Top 5 best things you read in Japanese in 2022?

What books did I like most in 2022?

  1. 海辺のカフカ(上)Fantasy story about a runaway boy and an old man who lost all his memory as a boy. As with all Murakami books (I guess?) an ample amount of trigger warnings is in order. I really liked the different writing styles the author applied across the chapters. Unfortunately the second part lost quite some steam in the middle, so I liked the first part much better. But maybe that was just me being unable to read fast enough.
  2. Flesh & Blood. @ekg’s review above says it all. At the moment I’m a bit tired (after 10 volumes) because the target audience is teenagers, and so sometimes the “and now I’ll teach you something” or “and this is how we do this in life” vibes are a bit strong and hard to stomach for me. But the historical background is super interesting and extremely well researched by the author.
  3. 沖で待つ A collection of three short stories who won the Akutagawa Prize. The stories and writing styles are very different, which I like a lot. The third story is even written entirely in hiragana! The story also lightly touches on politics and technology, and it’s fun times to read about it that way :sweat_smile: There are a few reviews over at The Akutagawa Prize Reading Challenge.
  4. 秋の牢獄 Read it with the repeat book club interest group. Three short stories around spooky or supernatural topics. The author has a way of talking about these things in a very distant, matter-of-fact way which makes it very pleasant for me to read. The respective hero(in)es learn to cope with these things and to treat them somehow as normal and even as enjoyable.
  5. 海の見える理髪店 A collection of 6 short stories, all of which (except one) revolve around looking back on one’s life so far and contemplating or regretting things. The sixth one tests our belief system. Somewhere in the middle of the book I found the stories to be a bit slow and random, but the very last one tied it all together beautifully. There are some reviews in The Naoki Prize Reading Challenge.