The Woman in the Purple Skirt

Title: The Woman in the Purple Skirt Writer: Natsuko Imamura (translated by Lucy North) Publishing House: Faber & Faber Date of Publication: June 3rd 2021 (first published June 30th 2019) Rating: 4 stars ‘’Some people would pretend they hadn’t seen her, and carry on as before. Others would quickly move aside, to give her room…

Before the Coffee Gets Cold: Tales from the Café

Title: Before the Coffee Gets Cold: Tales from the Café (original title: 在謊言拆穿之前) Writer: Toshikazu Kawaguchi (translated by Geoffrey Trousselot) Publishing House: Picador Date of Publication: September 17th 2020 (first published April 27th 2018) Rating: 5 stars ‘’That night… Around the station there stood many Christmas trees, decorated with lights that shone and sparkled. The…

Lonely Castle In the Mirror

Title: Lonely Castle In The Mirror (original title: かがみの孤城) Writer: Mizuki Tsujimura (translated by Philip Gabriel) Publishing House: Doubleday Date of Publication:  April 22nd 2021 (first published May 11th 2017) Rating: 2 stars ‘’You are all Little Red Riding Hoods.’’ A lonely castle no one defends, a castle standing alone. A young girl is being…

The Diving Pool

Title: The Diving Pool and Other Stories (original title: (ダイヴィング・プール) Writer: Yoko Ogawa (translated by Stephen Snyder) Publishing House: Vintage Publishing Date of Publication: April 2nd 2014 (first published 1990) Rating: 5 stars ‘’Since I was a little girl, I’ve disliked the thirtieth of December. I could always get through the thirty-first by telling myself…

Fear and Trembling

Title: Fear and Trembling (original title: Stupeur et Tremblements) Writer: Amélie Nothomb (tr. by Adriana Hunter) Publishing House: St. Martin’s Griffin Date of Publication: November 1st 2004 (first published August 26th 1999) Rating: 5 stars ‘’Society conspires against her from early infancy. Her brain is steadily filled with plaster until it sets. ‘’If you’re not…

Before the Coffee Gets Cold

Title: Before the Coffee Gets Cold (original title: コーヒーが冷めないうちに) Writer: Toshikazu Kawaguchi (tr. by Geoffrey Trousselot) Publishing House: Picador Date of Publication: September 19th 2019 (first published December 6th 2015) Rating: 5 stars ‘’The cafe’s name was Funiculi Funicula. It had become famous, with long queues each day, an account of time-travelling. But it wasn’t…

Tokyo Ueno Station

Title:Tokyo Ueno Station (original title: JR上野駅公園口) Writer: Yū Miri (translated by Morgan Giles) Publishing House: Tilted Axis Press Date of Publication: March 4th 2019 (first published March 19th 2014) Rating: 5 stars ‘’I used to think life was like a book: you turn the first page, and there’s the next, and as you go on turning…

Revenge

Title: Revenge (original title: 寡黙な死骸 みだらな弔い) Writer: Yoko Ogawa (tr. by Stephen Snyder) Publishing House: Vintage Date of Publication:  January 2nd 2014 (first published 1998) Rating: 5 stars ‘’Why was everyone dying? They had all been so alive just yesterday.’’ Yoko Ogawa creates a dark wonder of sadness, loneliness and unsettling desires in Revenge, a collection…

Ghosts of the Tsunami: Death and Life in Japan’s Disaster Zone

Title: Ghosts of the Tsunami Writer: Richard Lloyd Parry Publishing House: Jonathan Cape Date of Publication: August 31st 2017 Rating: 5 stars ‘’By the time the party came to an end, it was already becoming cloudy, but there was no wind. Not a single leaf was moving on the trees. I couldn’t sense any life…

Convenience Store Woman

Title: Convenience Store Woman (original title:コンビニ人間) Writer: Sayaka Murata (translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori) Publishing House: Grove Press Date of Publication: June 12th 2018 (first published July 27th 2016) Rating: 5 stars ‘’It is the start of another day, the time when the world wakes up and the cogs of society begin to move. I…

