Posts tagged reading
A Feast of Japanese Cusine
She said that was the only way for us to live, to be like the poets. That’s what she said. If all you ever see is reality, you just want to die. The only way to get over barriers, she said, is to live in the spirit of already being over them.
— Durian Sukegawa, Sweet Bean Paste

I just finished Sweet Bean Paste by Durian Sukegawa, and I will admit, this kind of soft soft slice-of-life stories are not my usual fare, but they definitely deserve a place in any diet (When it comes to Japanese writing I am more a Yoko Ogawa / Junji Ito kind of a person.) If you liked Banana Yoshimoto’s Kitchen, you’ll probably enjoy this one a lot; it gives me that same warm fuzzy feelings. It is a simple story that follows the unlikely couple formula; washed out man working at a dorayaki store meets an extraordinary woman with extraordinary circumstances and gives him a new perspective in life and gently encouraging him. His problems aren’t all magically solved in the end but there is some hope for his future. And at the same time, the story sheds light on social issues in Japan - the way lepers (yes literal leprosy not a metaphor) were treated and continue to be treated today. 


And then a friend of mine introduced me to the mobile game Hungry Hearts Diner (Available on the Apple store and Google Play store). I highly recommend this! The game takes place in a post WWII Japan, where an old lady is trying to keep her husband’s diner going after he’s had an accident. You interact with customers, which unlocks conversations and you find out more about them as well as the old lady, and you have to be heartless to not be moved by the storylines.

I also adore reading the descriptions of the different dishes she cooks. The Braised Pork description is sassy “Some heathens leave behind the fatty bits” while Edamame is educational '“Selectively bred to accompany beer… or so you would think. Did you know they’re actually baby soybeans?” The game has also given me an intense desire to try to cooking Nikujaga, and also maybe giving Japanese potato salad (which is superior to the Western variety I maintain) a go.

First Book of 2019
I wake up the next morning renewed. I am a girl with a plan. I’m just going to have to avoid Josh forever. It’s as simple as that.
— To All The Boys I've loved Before, Jenny Han

I paid the new local independent bookstore The Moon a visit on 4 Jan. They’ve basically taken the secret bookstore cafe I’ve always wanted - Because books that focus on women writers! And women of colour! And cake! - and turned it into an actual space! I highly recommend everyone checks it out. Came out with Ocean Vuong’s poetry collection Night Sky with Exit Wounds, Durian Sukegawa’s Sweet Bean Paste and of course, Jenny Han’s To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. I haven’t actually finished a proper novel in a while - I’ve been too busy playing with the Nintendo Switch and reading fanfiction on the phone instead, so I figured the best way to kickstart reading the new year would be with something light hearted.

Whilst at The Moon, I was able to have a nice chat with the owner, Sara, and when she was checking out my purchases she asked if I’d watched the Netflix movie. I answered “Twice” with the biggest soppiest grin on my face and she told me to let her know if the book was good. I’ve read that book Kavinsky > movie Kavinsky, and movie Kavinsky (played by Noah Centineo) was already adorable so I had no idea how book Kavinsky was going to top that.

In the movie Lara Jean literally runs away, climbs out the window of her room on the second floor to tumble down to the first, and kisses a boy to avoid talking to another one. She has been no less dramatic in the book so far and I love it. I would also like to say I relate to these heavy handed avoidance methods but a friend of mine tells me that what I do with boys who displease me is hiss at them from a distance. I should probably be more ashamed at the accuracy of this description but I am too amused.