Maybe it’s my fault for reading this over too many days, but the first half of this chapter really confused me for a while. I misunderstood who was talking, so I got the two girls backwards, and I couldn’t tell why the author kept saying that the blind girl was seeing things, so I thought maybe she was just visually impaired but not blind… and I thought maybe the author was using 少女 for one girl and 彼女 for the other… basically it was a big mess . I think I sorted everything out though.
Aizawa instead of Aosawa. Hisayo instead of Hisako. The author from chapter 1 is Makiko, and this chapter was about Maki-chan. Hmm.
I was equally confused! First I thought that the blind girl is already an old woman because of the cane or maybe that this was another blind person?
So I’m convinced that this is the same person. I already had a hunch when she talked about the shapes of the spots on the ceiling, and later it became clear through the events (her brother coming home to fetch the other brother so that he could get some juice as well).
This confused me so much! If the names were only in kana, I might be able to write this off as a young girl’s misunderstanding, but with the kanji it was really weird. Why did this name change happen?
I have a hunch that the names will get ever more complicated going forward, so I added a list of the names we already encountered to the OP. Please be aware that the notes for the current week’s names may or may not contain spoilers for you!
This also maybe helps those who read in English to follow along with the discussions of those who read in Japanese because it might not always be obvious how the kanji of the names match the readings (in case the readings are somewhat unusual).
At first, I thought chapter 3 described “what actually happened.” But I just double-checked chapter 2 and the narrator specifically mentions Aosawa Hisako - so if my theory is right, the names in chapter 3 are the incorrect ones. Which would mean that maybe chapter 3 was part of Saiga Makiko’s book?
I agree that the names in chapter 3 should be the incorrect ones. And it would indeed be an option that chapter 3 is from the book, because we don’t have an “I” narrator in that chapter, and so Makiko describes her own experience of the incident in 3rd person.
But for the reason of why the names are different, maybe it’s actually just a kind of anonymization? Because she published this as a book, so she would maybe try to assign slightly different names to make it not too obvious to the whole world who is being talked about.
I’m still not convinced that the names are actually the mistakes, because she said that she would change things in order to give specific hints to somebody, and that only one person would be able to understand the hints. So following this logic, changing the names would be obvious to everybody who took part in the events back then, so that sounds a bit implausible to me. Also, if we assume that the hints were not actually for the assistant but indeed for the killer, then it wouldn’t make sense to leave hints in a story that was basically written from her own perspective (i.e. would be an interview with herself).
So if your theory is correct and we are now actually reading the book itself, then I’m curious to see how we are supposed to discover those mistakes
I had a hard time figuring out who the narrator was at first. Because the previous two chapters were interviews, I felt sure that this would be an interview too, and wondered how anyone could know for sure what “the girl” was thinking. The style felt a little too literary/poetic to be an interview too. So I’m thinking this must be Saiga describing herself. I considered the possibility that it’s from her book, but there are many important differences to how she described the events during the interview, the names being the least important of those. Hisa-chan wasn’t feeling unwell in this version as she did in the previous one, in fact she walked tall and proud, and even (suspiciously) went out shopping (even if she apparently bought nothing). There was nothing about warnings in the previous version either. In the previous version no one had seen the delivery man’s face, yet here Maki-chan saw him from up close and even spoke to him. In the previous version she only went to the house after being invited by her brother. And if I remember correctly, the rain hadn’t started yet when the delivery man came? (not sure about this part). So I’m thinking this is either her memory, or it’s written somewhere else (diary? draft?), or it’s someone else’s fictional reconstruction of what might have happened.
Edit: It now occurs to me, the translation probably has a subtitle explaining what it is we’re reading, right? But this takes away so much of the mystery!
Question about 数え birthdays: According to this system, you are one year old when you’re born, then grow one year with each New Year. The family celebrated their auspicious birthdays according to the 数え system, so why is it summer and not New Year’s?
Oh wow, you paid much more attention to those fine details than me! Well spotted - these are the types of differences I was expecting to find.
I chalked this up to the fact that she maybe thought that this talk about premonitions and stuff wouldn’t belong in a (police?) interview…
Yep, noticed that as well. I thought that she maybe did not want to give away this “secret” of hers?
I was also wondering about that. On the other hand, somebody else would probably not know about the cocoon (btw is that a typical thing to mention in a book? I feel like something like this appears in every other book…) or about the fig tree or about somebody appearing in the garden etc. It really feels like it can only be from her own memory…
That looks pretty much like a typo to me Well spotted!
My assumption was that this was a section from Makiko’s book – it felt kind of "novel"y somehow. If the meeting between her and the delivery driver didn’t happen in reality the way she wrote it, then only the delivery driver would be able to know that; so maybe that’s a candidate for hidden messaging?
Well, my reasoning is that if it’s fiction based on real events, the writer may feel free to embellish the story as they wish. These kinds of details, and the way they are written, don’t look like a diary entry. They could still be a memory, but are memories so flowery in their descriptions?
As for the cocoon being typical, I don’t think I’ve come across something like that before in my reading. What is the cocoon supposed to be in those other books you’ve read? I’m assuming it’s a ghostly cocoon-like form, not an actual cocoon?
Right, because the only survivor of this tragedy having been out without an apparent reason, and having warned a friend about not coming near the house (although it doesn’t seem like they were actually close at the time) isn’t suspicious at all. No reason to mention it, not at all.
So you can pick a whole variety of vaguely relevant dates in the right year. In this case the coincidence of the three family members having the same birth date would have strongly suggested that as a time for it, I think.
Yes, but I thought some people were a bit suspicious that maybe it wasn’t that guy that actually did it, he’d just been nudged into thinking he had by somebody else? So I’m not 100% assuming that there isn’t a real delivery person out there somewhere…
Yes, no sub-chapters, no conversational style. It certainly feels like it’s from a book, I’m just not sure it’s the book. The changes don’t feel like how the assistant described them. They’re neither insignificant, nor hard to know about unless you were present in the interviews. But I guess we’ll see.
The thing is, we know what chapter one’s narrator told us, so we can see some big differences between that and chapter three; but the assistant didn’t have any of that chapter one info, and obviously Makiko didn’t interview herself in front of her assistant. So there’s a lot of scope for changing things without the assistant noticing the changes. For instance anything which was just Makiko and Hisayo is completely unverifiable by the assistant because he wasn’t present when Hisayo was interviewed, and things which were just Makiko or Makiko plus people who died (like seeing the delivery guy, or going to the house the first time) the assistant won’t notice as being different because he only has one version of events there, not two the way we do. In fact, it’s quite possible Makiko made pretty big changes, and they looked like small ones to the assistant because the only parts of the big changes he was in a position to notice were the tiny mismatches around the edges with some of the interview testimony.
Speculative: maybe the reason Makiko involved the assistant at all was to provide a way to make it seem like the book was all solidly based on interview testimony and thus trustable, while in fact a lot of it was completely different from what really happened?
Wildly speculative: maybe the person who’s tracked down these people and is talking to them in these chapters is the real murderer, who’s read the book and is now trying to find out how much Makiko knows??
I agree with a lot of what you wrote (and had even been thinking along the same lines as your “wild speculative”). But if it is Makiko’s book, why would she tell the story differently to the interviewer, whoever it is, when the interviewer supposedly approached her exactly because of that book? It may be entirely on purpose of course, or she may have forgotten what exactly she wrote, or, or. Everything is still open at this point.