Week 4: 乳と卵 [END]

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乳と卵 Home Thread

Week 4


Start Date: Oct 9th
Previous Part: Week 3


Week Start Date Chapter / End Phrase End Page Kindle LOC Kindle % Page Count
Week 4 Oct 9th Story 2: あなたたちの恋愛は瀕死 133 27

Discussion Rules

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That story was… something.

I’m definitely feeling sick after reading that, for way too many reasons :nauseated_face:

1 Like

Whaaaat the hell.

At first I was confused. Then it started going somewhere. Then I was very confused. No idea what I just read. But it had a bit of a コンビニ人間 vibe?

The first half was pretty difficult for me. I tried twice to read it late-ish at night and I had to switch to something easier because my brain fogged up and I was falling asleep.

I think this is the sentence I had the most trouble with. Still not sure I get it (p. 120 of the physical book) : 携帯電話を使って、パソコンを使って、あるいは道具なんて使わずに、ひじとひじぶつかったりするだけでいいのかも知れないそれだけのことで、男に限らず、女に限らず、つまり人々はーー女の夢想することを、その夢想の中であってもこの女には決して飛ぶことのできない溝のようなものを、そんなもの始めからないのだといわんばかりにひょいひょいと大股ですすんでいって、傷ついたりはかなげな感想を書いたり悲しんだり慰めあったりしてーー、とっても満足しているように女には思えた。なんというか、そういった性交の全般において。


Now I’m intrigued… :sweat_smile: can I get a basic summary?
(because, as I said, this one isn’t available in translation)

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Well, basically, it shows a lot of the everyday (internalized) misogyny that’s so pervasive in the current youth culture, plus a lot of cringey things.
A woman makes herself pretty (including perfect make up) to go to spend the whole day in Shinjuku, looking at more make up and shoes and whatnot, basically killing time until the evening when she hopes to find a guy to hook up with.
She has no experience of sex, only heard about it through her friends and kinda idealize the concept.
She randomly “meet” a guy handing out tissues in the street (you know, the ones with advertising on the packaging). That never happened to her for some reason, so he catches her interest (very cringe but anyway). She stalks him for a little bit (super super cringe), then gives up for a time, randomly goes into a bookstore, has a realization (?) that that’s not the right place to find a hook up and who cares about books anyway, then goes back out. The guy is still there, so she makes the decision to go talk to him. She taps on his shoulder, which surprises him. He reflexively punches her, likes that feeling and only stops from punching her more because there are people around. She falls down, bumps her head, and passes out. The end.


Thanks, it’s interesting to see your interpretation! You didn’t mention the part where she almost falls down after bumping into a woman who looks at her scornfully. Not sure what that was supposed to be about.

I wasn’t sure about that, but then again I wasn’t sure about a lot of things. I sounded to me like the focus was on having sex with a stranger, which she’s never done before, not just sex in general. She even reflects on the definition of a stranger. But it is mentioned later that she doesn’t have a boyfriend either. I don’t know if we can extrapolate from there?

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I did cut a few things, like the small ring on the saleswoman’s finger triggering a whole episode in her head or her getting in a shoe store and then immediately getting out.
The one you mentioned felt the most like it could have some deeper meaning, but I also don’t really understand what it’s supposed to be.

I have returned the book already, so I can’t check, but I think it was at least hinted at.


It’s mentioned explicitly when she has her introspective moment about friend number 2, who only ever sleeps with people she knows and has a connection with or sth. Paraphrasing a bit since I don’t feel like looking for the actual quote after just putting down this book: friend says she think people who have sex with strangers are like apes who can’t handle relationships, and then mc wonders if she qualifies as human to her friend since she doesn’t have sex with strangers or people she knows. She wishes she could say it, but didnt. Pretty sure that means she has no experience having sex or a relationship at all.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but mc clearly wishes to change it.

Triggered by the fact that the lighting makes people look older and not their best. :upside_down_face:

I’m also not sure what exactly the incident with the woman she runs into, or that runs into her, is supposed to show. I’m guessing one element might be to show her self-consciousness early on. She pretties herself up, but still feels inferior to random strangers. This is shown later, when she muses in how young that random woman looked and feels negative emotions towards her own reflection in her compact mirror.

Since the book is over now, I guess I can conclude that I didn’t much like it at all. The run of thought style coupled with the aimless, purposeless nature of these stories (for all that the first one got a conclusion of sorts) made me feel empty and fed up in turns. Not a pleasant experience.


@Naphthalene, your summary is spot on!

Overall, I would say that I didn’t care for this book too much, but I did like the second story more than the first. It almost reminded me of Flannery O’Connor with its mysterious and symbolic buildup to an abrupt climax at the end.

By the way, my impression was also that the woman had no experience with sex.

from pg. 126 in the paperback



Thanks for looking up the quote! This is also the one I was thinking of when I said it’s mentioned she doesn’t have a boyfriend but I didn’t remember the details.

Maybe a stupid question, but I think it’s still not 100% clear? Like isn’t することのない different from したことのない? “she doesn’t (these days at least)” vs “she’s never”?

On my side, I liked the first story a lot more than the second one :upside_down_face:


Well, it doesn’t make it explicitly clear, but it does seem implied that she doesn’t have much (if any) experience with “normal” sexual encounters.


Thank you for your summary! :blush:
Now my FOMO is gone.
I wish you could find your Re: Zero summaries, too :<

After reading your reaction, I was imagining something physically gross, but somehow the truth is even worse. :confused:


BTW if someone wants to give me their take on the sentence I quoted, feel free :slight_smile: I feel like I understand each part but not how the whole thing connects together.

(My sudden Ranma binge disrupted me this week so I fell behind a bit, but I’ve finished it now).

I enjoyed the book! I like this kind of writing style quite a bit in general, although I think it amplifies the like, cloudiness I already feel when reading Japanese since it’s still not completely natural to me, which can make it hard to form a strong impact from the stories since I’m often not keeping up all that well with what my eyes are reading. But since most of the most complicated things I’ve read so far have been mysteries and genre fiction that are detailed and complicated but straightforward stylistically, I enjoyed the change of pace having that dynamic pretty much swapped.

Interesting this second shorter story being so sort of… alienating and grim. I think I would have appreciated it more as an individual story in a larger collection, while here I found the longer story easy to warm up to since you hear the characters’ voices and personalities more in that. But it’s interesting at least.

I took a look at this for a while (after glossing past it while reading the story…).

I think I’d put it very very roughly as something like this:

Whether connecting over the phone, or with computers, or without any medium more than simply bumping shoulders with each other, not just men, not just women, but everyone – her reveries, as even there in her imaginings gulfs appeared that seemed for this woman unleapable, as if to insist that such a thing could never exist in the first place, proceeded with a lively jaunt, suffering wounds, documenting fleeting impressions, despairing, consoling – seemed to the woman completely satisfied. About, how to put it, the general whole of that particular intercourse.

I believe how it’s structured is that the two — bound a digression in the middle of the sentence.
The outer idea is about how she’s thinking about how everyone (else) basically seems to have figured out this whole well, meeting people and having sex thing. And I think the digression in the middle is about roughly how she’s wavering between like, “everyone else figures it out” in the despairing, it’s impossible for her kind of sense, and “everyone figures it out” in the hopeful, it’s nothing she can’t handle too sense.

So that’s why the digression is where it is - she makes a point in her train of thought of broading the subject all the way up to 人々 when thinking about who seems とっても満足している… 性交の全般において, making it a category she can join too. (even though she doesn’t seem to be in that company at the moment)

Struggling through it like this, I think the sentence captures that like, intense wandering train of thought feeling really well, albeit in a difficult to read clearly sort of way :slight_smile:
As always though I could be completely wrong!


Thanks a lot for you thoughts! To be honest it’s still quite hard to understand even in English, maybe I just need to read more literature :upside_down_face: But I like your interpretation a lot and the way it fits in the overall story. Thanks again for taking the time!


No problem! And it definitely is still hard :slight_smile: I also don’t think I did a very good job of translating the middle digression and could certainly have improved it overall… which surely doesn’t help.

If you want extra practice playing that game of mentally sewing clauses together across commas and hyphens and parentheses though, Virginia Woolf is probably my favorite author in English, and Kawakami’s writing style here reminds me a lot of books of hers like To the Lighthouse.
With Woolf’s style, I think in the right mood, if you can get going say, reading aloud at a steady clip, keeping up enough with the train of thought as it switches tracks back and forth, it can be really fun and exhilarating, but it’s certainly also easy to have it end up feeling dry and confusing (since I mean… it pretty much is).

It would be interesting to try to compare the two styles more closely… the different tools available, like particles in Japanese (I’m still not super sure what happens to the を in the digression for example, if it connects up, or if it needs to) seem like they’d make some really interesting differences (along with two very different authors of course) but it makes my head spin trying to think about it. :sweat_smile:


That’s not a nyaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaice story! :cat2:
People should be nyaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaice to each other! :cat2:


I think this is exactly why I felt like I was getting a bit lost while reading this. The stream of conscious style writing was a challenge(i.e. the quick transitions and meandering descriptions) and I think it requires being in a certain kind of mood to enjoy. When I read this part I wasn’t really in the mood for this kind of thing and the story itself didn’t exactly cheer me up :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:


I found it a little amusing because she was lost in her thoughts and all. Idk but was the punching incident punishment for her trying to get some ‘excitement’? Like everything was against her from the get-go

Which one of the two stories did you like better? Seems like opinions were quite divided on this. Actually, let me make a poll.

Which story did you like better?
  • I liked the main story better
  • I liked the bonus story better
  • I liked both equally

0 voters