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Der Himmel ist blau, die Erde ist weiß

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Eine selbstbewusste Frau, ein weiser alter Mann, reichlich Sake, ein wwenig Walfischspeck und immer wieder Lotuswurzel: Zutaten dieser faszinierend fremden, frühlingshafte zarten Liebesgeschichte aus Japan. Tsukiko ist Ende dreißig und lebt allein. Zur Liebe, glaubt sie, sei sie nicht begabt. Da begegnet sie eines Abends in einer Kneipe ihren weit älteren ehemaligen Japani Eine selbstbewusste Frau, ein weiser alter Mann, reichlich Sake, ein wwenig Walfischspeck und immer wieder Lotuswurzel: Zutaten dieser faszinierend fremden, frühlingshafte zarten Liebesgeschichte aus Japan. Tsukiko ist Ende dreißig und lebt allein. Zur Liebe, glaubt sie, sei sie nicht begabt. Da begegnet sie eines Abends in einer Kneipe ihren weit älteren ehemaligen Japanischlehrer. Auch er lebt allein. Von nun an treffen sie sich immer wieder, stets ohne Verabredung. Einer sucht die Nähe des anderen, und doch bleiben sie respektvoll auf Distanz. Selten wurde so subtil und zugleich eindringlich beschrieben, wie sich zwei Menschen ganz allmählich näherkommen. (Verlagsangabe)


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Eine selbstbewusste Frau, ein weiser alter Mann, reichlich Sake, ein wwenig Walfischspeck und immer wieder Lotuswurzel: Zutaten dieser faszinierend fremden, frühlingshafte zarten Liebesgeschichte aus Japan. Tsukiko ist Ende dreißig und lebt allein. Zur Liebe, glaubt sie, sei sie nicht begabt. Da begegnet sie eines Abends in einer Kneipe ihren weit älteren ehemaligen Japani Eine selbstbewusste Frau, ein weiser alter Mann, reichlich Sake, ein wwenig Walfischspeck und immer wieder Lotuswurzel: Zutaten dieser faszinierend fremden, frühlingshafte zarten Liebesgeschichte aus Japan. Tsukiko ist Ende dreißig und lebt allein. Zur Liebe, glaubt sie, sei sie nicht begabt. Da begegnet sie eines Abends in einer Kneipe ihren weit älteren ehemaligen Japanischlehrer. Auch er lebt allein. Von nun an treffen sie sich immer wieder, stets ohne Verabredung. Einer sucht die Nähe des anderen, und doch bleiben sie respektvoll auf Distanz. Selten wurde so subtil und zugleich eindringlich beschrieben, wie sich zwei Menschen ganz allmählich näherkommen. (Verlagsangabe)

30 review for Der Himmel ist blau, die Erde ist weiß

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mmars

    This book reads like Japanese art. Clean lines, spare and uncluttered. Or sparse, haiku as opposed to Shakespeare. The story is slight and the book is short. I found it somewhat cinematic - chapters as scenes - in Santuro's bar, at Sansei's, on the island, mushroom hunting, etc. Each an experimental and incremental step in a casual relationship full of stops and starts. There's not a lot of explanation to why they are the people they are. They are loners who do not seek out friendships, though th This book reads like Japanese art. Clean lines, spare and uncluttered. Or sparse, haiku as opposed to Shakespeare. The story is slight and the book is short. I found it somewhat cinematic - chapters as scenes - in Santuro's bar, at Sansei's, on the island, mushroom hunting, etc. Each an experimental and incremental step in a casual relationship full of stops and starts. There's not a lot of explanation to why they are the people they are. They are loners who do not seek out friendships, though their attraction to each other as acquaintances deepens, they retain their separateness, sometimes not seeing each other or talking to each other for a month or more. We know, of course, that they begin to care about each other and develop a complicated relationship and eventually learn to love each other, but on the narrative's periphery something holds them back - their age difference is the obvious answer, but it's more than that. It's just who they are. I thought a couple of "dream" or "magical realism" chapters toward the end distracted from the book as a whole. And, yes, there was a lot of eating and drinking. That is what a lot of people do when they're together. So what? Overall liked it, a mood piece. Read it on a rainy day.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Maria Clara

    Ay, qué historia tan bonita! Ni un día me a durado! Hace unas semanas vi este libro en la librería y ni me lo pensé: tenía que leerlo sí o sí, y realmente me alegro de haberlo hecho 😊

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sian Lile-Pastore

    oh. really sweet, tender and gentle book. There isn't much of a plot (I like no plot) just all about a relationship between two mismatched people and lots of lovely passages about japanese food and drink - tofu, miso, salted shallots, edame, beer and sake. really beautiful.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Smartarse

    Translated into English as Strange Weather in Tokyo. 38-year-old Tsukiko is content enough to split her days between the office, her regular bistro and her lonely appartment. She used to have a boyfriend... or two, but they weren't really significant, so the relationship fizzled out soon enough. Her high school Japanese teacher wasn't particularly memorable either, proof of this is that she can only refer to him as sensei (teacher in Japanese)... lest she didn't want to be outright rude. As it tu Translated into English as Strange Weather in Tokyo. 38-year-old Tsukiko is content enough to split her days between the office, her regular bistro and her lonely appartment. She used to have a boyfriend... or two, but they weren't really significant, so the relationship fizzled out soon enough. Her high school Japanese teacher wasn't particularly memorable either, proof of this is that she can only refer to him as sensei (teacher in Japanese)... lest she didn't want to be outright rude. As it turns out, there's plenty of other occasions where her un-japanese behavior singles out her rudeness. Fact remains, that after a casual encounter with the man, the Tsukiko and her high school teacher somehow keep find themselves gravitating towards each other. Little by little, coincidental encounters at the bistro turn to shopping trips, a psychedelic-like mushroom picking trek in the nearby woods, and even a few drinking parties at sensei's place. Well... I say party, but it's really just the two of them randomly reminiscing about the odd event or two. While the book boasted plenty of rave reviews here on GR, I learned to be very cautious about such things. I'm looking at you Kitchen - who left me utterly nonplussed. As a matter of fact, the first few chapters didn't blow me over either. Granted, they weren't painful to get through, by any stretch of the imagination, but I also couldn't really what point they might be trying to make. As much fun as aimless drinking in Japanese joints may sound like, by the end of the story I'm starting to wonder whether the Japanese all grow up to be raging alcoholics. Little by little however, small sparks of interests started to infiltrate my reading experience. There would be a mushroom picking experience, where the entire world seemed to have taken some sort of psychedelic trip... at least as far as our heroine is concerned. Then there was the flower-watching picnic, where I started to see a half-way clear ending to the story, which led me to root for our heroine to end up with literally anyone else. As fascinating a person as the retired Japanese professor was, I just didn't see his appeal. Then again, poetry is an instant turnoff for me in ANY situation, let alone being made to feel guilty about not remembering random haikus. Heck, the guy was annoying as hell with his constant moralizing. A fact often noted by the heroine as well. So then why...? Score: 4/5 stars Having Tsukiko end up with a romantic happily-ever after, and a truckload of kids would've definitely spoiled the whole experience, which is thankfully not the case here. I very much liked the way the story evolved, the gradual change in feelings, the reveal of sensei's inner sadness, and tragic family situation... And yet, I just couldn't reconcile (view spoiler)[Tsukiko and sensei's inevitable romantic involvement (hide spoiler)] . In a sense, the ending with its bittersweet tone was a relief, even if it was clear from the get go that the world Tsukiko and sensei's inhabited was a sort of temporary refuge, which could not possibly last for long. Still, I can't help but wish our heroine a happier ending... if only because I could identify myself with her in quite a few aspects.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Antonomasia

