Two years ago I wrote about «The boss is too stupid» (店長がバカすぎて) by Hayami Kazumasa, and here the other day I saw a familiar sight at the bookstore;
It was a sequel to that book! Apparently it came out in September, but I had been too busy getting my driver’s license to notice.
I was quite on the fence about what to do, of course I wanted to read it but after trying to read the sequel to 麦本三歩の好きなもの by Yoru Sumine last year and feeling like I was trying to fit into an old pair of jeans 30kilos later…
Two weeks later I decided to jump in and try it on anyway and it was like coming home.
There’s a starbucks inside the bookstore so I got a gingerbread latte and sat down in a comfy orange sofa. My drink went largely undrunk as I was absorbed back into the bookstore world.
Darjeeling has gotten bigger since the first book but the content remains the same and I am happy. A good book to end the year with.
It is no secret I love translated fiction, without it I do not know where I would be. While I did pursue learning Japanese as a means of reading the novels I loved in their original language, I seem to be unable to reread them in Japanese and feel the same joy.
For example; Haruki Murakami. I read every book of his I could get my hands on, in English. I loved them. Whenever someone asked me why I was studying Japanese I would say because of Haruki Murakami and wanting to read his books in Japanese.
Now, was the first novel I read in Japanese by him?
It was actually «If cats disappeared from the world» by Genki Kawamura.
I have, however, read some Murakami now. I read Norwegian Wood, a given, and I have read his essay collections, which are very enjoyable. But, while I have purchased and tried to read some of his short story collections and novels that have come out while I have been living here, I haven’t been able to enjoy them as I did with the English translations. They are different, as if I am looking at a completely different work. When Japanese people tell me «oh I can’t read him, his works are difficult to read», I cannot but agree. Like in 1Q84, there are two Murakamis (for me at least with English and Japanese, for Spanish speakers their Murakami will be different from the Murakami of a Chinese speaker and so on. I wonder if I meet a third Murakami if I pick up his books in Norwegian?).
While it was a bit of a letdown to have the purpose of my language learning become so estranged to me, I have been able to soothe my sorrow in new, yet to be translated works.
Not all have been in my top ten, but I have found some diamonds indeed, that I wish to be translated and shared with the world. Anyone know who to contact about this?
I know two of my favorites have been translated so far, the aforementioned «If cats disappeared from the world» and Shion Miura’s «The Great Passage», but I haven’t seen the below translated as of yet.
ののはな通信 by Shion Miura (currently reading it, but so in love already)
麦本三歩の好きなもの by Sumino Yoru (I remember loving reading this years ago, but couldn’t get into the second volume last year and so gave it away unread)
店長がバカすぎて by Hayami Kazumasa (So relatable and interesting turns)
52ヘルツのクジラたち by Sonoko Machida (All the tears)
Last, but not least, 木曜日にはココアを by Michiko Aoyama (currently reading the follow-up to this, 月曜日の抹茶カフェ)
Adjective; of, relating to, or suitable to a letter; contained in or carried on by letters; written in the form of a series of letters
As an avid letter writer myself, I was drawn to this novel, adorned with stamps, and seeming to be a collection of letters between two people. A mutual on twitter taught me it is called an epistolary novel and it is my new favorite term. Finally a term to describe that which I love to read.
I am 39 pages in (out of 517) and I have already ordered the hardcover version for my bookshelf.
I know The Great Passage by Shion Miura has been translated so I hope this one will be too.
I went to the bookstore to get a housewife magazine today, and while I was browsing I first saw that there is now a fourth book out in the «Before the coffee gets cold» series by Toshikazu Kawaguchi.
As I looked to the right I saw a very familiar design, namely that of Michiko Aoyama’s books! I didn’t know she had a new book out, nor that it seems to be a continuation of my favorite book of hers; 「木曜日にはココアを」(Cocoa on Thursday)!!
This time it is «Matcha cafe on Monday» or 「月曜日の抹茶カフェ」.
Today it is a public holiday here in Japan, don’t know which one, what matters most to me is that I have a day off.
I have seen online that they have different potato donuts at mister donuts here so I decided to try them out. I can’t remember the last time I went to a donut shop, nor when I last ate a donut, so it must be a while since it happened. Anyways.
We have mitsuimo (honey potato), mitsuimo and butter, daigakuimo (candied sweet potato, literally university potato though haha), sweet potato, and murasakiimo (purple fleshed sweet potatao, very appetizing name).
Mitsuimo was ok, mitsuimo and butter not to my taste (not a fan of butter taste?), daigakuimo was ok, sweet, sweet potato was good, and murasakiimo was the best I think. I wanted to like the sweet potato one more, but it didn’t have as much sweet potato taste as other sweet potato sweets, like wagashi, usually have so.
Today I felt very french, with my parisiennefavourite perfume from SHIRO, and a dress and belt from the collaboration between uniqlo and Ines de la Fressange.
I have been reading another book by Dora Tauzin lately namely; «パリジェンヌはいくつになっても人生を楽しむ» or “A parisienne enjoys her life no matter how old” (loosely translated).
Anyone tried the donuts from mister donuts lately? Or any other good donuts out there?
Last time I wrote it was spring, with its cherry blossoms and fair weather.
Now it is autumn, beloved autumn (let’s skip summer).
A lot has happened since spring, and some has stayed the same. I got a new job, which accounts for most of the changes in my daily life and wellbeing. Working from home should mean that I have a lot more time as there is no commute, but for some reason it was easier to get in reading on a commute than at home. I am still working on the work/private life balance.
I got my dream table, a table I had in a note in my evernote app years ago titled «future house ideas». I am living in the same apartment but the arrival of the table has brightened it more than I had imagined.
My plant keeps growing and I had to repot her a little while ago:
We have been hiking lately so I have seen some beautiful views;
I did some doodling from May on my new phone, mostly of Darjeeling, and opened up a little Redbubble shop! I found doodling on my commute was very relaxing, but I often missed my stop.
It is almost time to break out the autumn fashion, and as usual I couldn’t help myself getting some new pieces this year either;
It’s still just a little too early, a little too hot, to start wearing it though.
I am still writing letters, and being as obsessed with stationery as always. Been buying autumn stationery and stamps like there is no tomorrow;
I would like to blog more, but not sure how to proceed, what to blog about, how often etc. Maybe the blog will be updated more this fall, or maybe not, I cannot say for certain. I have so many hobbies but so little time.
How is everyone doing so far this year, as we pass into autumnal bliss?
A lot of Japanese novels or books in Japanese so far this year. The only non-Japanese novel was a recommendation by a penpal and I loved it.
持たない暮らし is one of those organizing/decluttering books that I read mostly over the break. Sadly have not been able to organize my life yet, nor throw all my things away. And so the journey continues.
Read the second book of “Before the coffee gets cold” by Toshikazu Kawaguchi, and I might have liked this better than the first. Can’t wait for the third one to be translated. I could read it in Japanese of course, but since I started it in English I’d like to continue it in English.
The Great Passage was great as per my post. Circe was amazing, I couldn’t put it down.
お探し物は図書室まで is the newest book by Michiko Aoyama, who wrote 木曜日にはココアを and it was in a similar vein with different stories beng slowly connected together. I loved it. While the former book was set in both Japan and Australia, a very ambitious undertaking, this one was all in Japan, very cozy and near.
I finally finished サキの忘れ物. I love the cover and I love the title story, but the other stories were just…not to my taste. I finished about half of the stories, the other half I left halfway through. I kept putting it down and not picking it back up because I was dreading the stories that didn’t catch my attention, feeling guilty wanting to skip the stories (though I had to in order to get through).
I’m reading (though I keep forgetting that I am) both Sense and Sensibility and Anne Karenina. I also started the second volume of 麦本三歩の好きな物 yesterday.
I don’t have any specific reading plans nor goals, I like browsing the bookstores and have the books come to me. And recommendations from friends and penpals and whoever is around is also good, gets me out of my comfort reading zone.
How is everyone’s reading coming along so far this year? Any plans/goals?
Have I talked about this book before? I feel like I should have, seeing as I loved it. But I did read it a long time before even starting this blog so I might have forgotten to write about it.
