April 01, 2019

Book Review: Woman Running in the Mountains by Yuko Tsushima

Book Review: Woman Running in the Mountains by Yuko Tsushima

A young Japanese woman in her early twenties has a casual relationship with a middle aged Japanese salaryman and becomes pregnant, against the urging of her family. She tries to raise the child herself as a single mother at home but soon finds out the hard way the impossible and unbalanced situation she finds her self in. Humble she refuses to contact the father for help and instead knuckles down and gets a part time job in a restaurant to pay for private baby sitting until it drains her savings. Still living at home she ignores the scorn of her mother, her brothers stares and the violence of a drunk unemployed father. 

Her son Akira develops a hernia and the cost of the operation forces her to look for more stable work after having been forced to resign from her restaurant job (as she was bullied by the manager and the staff). She discovers a job as a gardener at a private company and after convincing the owners to take a woman as an employee, she joins and meets Kambayashi a fellow employee who fascinates her as he has a child with down syndrome. 

The friendship blooms but she wants more but finds herself visiting Kawano an old friend from the coffee shop she frequented as a high school student. 

A tough love novel that reveals the difficulties of single mothers in Japan and the obstacles they face.

Book Review: Woman Running in the Mountains by Yuko Tsushima

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March 03, 2019

Book Review: Confessions of Love by Uno Chiyo

Book Review: Confessions of Love by Uno Chiyo

Author: Uno Chiyo

Translated by: Phyllis Birnbaum

Publisher: Charles Tuttle Tokyo, 1990

ISBN: 0-8048-1651-4

Pages: 157 


Such places are probably no longer permitted to operate but back then there was a restaurant next to Shimbashi Station called the Yuyutei, there were several small rooms each with two chairs. Once the curtain was drawn in those rooms, even a person passing outside could’nt make out who was within. Men would go there with women and those couples would spend the time talking to each other in whispers” p33

A very humourous story about an intimate romantic history apparently based on the life of the artist Togo Seiji who is called Yuasa Joji in the novel. A kind of chronicle of life in Tokyo in the 1920’s where weak men who were irresistible to women entered relationships.

 “ I tried to sound irritated but finally let the fury stay locked up in my heart” p42

Book Review: Confessions of Love by Uno Chiyo

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February 01, 2019

Book Review Love and other stories by Yokomitsu Riichi

A collection of eleven short stories written by Yokomitsu Riichi who has been described as an experimental modernist writer. 

Stand out stories include The Smile, After Picking up a Blue Stone, The Carriage, The Defeated Husband, The Pale Captain and The Machine.

He explores a range of topics including collecting debts after his father dies in Korea, caring for his wife who has tuberculosis, relationships between man and wife and working in a small family run business. 

Some very powerful stories that will leave a deep impression of life and times in Japan before, during and after the war.

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