can only be speculated on at this point…:scream:

( Sorry this post got so long :sweat_smile: )


I don’t remember Rashi having glasses, but it still could be him. Good point about the way they talk to each other. I think on my first read through I got a bit mixed up over who was saying what. I think your suspicions have the ring of truth to them - and good point about them kind of emphasizing that he (Nezumi) is involved.

I have a kind of grammar question about something on page 168. The kids are described as みんな、よく似た丸い顔をしていた。I get the meaning here, and I’ve seen this grammar point before, but I don’t really get when and with what things it can be used. I think Tobira has an example about an elephant しているing a long trunk or something. I went through it with a language partner once, and she said it sounded a bit odd and every time I tried to make an example sentence she was like: そんなこと言わないと思う。But, here it is. I wonder if it’s kind of literary language and people don’t say it in everyday life?

Anyway, finished chapter four, and the last chapter has only thirty pages - just over two a day. On the homeward straight now!


@Snowflying I missed the formality differential there. With that being said, I will have to read that passage again and reevaluate whether my first instinct was incorrect. Rashi’s physical characteristics weren’t described at all, to my knowledge. So perhaps there’s a possibility that the person on the screen could be Rashi. On the other hand, those individuals could both be unknown to the reader up until this point.

@riccyjay ~している for this specific use is a particularly tricky point to research because resources typically throw it into the explanation of the ~ている grammar point, without spending any time to point out the ways which it doesn’t have a progressive aspect attached to it. I did some web searching and found some links; some are helpful, some may not be too helpful but I find that having different sources confirm that there’s a pattern eventually it clicks. (FYI: there are three different links; for whatever reason, the stackexchange link created it’s own box)



Here are some additional resources about する’s uses. The first link relates more to your question. The second and third links are more about する’s versatility.

EDIT: https://ja.wiktionary.org/wiki/する (for whatever reason the English translation doesn’t include all the uses [meanings] of する) so I replaced the link.



Wow, thanks. Had a look few some of them already - they definitely cleared things up a bit. I’m pretty sorted about the use for temporary expressions, I think, and I can see how it could be used for things like small mouth, round face etc. I actually just saw another example in another book I’m reading. I guess repeated exposure will eventually do the job.

Cheers for all the links!


No, thank you. Since I wasn’t so strong at explaining it, doing the looking up brought up a lot of other questions which I researched along the way. Had you not asked about it, I’m not sure when I would have actually looked into this distinction because it doesn’t make sense from an English-speaker’s standpoint.


Well I still have about 15 pages left on chapter 4 but I can report that I got the kanji 陛 correct in my reviews today because of this chapter so this whole “reading” thing seems to be helping with the whole “remembering kanji” thing.


Hey did ネズミ really stick a red hot needle into shion’s brain???

Just making sure I’m getting this…


Mind giving a page number/context sentence for that? I don’t remember explicitly but I can go back and check. Either that or I just spoilered myself haha :+1:


Oops yes totally.

p 152, right in the middle:


Actually, maybe that’s just a description of the feeling he’s experiencing.


I’m sure you’ve read past the point where the narrator describes what Nezumi actually does. But I tried reading and rereading this passage and it seems like Shion’s mind is racing between the experience he witnessed in real life with Yamase and him comparing what he saw with his own experience. My rationale is this:

Before the sentence you posted, Nezumi asks what to do and Shion tells him to cut his neck. Then the narrator says, “意識が遠くなる。身体が持ち上げられたのがわかった。” So from here we can tell that Shion is in a state where he’s not “there”, but not unconscious. Then the narrator says, “床に倒れこみすぐに動かなくなった山勢の姿が激痛の退いた後の頭にうかぶ。” So while on the floor Yamase came to mind. Then the narrator brings up that situation again. Shion thinks about the pain Yamase was in and the fact the he was rendered motionless while his body quickly grew older. But then the narrator changes the tense and says, “症状が違う。だとしたら、助かるかも…” I believe at this point the narrator is talking about Shion’s case: his symptoms are different. Right after that your line comes up, but there is no indication on who does this action to Shion. Then a few pages later the narrator makes it clear when Nezumi actually engages in the “surgery”. This tells me that you’re probably right that the narrator is describing the sensations Shion is feeling, but due to Shion’s condition, the reader isn’t sure what’s real and what’s not. Other’s can disagree with this assessment I I think that explains why the そう, よう, and みたい forms don’t pop up.



Few days early, but I’ll be disappearing for a week or two and won’t have time to read.

Preemptive congratulations to everyone else who made / makes it to the end. Got a lot of useful pointers and definitely understood the story a lot better due to this thread. Special thanks to @LucasDesu, who’s been super helpful in sharing information. Cheers!

