download Reading キッチン [Kitchin]Author Banana Yoshimoto – Memovende.co

4.5 5A couple of days ago, I watched a film called Millenium Actress, a Japanese anime film centered around the life of a once wildly popular Japanese film star I loved it for its lovely story as well as its wonderful animation, but most of all for its peculiar disregard of many of the rules of film that I hadn t realized I unconsciously followed until they were subverted This sort of bending and breaking of my own sensibilities into something I had never considered something that would work is rampant in this book here, on a much heartbreaking level As both the film and the book are Japanese, there could be a correlation that other partakers of that particular cultural entertainment would be familiar with, but I shy away from labeling it as something inherent on a sociocultural level Instead, I will describe it on my own terms, and see what happens from there Kitchen is subsumed in grief Each part of the story is centered around the death of one or individuals, who through their passing have prompted the narrator and other characters to go forth on their own personal journeys of coming to grips with what has been left to them What is missing, an absence that at first bewildered me but one that I now see as beneficial, is the pomp and circumstance that usually accompanies such events There is no factoring in of all the usual aspects of funerals, mourning rituals, all those standards imposed upon individuals by the weight of tradition and the history of society In a word, this story has no interest in the attempts of life to make death a thing that can not only be dealt with methods of logic, but also bureaucratic Instead, the words are short, sweet, and sharp, as each narrator falls upon their knife of grief and attempts to walk it off Here, there is no sweeping away of the tragedy into a neat compartmentalization, a time to mourn and a time to thrive coexisting in carefully delineated measurements of a person s history For how can the horror of a beloved one being taken away in such an unfairly abrupt and often nonsensical manner ever be reconciled, as if the matter could heal as cleanly as a broken bone knitting up in a predictable number of days As if the evolution of coping with an overwhelming loss could be graphed for all affected, and therein calculate a formulaic equation specifically calibrated for speeding up the resolution as efficiently as possible As if it was a lie that when it came down to it, one is alone and will always be alone with one s mind, and that is how the battle of mournful reconciliation must always be fought.While it is true that there is always a banality to this process, it is also true that reality is sometimes stranger than fiction And here, the overwhelming potential of storytelling chooses to direct its narrators and their tragedies along plots that reject the popular assumption of sadness having believability than happiness Unexpected acquaintances welcome stricken souls in for as long as they need a rest from the forceful expectations of reality Methodologies of all sorts are taken up in the quest to come to terms with loss, whether it be cooking, running, crossdressing, or sex change surgery The little beauties of seemingly mundane surroundings birth alongside the gaping holes that despair has left in the intermittent musings of daily life Words such as weird and strange lose their potency in the face of the fact that, had these unusual and rather unbelievable circumstances never come to pass, another life may have joined the ones that had gone before it.Would that have made the story better Treating death with the cold dignity of normal proceedings, forbidding the thick interweave of both passionate joy and debilitating sorrow in the span of a short paragraph, scoffing at the small and sometimes magical coincidences that led others in unexpected ways to a life worth living Should the path to reconciliation always be one of proud obligation, or can it be erratic, irresponsible, and sometimes even sweet The choice is always personal, and one must always make it on one s own Me, I like the idea of a peculiar path being available to those who are faced with the death of a loved one, the most peculiar situation of all If one is must decide how to live their life past the gap, shouldn t that life be their own This is a book on healing, a lovely look at the hurting human heart and its captivating reflection Convalescence has never been so beautiful One has to admit that the theme of loss in literature has been one of the most exploited and has been done so masterfully by the best But never have I encountered one on recovery where it has been handled as exquisitely Everyone we love is dying Still, to cease living is unacceptable When you lose someone, a void is created You seek to fill that hole inside you Stability is what you desire, because your once solid world of certainties has crumbled And so we latch onto the most basic things and habits Constant things we know that will never leave and never fail us a kitchen, cooking, the road, running, clothing, videos, pictures, songs, books You lean on that, get strength from the habit till you are strong enough to gamble on uncertain things Hurt is ice It melts it turns to water that evaporates into thin air But ice takes time to melt, tear by tear There is nothing you can do but wait, and so you do Until the time when the coldness is gone and you sigh and