Hotel Iris

Title: Hotel Iris (original title: ホテル・アイリス ) Writer: Yoko Ogawa (translated by Stephen Snyder) Publishing House: Vintage Publishing Date of Publication: April 7th 2011 (first published 1996) Rating: 5 stars ‘’He first came to the Iris one day just before the beginning of the summer season. The rain had been falling since dawn. It grew heavier at…

The Mad Kyoto Shoe Swapper and Other Short Stories from Japan

Title: The Mad Kyoto Shoe Swapper and other Short Stories from Japan Writer: Rebecca Otowa Publishing House: Tuttle Publishing Date of Publication: March 24th 2020 Rating: 5 stars ‘’Well, don’t. You’re a foreigner. You have to understand it’s not our business. We don’t interfere. It’s the Japanese way.’’ Thirteen exquisite stories written by an American…

Thank you, Miyuki

Title: Thank you, Miyuki Writer: Roxanne Marie Galliez, Seng Soun Ratanavanh (Illustrations) Publishing House: Princeton Architectural Press Date of Publication: September 1st 2020 Rating: 5 stars ”Miyuki, look at the water. Not the flow. Not the twigs floating by. Only the water in front of your eyes.” Our beloved Miyuki is curious about meditation and her grandpa is always…

Ms. Ice Sandwich

Title: Ms. Ice Sandwich (original title: ミス・アイスサンドイッチ) Writer: Mieko Kawakami (translated by Louise Heal Kawai) Publishing House: Pushkin Press Date of Publication: May 7th 2020 (first published November 2013) Rating: 5 stars “If video games make you stupid, then what do mobile phones make you?” A young boy buys egg sandwiches every day. The reason? The mysterious young woman behind…

The Tea Party In The Woods

Title: The Tea Party In the Woods (original title: もりのおくのおちゃかいへ) Writer: Akiko Miyakoshi Publishing House:Kids Can Press Date of Publication:August 1st 2015 Rating:5 stars ‘’The woods were very still. And so quiet. Kikko’s footsteps were the only sound.’’ In a marvelous winter wonderland, Kikko is watching her father leaving for her grandma’s house. But, wait! He…

The Eighth Day

Title:The Eighth Day (original title: 八日目の蝉) Writer:Mitsuyo Kakuta Publishing House:Kodansha Date of Publication:May 1st 2010 (first published March 2007) Rating: 3 stars ”I left the house and turned to the alley. No shops insight. This was a strange corner of the city, a row of uninhabited houses. Shutters closed, a rusty bike lying next to a…

Patience, Miyuki

Title: Patience, Miyuki Writer:  Roxane Marie Galliez (illustrated by Seng Soun Ratavanah Publishing House: Princeton Architectural Press Date of Publication: October 1st 2019 Rating: 5 stars ‘’Blue earth, orange moon, Spring was all dressed up and ready for her first day of the year. Miyuki was ready, too. She was already up and running through the garden.’’ Little Miyuki is…

The Piano Recital

Title: The Piano Recital (original title ピアノはっぴょうかい) Writer: Akiko Miyakoshi (illustrations by Akiko Miyakoshi) Publishing House: Kids Can Press Date of Publication: September 3rd 2019 Rating: 5 stars Our little Momo is dressed in her most beautiful dress, ready for her first piano recital. However, she is extremely nervous, peering through the backstage curtain, watching and waiting for her turn…

#FairytaleFriday: Japan

                           The Lantern and the Fan Japan…A country whose myths are unparalleled to any other culture. Their legends about deities like Amaterasu, Susanoo and Tsukuyomi, the underworld, the creation of the universe, the sea and the mountains. The stories of the glory and…

The Forest of Wool and Steel

Title: The Forest of Wool and Steel   (Original Title:羊と鋼の森) Writer: Natsu Miyashita Publishing House: Penguin Random House UK Date of Publication: April 25th 2019  (first published September 2015) Rating: 5 stars ‘’Inhale the scent of a forest close by. I can smell the earthy fragrance of autumn as night falls, the leaves gently rustling, I can feel the damp air…