Week 2: 海辺のカフカ - Kafka on the Shore 🏖

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海辺のカフカ - Kafka on the Shore :beach_umbrella: Home Thread

Week 2

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Start Date: June 4th
Previous Part: Week 1
Next Part: Week 3

Reading:

Week Start Date Chapters Page Count
Week 2 June 4th 3, 4 26

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

Mark your participation status by voting in this poll.
(Please feel free to update your status whenever you like!)

  • I’m reading along
  • I have finished this part
  • I’m still reading the book but I haven’t reached this part yet
  • I am no longer reading the book

0 voters

7 Likes

Aaand we get our first Murakami™ scene! Albeit a relatively tame one :smiley:

Also:
me: how many times can you use 見る見える in one sentence?
Murakami: 子どもたちは、私たちに見えるものを見ないで、私たちには見えないものを見ているように見えました。(p. 58)

I really want to read more interviews, I hope we get more info about what happened to the boy named Nakata!


It’s really cool that we mostly read two chapters every week, that way we get to progress each story every week :slight_smile:

10 Likes

Yeah, as soon as it started I was like “Oh boy, here we go again…”. I’ve also pre-learned some words which may hint to some themes in later chapters :smile: (which should probably not be a surprise)

I’m actually enjoying the boys chapters a bit more, since it’s more natural and doesn’t read like an interview with stiff language. I really feel no connection to anything/anyone what happened at the RICE BOWL HILL. (yet)

5 Likes

I’ve only read one Murakami book before and I was gonna ask what you all call a “Murakami™ scene”, but actually I think I might have an idea. Is is the part about the bra?

For @enbyboiwonder:

Chapter 4 summary

We get the next part of the story from the local doctor. He gets called as soon as the teacher reaches the school. The doctor, the teacher and some other folks pick up some bikes and rush to the place where the kids are in the forest. The doctor examines them: the unconscious kids had their eyes open, pupils unresponsive to light, but their eyes move from left to right as if watching something we can’t see. Some kids are starting to regain consciousness on their own. They are confused and don’t remember what happened but seem otherwise healthy. Eventually they all regain consciousness except one, who the adults carry back to the school. The doctor examines the kids some more and monitors them for a few days but they are as healthy and normal as can be. He has the mushroom checked by an expert and they are not toxic. There’s the theory that it might be some kind of new American weapon but it would make no sense for them to drop a bomb in the middle of nowhere like that. Plus the doctor didn’t notice any weird smell or anything onsite. The one kid who didn’t wake up is sent to a military hospital.

8 Likes

Yes, I‘d say Murakami is quite famous for throwing in random sex scenes or flashbacks of characters‘ past sexual encounters. I’ve had several Japanese people tell me that the vulgarity of these scenes is one of the reasons they don’t enjoy his works much.

7 Likes

These chapters were okay but certainly flew by, felt like we just got a little snippet more of each story. Quite looking forward to reading a slightly longer section next week to hopefully ‘get into’ the story a bit more as it all still feels very introductory just now.

Chapter 3 I thought was fine, I also had a bit of an eye-roll at some of the murikami-ness. Chapter 4 feels like we still haven’t got to whoever the actual protagonist of this story is going to be (maybe the boy Nakata?). I had originally thought it was the teacher but seems like she was just there for the interview. Difficulty-wise, I haven’t come across anything yet as tricky as the first few pages of chapter 2, both of these chapters were much easier going which is a relief :sweat_smile:

6 Likes

On the other hand I get the feeling it’s one of the reasons his works are so popular :sweat_smile:. At least it feels brutally honest in a way.

4 Likes

Wellp, I guess that means I’ll be steering well clear of his other works, then. It’s incredibly uncomfortable.

