Intermediate Japanese Book Club (Currently reading: コーヒーが冷めないうちに)

We’ll see how many people are left in the Haruhi group at the time we finish kombini ningen (to know if we start reading the next book right away or not), but I think we’ll aim for voting around mid August anyway.

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I’m leaving Japan around mid/end of August so hoping we vote before that, so I can buy the book :smiley: Or I just buy all the books that are in the poll!

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Works for me. :+1:

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I’ve just discovered Tsundoku Reader, a blog about Japanese novels, in English, by a professional translator. It’s looking like a valuable resource. I found it while searching for the novel 「わたし、定時で帰ります」(No working after hours), which I have just started reading (having finished コンビニ人間 early).

定時で帰ります looks interesting. It’s available also as a tv drama with fansubs. The book is over the page limit for this club, though.

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Thanks for this :smile:

I would like to read this book in the near future, and so I figured I might as well suggest it for the book club :wink:

キッチン

This book actually contains the novel キッチン and the novella ムーンライト・シャドウ. I would only propose the first story here, and we can decide later whether we want to read the second story as well.

Summary

Japanese

キッチン
両親と祖父を早くに亡くし、祖母と暮らしてきた大学生・桜井みかげだが、その祖母さえも亡くしてしまい、天涯孤独の身となる。ある時、同じ大学の学生で、祖母の行きつけの花屋でアルバイトしている田辺雄一に声をかけられ、雄一宅に居候することとなる。雄一はオカマバーを経営する母・えり子(実は父・雄司)と2人暮らしである。みかげは田辺家のキッチンで眠るようになり、風変わりなえり子・雄一親子とも少しずつ打ち解けていく。かつてのボーイフレンドとの再会などを経て、日を追うごとに祖母の死を受け入れ、みかげの心は再生していく。

満月 キッチン2
みかげは休学していた大学をきっぱりやめ、世話になった田辺家からも独立して、有名な料理研究家のアシスタントとして働いていた。そのみかげのもとに雄一から、えり子が店の客に殺害されたと連絡が入る。急いで田辺家に駆けつけたみかげは、そのまま雄一と同居生活に入る。しかし雄一に一方的に思いを寄せている大学生・奥野がみかげが働くキッチンスタジオに押しかけてくるなど、家族でも恋人でもない2人の同居は周囲に理解されることはない。えり子の死から立ち直れずにいる雄一は姿をくらます。伊豆へ出張していたみかげは、深夜にタクシーを走らせ、ちかちゃんにもらった雄一の居場所が書いてあるメモを頼りに、彼に出来たてのカツ丼を届けようとする。

English

In Kitchen, a young Japanese woman named Mikage Sakurai struggles to overcome the death of her grandmother. She gradually grows close to one of her grandmother’s friends, Yuichi, from a flower shop and ends up staying with him and his transgender mother, Eriko. During her stay, she develops affection for Yuichi and Eriko, almost becoming part of their family. However, she moves out after six months as she finds a new job as a culinary teacher’s assistant. When she finds that Eriko has passed away, she tries to support Yuichi through the difficult time, and realises that Yuichi is probably in love with her. Reluctant to face her own feelings for him, she goes away to Izu for a work assignment. However, after going to a restaurant to eat katsudon, she realises she wants to bring it to Yuichi.

In Moonlight Shadow, a woman named Satsuki loses her boyfriend Hitoshi in an accident and tells us: “The night he died my soul went away to some other place and I couldn’t bring it back”. She becomes friendly with his brother Hiiragi, whose girlfriend died in the same crash. On one insomniac night out walking she meets a strange woman called Urara who has also lost someone. Urara introduces her to the mystical experience of The Weaver Festival Phenomenon, which she hopes will cauterize their collective grief.

Availability

amazon.co.jp
Bookwalker

Personal Opinion

I would like to start to move towards reading “literature” (as opposed to children’s books or pulp). With this book, the author won two newcomer’s awards, so I’m convinced her writing will fulfil my expectations :wink:

Pros and Cons for the Book Club

Pros

  • The main story is only 140 pages, so it’s a quick read (maybe we can even squeeze it in between the end of Konbini and the end of Haruhi?).
  • In case we plan to tackle it later: The second story is about half as long as the first one.
  • Won two newcomer’s awards and received a bunch of favorable reviews
  • Was turned into a movie twice (for those who like different media)
  • Almost no furigana

Cons

  • Judging from the summary, the story might have its sad moments, so it’s maybe not to everybody’s liking.
  • Not on FloFlo
  • Almost no furigana

Pictures

First Three Pages of Chapter One


Additional Pages


Difficulty Poll

How much effort would you need to read this book?

  • No effort at all
  • Minimal effort
  • Just right
  • Challenging
  • Impossible, even with everyone’s help
  • I don’t know (please click this if you’re not voting seriously)

0 voters

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I feel so attacked right now

:wink:

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That’s a Mike Oldfield song, that is.

Ouch! :sweat: That was more intended to be a general explanation than an attack…

Which is about the shooting of John Lennon who was married to a Japanese woman… so probably that’s why the author adopted the title for her novella about death… It’s all a huge conspiracy :scream:

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I’m joking :wink:
I embrace my enjoyment of trash entertainment

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well I voted for it :unamused:

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Fair enough :wink: Don’t get me wrong, I have quite a history of reading trash, but sometimes I think a change might be nice, so I’m reaching for the stars here.

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Nice selection. I somehow never even read this in English, though I feel like most of the folks around me did when it came out. I have とかげ on the shelf and had been thinking to read that sooner than later.

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I’d been thinking about nominating this one so…nice.

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I think I need to draw a hard line for myself that I can’t buy any more books until I read a few of the ones I already own. I now own 8 books that I haven’t read.

For those curious
  • ペンギン・ハイウェイ (Tsubasa Bunko version, unfortunately)
  • 涼宮ハルヒの憂鬱
  • 魔法少女育成計画
  • 霧の向こうの不思議な町
  • 人類は衰退しました
  • てきのかなた
  • 獣の奏者 (books 1 and 2)
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It’s still a few weeks until we’ll start reading the new pick - you can do it :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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I’m hoping 霧の向こうの不思議な町 will win in beginner book club, and then I’ll be pushing for 魔法少女育成計画 here in intermediate book club. Those are the two I plan to read next regardless of if they win.

I have to admit I’m oddly passionate about a good opening line. When I see something like “The sun peaked over the hills as…” I want to instantly close a book.
So 私がこの世で一番好きな場所は台所だと思う makes me smile. Nice. Gets you right into the book.
I like that about Haruhi too, though it’s not as short and so not as punchy. I still think
サンタクロースをいつまで信じていたなんてことはたわもない世間話にもならないくらいのどうでもいいような話だが、それでも俺がいつまでサンタなどとういう想像上の赤服じーさんを信じていたかと言うとこれは確信を持って言えるが最初から信じてなどいなかった
Is a nice opener.

Incidentally my favorite opening line of a book (though Dickens has an obviously more famous one…) is “Marley was dead, to begin with.”
:kissing_heart: :ok_hand:Perfect.

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When I was shopping for books in Japan, I took it as a good sign when I could fully understand the first sentence - and when it was a catchy one, that was a double bonus indeed :wink:

Another intro sentence I liked from one of my new books is this: 飛行機の音ではなかった。
Sucks me into the story straight away!

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