inhale the air that was once pain In a downpour of blessings, I prayed, as though it were a hymn Let me become stronger Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto is divided into two stories of love, loss, and hope It s one of the most breath taking pieces of literature I ve read The stories elegant simplicity feels like a breeze of cold air that can hurt, numb, and refresh There s also an element in the writing that feels almost evanescent, a certain transparency that is pure honesty I wasn t instantly spell binded as you might think It took a while, but when it did, it felt right Everything was perfectly clear, like looking into a small pond seeing your own reflection and washing your face with its cold clear water I really needed this Oftentimes we read books, they touch us and we cry but after a few hours it s completely out of mind Sometimes though, just sometimes we encounter a book that touches us so directly that it isn t readily manifested by external emotions This book is one of those I didn t cry, but I suffered The last paragraph is nothing but one of the most beautiful things I have ever read It stirred something inside me and after reading I felt a deep tranquility I felt at peace It seemed like a heavy burden was lifted from me and after, a delicious calm radiated through me It still does I feel light I feel like flying, soaring The worst is yet to come, but I feel hope. Banana Yoshimoto S Novels Have Made Her A Sensation In Japan And All Over The World, And Kitchen, The Dazzling English Language Debut That Is Still Her Best Loved Book, Is An Enchantingly Original And Deeply Affecting Book About Mothers, Love, Tragedy, And The Power Of The Kitchen And Home In The Lives Of A Pair Of Free Spirited Young Women In Contemporary Japan Mikage, The Heroine Of Kitchen, Is An Orphan Raised By Her Grandmother, Who Has Passed Away Grieving, She Is Taken In By Her Friend Yoichi And His Mother Who Was Once His Father , Eriko As The Three Of Them Form An Improvised Family That Soon Weathers Its Own Tragic Losses, Yoshimoto Spins A Lovely, Evocative Tale That Recalls Early Marguerite Duras Kitchen And Its Companion Story, Moonlight Shadow, Are Elegant Tales Whose Seeming Simplicity Is The Ruse Of A Writer Whose Voice Echoes In The Mind And The Soul Oh, let s face it I love everything Banana Yoshimoto s ever written But that said, she s not for everyone she s a minimalist storyteller, at least in my opinion, able to turn the emotional state of the right reader with the flick of just one beautiful perfect phrase, but only if you re ready to catch that beautiful perfect phrase and appreciate it for what it is Give up on this review yet Then you shouldn t be reading Yoshimoto Actually consisting of two novellas, Kitchen named after the better of the two is the story of 1990s urban life in Japan, full of quirky postmodern characters right at the beginning of an age where the Web let everyone on the planet understand that If you liked the movie Amelie, you ll love the sparse, haunting story of a hurt woman being told here, who slowly learns to trust the world again through the relative warmth of urban kitchens like I said, the finale can be heartbreaking if you let it Oh, just read any of Yoshimoto s books, seriously One of the many things I love about goodreads is that a person is able to see what other friends think about a novel before committing oneself to reading it I would have never read KITCHEN had I not seen that Mariel, Oriana, and Jason Pettus, three of my friends, all thought highly of this slim book But, even with the high ratings of these three friends , I still had to find out information about Banana Yoshimoto, the author So I went to Wikipedia obviously, where else would I go and read about her accomplishments and many literary awards in her home country of Japan It seemed there was a phase lovingly referred to as Bananamania both in the US and in Japan Then, just as I had decided that perhaps this book was not worth moving to the top of my TBR pile, I saw that Yoshimoto had outspokenly said that she aims to win the Nobel Prize in literature I loved this bravado Most critics don t see this as happening, saying she is a lightweight Well, I put what the critics had to say aside and began reading this novel.And I have to say I loved the use of a kitchen as a metaphor for life and life s daily interactions When you stop to think about it, there are a lot of events that happen in a kitchen over the course of the day I had never stopped to give this much thought In graduate school I did read some essays by a sociologist and anthropologist team that ventured across Europe studying bathrooms as a way to see into a country s culture But if the kitchen metaphor was only a stand a lone point of the story, the book would have floundered So Yoshimoto supplies whatever actions happen in a kitchen home, apartment, restaurant, even the simple act of eating as communion with direct language that is sparse, beautiful, and laden with underlying messages You see, the real question of this novel is What does love mean to a person when it becomes absent in one s life This is an incredibly difficult question to answer, for both the characters in the story as well as for the reader In the story, Mikage loses her grandmother and is then invited to stay with Eriko a transvestite and her his son, Yuichi For the most part, this piecemeal family goes about its daily interactions as any normal family would That