Japanese reading report

This week I finished reading Re:zero volume 1.

スバル manages to strike a deal with フェルト, but just as they finish エルザ once again appears and attacks. However, unlike last time, アメリア and パック have also made their way to the scene of the action. Most of the end of this volume was just a fight against エルザ. At the end, they get the insignia back, happy end.

Since スバル ended up saving アメリア’s life, now suddenly not only has he paid back his debt to her, but now she feels like she’s in his debt instead. What could happen next? (not like I don’t already know)

Once I finished, I started on 金色の獣、彼方に向かう. Well, “started” isn’t exactly right. I read about 30 pages back when I was in Osaka a few months ago, but I didn’t find it all that interesting and kept coming across difficult kanji (possibly because the story is set in ancient Mongolia) so I ended up losing motivation. I’ve been feeling like I should go back and properly finish it and decided to try again for my next book. I’ve now finished the first story and I’m partway through the second.

The owner of an inn deep in the mountains of Japan learns about a ritual called 風天孔参り from a woman who comes to stay with him. Allegedly, by reaching a certain location, you can go straight to heaven without dying, and a particular group of people are in pilgrimage to find it. Each time they arrive, the person next in line enters and vanishes. Then it’s on to the next location.

The woman asks one of the pilgrims “isn’t that just suicide?” and receives the following answer:

Suicide is part of culture. It was only in modern times that people decided that suicide is always a bad thing.

Seppuku, living mummification, and journeying to the afterlife by sea are all given as examples of types of suicide that are not necessarily thought of as “bad” even in the modern era. I’m not sure I can agree with the overall thesis, but it’s an interesting worldview to be sure.

Throughout the week I also listened to an audiobook called パットしない子 (four times through, for a total of six hours). I have some complicated thoughts which I’ll probably be writing a blog post about.