    Book 2200. Not as twee as it looks. The heroine is about 15 years older than the flying manic pixie dreamgirl on the cover, she gets drunk a lot, works stupidly long hours, has arguments about sports and forgets to clean a pair of muddy shoes for weeks. Out of the characters in the limited number of Japanese novels I've read, Tsukiko is furthest from the traditional idea of a Japanese woman, though she doesn't seem to have set out to reject it; she isn't intellectual, she simply sees herself as n Book 2200. Not as twee as it looks. The heroine is about 15 years older than the flying manic pixie dreamgirl on the cover, she gets drunk a lot, works stupidly long hours, has arguments about sports and forgets to clean a pair of muddy shoes for weeks. Out of the characters in the limited number of Japanese novels I've read, Tsukiko is furthest from the traditional idea of a Japanese woman, though she doesn't seem to have set out to reject it; she isn't intellectual, she simply sees herself as not "old-fashioned", and is a solitary person in a communal society. (I could relate to her thinking of buying a huge saucepan to use when there are lots of guests - probably imagining a Sunday supplement sort of life - then realising she practically never has that many guests.) She is not simply an anti-stereotype, she feels very real; she is also socially reticent and likes long baths and cooking. (This is a very foodie book; if you're into Japanese cookery you'd find it inspiring.) So it's somewhat curious that she slowly falls for a much older man, about thirty years older - one of her former school-teachers who's a regular at the same bar - and who's a bit of a stickler for proper, ladylike vocabulary; opposites attract evidently. I'd personally find that way too big an age gap (making a theoretical exception for Bruce Robinson) but as regards those who use the word creepy about this aspect of the book, I roll my eyes and note that neither of these characters is a clueless teenager or a senile millionaire, so it's not as if one person is taking advantage. This love story was interesting for the very reason that I couldn't relate to it, and was trying to understand how different people experience life: their romance grows very slowly out of a close friendship and feeling comfortable with one another, and physicality and appearance are hardly mentioned - whereas I see romance as a possible product of lust, I have incredibly specific physical types, and if I don't fancy someone on first sight, I never do; getting on well with someone without lust is platonic friendship. I can't say I fully grokked their experience, described in the blurb as "old-fashioned romance", but it was still interesting to try. Strange Weather in Tokyo, although it's only 176 pages, was a little too much about the romance, and I could have done without the Kojima episode entirely. I got bored at times and would have liked more on culture and ideas in the middle of the book; that would have been out of character for Tsukiko as a first-person narrator, but we could have heard something about her work, which exhaustingly consumes huge chunks of her life whilst remaining a mystery to the reader. Still, elsewhere in the book there's lots of food, expeditions to museums and little islands, and a memorable anecdote about the Big Laughing Gym Mushroom (a real thing!) which sounds like a cross between magic mushrooms and laughing gas. It's very readable without being too slight and has a combination of familiarity and strangeness that look likely to prove popular - in Japan, where it was published in 2001, it is regarded as a modern popular classic.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Gypsy

    خب منم تعریف اینو زیاد شنیده بودم ولی داستان چیز خاصی نداشت. بااینحال بدمم نیومد؛ چون پُر از زندگی بود. چیزهایی که متأسفانه برای ما خیلی غریبه... اون هم توصیفات جزیی و ناب و غذاها و بوها و حال و هوای عجیبش. فضاش واقعاً دوستداشتنی بود. تا به اینجا فهمیدم ادبیات ژاپن هم از ژانرهایی هست که دوست دارم. البته ژانر اسم درستی نیست و منظورم یحتمل ژانر فرمی و اینا نیست. چون از روی فیدیبو هم میخوندم انتظار نداشتم به این زودی بخونمش. کتابهای الکترونیک مرگه برام خوندنشون. داستان برام خیلی کشش نداشت اما شخصیت خب منم تعریف اینو زیاد شنیده بودم ولی داستان چیز خاصی نداشت. بااین‌حال بدمم نیومد؛ چون پُر از زندگی بود. چیزهایی که متأسفانه برای ما خیلی غریبه... اون هم توصیفات جزیی و ناب و غذاها و بوها و حال و هوای عجیبش. فضاش واقعاً دوست‌داشتنی بود. تا به اینجا فهمیدم ادبیات ژاپن هم از ژانرهایی هست که دوست دارم. البته ژانر اسم درستی نیست و منظورم یحتمل ژانر فرمی و اینا نیست. چون از روی فیدیبو هم می‌خوندم انتظار نداشتم به این زودی بخونمش. کتاب‌های الکترونیک مرگه برام خوندن‌شون. داستان برام خیلی کشش نداشت اما شخصیت‌پردازی و رنگ و بوش رو دوست داشتم. توصیه هم نمی‌کنمش، مگر کسایی که ادبیات ژاپن رو دوست دارن.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

    Poignant atmospheric love story involving a thirty something lonely Woman and her former teacher 30 years her senior.Lots of cultural and culinary insights about Tokyo.The fragmented storyline charts this unusual relationship to its inevitable conclusion.Very enjoyable.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Oscar

    La literatura japonesa tiene algo especial. Tanto sus paisajes como su sensibilidad a la hora de tratar situaciones y personajes son únicos. Mediante una prosa sobria pero profunda, Hiromi Kawakami nos cuenta, como reza el subtítulo, una historia de amor. Pero el corazón y el tema principal de la novela es la soledad en la que están imbuidos los dos personajes principales. Para llenar el vacío que rodea su vida, Tsukiko acude a su bar a beber sake y cerveza. Un día se da cuenta de que el hombre m La literatura japonesa tiene algo especial. Tanto sus paisajes como su sensibilidad a la hora de tratar situaciones y personajes son únicos. Mediante una prosa sobria pero profunda, Hiromi Kawakami nos cuenta, como reza el subtítulo, una historia de amor. Pero el corazón y el tema principal de la novela es la soledad en la que están imbuidos los dos personajes principales. Para llenar el vacío que rodea su vida, Tsukiko acude a su bar a beber sake y cerveza. Un día se da cuenta de que el hombre mayor al que ve casi a diario junto a ella en la barra es su antiguo profesor de instituto. Después de presentarse, se establece una relación en la que cada vez que se encuentran, cenan y beben, sobre todo esto último, o dan paseos por los alrededores de su barrio. Es una relación atípica, ya que Tsukiko tiene 38 años y el maestro más de 70. Se encuentran bien juntos, aunque surgen ciertas tiranteces... Esta es una bella historia que te hace pensar en el futuro, en la vejez, en los años perdidos, en las oportunidades, en el amor, en la soledad, en la amistad. Es una pequeña joya.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Bert

    Gorgeous + delicate novel with quiet, minimal writing that also manages to be full of warmth (and delicious food). Like that beautiful cover picture it has a dreamlike floatiness. In the end I found it all very touching, sweet and sad.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Tonymess

    Here’s a challenge for you, write a novel about loneliness without becoming boring. Write one about emptiness without being melancholy, how about deep love without sentimentality? “the briefcase” is a moving sparse and deeply emotional tale of loneliness, emptiness and love but in a style that that is removed and scant enough to elicit a sadness that lingers long after the final page has been read. This is the story of Tsukiko, in her late 30’s, a loner and a food aficionado who crosses paths wit Here’s a challenge for you, write a novel about loneliness without becoming boring. Write one about emptiness without being melancholy, how about deep love without sentimentality? “the briefcase” is a moving sparse and deeply emotional tale of loneliness, emptiness and love but in a style that that is removed and scant enough to elicit a sadness that lingers long after the final page has been read. This is the story of Tsukiko, in her late 30’s, a loner and a food aficionado who crosses paths with her former high school teacher, 30 years her senior, at a local eatery, she simply refers to him as Sensei (“Teacher”). Their common love of food, saki and beer but their extreme yin/yang opposites is highlighted simply but effectively on page one: Taking my seat at the counter, I ordered “tuna with fermented soybeans, fried lotus root, and salted shallots”, while the old man next to me requested “Salted shallots, lotus root fries, and tuna with fermented soybeans” almost simultaneously. For a full review visit my blog at www.messybooker.blogspot.com

  11. 4 out of 5

    padme

    کتاب که تمام شد به این فکر کردم که اتسکیکو من بودم در جهانی موازی. کتاب روایت تقریبا یکنواختی داره ولی اگر به دنبال داستانی با حال و هوای ژاپنی می گردید انتخاب خوبیست.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Inderjit Sanghera

    ‘Strange Weather in Tokyo’ is the story of the slightly aloof and repressed Tsukiko and her budding romance with her former school-teacher, ‘Sensei’ a jocular, if melancholic man who Tsukiko happens to run into in a bar. The book is more a series of pretty vignettes-some touching, some amusing and some suffused with a kind of sadness which reminds me of the films of Ozu-Kawakami lacks, perhaps, Ozu’s innate sense of genius, yet her almost detached way of telling the story, whilst imbuing the nove ‘Strange Weather in Tokyo’ is the story of the slightly aloof and repressed Tsukiko and her budding romance with her former school-teacher, ‘Sensei’ a jocular, if melancholic man who Tsukiko happens to run into in a bar. The book is more a series of pretty vignettes-some touching, some amusing and some suffused with a kind of sadness which reminds me of the films of Ozu-Kawakami lacks, perhaps, Ozu’s innate sense of genius, yet her almost detached way of telling the story, whilst imbuing the novel with a myriad of emotions and slow, deliberate pace remind me of Ozu’s style of storytelling. There is a sense of ethereality about the story which resembles the beautiful haiku poems which Sensei quotes to Tsukiko-I dislike cheap clichés such as ‘typical Japanese’ (or typical anything) but the detached and reserved characters would be cloying in a setting which wasn’t Japanese, but fit perfectly within a Japanese setting, where emotional tensions are constantly bubbling on the surface and threatening to erupt, like the gentle billows of a cloud before the storm-yet in the case of Tsukiko her passion and love for Sensei dissipate beneath their mutual disinclination to give into their feelings. A pretty and at times enchanting story which is well worth a read.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Vanessa

    #JapaneseJune Book #1. I purchased Strange Weather in Tokyo on my Kindle for a mere 99p, and for that reason I am glad that I read this book. However, if I'd had to pay a normal Kindle price, I would have been a little bit miffed. Although this was a quick and easy read, I didn't feel very satisfied upon finishing it. I just feel ambivalence. The story is told from the perspective of a woman in her late 30s named Tsukiko, who encounters an old teacher of hers at her local bar one night. From that #JapaneseJune Book #1. I purchased Strange Weather in Tokyo on my Kindle for a mere 99p, and for that reason I am glad that I read this book. However, if I'd had to pay a normal Kindle price, I would have been a little bit miffed. Although this was a quick and easy read, I didn't feel very satisfied upon finishing it. I just feel ambivalence. The story is told from the perspective of a woman in her late 30s named Tsukiko, who encounters an old teacher of hers at her local bar one night. From that point on, they begin to run into each other again and again at the same place, and finding they have a great deal in common, they fall into a somewhat odd companionship that eventually develops into a sweet romance. I loved the idea of this book, an initially I was very caught up in it. It was whimsical to read, and I liked Tsukiko and Sensei's unusual, somewhat stilted conversations. However, as time went on I just felt that I didn't really know these characters all that well, and their relationship became more and more unrealistic. I didn't really like reading from Tsukiko's perspective: I found her quite immature and irritating at times, and questioned whether she was actually in her late 30s. Sensei, on the other hand, seemed like a character of a wise yet odd older gentleman - his scholarly way of talking seemed far removed from how an elderly teacher would speak. I also didn't believe in Tsukiko's feelings towards him - it just seemed too odd and out of the blue. For the most part, I believe that Tsukiko's relationship with Sensei was born of an intense loneliness, but at the same time I felt that she didn't really make enough of an effort with those around her, even after she had begun to open up with Sensei. The writing in this novel was pretty, but the plot didn't really hold up for me. I'm glad I read this, but it wasn't as enjoyable as I thought it would be.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Noce

    In una giornata fate tutto: lo comprate, lo leggete e voilà..lo dimenticate. Ecco un libro che mi ha deluso profondamente. A sentir la quarta di copertina racconterebbe di un’insolita e delicata storia d’amore intrecciata con tradizioni lontane e ricette culinarie giapponesi. Chi pensa di immergersi nella versione nipponica di “Chocolat” si sbaglia di grosso. E mi sbagliavo anche io a rincorrere questo libro per mesi, perennemente in prestito in biblioteca e sempre esaurito in libreria. E’ pur vero In una giornata fate tutto: lo comprate, lo leggete e voilà..lo dimenticate. Ecco un libro che mi ha deluso profondamente. A sentir la quarta di copertina racconterebbe di un’insolita e delicata storia d’amore intrecciata con tradizioni lontane e ricette culinarie giapponesi. Chi pensa di immergersi nella versione nipponica di “Chocolat” si sbaglia di grosso. E mi sbagliavo anche io a rincorrere questo libro per mesi, perennemente in prestito in biblioteca e sempre esaurito in libreria. E’ pur vero che si tratta di una storia d’amore insolita: una giovane donna che casualmente rincontra il suo professore di giapponese, e a forza di frequentarlo si innamora di lui. Avete sentito bene: a forza di frequentarlo. Perché è inutile che mi si racconti la favoletta dei sentimenti delicati o della magia nell’aria tra un piatto di miso e uno di matsutake. A casa mia questa si chiama bozza, oppure trama approssimativa. I casi in realtà sono due. 1) Il libro è stato pensato e scritto per lettori distratti e poco curiosi, a cui poco importa se la protagonista non ha una vita sociale e non si sa perché, non ha amici e non se ne sa il motivo, va sempre a mangiare fuori da sola, ma non si sa bene che lavoro faccia e manco si sa bene com’è fatta. [Il rovescio della medaglia di questa tesi, è che il lettore viene ampiamente sottovalutato.] 2)Il libro è stato volutamente congegnato in questo modo, quasi come fosse un progetto in fase di elaborazione definitiva, perché l’autore non vuole che il lettore badi agli aspetti comuni della vicenda, ma che viceversa, si lasci trascinare dalle sensazioni, partecipando emotivamente all’intrallazzo oltreoceano. [Il rovescio della medaglia di questa tesi, è che l’autore viene ampiamente sopravvalutato.] Purtroppo La cartella del professore non si attiene né alla prima, né alla seconda ipotesi. Se Kawakami, avesse voluto distrarre così tanto il lettore da fargli dimenticare “insignificanti” dettagli come la vita dei protagonisti, avrebbe dovuto impostare la trama su altri parametri (per intenderci, come potrebbe fare un Murakami con le sue trame oniriche ma estremamente tangibili), oppure dimostrare una sapiente arte per gingillare il lettore con livelli diversi da quelli comuni. Ahimè per me, e per i lettori in genere, non c’è riuscita. E così si ritorna punto e a capo. Cioè a dover fare i conti, con un lettore che distratto non è, e non avendo niente a cui aggrapparsi, se non la storia, arriva alla conclusione che una quarantenne senza amici, e senza interessi, il cui unico svago è quello di andare in giro di sera a sbevazzare Sake, non può che innamorarsi, del primo che ha i suoi stessi orari e che divide con lei il bancone del bar. Pazienza se si tratta di un vedovo settantenne, con la passione per gli haiku e le passeggiate a passo veloce. PICCOLE E GRANDI RIVELAZIONI Eppure, nonostante il libro non mi sia piaciuto, non ho potuto fare a meno di scoprire una cosa che mi ha di colpo illuminato su un eterno quesito che avevo, e che adesso non posso fare a meno di condividere con voi. ”Mi ha preso per mano, mi ha portato nella stanza di otto tatami e ha tirato fuori un futon. Io vi ho steso sopra una lenzuolo. Abbiamo preparato il letto come se per noi fosse una cosa abituale. Senza dire nulla ci siamo sdraiati sul futon. Per la prima volta mi ha preso, con foga e vigore.” Letto? Notato qualcosa? Come no!!! Ok, partiamo dal quesito esistenziale che leggendo questa frase, ho risolto brillantemente. Da dove proviene questo atteggiamento posato degli orientali, questa loro placidità interiore, questa saggezza che tutto pervade.. In altre parole: perché noi occidentali siamo impulsivi, nevrotici, stressati e facciamo un mucchio di cazzate, mentre loro si siedono sul fiume e aspettano? Bè, una delle risposte la trovate in ciò che avete appena letto. Facciamo un esempio. Innanzitutto do per scontato che voi sappiate cos’è un futon. Ormai imperversa anche nelle case occidentali di chi vuol vivere zen, ed è un vero e proprio “materasso arrotolabile”(letteralmente futon vuol dire proprio questo), che dovrebbe poggiare a terra, o sul tatami se ce l’avete, proprio come la tradizione nipponica richiede, ma che qualcuno per comodità poggia anche su doghe, o volendo, vista la versatilità, anche sul fondo di una vasca quando furenti dopo un litigio, si vuole cacciare il partner dall’alcova. Personalmente, non ho nessuna simpatia per il futon, anche perché non mi piace far lavorare i miei addominali per alzarmi dal letto, senza neanche aver offerto al mio corpo un caffè rigenerante. Mi sembra una forma di cortesia minima, che non mi sento di negare ai miei adorati muscoli di ricotta secca. Ma non divaghiamo, e torniamo all’esempio. Allora, fate finta: siamo in un posto imprecisato dell’Occidente. Un uomo e una donna si conoscono in un bar. Lui ci prova. Lei ci sta. Dopo un lungo sequel di alcolici mischiati ad arte, lui invita lei a casa sua. Lei brilla e compiaciuta del suo fascino, accetta. Lui, appena entrato a casa, sceglie a casaccio ma con posata naturalezza un cd di musica soft per creare atmosfera (lei non sa che lui in realtà ascolta solo i notiziari radio, e il cd l’ha scaricato da internet in vista di una serata come questa), quattro passi allacciati, palle degli occhi che si incrociano, e zac… tempo dieci minuti, e sono già in camera da letto che si strappano i vestiti di dosso con gli applausi degli ormoni festaioli. In Giappone no. Stessa situazione ma con esito diverso. Perché una volta che la passione trascina i due potenziali amanti in camera da letto, lui tira fuori…IL FUTON!!! E lei deve anche aiutarlo a srotolarlo bene e a metterci su il lenzuolo. Roba che nei dieci minuti occorrenti ad approntare il giaciglio, lei ha tempo di farsi passare l’effetto del vino, di ricordarsi l’appuntamento preso per l’indomani alle sette e mezzo del mattino, di notare i boxer di lui con su scritto “I love Mum”, e di chiamare un taxi dal telefono di lui. Insomma: l’indomani avremo in Occidente, una lei che con orrore si chiede chi è il tizio a fianco a lei nel letto, e in Oriente, una giapponesina vispa e frizzante che corre a un appuntamento di lavoro con una luce di saggezza che le brilla negli occhi a mandorla. Ecco cosa ci frega in ultimo. Le cose facili, la comodità a portata di mano. Che sembra una cavolata, ma estendendo il principio, se ne può ricavare una filosofia che ci salverebbe da tre quarti dei nostri colpi di testa. Compreso quello di voler spendere a tutti i costi 18,50 euro per un libro che il giorno dopo averlo letto, è già nel dimenticatoio.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Resh (The Book Satchel)

    I LOVED this book. It is a strange and wonderful read. A middle aged woman happens to meet her high school English tutor and later develops feelings for him. When she meets her teacher, she cannot recall his name, so she calls him Sensei (Sir) and continues to do so till the end of the book. We see a strange love story that surpasses age, thinking (the teacher is older and there are clash of ideas). The book is fragmental in nature; we read about an event in the lives of the characters and then m I LOVED this book. It is a strange and wonderful read. A middle aged woman happens to meet her high school English tutor and later develops feelings for him. When she meets her teacher, she cannot recall his name, so she calls him Sensei (Sir) and continues to do so till the end of the book. We see a strange love story that surpasses age, thinking (the teacher is older and there are clash of ideas). The book is fragmental in nature; we read about an event in the lives of the characters and then move onto another event and so on. But it was such an enjoyable read. Perfect for a cosy, weekend read. Disclaimer : Much thanks to Portobello books for a copy of the novel. All opinions are my own. Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

  16. 5 out of 5

    Tamsien West (Babbling Books)

    Beautiful and poignant, this little story stole my heart. The layers of the friendship and love flow like waves on the shore as the tide comes in. Each time a little higher than before. I picked this novel up in a bargain/sale bookstore because the cover and title piqued my interest, and I love discovering Japanese authors I haven't read yet. It seems that Kawakami is quite a famous novelist, and though this is the only story of hers I have read so far, the beautiful mood and touching romance lea Beautiful and poignant, this little story stole my heart. The layers of the friendship and love flow like waves on the shore as the tide comes in. Each time a little higher than before. I picked this novel up in a bargain/sale bookstore because the cover and title piqued my interest, and I love discovering Japanese authors I haven't read yet. It seems that Kawakami is quite a famous novelist, and though this is the only story of hers I have read so far, the beautiful mood and touching romance leave me with no doubt that she is a great writer. The story follows a 35 year old woman who happens to meet a teacher she had in high school. Given her age there is nothing of the illicit nature of usual student/teacher stories. It seems to me to have been chosen as a narrative device to bind them together with an element of nostalgia. In any case the story unfolds slowly with the coming and going of the seasons. I was completely absorbed, finishing the entire book in a single sitting. Interestingly there is a sort of dream sequence in the middle the reminded me of some of Haruki Murakami's surreal scenes, blurring the line between reality. In the context of this novel though it felt quite out of place. My only other criticism is a minor one. In a couple of places the translation was a bit awkward, interrupting the flow of certain paragraphs. Overall this was a great book with an emotional punch. The last line - my favourite quote - is heartbreaking in context. "The blank empty space unfolds, containing nothing. It holds nothing more than an expanse of desolate space."

  17. 5 out of 5

    Viv JM

    Strange Weather in Tokyo is a love story between Tsukiko (late 30s) and her former teacher "Sensei", 30+ years older than her. Their growing closeness revolves largely around eating tofu or fish, and drinking sake or beer. This is certainly not a wild and passionate tale of romance. Slow burn would be an understatement! There are some poignant moments but overall, I was a little bit underwhelmed with this book, sadly.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lorena

    Cada vez comprendo mejor que la magia de la literatura japonesa no reside en las historias que se cuentan sino en la forma tan bella e intimista de contarlas. Esta historia me ha recordado a Un grito de amor desde el centro del mundo, historias corrientes que en un primer momento pueden no llamar la atención por lo simple o manido del argumento pero que atrapa por la forma en la que el autor aprovecha cada detalle de la historia y cada rasgo de los personajes. Una lectura estupenda, estoy deseand Cada vez comprendo mejor que la magia de la literatura japonesa no reside en las historias que se cuentan sino en la forma tan bella e intimista de contarlas. Esta historia me ha recordado a Un grito de amor desde el centro del mundo, historias corrientes que en un primer momento pueden no llamar la atención por lo simple o manido del argumento pero que atrapa por la forma en la que el autor aprovecha cada detalle de la historia y cada rasgo de los personajes. Una lectura estupenda, estoy deseando leer más de Hiromi Kawakami.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sumaiyya

    I spent the better part of my day with STRANGE WEATHER IN TOKYO by Hiromi Kawakami. I finished it in less than a day and I’m quite pleased that my first book of the year is a five star read. This novel is gentle, tender and written in uncluttered prose that I found appealing and satisfying. It’s the story of Tsukiko and Sensei, a 37 year old woman and her high school teacher who cross paths at a local bar and fall into a companionable routine with ease. The novel follows this seemingly odd pair a I spent the better part of my day with STRANGE WEATHER IN TOKYO by Hiromi Kawakami. I finished it in less than a day and I’m quite pleased that my first book of the year is a five star read. This novel is gentle, tender and written in uncluttered prose that I found appealing and satisfying. It’s the story of Tsukiko and Sensei, a 37 year old woman and her high school teacher who cross paths at a local bar and fall into a companionable routine with ease. The novel follows this seemingly odd pair and their friendship that awkwardly grows into affection and love for each other which they seem to struggle to accept and express. I liked the sense of loneliness paralleled with an intimacy that triumphs despite all odds (esp age gap). I found it intriguing that 90% of Tsukiko’s dialogues didn’t carry any single quotation marks whereas most of Sensei’s did. It’s always curious to see why authors make this distinction, and in this case I’m feeling inclined to link Tsukiko’s undefined responses to the hesitation and uncertainty of her relationship to the man who was once her high school teacher. It could also indicate that a lot of the exchanges are imagined and perhaps she leaves things unsaid. There’s a dreamlike quality to this book that I thoroughly enjoyed, it was very easy to slip into the narrative and imagine Tsukiko and Sensei enjoying saké, hunting mushrooms or eating one of their endless Japanese meals that sound so good. I would recommend if you’re looking for a bittersweet novel about love that is destined to happen. Go for this if you also enjoy books that focus a lot of conversations between people and/or cafe/bar/restaurant scenes. PS; while I love the cover it did mislead me to think the protagonist is a very young girl, so I kept picturing Tsukiko as someone in her early twenties 🤦🏻‍♀️ Sharing a few of my favorite quotes below. “Out on the street, I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t the only one here, that I wasn’t the only one feeling lonely. But this wasn’t the kind of thing you could tell just by looking at the passers-by. The harder I tried to see, the less sure I was about anything.” “We spoke these words to each other sincerely. We were always sincere with each other. Even when we were joking around, we were sincere. Come to think of it, so were the tuna. And the skipjack. All living things were sincere, on the whole.”

  20. 5 out of 5

    I. Mónica del P Pinzon Verano

    Mi primer y único libro de Hiromi Kawakami. Preciso un comentario tan corto como esta novela. Y es que lo quiero hacer, porque ésta novela corta de Hiromi Kawakami es preciosa y única, como bien reza la sinopsis: todo un descubrimiento literario. La historia en sí es sencilla pero exquisita, podría contarla en dos renglones y no arruinaría la lectura, porque el sine qua non aquí es la escritura y la desmitificación del llamado amor con diferencia de edad (tantas categorías y rótulos que creamos Mi primer y único libro de Hiromi Kawakami. Preciso un comentario tan corto como esta novela. Y es que lo quiero hacer, porque ésta novela corta de Hiromi Kawakami es preciosa y única, como bien reza la sinopsis: todo un descubrimiento literario. La historia en sí es sencilla pero exquisita, podría contarla en dos renglones y no arruinaría la lectura, porque el sine qua non aquí es la escritura y la desmitificación del llamado amor con diferencia de edad (tantas categorías y rótulos que creamos para cada cosa, ¿no?). Kawakami divide esta obra en capítulos, cada capítulo para mí es un haiku, la narración de un momento cotidiano y sencillo que se va sumando a lo que es nuestra vida. Si, haiku por el minimalismo del momento y de la historia en su totalidad, por el sosiego de su narración y por lo trascendente que llega a ser. De otro lado, si bien esta historia puede ser tomada como una historia de amor entre dos amantes que se llevan unos años, lo que a mí me parece que hace la autora es quitarle toda la arandela y discurso que ha creado la sociedad alrededor de las relaciones donde hay diferencia de edad; no en vano, son dos amantes de los cuales sabemos algunas cosas de su presente, otras de su pasado pero no están revelados del todo; empero, no hay misterio, porque solo son un hombre y una mujer que se aman.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    4.25/5stars I REALLY enjoyed this!! I'm happy to say my initial thought that it reminded me of Hotel Iris mixed with Murakami was pretty spot on! This book follows a woman Tsukiko who accidentally runs into one of her teachers she had in secondary school, and the two of them become fast friends. This story is about them getting to know each other, and slowly falling in love. This book was ADORABLE. Tsukiko was so blunt and didn't take no bullshit, and Sensei was so cute (legit, he did the thing th 4.25/5stars I REALLY enjoyed this!! I'm happy to say my initial thought that it reminded me of Hotel Iris mixed with Murakami was pretty spot on! This book follows a woman Tsukiko who accidentally runs into one of her teachers she had in secondary school, and the two of them become fast friends. This story is about them getting to know each other, and slowly falling in love. This book was ADORABLE. Tsukiko was so blunt and didn't take no bullshit, and Sensei was so cute (legit, he did the thing that I do with my cat that when Tsukiko would sit with her mouth open he would put his finger in her mouth and legit thats so cute don't even fight me on that). It didn't bother me whatsoever the age difference because it wasn't like Tsukiko was still a student - she was very much a grown woman in this book. But I really REALLY enjoyed the plot and the characters and the fact that this was kind of like just looking into a little slice of life of these characters. The writing was spectacular and I will definitely be reading the other book I have by this author very soon! The ending destroyed me though just throwing that out there.

  22. 4 out of 5

    David

    If your book is going to be a bit rightwing, can it at least be a bit sexy (I'm thinking of Yukio Mishima)? Kawakami's young woman is unsatisfied with modern (*cough* Western) life and so falls for the wise old "wax on, wax off" Japanese and his spadeful of mono no aware, his haikus, his cherry-blossom viewing, his pachinko, his "let's look at the moon and no we can't have sex oh go on then".

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ghazaleh

    مترجم خیلی تعریف کرده بود از داستان ولی به نظر من داستان متفاوت و چشم گیری نداشت. هرچی بیشتر از نویسنده های ژاپنی و چینی کتاب میخونم کمتر با سبک نوشته هاشون ارتباط میگیرم،مشکل از منه یا اونا؟

  24. 4 out of 5

    Faiza Sattar

    ★★★★☆ (4/5) Sometimes when I call out, Sensei, I can hear a voice reply from the ceiling above, Tsukiko Hiromi Kawakami’s “The Briefcase” is a silent and unique meditation on nature of love and loneliness which thrives in tandem. It’s quite simply a story of a rather unusual relationship between an older gentleman and his younger student from the bygone times. Set in contemporary Tokyo, Tsukiko, a single woman in her forties has a chance meeting with her old Japanese teacher Harutsuna Matsumoto - ★★★★☆ (4/5) Sometimes when I call out, Sensei, I can hear a voice reply from the ceiling above, Tsukiko Hiromi Kawakami’s “The Briefcase” is a silent and unique meditation on nature of love and loneliness which thrives in tandem. It’s quite simply a story of a rather unusual relationship between an older gentleman and his younger student from the bygone times. Set in contemporary Tokyo, Tsukiko, a single woman in her forties has a chance meeting with her old Japanese teacher Harutsuna Matsumoto - whom she simply calls 'Sensei'. Friendship eventually flourishes into love, but their relationship is devoid of passion and silliness – two emotions commonly attributed to the feeling of “being in love”. Instead, their relations are marked by want and need for unadulterated companionship of each other. There is integrity and warmth in their camaraderie despite immense age difference. In the swarm of Tokyo’s rapid lifestyle, these two lonely souls are threaded together, providing solace to each other’s loneliness. Tsukiko I had long ago gotten used to that particular kind of uneasiness. It was just dissatisfying in some way. It felt as if I had ordered a bunch of clothes that I had every reason to think would fit perfectly, but when I went to try them on, some were too short, while with others the hem dragged on the floor. Surprised, I would take the clothes off and hold them up against my body, only to find that they were all, in fact, the right length. Or something like that The character of Tsukiko is portrayed as a recluse who is adept at steering clear of affectionate advances of others. She lives an empty life, bereft of meaningful relationships and has even deliberately distanced herself from her family who happens to live in the same neighbourhood as her. But had I really enjoyed living life on my own until now? Joyful. Painful. Pleasant. Sweet. Bitter. Sour. Ticklish. Itchy. Cold. Hot. Lukewarm. Just what kind of life had I lived? I wondered. Tsukiko is an astute observer, which allows her to intersperse profound personal thoughts with deep examination of her surroundings. Emotional isolation begets reflection as shown through Tsukiko’s account of her relationship with Sensei which she often compares with the brevity of previous relations. Having started off as drinking buddies their association gradually blossoms into reciprocal yet complicated adoration and love. That was quite a discovery for me, the fact that arbitrary kindness makes me uncomfortable, but that being treated fairly feels good Sensei I feel pity for these batteries that worked so hard for my benefit, and I can’t throw them away. It seems a shame to get rid of them the moment they die, after these batteries have illuminated my lights, signaled my sounds… A lonely widower and a retired teacher, Sensei’s oddities are reflective of Tsukiko’s unspoken requisites for companionship. He is sagacious and compassionate, a quality highly valued by Tsukiko who had moved from one relationship to another in pursuit of being fairly treated as a mere human. With Sensei, his benevolent nature seemed to originate from his sense of fair-mindedness. It wasn’t about being kind to me; rather, it was born from a teacherly attitude of being willing to listen to my opinion without prejudice. I found this considerably more wonderful than just being nice to me Having lived a solitary life for so long, he is empathetic towards Tsukiko’s need for space. Yet the beginning of their platonic relationship is jarring at times owing to considerable attachment with his past. Having lost a wife and son he dearly loved, venturing into a romantic bond seems like an apprehensive task to undertake, especially at his age. Initially, Sensei distances himself from Tsukiko intentionally but eventually resorts to inherent desire for love and affection. A person can learn all manner of things, no matter where he finds himself, provided his spirit is determined Owing to his mature demeanour, his paternal instincts are apparent in regards to Tsukiko. He is protective of her. There is also a magical allure to his unexpected appearances whenever Tsukiko calls out his name. Their meetings are often fortuitous, running into one another on the street whilst going about their own personal business – but every chance encounter leads to drinking and dining together. Even a chance meeting is the result of a karmic connection. On Friendship and Love My head hurt a little. There was no sign of anyone else in my room. I tried to revive that indefinite sense of Sensei without much success. Given enough time, platonic veracity transforms into tacit love and fondness for the all too functional and perfunctory Tsukiko and her Sensei. Much like their extraordinary friendship, replete with bouts of anger and self-imposed distances, their love too endures hardships of unrequited love and calculated impositions of aloofness from one another. “It grows because you plant it.” This was a phrase often repeated by my great-aunt when she was alive To soften the blow of a lonesome existence, Tsukiko is in pursuit of a sense of protection which emanates from those who are carefree, selfless and willing to lend an ear to her silence. Her trivial involvement with a prospective like-minded lover Kojima ends due to his excessive advances to win her heart blatantly. With the distinct feeling of the tatami weave on my cheek, I thought about the vague sense of discomfort I experienced when I was with Kojima—it was faint yet inconsolable Tsukiko had lived the entirety of her young life alone and did not seek validation for her existence. This is why her feelings for Sensei persevere through hard times. His acquaintance did not require her to leap into another skin or assume a role she found disagreeable, which is why their compatibility as both friends and lovers is rife with ease and general contentment. And even when I was with Sensei now, I didn’t feel any different than when I did these things on my own. It seemed, then, that it didn’t really matter whether or not I was with Sensei, but the truth was, doing these things with him made me feel proper On Loneliness I suppose it wasn’t loneliness that I felt. Physical pain inspires the worst kind of helplessness The feeling of loneliness is a tangible reality. Irrespective of our daily engagements and confidence in relationships, this feeling will always sneak into our moments of vulnerability. Both our characters are susceptible to the nature of loneliness, whether it is self-imposed (as shown through Tsukiko) or a consequence of a bygone tragedy (exemplified through Sensei’s past). Loneliness is symbolised through many seemingly trivial instances in the story. Both characters are shown to have an extremely limited social circle. Sensei nodded again seriously. “That makes sense. I think it would be good for me to see one or two people.” “Two might be difficult.” “Two would be the limit, I suppose.” Since both characters are comfortable in their own space, they always pay for their own share of food and wine. We had established a practice of never encroaching on each other’s food or drink. We ordered on our own. We poured for ourselves. And we paid separately. It’s important to share here that more often than not, their food and drink orders would be similar. So would be their proclivity to take walks or enjoy voiceless conversations. This goes on to elucidate the point I made earlier of love not requiring grandiose commitments but rather being accepting of each other with silent understandings. In much the same way, loneliness need not be confronted by ostentatious display of companionship amidst idle chatter or a pressing need to indulge in each others’ interests to satisfy social norms. On Detachment It was far too soon for me to have Sensei so capriciously endanger the comfortable distance that existed between us Sense of loneliness which prevails throughout the novel is sometimes overshadowed by the portrayal of intense detachment despite enjoying close relationships. It wasn’t as though I had returned to my high school days, but neither did it feel like I was actually in the present—all I could say was that I had caught a fleeting moment at the counter of Bar Maeda. It seemed like we had ended up within a time that didn’t exist anywhere Inextricably linked to loneliness but dissimilar to its notions, detachment has roots in fear and guilt. Whenever Tsukiko felt susceptible to the pitfalls of amorous love, she would strive to become indifferent to her object of affection. If someone were walking toward us, we would each break off to the left or to the right to make room for the person to pass. Once they had gone by, we would resume walking closely side by side. “Don’t go to the other side, Tsukiko, come my way,” Sensei said after the umpteenth person headed toward us. But I still broke off from Sensei and went “to the other side.” For some reason, I just wouldn’t huddle over with Sensei In keeping aloof and reserved, sense of security for one’s identity is fortified. This was a crucial matter for Tsukiko from which no doubt distances arose but which also led to her relationship with Sensei become more wholesome. I was thinking about Sensei. He had never once referred to himself as “old.” Aside from the fact that he was old enough not to make light of his age, it just wasn’t in his nature to talk about it. Standing there on the street right then, I felt very far away from Sensei. I was keenly aware of the distance between us. Not only the difference between our age in years, nor even the expanse between where each of us stood at that moment, but rather the sheer distance that existed between us. Patriarchy Held this way, I felt as though Kojima were manipulating me like a doll The word “allure” seemed old-fashioned to me, but then again, the fact that it’s always the woman who is expected to pour, and to have “allure” when doing so, seemed antiquated too The story from Tsukiko’s viewpoint is also littered with patriarchal dispositions of men in her life which she chooses to ignore time and time again. This is an important aspect of her personality and distinct identity which gradually moulds Sensei’s affections towards her. Every now and then, he would reprimand Tsukiko mildly for her inability to conform to lady-like mannerisms, and Tsukiko takes no heed of his rebukes. The rain had softened to a drizzle. A raindrop fell on my cheek. I wiped it away with the back of my hand as Sensei looked on disapprovingly. “Tsukiko, don’t you have a handkerchief?” “I do, but it’s too much trouble to get out.” “Young ladies these days . . .” Either owing to old age or traditionalism, Sensei is quick to notice Tsukiko’s unruly behaviour and give voice to his opinions, be it either on her lack of knowledge or dearth of vocabulary or table manners. His paternal and teaching instincts surface quickly through their earlier phase of friendship, but eventually wear out due to Tsukiko’s stubbornness. “Are you enjoying the food, Tsukiko?” Sensei asked, as if he were indulging a grandchild with a voracious appetite. Contrasts There are many contrasting feature of the novel. Old age values are set against norms defined by younger generation which the former may not be entirely at ease with. Sensei’s acquiescent nature conflicts with Tsukiko’s stubbornness on account of difference of age. Similarly, their notions on maturity and immaturity differ greatly. I had been very much the adult when I was in elementary school. But as I continued on through junior high and high school, on the contrary, I became less grown-up For Sensei, sensibility and responsibility are signs for maturity but for Tsukiko experience and time is what defines it. I could not get warm. A grown woman would know how to get warm in a situation like this. But, for the moment, I was a child and helpless Regardless of these varied contrasts, both characters are incredibly accommodating of each other which leads to their fruitful relationship. Effortless Prose and Imagery At some point, sitting beside Sensei, I began to notice the heat that radiated from his body. Through his starched shirt, there came a sense of Sensei. A feeling of nostalgia. This sense of Sensei retained the shape of him. It was dignified, yet tender, like Sensei. Even now, I could never quite get a hold on this sense—I would try to capture it, but the sense escaped me. Just when I thought it was gone, though, it would cozy back up to me. The translation of this novel is presented in incredibly easy prose. Tsukiko is an average storyteller, but she still manages to charm the reader with her unembellished account of a relationship she cherished. Strict realism is employed in this slim book which takes us through the development of an unassuming relationship, its snags and happy resolutions, shrewd observations and introspection. Nowhere does the story lag or drift away from the crux. Minor characters are used as catalysts, such as Kojima or Satoru, to facilitate the missing pieces of Tsukiko’s life. The story is divided into seventeen chapters of more or less equal length which give it a serialised quality. Each successive chapter accelerates our understanding of their refined relationship. Episodes such as hunting for mushrooms, attending a party or taking a trip to the island ferment their relationship one step further. The cherry blossom party guests seemed to steadily spread out, like a plant’s leaves unfurling as its bud blooms. Owing to the ease of narrative prose, imagery employed by the author is evocative but subtle. All the trash and empty cans had been completely cleared away, and the ground looked as though it had been swept clean with a bamboo broom. Even the garbage cans on the embankment had been emptied of the refuse from the cherry blossom party. It was as if the party had been nothing more than an illusion or a mirage. The patter of rain, chugging on beer and tasting raw mushrooms, the calm of Sensei’s house, the imprint of tatami mats on skin, the discomfort of cold and warble of morning birds – all add to a heightened sense of inclusion with Tsukiko’s story. It wasn’t just that the ground was moist—all around me, it felt like it was bursting—with the leaves on the trees, the undergrowth, the countless microorganisms under the ground, the flat bugs crawling over the surface, the winged insects flitting through the air, the birds perched on branches, even the breath of the larger animals that inhabited the deeper forest. Concluding Thoughts “The Briefcase” is a study of solitude and the innate desire for companionship. When two resolutely lonely individuals are drawn together, their loneliness is assuaged considerably. I could feel the warmth radiating from Sensei’s body. The stirring of emotion returned. The hard sofa with bad springs felt like the most comfortable thing in the world. I was happy to be here like this with Sensei. I was simply happy. It’s an unassuming and simple interpretation of love, of circumstances in which it fares well and self-perpetuates. Highly recommended for anyone fancying a quick albeit fascinating read. Once I wake up I never get back to sleep. The ticking of my watch by the pillow rang in my ears. Just when I thought it was so close, it would recede. But the watch was always in the same place. How strange. Read full review here (with some more of my favorite excerpt) http://wp.me/pZgHK-Jr