is until tragedy strikes I won t spoil what happens, but let s just say Mikage loses again, along with some other characters It is at this point that the reader takes on a new role one of participant There are several choices that the reader must make 1 stop reading 2 allow the events to play out and continue reading or 3 believe in the tragedy and get lost in the story I chose number 3 And even though I have no basis of understanding to compare to these characters, I felt their pain, the confusion, the moments of helplessness that teeter precariously on the edge of hopelessness Perhaps it would be easy to label this as just a sentimental novel by an overrated novelist but that may be missing the point This is a powerful novel if allowed to be read as a powerful novel It tries to give answers to difficult questions Sometimes the novel succeeds Sometimes it fails, even, dare I say, becomes hokey But all of that can be whitewashed over by the simple notion that this novel achieves what other great novels achieve the ability to be whatever the reader wants it to be.I cannot say that Banana Yoshimoto will be a contender for the Nobel Prize, but I can say that she delivers a strong argument for being one of the great writers currently writing today.VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED People aren t overcome by situations or outside forces defeat invades from within I didn t like this book It comprises a novella Kitchen and short story Moonlight Shadow , but I m not sure how much is the book s fault, and how much can be attributed to being set in an unfamiliar culture Japanese teens twenties , possibly bad translation, and that although the atmosphere is contemporary, it was actually written and set nearly 30 years ago.I was expecting lyrical language, and quirky insights into Japanese attitudes to death and LGBTQ issues I was sadly disappointed, but kept going because it was short and because I gave up part way through my previous book something I rarely do.Language Teens and TranslationThe weaknesses here made me sad Both stories are narrated by a different young woman The language is often simple, but rather than the spare beauty I vaguely associate with Japanese and Chinese writing, it s mostly just banal and awkward That may be how angst ridden, love up, bereaved Japanese YAs really speak or spoke, 30 years ago or it may be the translation, but the result is the same.After a particularly egregious section of stilted psychobabble, one character says, What kind of talk is that Sounds like it was translated from English I guess the author is aware of how clunky it is Odd It s amazing how good this is, I said Isn t it, said Hiiraji Yes, it s delicious So delicious it makes me grateful I m alive, I said.Another Why do I love everything that has to do with kitchens so much a kitchen represents some distant longing engraved on my soul Does anyone think like that And it doesn t answer the question anyway Metaphors must be hard to translate, but this one is so mixed up, I grudgingly admire it The two of us, alone, were flowing down that river of light, suspended in the cosmic darkness, and were approaching a critical juncture Maybe YAs would relate to the characters better than I did I have no idea , but I d be reluctant to recommend it to them because of the next problemTransgender is not TransvestiteThe weaknesses here made me cross Anyone concerned with LGBTQ issues especially trans ones may feel the urge to throw this book at the wall One has to remember it s a different culture, a generation ago, but the trouble is, it doesn t feel like a historical novel.One young man takes to wearing his dead girlfriend s sailor suit school uniform He finds that comforting and no one would think it odd for a girl to wear a boyfriend s jumper a female friend is mortified to be seen with him, but other girls find it attractive because they assume it means he understands women Not exactly enlightened views, but plausible, perhaps However, they re not challenged, which tacitly condones them.Worse, is the trans character She s much loved and sympathetically portrayed, but the terminology is muddled and descriptions would raise eyebrows and hackles nowadays Early on, she is described as having had everything done , from her face to her whatever , but she is often referred to as really being a man or a transvestite Then it turns out that it was only when her wife died that she realised I didn t like being a man It became clear that the best thing to do was to adopt a sort of muddled cheerfulness So I became a woman Really Just like that To be cheerfully muddled Finding Solace after BereavementThe sudden death of loved ones is a unifying aspect of both stories They all find awkward support from each other, and one finds solace in kitchens and food, another in jogging and the river that had divided them, been their meeting place, and was ultimately where they were separated for ever I felt that I was the only person alive and moving in a world brought to a stop Houses always feel like that after someone has died If I had lost a parent, partner or child, maybe I d have been engaged with this book, but I suspect my experience would be so different as to be barely comparable I m grateful that I m not in the position to compare.Still, this helpfully explains that losing a partner is even worse than losing a dog or a bird So I ve learned something Depth There were glimpses of something deeper When overtly self analytical, I don t think they worked, but some were genuinely poignant and thought provoking.Mikage was an orphan, raised by her grandmother I was always aware that my family consisted of only one other person The space that cannot be filled, no matter how cheerfully a child and an old person live together the deathly silence that, panting in the corner of the room, pushes its way in like a shudder The punctuation is a little odd, though Reality, Magical Realism, DreamsBoth stories have a dash of this In the first, it s a dream that might be a premonition in the second, there s an ethereal character who maybe shows another character a little gap in time.Quote Far off in the pale sky, thin clouds gently flowed, suspended It was the kind of frozen morning in which mood shadows seem to be pasted on the sky She was someone whose face told you nothing The little girl, whose face epitomized grandchild Her power was the brilliance of her charm which condemned her to an ice cold loneliness The sound of raindrops began to fall in the transparent stillness of the evening Traditional housewives had been taught, probably by caring parents, not to exceed the boundaries of their happiness On the deserted bridge, with the city misted over by the blue haze of dawn, my eyes absently followed the white embankment that continued on to who knows where I rested, enveloped by the sound of the current I want to continue living with the awareness that I will die Without that, I am not alive Hmmm. 2 quirky, lazy, sloppy stars I wanted to like this book very much In the end, I couldn t Poor writing, incongruent character psychologies and inane dialogue took any enjoyment away from a rather sweet melancholy love story Another little novella was included in this volume Moonlight Shadow I do not have the patience nor the stamina to read it. if a person hasn t ever experienced true despair, she grows old never knowing how to evaluate where she is in life never understanding what joy really is I m grateful for it. Samadrita in her excellent review began with There s something about Japanese writers They have the unparalleled ability of transforming an extremely ordinary scene from our everyday mundane lives into something magical and other worldly.I thoroughly agree with her and that magical quality transforms what could have been a rather banal book into a great one.The book is divided into two stories both concerning young Japanese women.KitchenMikage Sakurai has lost her dearly beloved grandmother whom she had been living with, and she feels lost, alone and vulnerable She s now an orphan as there are no other relatives The tide has gone out and she doesn t know when or whether it will return She knows she has to find a new apartment to live in but hesitates So when a casual acquaintance, Yuichi Tanabe, who used to work part time in her grandmother s favourite flower shop, invites her to stay with him and his mother, Eriko, she agrees, especially when she sees the enormous sofa, which would be her bed, in the living room and finally the kitchen She was a particular lover of kitchens The place I like best in this world is the kitchen No matter where it is, no matter what kind, if it s the kitchen, if it s a place where they make food, it s fine with me Ideally it should be well broken in Lots of tea towels, dry and immaculate White tile catching the light ting ting.I truly empathized with Mikage from the beginning of this story to the end A tale that on the surface appeared to be simple and even trite at times, but which soon uncovered a multi faceted kaleidoscope of human emotions which I had never seen expressed in this way before.I was the sword in the scabbard firmly attached at Mikage s side I was her friend, her alter ego and champion in her quest to re find herself, in fact her soul I would protect her at all cost.Such interesting characters are to be found in this rather philosophical work, individuals in fact who I continued to think about after I finished the book.During the time that Mikage spends with Eriko and her son, Yuichi, the latter who appeared to be a quiet unassuming person, was slowly transformed into a soul mate of Mikage which rather stunned her She felt he knew her very soul When you re travelling, every night the air is clear and crisp, the mind serene In any case, if nobody was waiting for me anywhere, yes, this serene life would be the thing But I m not free, I realized I ve been touched by Yuichi s soul How much easier it would be to stay away forever.Eriko in particular fascinated me She was a transvestite, originally Yuichi s father, then upon the death of his wife from cancer and thanks to plastic surgery, became his mother She was also the owner of a gay bar Eriko was such a vibrant individual, colourful and generous both emotionally and physically She brought back purpose into Mikage s life, but then tragedy struck again Truly great people emit a light that warms the hearts of those around them When that light has been put out, a heavy shadow of despair descends Perhaps Eriko s was only a minor kind of greatness, but her light was sorely missed.The moon and light are also important themes that flow throughout this story.In addition, there are innumerable turns of phrase that are unforgettable but I particularly liked Their faces shone like buddhas when they smiled., and The dirigible traversed the sky like a pale moonbeam, its tiny lights blinking on and off.When I finished this tale, I thought of love won and then lost, tragedy, pain, and suffering that I had just encountered but then beauty, hope and optimism are also there What a marvellous mix Moonlight Shadow Wherever he went, Hitoshi always had a little bell with him, attached to the case he kept his bus pass in Even though it was just a trinket, something I gave him before we were in love, it was destined to remain at his side until the last. This story is also about a young woman called Satsuki who has lost her loved one, Hitoshi but it has of a metaphysical feel to it Yes, she has this same dreadful sense of loss as the earlier story Hitoshi had a brother called Hiiragi, who had lost his girlfriend Yumiko at the same time as Hitoshi had been killed.Satsuki often goes to the bridge where she used to meet Hitoshi and one day she meets a young woman called Urara And due to this meeting, Satsuki and even Hiiragi have these metaphysical experiences This story is all rather dream like and so different to Kitchen but still excellent in its own right.When I looked at this title I kept on thinking about the music of Mike Oldfield s Moonlight Shadow In the preface, the author mentions that she wished to dedicate this song to Mr Jiro Yoshikawa, who had introduced this music to her, the inspiration for this story.Two exquisite stories and highly, highly recommended. Kitchen and its accompanying story Moonlight Shadow comprise the first novella by award winning Japanese novelist Banana Yoshimoto Both stories are told through the eyes of young women grieving following the death of a loved one, and deal with how that death plays a profound role in relationships going forward Told in straight forward prose leaving nothing to chance, Yoshimoto tells two elegant stories In Kitchen, Mikage Sakurai had just lost her grandmother, the last person in her family to pass away Alone in the world and unable to cope with her university schedule, Mikage falls into a bleak existence One day, a classmate named Yuichi Tanabe invites her to live with him and his mother in their apartment because Mikage s grandmother had a profound effect on him Although reluctant to accept the kindness, Mikage agrees and the Tanabe s couch becomes her new home Mikage becomes rooted in the kitchen It becomes her compass by which she compares all homes that she has ever entered Upon arriving, she takes over cooking for Yuichi and his mother Eriko, a transvestite who runs an all night club Both lead busy lives and emit positive energy, encouraging Mikage to engage in her newfound passion of cooking The three make up a new family unit until Mikage can recover from all the death around her Months pass and Eriko is murdered at her club The tables turn and Mikage helps Yuichi cope with his loss Their relationship continues to center around food, and Yoshimoto paints a vivid picture of their life with her description of food and colors as well as Mikage s dreams that determine which life path that she should take Although both Mikage and Yuichi appear to have bleak existences, their story ends with the reader feeling hopeful that they have finally turned the corner These dreams segue to Yoshimoto s second story, Moonlight Shadow Satsuki is only twenty years old when her boyfriend of four years Hitoshi passes away in a tragic accident Unable to cope, she turns to jogging in order to push away sad thoughts Hitoshi s brother Hiirage who is also coping with the death in his own way attempts to pull Satsuki out of her destitute life, yet to no avail Eventually a stranger named Urara appears and tells Satsuki of a phenomenon that could end her pain at once This leads to a denouement in which Yoshimoto gives Satsuki hope for her future Banana Yoshimoto has been a leading Japanese novelist for the past thirty years Her first two stories contrast the pain of death for the living with their hope for a brighter future Using luscious imagery of food and dreams, Yoshimoto creates vivid scenes in which the living should be happy to be alive These two stories compliment each other perfectly and rate 4 bright stars. Can cooking help you cope with the despondency you feel from loss I m not talking about wolfing down garlic mashed potatoes from a pan I m talking about a multi course gourmet meal that you are willing to toss out if it s not perfect and start all over again That s the theme of Kitchen Our main character is a twentyish woman who lost her father at an early age and then her mother She went to live with grandparents but her grandfather died, and then her grandmother, and now she has no living relatives She turns to her kitchen But she is also invited to live with the family of a young man she has known since childhood Now here s a modern family just two people, the young man and his mother But did I tell you his father is his mother Or, to phrase that correctly, his mother is his father It s a transgender situation The two young people are drawn to each other but then he is hit by loss They grapple with trying to help each other, maybe love each other, or maybe just pity each other, and try to stop each other from jumping over the edge This very short novel has a short story appended at the end Moonlight Shadow This story, also about loss, and it could be the same woman, takes us into magical realism Maybe they do come back, at least to tell you they re ok.I found the two stories very moving and fascinating to read Translated from the Japanese Photo Model of a Japanese kitchen, ca 1880, from peabody.harvard.edu