A word of mild warning: As in the Fusagi story, there are spoilers to be found in the vocabulary sheet, so don’t scroll down casually browsing ahead unless you want to be spoiled.
In this part, we get some more info on that special cafe entrance and on how you can hear people before they appear (what is it with the constant repetitions?), a lengthy explanation of proper coffee preparation, and some festival vocabulary among other things.
If I’m not mistaken, this is what a 笹飾り looks like:
Yeah, this is super annoying. I don’t get why all the rules and now the look of the door/floor have to be repeated this often.
The book’s premise sounded interesting with the time travel and the rules, but I didn’t expect the weird rule bending that was explained last week (I wonder if it’s going to play a role in the next stories?). The stories are kinda boring and the characters are uninteresting and unlikable imo. I can’t think of anybody that I got somewhat invested in.
Also I was super confused about Kei, Kazu and Nagare and who the hell they exactly are and their relationship to eachother until I looked it up again. But that’s probably not the book, but just me forgetting about it.
Anyways, not really enjoying this book too much so far. I’ll keep reading until the end though.
I thought that too, but it seems it wasn’t. It would explain the constant repetitions. Although there are repetitions even in the same story. How many times were we introduced to Hirai as the curler wearing woman?
Then I thought it might be a Japanese fiction thing, seeing at this is my very first untranslated Japanese novel, but judging from all your reactions, that’s not it either.
It is all rather low key, that’s true. Fumiko didn’t interest me at all, and I can’t say I’m especially invested in any character as such, but I am interested enough in their background and future to read on. I’m not enjoying the time traveling though, it has so many logical holes it’s driving me crazy.
So, trying to work out exactly what style of patterning is 付け下げ (on page 214, paperback version) - Jisho describes it as “the tops of all the patterns being pointed at the highest part of the shoulder”, which is almost entirely unhelpful.
This page seems to describe it as just “less extravagant than the formal ones”… albeit with more words.
It is indeed a very unhelpful definition. Fortunately there’s some information in English too (because big blocks of random Japanese text still scare me a bit). So apparently, its uniqueness is in the patterns, in that they stay within the seams of the piece of cloth they’re on instead of covering the whole kimono.
I finally caught up on the reading for the week. I can see we’re going to have another melancholy story here and it will likely have a similarly bittersweet ending to the first two, but I guess that’s just the nature of this kind of book.
The story is pretty low key, but I like that kind of thing once in a while. And I can’t really say I find them all unlikeable - Kei (to me at least) is adorable as heck, and I find Nagare’s quirks to be pretty funny too. I don’t find anything particularly wrong with Kotake either, and I enjoyed her emotional journey in the second story. Kazu is, in her Kazu way ( ), a little bit dull, but I can’t say I dislike her either.
And I agree that the characters’ backgrounds are interesting enough to keep me reading. I’ve been wanting to know more about Hirai from the beginning, and the little side story about the photo-taking girl from the future was also enough to keep me interested in the final story as well.
The time travel is just…a mess, and it only gets worse the further we go. For example, in this week’s reading, as Kazu got lost in thought about the visitor from the future, I kind of thought to myself, "shouldn’t the present must not be changed mechanics somehow magically make everyone forget that ever happened or something?
I mean, how could the present possibly remain exactly the same now that people in the past (from the visitor’s perspective) have recollection of her being there at this point? I assume she is someone they will come to know in the future. And if the mechanics only protect the physical present (i.e. keeping the same people alive, the same objects intact, etc…), then the physical letter from the past moving into the present in Kotake’s story should still have been a definite no-no.
And though I keep telling myself I will ignore it as it is clearly not going to get any better but is still mostly not hampering the important character development aspects of the story, I continue to rant to myself (and now to all of you ) as I just did above. Yes, it’s definitely a little maddening.
But overall, I would still say I’m enjoying the book (at times, I’ve enjoyed it quite a lot) - though it’s possible that without a book club schedule to keep me accountable, I might have ended up shelving it by now. At least for a while, as I’m reading two other books that are holding my attention a little more strongly.
Oh boy, that whole-page description of “if someone brings a gun back and shoots someone else through the heart, then if they’re alive in the future, the magic of this little cafe will affect the entire city to ensure that, by an absurd series of coincidences, the person will survive”. Except… being rushed to hospital is still a change. Like, at the very least, he’ll have a permanent scar. Hey, cafe magic, here’s another option: the gun fails to fire. It requires only a single coincidence, and doesn’t require an effect outside the cafe’s walls.
I mean, I get that it’s a hypothetical (I guess?), but it’s the omniscient narrator that’s giving us that hypothetical, not any of the characters.
(In comparison to that, I can deal with the cafe conjuring a coincidence to distract characters whenever they start to think about the deeper implications of future-girl. It’s relatively sedate.)