Two more chapters down! Certainly interesting in various ways haha. I’m more and more curious about the stuff with rice bowl hill, :sparkles: mysterious :sparkles: I hope Nakata is okay :pleading_face: I’m sure he’ll come up again, I wonder why he had such a different experience than the rest of the kids. My most crackpot theory is that it’s connected to カラスと呼ばれる少年 somehow but don’t ask me to explicate on that because I absolute cannot, it is instinct only :joy:

I’m very curious to see how/when these things come together! I don’t remember, did we ever get a specific year for when the boy’s chapters are happening? I wonder how it matches up temporally :eyes: Also we definitely don’t have any kind of name for him yet right? No way that’s a coincidence, I wonder how that’ll end up relevant :eyes:

3 Likes

Yeah, I mean, I tried to describe that in the nomination as a negative point, and that was not meant to be a joke… Sorry that it feels uncomfortable to you!

Yeah, that’s what I actually appreciate quite a lot. It feels like his descriptions are very matter-of-fact, without any pink fluff and the like. That bit resonates very well with me. (The weird scenes that he sometimes features, on the other hand, … :face_with_spiral_eyes:)

6 Likes

Oh, I don’t think I even saw the nomination. iirc I just saw the home thread for this book and recognized it as one I’d vaguely been interested in and decided now was as good a time as any to try reading it. I didn’t actually know anything about Murakami aside from his name and that he was a popular author

1 Like

Oh I see! Yeah he has a reputation for writing about, let’s say, the human body in all its facets in a very direct way, also sometimes including weird stuff. And sometimes very weird stuff.

4 Likes

Finished as well! I did not have access to the book for a few days so I could only sit there and wait while staring at your spoilered messages :joy_cat:
really appreciate y’all using them btw :+1:

That was my immediate thought as well! There must be a connection, I’m also sure about that.

I was also surprised that the chapter contained an interview with a different person instead of another interview with the teacher. But I liked the doctor’s way of talking even better, I guess.

Also, I’m currently studying for N2, and I find it hilarious that this book somehow seems to use random N2 grammar points in every other sentence :grin: Couldn’t have wished for a better way of reviewing the grammar last-minute. :sweat_smile:

6 Likes

Finally finished this week’s reading and I thought the same thing! (along with @NicoleRauch )

I also wasn’t that bothered by the Murakami Scene :tm:. It reminded me a lot of art house style films I watch where it’s suddenly deeply sexual for Symbolism :tm: . I’ve also read things much more explicit in other books :sweat_smile: But I can absolutely see how it would make people uncomfortable, especially if they didn’t know that’s what they were walking into.

6 Likes

Just you wait :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

2 Likes

Finally finished the second week’s reading - one day late, as always :sweat_smile: I found myself reading the 3rd chapter with much more ease than the 4th one due to the greater number of short sentences in the dialogues. I also found that the amount of times certain words are repeated in each chapter does wonders to my retention of readings and meanings.

As for the individual chapter impressions:

Won’t lie, I was unpleasantly surprised by the Murakami :tm: scene at the end of chapter three - although it is surprisingly tame in comparison to other Murakami :tm: scenes. It’s not about them being explicit, but about the way he decides to describe them. He gives off such a strong ‘men writing women’ energy, and it makes for an uncomfortable read every time :sweat_smile:

Chapter 4 was interesting, but I definitely liked the teacher’s account of the event more.

Now to start reading week 3 chapters.

5 Likes

The scene really made me wonder what he’d think/fantasize(?) about if I - or any woman, really - were to meet him in real life… :sweat_smile: Male gaze hitting hard with this one.

3 Likes

Fully agree with both of you! Feels at times like he’s describing a piece of livestock… I bet he’s a real creep IRL :face_with_spiral_eyes:

3 Likes

I don’t know if I would equate the characters he writes to his own character necessarily. Although I’m not saying it’s not possible there could be some truth to it. Considering the perspective of the character, to me it mostly just felt like the normal thoughts of a horny 15 year old boy :sweat_smile:. Albeit cringy no doubt.

2 Likes

The only thing I feel comfortable equating to his own character is a thing for ears :ear: :eyes: It comes up in so many of his books during these the multitude of Murakami™ scenes (which never seem to happen for a guy’s body…which may also say something about the author.)

2 Likes