Strange Weather in Tokyo, H. Kawakami (ed. Portobello)
Page number: 176
Release date: May 2014
Tags: Japanese Literature – Reunion – Teacher – Student – Forbidden Love – Boredom
One night when she is drinking alone in a local bar, Tsukiko finds herself sitting next to her former high school teacher. Over the coming months they share food and drink sake, and as the seasons pass – from spring cherry blossom to autumnal mushrooms – Tsukiko and her teacher come to develop a hesitant intimacy which tilts awkwardly and poignantly toward love.
After I read The Guest Cat, I wanted to discover the contemporary Japanese literature. So I choose this book after a recommendation.
This book does not have a lot of chapters (17), but the way it was written make the book longer. In fact, you take your time to read it, even if you have 176 pages, you will take a chance to appreciate it. Moreover, there are plenty of descriptions that make the story a tale rooted in reality. These great details can be for the nature that surrounds the protagonists, for the time and for the thoughts the woman has in the book. There is a chapter that was strange to read because it was like a dream which is made by the girl and when you started the next chapter it is like if it was real.
The book is filled with references to the Japanese culture. Indeed these allusions are in italic in the text. We also see these innuendos because even if we have the woman’s thoughts, she is very reserved with her thinking but also in the relationship with the other. We have the feeling that the respect and the indifference of the men block her to move forward. As in The Guest Cat, we have like a summary with this time, the exact length (2 years) between the beginning of the story and the end. During the last chapter the style change to be faster to read, so it is the one that takes the less time to read.
Conclusion: you will not read it avidly but take your time as this story takes time to evolve.