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Botchan (1906)

Tekijä: Natsume Sōseki

Muut tekijät: Katso muut tekijät -osio.

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioKeskustelut / Maininnat
9693519,623 (3.56)1 / 61
'All right, I decided, if I couldn't win tonight, I'd win tomorrow. If I couldn't win tomorrow, I'd win the day after. And if I couldn't win the day after, I'd just have my meals delivered from home and stay right where I was until I did win' Botchan is a modern young man from the Tokyo metropolis, sent to the ultra-traditional Matsuyama district as a Maths teacher after his the death of his parents. Cynical, rebellious and immature, Botchan finds himself facing several tests, from the pupils - prone to playing tricks on their new, naïve teacher; the staff - vain, immoral, and in danger of becoming a bad influence on Botchan; and from his own as-yet-unformed nature, as he finds his place in the world. One of the most popular novels in Japan where it is considered a classic of adolescence, Botchanis as funny, poignant and memorable as it was when first published, over 100 years ago. In J. Cohn's introduction to his colourful translation, he discusses Botchan's success, the book's clash between Western intellectualism and traditional Japanese values, and the importance of names and nicknames in the novel. Translated and introduced by J. Cohn… (lisätietoja)
  1. 10
    Staggerford (tekijä: Jon Hassler) (bunnygirl)
    bunnygirl: Both are about secondary schools in small towns; their protagonists are somewhat outcast from the school staff, and the staff is largely made up of ineffectual, flawed characters who derive enjoyment from playing mind games with the other teachers.
  2. 10
    The Times of Botchan, Volume 1 (tekijä: Jirô Taniguchi) (kaixo)
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Ryhmä ViestiketjuViestitViimeinen viesti 
 Author Theme Reads: Botchan by Natsume Soseki3 lukematonta / 3kidzdoc, tammikuu 2012

» Katso myös 61 mainintaa

englanti (28)  katalaani (2)  espanja (2)  galicia (1)  italia (1)  Kaikki kielet (34)
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 34) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
[Note: this very well-known author's name is old-school Japanese, so 'Natsume' is his surname.]

I had a moment of delight while reading this. I was re-watching a favorite anime series when I noticed this author, likely this very book, was called out in the dialogue ("Given," episode 11)! Two high school students complaining about having to read Natsume Soseki describing stupid people a long time ago. I can't think of a more clear expression of how familiar this is in Japanese culture, both as a near-universally assigned reading and as a total drag to generations of teens. Reading it, I can see both positions clearly.

Natsume's narrator, the titular Botchan, is young, inexperienced, entitled, and callow, venturing into his first big adventure; in RPG terms, he's a First-Level PC. He's NOT a Japanese Holden Caulfield or Huck Finn, he's a young adult finding out how adult he really isn't yet. Full of self-assurance with no chops to back it up, he picks confrontation after confrontation that anyone with more on their resume would know to avoid. What keeps him interesting and entertaining, though, is his self-awareness that he is impatient and green. While much is made of the city-mouse/country-mouse nature of the story (a Tokyo boy out in the boonies), what's more relevant than the setting is the cast; he enters a Small Pond inhabited by a couple of pretenders to Big Fish status. Hilarity ensues.

What is undeniably neat to me is that Natsume's tale is very much set in a Japan of over a century ago but every step of the way, every character and conversation could be set today, or in Wisconsin.

"You'd think they'd be able to walk in a straight line without saying anything, but Japanese people are born mouth first, ..."

Has any teacher, manager, or employee anywhere ever NOT looked around and thought that of their colleagues or students? This would make a brilliant Netflix movie. ( )
  MLShaw | Nov 17, 2022 |
High 4/5
Call me edgy or whatever, but I think I kind of relate to Botchan a lot.

I think this book is fun, because instead of lecturing me about the subjectivity of morality or whatever in a long 20 pages, it just shows it directly through the narration.

And now, I want to check out Natsume Soseki's other work. ( )
1 ääni DaVarPhi | Aug 18, 2022 |
32
  revirier | Dec 13, 2021 |
Botchan by Sōseki Natsume, translated by J Cohn, is something I'd been meaning to read for, well, a couple of decades now. I've had a physical copy longer than I can recall when I got it, perhaps a gift from my Grandmother. I've tried getting into it a number of times, but just couldn't. I finally did.

The most serious attempt at this book was in the 90s when I was taking Japanese 101 at Seattle Central Community College. I had a Japanese friend outside of class that was shocked to see I had the book with me, and that I was reading it, because it was such a deep and specific cultural phenomenon. I ended up saying it was a bit boring, and I didn't really think much of it. I didn't finish it. In fact, now that I've read it, I don't think I got very far into it at all, that time.

