Week 12: 薬屋のひとりごと

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薬屋のひとりごと Home Thread

Week 12

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Previous Part: Week 11

Reading:

Week Start Date Chapter Names Page Count
Week 12 May 13th 「阿多妃」「解雇」「宦官と妓女」 28

Discussion Rules

  • Please use spoiler tags for major events in the current chapter(s) and any content in future chapters.
  • When asking for help, please mention the chapter and page number. Also mention what version of the book you are reading.
  • Don’t be afraid of asking questions, even if they seem embarrassing at first. All of us are here to learn.
  • To you lurkers out there: Join the conversation, it’s fun! :durtle:

Participants

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  • I’m reading along
  • I have finished this part
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Proper Noun Readings

Main characters

Name Reading Notes Proof
猫猫 まおまお Main character furigana
壬氏 ジンシ 天女を思わせる宦官 furigana
高順 ガオシュン aid of 壬氏 furigana

Name Reading Notes Proof
玉葉 ギョクヨウ One of the four (main) wives (title: 貴妃) furigana
梨花 リファ One of the four (main) wives (title: 賢妃) furigana
里樹 リーシュ One of the four (main) wives (title: 徳妃) furigana
阿多 アードゥオ One of the four (main) wives (title: 淑妃) furigana
芙蓉 フヨウ 中級妃 (has left the 後宮) furigana

Others

Name Reading Notes Proof
小蘭 シャオラン friend? of 猫猫 furigana
鈴麗 リンリ Daughter of 玉葉; nickname: 小鈴 (シャオリン) furigana
紅娘 ホンニャン head of the maids of 玉葉 furigana
桜花 インファ maid of 玉葉 furigana
貴園 グイエン maid of 玉葉 furigana
愛藍 アイラン maid of 玉葉 furigana
李白 リハク mid-ranking 武官 furigana
梅梅 メイメイ 後宮妓楼 furigana
白鈴 パイリン 後宮妓楼 furigana
女華 ジョカ 後宮妓楼 furigana
浩然 コウネン Deceased high ranking official furigana
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:eyes: :eyes:

I very much would have liked to keep reading after finishing volume 1. Alas, I currently do not have wifi, and while I own the next volumes, I hadn’t thought to download them in advance. :upside_down_face:

3 Likes

Thank you very much for starting this club! And converting me to the church of 猫猫. It is probably some of the most fun I have had reading a LN series (up to vol 4), also some of the most frustating moments when I was trying to understand what the other was trying to tell me.

:frog:

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There’s a very specific frog in volume 3 that comes to mind.
Maybe you can hunt down my comments on the series in the 多読 thread, by the way? I’m looking to what you think of the rest of the series :smile:

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:wink:

Navigating that thread is a pain if you want to find something in the past ^^.

I’m definitely gonna continue reading but I need to take breaks in between volumes since I’m 100% punching above my weight. The biggest problem is that my brain is so focused on the language that it has no capacity left to get the sometimes complex circumstances for example in vol 4 when they explain everything to Jinshi and all of the family connections I was 100% confused and a friend of mine had to explain the whole chapter to me.

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The search tool from the forum with the “search in this topic” option works pretty well for me.
But anyway, here are my thoughts on volume 2 for instance.

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I finished reading this! I enjoyed it pretty well!

In the right frame of mind, the wry style and tendency for lots of things to be left implied or not quite explicitly said can be a lot of fun, but I did definitely find it easy to fall into the trap of reading too quickly without really parsing things…
In particularly, in the middle (around the big multichapter banquet) I noticed that I was rushing to finish way too much and not really processing anything. A similar thing happened earlier in the year with Kiki’s, which similarly is structured more like a collection of incidents than a single narrative thread, and I didn’t want that to happen again so I made sure to slow down and ended up taking a pretty big break.
When I picked it up again I was less focused on finishing things and was able to take it at much more the right pace, although there were still definitely details I glossed over…

I like 猫猫 a lot - but then maybe part of the problem is I like and am invested in her much more than… any other character, which made it easy for the rest to end up a half-digested slurry of titles and Mandarin character readings. :sweat_smile:
I think I followed ok individual mysteries, and stuff like when 猫猫 went back home and I did enjoy developments like the twist about her おやじ’s past job, her warming up to the palace and the job but not saying it, the implication, (I think, right…?), that 壬氏 is secretly/unknowingly(?) a prince, etc. although I think I assumed from the gap and the section where I wasn’t paying attention very well that keeping track of exactly how everything tied together was probably a lost cause and tried less than I should have.

I remember at the very beginning, not having actually read the synopsis, realizing the beginning was talking about her immediately being kidnapped and being like “wait, uh… okay??” and I suppose my arc with that setting was similar to 猫猫’s in the end. :slight_smile:

I’d be curious if taking the second volume with the built up context from the first if I’d enjoy it more and be more careful with it (or if the problem would compound…).
I feel a little regretful for not posting more at all in the book club threads, but I have a bad habit of not asking questions and only answering them, and the answering seemed well covered!

6 Likes

Well, it’s 猫猫’s wild guess. We have no hard proof in favor or against it at that point.

The fact they are going to the 妓楼 in the last chapter kinda hints strongly that he is not an eunuch, though. As 猫猫 mentioned early in the book, there’s another category of men who are allowed in the 後宮 :eyes:

3 Likes

Done! And somehow on schedule, too! That was certainly the hardest thing I’ve ever read–a lot of it felt more like deciphering than reading, which definitely hurt my motivation. I would have liked to have been a bit more participatory in discussion, but I was usually so drained from finishing the week’s reading that I was ready to move on rather than spend more time asking and deciphering.

I pretty much agree with just about everything @rodan said. I liked 猫猫’s character a lot, and she outshone the other characters and events to the extent that they seemed kind of bland in comparison. There were a few chapters that I really enjoyed (猫猫’s home visit in particular comes to mind), but they were largely interspersed with chapters that were mostly forgettable. I probably would have gotten more out of the circuitous writing style if I had been a bit more patient and slowed down a bit. That, plus the episodic nature of the story made it difficult for me to remember small details that probably gave the mysteries in the later parts of the book some more depth.

I would consider reading more of the series, but probably not until I’ve further improved my vocabulary in order to improve the effort to payoff ratio a bit.

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I’ve finished as well! \o/ I’ve been marking grammar questions in my Kindle copy as I go along, but by the end of the book I didn’t feel they were hurting my comprehension, so I’ve taken the lazy way out.

Good book, as expected (reading and enjoying the manga first will definitely do that to you). Will definitely be moving on to the second book, though I need to take some time and finish making flashcards of all the words I pulled from the first, which has ended up being…a lot. Around 1647. Not all of those words are totally new, of course; a good chunk are. A chunk are words I can accurately guess their reading/meaning, but not both. Others are words I’ve learned in the past at some point but don’t seem to have stuck. Given that the (print version of the) book has 318 pages, that shakes out to about 5 words per page, which feels low given some of the lookup sessions I had. But I think it’s definitely one of those cases of looking up tons of things in the beginning, which slowly tapered off as I went along.

The goal is to absorb a bit more of that vocab before starting volume 2, while not taking so long as to negate my familiarity with the author’s style, so that when I do start volume 2 everything runs as smooth as possible.

My last top place for how many words I pulled from a book was 夜市, which ended up only being around 1000 or so; I don’t think 薬屋’s historical setting did it any favors in the lookup department, haha.

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