  25. 4 out of 5

    Conejo Literario

    Le di 3 estrellas por el final pero siendo honestas, me pareció bastante plano y soso.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte

    This book is just wonderful. It's quite short at 192 pages and I read it in a little over a day because I just couldn't put it down. It follows Tsukiko and her former teacher, whom she calls 'Sensei', after a chance encounter leads them to form an unlikely friendship. Sensei is much older than Tsukiko but as they are both consumed by loneliness they begin to seek comfort from their time spent together. It isn't long before Tsukiko begins to question her true feelings for Sensei, and the story ex This book is just wonderful. It's quite short at 192 pages and I read it in a little over a day because I just couldn't put it down. It follows Tsukiko and her former teacher, whom she calls 'Sensei', after a chance encounter leads them to form an unlikely friendship. Sensei is much older than Tsukiko but as they are both consumed by loneliness they begin to seek comfort from their time spent together. It isn't long before Tsukiko begins to question her true feelings for Sensei, and the story explores their deepening affection and increasing need for one another. It's a very subtle book. This isn't a great romance; there are no fanfares and dramatic gestures, it just exists. Tsukiko and Sensei are both very withdrawn and reserved characters and their relationship is awkward but also incredibly touching and heart-warming. I don't think you could say that either of them is particularly likeable but I was really invested in their friendship and hoping that they would have a happy ending. Strange Weather in Tokyo is one of those books where nothing really happens but it is so beautifully written and the development of the relationship between Tsukiko and Sensei is so improbable that it is just captivating from the very beginning. As someone who is very interested in Japanese culture I enjoyed the snapshot of Japan that this book gave me. There are many references to food and drink and traditional customs and you really get a feel for life there. Even if you don't normally read this kind of book I urge you to pick it up and give it a go. It is enchanting and uplifting and yet somehow quite poignant at the same time. I loved it.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mai Laakso

    Virallisesti hänen nimensä oli Harutsuna Matsumoto, mutta minä kutsuin häntä vain opettajaksi eli Senseiksi. Näillä sanoilla alkaa japanilaisen Hiromi Kawakamin Sensein salkku teos. Teos on kuvaus ystävyyden syntymistä, joka kehittyy matkalla syvemmäksi tunteeksi ja lopulta rakkaudeksi. Kirjan minäkertoja on noin nelikymppinen tokiolainen Tsukiko ja Sensei on hänen entinen opettajansa lukioajoilta. Tsukiko poikkeaa japanilaisesta naisesta. Hän ei ole mennyt naimisiin eikä ole perustanut perhettä Virallisesti hänen nimensä oli Harutsuna Matsumoto, mutta minä kutsuin häntä vain opettajaksi eli Senseiksi. Näillä sanoilla alkaa japanilaisen Hiromi Kawakamin Sensein salkku teos. Teos on kuvaus ystävyyden syntymistä, joka kehittyy matkalla syvemmäksi tunteeksi ja lopulta rakkaudeksi. Kirjan minäkertoja on noin nelikymppinen tokiolainen Tsukiko ja Sensei on hänen entinen opettajansa lukioajoilta. Tsukiko poikkeaa japanilaisesta naisesta. Hän ei ole mennyt naimisiin eikä ole perustanut perhettä. Tsukiko viettää vähäiset vapaa-aikansa baarissa ja ryyppää paljon. Töistä hän saattaa lähteä vasta puolen yön tietämillä. Tsukiko ja Sensei viettivät aikaa yhdessä alkuun baareissa. Kirjailija on nostanut esille suuren ikäeron ja ikä-ihmisten oikeuden rakastaa. Lisäksi esille nousee naisiin kohdistuvat odotukset ja hiljaiset kulttuuriin sidotut säännöt. Kirjan hienoutta ei vähennä sen alkoholinhuuruinen tarina, sillä ymmärrän mitä kirjailija haluaa sillä ilmaista. Kirja on surumielisen hieno ja rakkauden kehityskaaresta on aina ihana lukea.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mor‌TeZa

    |\| | |_ @ ® > M0127324: انتظار من از کتاب با توجه به شناختی که در دنیای مجازی از مترجم محترم دارم ونیز علاقه م به ادبیات خاور دور، بیش از این ها بود.. ریز بینی ها و جزیی نگری ها و توصیفات دقیق کارهای برجسته شرق دور رو خیلی می پسندم و همین طور حال و هوای مبهم و معلق و درون گرایی ژرف شون رو.. این کتاب هم گه گاه تعابیر و توصیفات دقیق و ظریفی داشت، ولی در مجموع به دلم ننشست و به طور خلاصه کتابی نیست که بخوام خوندن ش رو به کسی پیشنهاد بدم.. ترجمه کتاب ضعیف و گنگه.. و ویرایش هم بیش از حد ناامیدکنند |\| | |_ @ ® > M0127324: انتظار من از کتاب با توجه به شناختی که در دنیای مجازی از مترجم محترم دارم ونیز علاقه م به ادبیات خاور دور، بیش از این ها بود.. ریز بینی ها و جزیی نگری ها و توصیفات دقیق کارهای برجسته شرق دور رو خیلی می پسندم و همین طور حال و هوای مبهم و معلق و درون گرایی ژرف شون رو.. این کتاب هم گه گاه تعابیر و توصیفات دقیق و ظریفی داشت، ولی در مجموع به دلم ننشست و به طور خلاصه کتابی نیست که بخوام خوندن ش رو به کسی پیشنهاد بدم.. ترجمه کتاب ضعیف و گنگه.. و ویرایش هم بیش از حد ناامیدکننده.. نمره واقعی من به کتاب_با لحاظ اشکالات جدی در ویرایش و ترجمه_ دو و نیمه.. و نه بیش تر

  29. 5 out of 5

    Alice Lippart

    Strange and beautiful.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Bezimena knjizevna zadruga

    Tece polako. Klizi neumitno. Kratka je. Razoruzavajuce jednostavna. Klasicno japanski svedena i minimalisticka. Prica o mladoj i usamljenoj devojci i njenom starom i jos usamljenijem profesoru iz skole. Beskonacni niz kratkih, slucajnih i usputnih prijateljskih susreta koji se do kraja pretvori u ljubavnu pricu bez daska patetike. Jer, japanski pisci to umeju. Zapravo roman o samoci. Lep.

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