Reading can seem a
rare pleasure but for me
it still beats n/f.
I’ve made quite a bit of time lately for reading lately, thanks to a certain hurricane which meant the time was made for me as online tv/film watching was unavailable but also, pre-hurricane, thanks to certain brilliant books I have been borrowing from the library which prompted me to ditch the online viewing (nf mainly, occasionally yt.) myself. In addition to the brilliant library books, I also decided to go back to ones on my shelf which I bought a year or two ago (and read – no tsundoku here!) but for some reason did not put them in my literature list.
Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami (called The Briefcase in other parts of the world, which is also the title of the last chapter in the book) is a good one from Japan. It shows love in a different light. Once you put aside the initial weirdness of how the mature woman and a former high school teacher of hers come to meet, the story is quite sweet. It’s not the age gap that is wierd exactly as they are both now adults (Memoirs of a Geisha is way creepier in that regard), only that he first recognised her as the school girl she had once been and keeps commenting throughout their relationship on her studiousness, or lack of it, in school and saying things like ‘good girl’ and patting her on the head (you wouldn’t even pat a child on the head). However, they’re clearly somehow meant to be as they find out, despite her occasionally feeling at odds with the association, and I guess more unusual couples exist. This is a book I bought a few years ago and read at the time but the second reading is better and the humour comes out more on a second reading. The translator who worked on the book is Allison Markin Powell (I like to name the translator).
Another book I had time to read for the second time, bought around the same time as Strange Weather was Revenge by Yoko Ogawa. This is a book of eleven dark tales with the main characters in each being connected in the oddest ways. The translator of that is Stephen Snyder. This was a very quirky one which also explores loneliness.
By the way, I’m so glad to see the Nobel Prize for Literature went to Kazuo Ishiguro. He’s such a good writer. I’ve been meaning to buy one of his recent novels, having read some of his earlier ones. Nice to see the prize go to an actual author again, and a very deserving one he is. They might have learned their lesson now and continue giving it to authors. I’ve nothing against Bob Dylan, whose lyrics are lovely, but he didn’t even seem to want it and took his time showing up to receive it!! What’s more, you don’t know who’ll be expecting one now, using Bob Dylan as a precedent. I shudder to think. So, just stick to writers please.
It seems the political climate in Tokyo is going to stay the same for a while with Shinzo Abe’s landslide victory in the elections. Despite the additional options available this time around, including the current Tokyo governor whom I’ve mentioned before with her Party of Hope, and another new party, the CDP (Constitutional Democratic Party) led by a Yukio Edano, he still won due to his hard line stance, understandably I guess, on North Korea. This CDP sounds interesting though and might prompt change in certain areas.