Onward to Autumn Prison!


From what I remember of the anime… I think the answer is YES.

… My memory is a bit hazy, though.


Finished the last few pages of the book tonight! This was the first Japanese novel I ever managed to read all the way through to the end. Thanks to all the folks who stuck with the book and posted about it here, especially @chrispthompson @LucasDesu and @riccyjay. Being able to discuss the book with others helped motivate me to keep reading, with the added bonus of making it a lot of fun. :blush:

I feel like I’m definitely interested enough to continue the series, though with Autumn Prison starting it might not be any time soon. As people finish reading though, I’d very much like to hear your thoughts on where you see the story going next~


Congrats that’s awesome!! Same for me, this would also be the first novel I’ve ever made it all the way through… if I can just… finish… that last chapter. Maybe I’ll just bit the bullet and spend all day this weekend.

The discussion has been invaluable for comprehension. You guys are the best! And I think the book club experiment is a success. In hindsight, I think we started with a really hard book!

I want to participate in Autumn Prison but I’m probably going to focus on JLPT the next 2 months and be back for the next one.


Hang in there! Just a bit more to go :smiley:

Welp, it seems October 15th has finally rolled around! A few questions that might be cool to hear people’s thoughts on:

  1. What do you think might be Shion’s first course of action now, given the information he now knows and the resolution he makes (to find a way to help the people of No. 6 before spring time) at the end of the book?

  2. Was there anything that you expected to happen over the last two chapters, but didn’t? On the other hand, were there any unexpected developments that surprised you?

  3. What are you most interested in learning more about in future installments (e.g. the nature of the West Block, the mysterious higher-ups of No. 6, Nezumi’s past, etc.)?

Feel free to answer any or none of these questions! And another thanks to everyone who participated in the book club and made it possible. :grin:



It was definitely a fun going through this book with you! For those of you still pressing toward the end, hang in there. Thank you to all those who participated in the thread posing questions and moving discussion forward. If it weren’t for you, I would’ve had a hard time pressing toward the end of the book. Plus it made the process more enjoyable. As a person who prefers doing things on their own, I don’t regret getting involved.

I think Shion needs to get back into the city and investigate more. Also he needs to figure out a way to help those who are infected so they don’t suffer the same fate as Yamase or himself. It’s definitely a big task. I have a feeling that Nezumi may not be as helpful in the initial part of the actualization of these plans, though.

I wanted a better conclusion for the book. Though it could serve as a way to get the reader to continue with the series, the book’s ending felt like a TV program’s season finale instead.

I were to read the rest of the series I would want to know more about how those parasitic bees came about. Were they an invention of those who run NO. 6? What are the other cities like? Are they dealing with this issue also? There are a lot of questions raised in this book that simply aren’t explained to my satisfaction.

What were other people’s overall impression of this book? Difficulties aside do you feel it was worth the read? How many people intend on continuing with this series?


I think I’d like to continue the series; the world and characters are pretty compelling, and although I definitely struggled while reading it I was able to understand enough to follow the overall plot. That’s enough for me to add it to my Japanese reading list :+1:

I felt the same. Honestly not much at all happened in Chapter 5; honestly I’m not sure it’d even make a good season finale :laughing: Though there was one surprise when Nezumi revealed that he was able to make contact with Shion’s mother. The possibility that she might have a contact in the West Block definitely made me intrigued about her past.

As for my questions:

  1. Near the end, Shion theorizes that a possible solution to the problem could be to get his blood tested and analyzed. It would be difficult for him to contact anyone in the city about this but, perhaps his need for a researcher he can trust will see the return of Safu? :astonished:

  2. & 3. I’m bitter that the author teased us with Nezumi’s name on the very last page, just to refuse to tell us once again :dizzy_face: I was also surprised that we found out very few details about his life in the West Block, or about the other inhabitants there. Going into the 2nd volume, I would hope there would be more Nezumi-focused parts of the story.


Just thought you guys might be interested: I bought vol 2 yesterday and there was a map of No. 6 on the first page. I was struggling a lot with picturing the layout of everything but it seems we were on the right track!


It was really hard to conceptualize what was happening after Shion was arrested. So this really helps in confirming what we were talking about.


No one will prob read this but I have to write it anyway. I FINALLY FINISH THE BOOK AFTER 9 MONTH. (Just like pregancy) :sneezing_face: That was so hard at first. I remember the first time I was reading the book it took me 1 hour per page and I wasn’t understanding a lot. Today I took 5-10 minute per page and understand almost everything(I think). It was really fun thanks for giving such a great book to read. If anyone has not yet finished the book and read this YOU CAN DO IT I BELIEVE IN YOU.

Now I have to read book 2. :durtjovahs_witness: