Week 8: 傲慢と善良 😤😇 (Advanced Book Club)

Week 8

Start Date: December 30
Previous Part: Week 7
Next Part: Week 9
Home Thread: 傲慢と善良 :triumph::innocent:
Book club: Join the Advanced Book Club here!

Reading

Start date To read Num pages
Week 8 Dec 30 Chapter 6 43

Discussion Guidelines

  • Please use spoiler tags for major events in the current section(s) and any content in future sections.
  • When asking for help, please mention the 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!

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

Proper Noun Readings

People
Name Reading
西澤 架 にしざわ かける Main character
坂庭 真実 さかにわ まみ Kakeru’s fiancée
坂庭 陽子 さかにわ ようこ Mami’s mom
坂庭 正治 しょうじ Mami’s dad
岩間 希実 いわま のぞみ Mami’s sister
剛志 つよし Nozomi’s husband
桐歌 きりか Nozomi’s daughter (mami’s niece)
大原 おおはら A male friend of Kakeru’s
美奈子 みなこ A female friend of Kakeru’s
あずさ A female friend of Kakeru’s
小野里 おのざと Matchmaker old lady
金居 智之 かない ともゆき Mami’s first suitor
花垣 学 はながき まなぶ Mami’s second suitor
Places
Name Reading
阿佐谷 あさがや Where Mami lived
富洲 とよす Where Kakeru lives in Tokyo
小岩 こいわ Where Nozomi lives
群馬 ぐんま Prefecture Mami’s from
前橋 まえばし City Mami’s from
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Quiz answers:

  • On her instagram page she wrote “daily love life” which sounds like typical japanese-english
  • It wasn’t explicitly stated but it sounds like Mami doesn’t like Izumi because she feels looked down upon, based on Izumi thinking that Mami graduated from a 短大 or that she’s dating a loser (in Mami’s view)
  • Next chapter we’re meeting 花垣 学 (はながき まなぶ)
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Ohoo.

Feels like we just about finished setting the stage with this. :eyes::popcorn:

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  1. I hope the book has a good explanation for the prologue that isn’t just “it was lying to us”…

  2. I liked that the book has set us up to feel the same way as Kakeru, by having us go through a lot of Mami’s past history, so we also want to defend her and say “no, you don’t understand” in that long conversation with Kakeru’s friends.

  3. Speaking of “friends”, however this turns out that behaviour on their part seems pretty hard to forgive.

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  1. They are jealous and evil. They are not looking after him. They took their precious Ayu-chan’s revenge. They played with her like a cat playing with a mouse. Bullies.
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I do not want to believe that things are the way they look like now. There has to be more to it. Please. I have no idea what this could be, but the prologue felt so intense and real to me…

In any case, it is nice that things are progressing or at least (regardless of direction) moving again. The book started to get a bit tedious for me because basically nothing seemed to happen.

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Reflecting on the same events from various perspectives, over and over…It seems to me that the author wrote it not for entertainment, but with a message in mind: Take the ropes of your life before it is too late, know what you want, plan your future, and search for a partner when you are young…or you will regret it when you reach the old age of 40!
Reading this book feels like I’m receiving (unwanted) dating advice from an older relative. :joy:

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That is really interesting; It doesn’t feel like that to me at all. :smiley: Rather, it feels like 架 has been told or come to the conclusion that it is not necessary to follow these pre-set paths, after all.

While I haven’t been bored by the various angles we’ve looked at things so far myself, I can see how it might be tedious. For me, I’ve just been along for the ride while 架 figures things out. If not about 真実, at least about himself.

That said, it feels like it is a good time to change things up, so I agree it’s nice to be faced with a change of pace like this.

(Not sure if any of this counts as a spoiler? Tagging just in case.)

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I am not sure what you are referring to, making a guess:
Thinking too much about how your partner looks or not feeling 100% about your partner? They are good examples of how our high standards can be detrimental. And they are again dating advice: “Your standards are too high. Lower your standards (or you will regret it when your partner leaves you and marries someone else.).”
Don’t you feel the “I am almost 40. I need to find my runaway bride or I will die alone.” pressure from 架? The book doesn’t suggest that it is not necessary to follow the pre-set paths (interacting with the opposite sex, thinking about marriage, searching for a partner, dating, matchmaking, etc.); rather, it emphasizes the importance of following these paths sooner.

That is how I interpret it.

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I think in one of the bits with 小野里 she says that not getting married is perfectly fine if that’s what you want; her advice is more about knowing what you want, and that if you just kind of drift into the dating game it’s probably not going to work out so well.

For the book as a whole I feel like it’s trying to get readers to think about dating and marriage in general and the preconceptions they probably have about it, and about how difficult it can be to see what somebody is like when you’re looking at them from the perspective of trying to size them up as a potential partner, and the preconceptions the reader probably has about it. (As an example of the latter, Kakeru’s friends reveal in the conversation this chapter that they really don’t understand how difficult finding a marriage partner can be.) I can definitely see how that could feel like the author is dumping unsolicited dating advice on the reader…

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I think you are right about the main purpose of the book and I guess @Belerith is also referring to this.

This narrative needs more showing and less telling.

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Even if 小野里 said you don’t need to get married if you don’t want to, most characters (including 小野里 for the most part) seem to consider that getting married = winning at life. It particularly struck me in this chapter when Kakeru reflects about 花垣 (the guy he meets this chapter) and how if only things had been a little bit different, he too could’ve been one of those anonymous families at the mall. Like somehow that’s such a desirable goal? It felt a bit presumptuous to assume that this is what 花垣 aspires to anyway. Sure he had been doing 婚活 so he had some amount of will to get married, but maybe it was just his family pushing him.

But a lot of characters have contradicting or changing opinions, and just because a charater says something doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the author’s opinion or something we’re supposed to take out of the book I think. But I would definitely like to see this is discussed a bit more. It’s been all about how to get married but not why. And several characters talk about having kids like it’s a natural part of this whole process but none of them ever mentioned actually liking/wanting kids?

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At first I felt like that too, but I went through my comments and saw my opinion changing in week 5 when we learn more about 真実 and how much pressure she faced to get married to the correct person, going so far that she had no experience with dating even. So I don’t really feel that way anymore. I think there are lots of ways to read this book and I read it as an example of people giving in to pressure without tuning into what they really want. Of course, this could change once the book goes on and it becomes more explicit about what it wants to say, but currently I think you can read it in various ways.

And it’s also interesting how we discover flaws in 真実 and learn more about her – and how oblivious 架 was to that. I think there are a lot of subtle things in this book, like in my opinion 架 immediately being upset he has to start over with marriage hunting when 真実 is gone instead of thinking about losing her specifically.

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I have already read 90% of the book and my opinion has not changed so far.

Yes, he puts in a lot of effort to get married before reaching 40 and doesn’t seem particularly interested in 真実. I wonder what they talked about during those two years. Experienced or not, to me, both characters appear superficial and seem to lack basic common sense.
I lost my sympathy for 真実 when 架 discovered she had an open-to-public Instagram account and hadn’t mentioned it to him. I’d prefer to forget the description of the photos, especially the one with the straw… :woman_facepalming:

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mind spoiler tagging that part after it? I know it’s not a spoiler per se but I still would’ve liked to go in as blind as possible into the rest of the book :smiley:

What was the straw photo? I can’t remember anything special about her instagram :thinking:

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This week’s poll, which is more about the first part of the chapter, so I’m sure you’ll have forgotten all about it:

What was Hanagaki drinking when Kakeru met with him?
  • Coffee
  • Melon soda
  • Coke
  • Calpis
0 voters
What brand of car does Kakeru drive?
  • Audi
  • Toyota
  • Honda
  • BMW
0 voters
How is 渚 read (in the book)?
  • なさみ
  • みぎわ
  • みなぎ
  • なぎさ
0 voters
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You are right. I just ticked something because I cannot remember at all. :joy:

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It is a very subjective opinion, I doubt it will spoil the story. Blurred the part, anyway.

Descriptions of the photos

真実自身が写った写真も多く上がっていた。フィルターを使っているのか、少しセピアがかったり、靄もやがかかったりしたおしゃれな雰囲気のものが多い。ストローをくわえ、顔をアップにした写真は普段の真実とはだいぶ印象が違って、加工したわけではないのだろうが、ファッション誌から切り抜いたような滑らかな肌と輝くような大きな瞳をしていた。自分好みの角度で撮影した自撮りの写真は、まるで、真実が真実ではないようにおしゃれで、架の知らない彼女の顔をしている。

架が撮った写真も、いくつか上がっていた。けれど、選んで載せられたそのどれもが、やはり架が知っている真実とは少し印象が違う。雑誌の読者モデルか何かのようだ。
自分の外見を光などでよりよく写した写真を選んでアップするのは、婚活でも散々あることだったからいまさら驚きはしない。けれど、思った。こんなことをする必要はないのにな、と。

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Is there some nuance (which could be totally possible since I am still a beginner in starting to read advanced books in Japanese) that I don’t get about that description of the photos? I thought it’s just photos that are taken at favorable angles/lighting?

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I can’t say I am an advanced reader, either.
A retouched close-up photo of her face with a straw in her mouth, flawless skin, and big sparkly eyes like a cutout from a fashion magazine.

写真は普段の真実とはだいぶ印象が違って

She seems to be obsessed with looks and tries to appear as if she is someone different in her photos. The whole description makes me fremdschämen.

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