One Down

Good news, I finished my Japanese Literature Challenge 2. Yay! First, a big thank you to Bellezza for hosting this challenge. Although I didn’t stick with any of the original books I planned to read, I don’t regret it one bit because I really enjoyed each novel a lot. The first story I read was Out by Natsuo Kirino and that was one of my favorite reads last year.

kitchen.jpgNext up is the first book I finished this year, Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto. This short novel seems simple yet is filled with so much empathy and sorrow that you feel for the characters. But despite, the sadness there is a glimmer of hope that manages to shine through. It deals with a young woman who’s all alone in the world and the friends that reach out to her to form a new family.

“No matter what, I want to continue living with the awareness that I will die. Without that, I am not alive. That is what makes the life I have now possible. Inching one’s way along a steep cliff in the dark: on reaching the highway, one breathes a sigh of relief. Just when one can’t take any more, one sees the moonlight. Beauty that seems to infuse itself into the heart: I know about that.”

Isn’t that lovely? The story is very dreamy and very good. You can read more of my review here.

samuraisgarden.jpgThe last novel I read was The Samurai’s Garden by Gail Tsukiyama. Actually, I’m also counting this one for my 9 for 09 Challenge in the category of “Dusty” as I’ve had this book on my TBR shelf for years. Anyway, while this story is about a chinese young man it does take place in Japan on the eve of World War II.

Stephen is sent by his family to the family’s summer home to recuperate from tuberculosis. He envisions a quiet time spent swimming, painting and getting well but Stephen will befriend some of the local residents and will learn about the power of friendship and love and will be doing a bit of growing up.

“The garden is a world filled with secrets. Slowly, I see more each day. The black pines twist and turn to form graceful shapes, while the moss is a carpet of green that invites you to sit by the pond. Even the stone lanterns, which dimly light the way at night, allow you to see only so much. Matsu’s garden whispers at you, never shouts; it leads you down a path hoping for more, as if everything is seen, yet hidden. There’s a quiet beauty here I only hope I can capture on canvas.”

A nice, comfort read. You can read more of my review here.

I had a great time with this challenge. Will I read more books by these authors? Definitely. Now, I’m off to enjoy the weekend – I hope you guys have a wonderful one too!

  1. January 23, 2009
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