Week 3: 乳と卵

When I said I remembered, it was very vague. Mostly, I remembered some mention of two girls from the snack of 巻子.
I might have been gaslit by your screenshots and the fact it was past midnight :stuck_out_tongue:

(Good thing too, because I was wondering how I could have missed the meth thing)

(I don’t remember the mention of a factory, but that’s easier to miss in a long winding sentence; edit: ah, but 巻子 did work in a factory)

So thanks for making the world make sense again @miwuc :slight_smile:


I was very confused too (meth factory? Nozomi? eh???) but now I can reassure myself that I didn’t read another imaginary alternate story this time, like I did with 人間失格. :sweat_smile:


You did say that but a reprint is different from a rewrite, and I expected Breasts and Eggs to be a translation of 乳と卵.

To quote wikipedia again:

The original work [乳と卵] has not been translated into English. (…) An English translation of Natsu Monogatari was published in 2020, under the original title of Breasts and Eggs . It is a completely different work from the original 2008 novella. (…) The first half of Natsu Monogatari is a completely rewritten version of the original 2008 novella. The second half is a continuation of the narrative.

They call them halves but the second part is much longer. And the first part (the rewrite) is also quite a bit longer (~170 pages in English) than the original we’re reading here (~100 pages in Japanese). So it’s not just a case of a few changes between editions. Which explains why you got a lot more plot than us :sweat_smile:


Well, I said that because I also expected that, at least for the first part!
I thought they avoided 夏 thing in English because they decided Breasts and Eggs is more catchy title than “Summer Story” and in English the 夏物語 / 夏子 thing is lost anyway :woman_shrugging:t2:

Well, it still can be difference between languages/fonts/paper size etc. but…
but I’m shocked anyway and now I would like to know so much how many other things were changed :open_mouth:
If someone will decide to go on with reading 夏物語, please please share what you caught :pleading_face:
It’s like people outside of Japan are getting a different book than the one that make Mieko Kawakami famous/got her the Akutagawa prize :hushed:

I’m sorry for accidentally doing the gaslighting :sweat_smile:

Thank for your explanation about the work law either way :heart:
Can I have one more small question about that? Isn’t the employer required to report people working to some government institution for the taxes and such purposes? Which would make using the fake driver’s licenses or hiring too young highschoolers impossible?

Also I have a question about a plot point I don’t remember so now I think it wasn’t there at all in my version…

…what is wrong with 緑子’s eyes…?

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I don’t know much about the details, but for part-time jobs, you just report the number of person-hours you paid, and give a document to the people you hired basically saying the same thing. They then have to transmit it to the tax office to pay your taxes… but that’s only if they keep working in the same place for a year. It’s very common for part-timers to disappear after a few weeks or months.
By the way, talking about this with my spouse, they admitted lying about their age too for they first student part time (by only a few months though). Nobody checked. Also the salary they got was too small to be taxed, so they didn’t declare anything.

She writes in a later entry of her notebook that they hurt constantly. (I may be reading too much into this and she instead meant that she kept wanting to cry, I don’t know)

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I just found online an article about the symbolism of that pain, considering that it only appears in contrast with 巻子 talking about breast augmentation and thus might be psychosomatic and/or symbolize the hatred that 緑子 feels against the “female” body (including her own).
So, at least, I did not imagine it. :woman_shrugging:

Edit: might as well link the article:


Thank you for investigating this so thoroughly for me :sparkling_heart:

Ah, now I remember! it was in my version after all.
I so automatically assumed it was psychosomatic, I didn’t record it in my mind as an “eyes problem” but as a “emotional tension symptoms” :sweat_smile: so yep, I agree with the article’s interpretation.


Since we’ve reached the end of 乳と卵, I figured I’d post some of my scattered thoughts

Before this I had never read any of Kawakami’s work so I don’t know how much of this will apply to her as a writer, but from this brief novel I get the sense that she is interested in exploring the strange relationship between body/mind. I couldn’t help thinking of Ghost in the Shell and the main character’s struggle with self and her relation to her body, which is artificial.

In short here is a theme that emerged for me as I was reading this:

The strangeness of occupying a body (especially as a female) and the disconnect one feels. There are natural processes and organisms within our bodies that are beyond our control. Midoriko reflects on this mind/body duality in her diary in reference to ovulation. Also, Makiko’s obsession with breast surgery perhaps can be viewed as a desperate attempt to assert the self’s dominance over the body by thwarting the aging process(futile as we all know)