It’s “Sanpo Mugimoto’s favorite things” or “The things Sanpo Mugimoto likes” or something in that vein. About Sanpo, a librarian in her twenties, and her every day life. Every chapter is about something she likes, for example; “Sanpo Mugimoto likes walking”, “Sanpo Mugimoto likes libraries”, “Sanpo Mugimoto likes today”, etc.
It’s a very cozy book, slow paced, every day life, (aka easy vocabulary) just what I like.
So today I dragged Teddy out of the house and to the bookstore/starbucks. I just finished Michiko Aoyama’s 「お探し物は図書室まで」this morning (a post will come later), and so I felt like I could allow myself to look at and even buy a new book having finished reading one.
On the new books’ shelf I saw 麦本三歩の好きなもの, it had a different cover, but I didn’t think that would justify calling it new. But, when I looked closely I saw “第二集” (vol.2)!
It has around 100 more pages and I am very excited. Of course I had to have it right away. I love how they have kept the same style both with cover and the inside in both, both yellow as well. Yellow just kind of gets you excited doesn’t it? Such a happy colour, perfect for the coming season.
It has chapters like “Sanpo Mugimoto likes sleeping”, “Sanpo Mugimoto likes pudding hair” (what プリンヘア is I do not know but I hope to find out by reading), “Sanpo Mugimoto likes girls”, “Sanpo Mugimoto likes corners”, etc.
So if you like slow everyday life kind of novels this is for you, funny, charming, relaxing.
This book has been on my shelf for a while, but before we go further I want to put in a disclaimer; I haven’t read it in Japanese yet. I chickened out and read it in English (it has been translated!!)
I was at the bookstore here the other day looking at, well, books. I found two books that I liked:
I ended up buying the お探し物は図書室まで as it is by Michiko Aoyama who wrote 木曜日にはココアを which I loved.
I felt like I had seen Shion Miura somewhere but it didn’t register yet. As I was googling her I came over ‘The Great Passage’ and then it came to me; she wrote 舟を編む!
I watched the anime back when I was in university and loved it, but knowing how much technical terms would be in the book was what initially held me off, so finding that it has been translated was a godsend.
I stayed up till 1am yesterday finishing it, it’s that good. I couldn’t put it down. I love it. I also feel like I need to buy more dictionaries.
It’s about dictionaries and words and life and love and friendship and everything you could possibly want, and it is definitely a recommendation from me.
Maybe I’ll tackle it in Japanese one day now that I have it in English as well. We’ll see.
As I said in my previous post, I loved the first of the 12 stories and was relieved to find that they were not complete stand-alones.
The beauty of these stories are how they are stories in their own right, but they are also part of a bigger story.
Reading this book felt like a puzzle (and I love puzzles). At first you have a heap of pieces, that you connect together piece by piece until you have a complete picture. Every piece, while small and seemingly insignificant by itself, are connected to each other in some way and you wouldn’t get the full picture without them. And the feeling when you put in that final piece, having it all come together to form something greater, seeing how that one piece connected to this other piece, that feeling is so precious.
We have a cafe owner, a waiter, a girl writing letters in English, a mom that can’t make an omelet, a kindergarten teacher who forgot to take off her nailpolish, a lingerie designer, an old married couple, a newly married couple, a former banker, a witch, an artist, a translator, a sick girl.
We are in Tokyo, and we are in Sydney.
I sped through this novel faster than I have ever read a Japanese novel before. And yet I felt dissatisfied. I felt annoyance towards my eyeballs that they could not move faster. I started following the text with my finger in an attempt to increase my reading speed. I had a need to race through and find the connecting pieces.
And it was beautiful. I laughed. I cried. I was moved. I felt inspired.
I want to have everyone read this book. I want to talk about it, but I do not wish to spoil.
I have decided to try my hand at translating, at least the first chapter. Not that I am a great translator or anything, but it will be both good practice for me and count as studying which I have sorely neglected to do this year.
I do hope for a professional translation of this to come out one day, maybe there is somewhere one can send in requests for works to be considered for translation? If so, do tell me, I have a list of books that I’d like to see translated.