I still don't like it. It's a story about a bunch of awful people being awful and nothing good comes of any of it. The main character is infantile, rash, and gullible. Everyone else is also deeply flawed. They stay that way.

There's an awful lot of what appears to me homophobic but gratuitous preoccupation with criticizing how feminine other males are. Ironically there's a scene where the main character is totally mesmerised by the flexing, bulging muscles of a compatriot.

There's also few female characters at all, with three that appear for any meaningful amount of the story. The first is Botchan's nanny, who constantly lavishes praise and care on him with an irrational, one might say economically dependant and sycophantic, way that fails to be recognized as such. There's a beautiful woman who is fickle and the object of a conspiracy who is mostly seen from a distance, when seen at all. There is an old landlady who always cooks sweet potatoes for dinner and is, as it turns out, a useful gossip. There's others mentioned in passing, but this is really to extent of it.

And, pretty much everyone is miserable or awful to each other, and usually both, including the narrator. It is strange, in a way, to think about how this story is, as described in the front matter, as probably being pretty biographical, because the narrator seems to be to be an ass. The front matter seems to describe the main character as a kind of heroic rebel, but no. Not close. He's constantly getting tricked. He constantly jumps to conclusions based on hearsay from people he doesn't trust. And so on.

And, there's not really any character arc for anyone in the story. In fact, in the end, not much changes. The same awful people just, probably, keep on being awful. That's the worst part, I guess. I somewhat identify with the situation of being surrounded by people that I can't really trust, who are up to something; and if I say anything about what they're doing they just say I started it and I look bad but they're the assholes. That whole bit of bullshit is too familiar. This story doesn't resolve that for the characters and doesn't offer any insight into a way out; except to take some petty revenge then pack up and leave. Maybe that is the only answer then, as it's kind of what I've ended up doing in similar situations.

I just don't see how this is a "treasured novel" with "timeless popularity" or "a hilarious tale about a young man's rebellion against 'the system'". Maybe I really missed it without the deep and specific cultural or period context. But, unless someone can enlighten me to what's there but not there, it's a miss for me. There's no treasure here. I felt the ploding passage of my time while reading it. It's painfully not funny at all. He's not a rebel against any system, just largely oblivious and angry to no ultimate effect. It's a bleak and boring pastoral about unending pervasive and dismal angst not worth remembering.

Still, it's well written. It's an experience of a moment in time in another culture that made me think about life. I'm not glad I read it, but I'm glad I'm done with it.



I made 14 highlights. ( )
  jgbell | Nov 3, 2021 |
***WHO SUCKED ME IN***
Seji (I think their name is the Artisan Geek) on Youtube in their Japanese Classics haul video published somewhere in August.

I have such a hard time reading classics. I blame being forced to read Dutch classics as a teenager. Somehow our classics are very bleak and depressing. And as someone who always try to read happy joy joy ever since a small child, I decided classics aren't for me. So I'm still surprised when a classic sounds interesting. The French classic by Dumas is very entertaining and I'm hoping this Japanese classic will be too. Also the way Seji described it it will also show a side of Japanese culture I'm not familiar with. But that's very easy to do
  Jonesy_now | Sep 24, 2021 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 34) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
ei arvosteluja | lisää arvostelu

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Tekijän nimiRooliTekijän tyyppiKoskeeko teosta?Tila
Natsume Sōsekiensisijainen tekijäkaikki painoksetlaskettu
Cohn, J.Kääntäjämuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
Sasaki, UmejiKääntäjämuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
Tairin, AsagaKansikuvataiteilijamuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
Sinun täytyy kirjautua sisään voidaksesi muokata Yhteistä tietoa
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From the time I was a boy the reckless streak that runs in my family has brought me nothing but trouble.
Because of an hereditary recklessness, I have been playing always a losing game since my childhood.-----------Translation by Morri/ Kennedy 1919
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia (1)

'All right, I decided, if I couldn't win tonight, I'd win tomorrow. If I couldn't win tomorrow, I'd win the day after. And if I couldn't win the day after, I'd just have my meals delivered from home and stay right where I was until I did win' Botchan is a modern young man from the Tokyo metropolis, sent to the ultra-traditional Matsuyama district as a Maths teacher after his the death of his parents. Cynical, rebellious and immature, Botchan finds himself facing several tests, from the pupils - prone to playing tricks on their new, naïve teacher; the staff - vain, immoral, and in danger of becoming a bad influence on Botchan; and from his own as-yet-unformed nature, as he finds his place in the world. One of the most popular novels in Japan where it is considered a classic of adolescence, Botchanis as funny, poignant and memorable as it was when first published, over 100 years ago. In J. Cohn's introduction to his colourful translation, he discusses Botchan's success, the book's clash between Western intellectualism and traditional Japanese values, and the importance of names and nicknames in the novel. Translated and introduced by J. Cohn

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