Year: 2020

Book review: 『駐在日記』 by Yukiya Shoji

Introduction Title: 『駐在日記』 (ちゅうざいにっき)Author: Yukiya SHOJI (小路 幸也)Published by 中公文庫253 pages Yukiya Shoji is a prolific author of fiction who wrote several mystery novels including the series “Tokyo Bandwagon” (東京バンドワゴン). 『駐在日記』 was first published in 2017 and got its first pocket edition this year (2020). There is a second volume entitled 『あの日にかえりたい』(published in 2019), which seems to be the direct following of 『駐在日記』. It is certainly better to read 『駐在日記』 first, as it introduces the characters and the setting. Review 『駐在日記』 is a short novel divided into four chapters. We follow the young couple Hana and Shuhei as they settle in the small and rural Kijiyama in 1975. Shuhei has been posted here as policeman and the couple moves in the police substation (駐在所). Hana decides to write a journal about their life there. Each chapter is devoted to a different case, but the story follows a chronological order and the book cannot be read as a collection of short stories. I bought this book because I love mystery novels and I also enjoy reading …

June wrap-up and reading challenge update!

I haven’t read that much in June compared to the previous months, but I still managed to complete my June challenge of 4 books. I read two books of the Galileo series, one children’s book with furigana and one novelisation. Finished! Galileo series 2 and 3: 『予知夢』 and 『容疑者Xの献身』 by Keigo Higashino (東野圭吾) I found both books extremely addictive. Contrary to the first book of the series, there were almost no scientific parts in 『予知夢』 and none in 『容疑者Xの献身』, which made the books easier to read and also more interesting to me. 『容疑者Xの献身』 is the first book of contemporary crime fiction that I re-read. I enjoyed it more in Japanese than when I first read it in translation because I knew the characters better: I have already read not only two books, but 10 short stories with Kusanagi and Yukawa. Unfortunately, the first two books of the series are not translated into French (nor English), so readers who read The Devotion of Suspect X meet Kusanagi and Yukawa for the first time. I will go on with the …

Book review: 『運転者』by Yasushi Kitagawa

Introduction Title: 『運転者』 (うんてんしゃ)Author: Yasushi KITAGAWA (喜多川 泰)Published by Discover (ディスカヴァー)239 pages Yasushi Kitagawa is a popular writer of fiction. His works are translated in several Asian countries and all his books have amazing reviews on Amazon. He also has a beautiful website that includes a blog updated every day and even an online shop where you can buy Kitagawa coffee… Review 『運転者』 is a light philosophical book that is likely to help you change your perception of life. Our protagonist, Shuichi, works for an assurance company, a stressful job where the number of sales determines next month’s salary. With his aging mother living alone and his daughter refusing to go to school, Shuichi is on the verge of a breakdown when he meets a mysterious taxi driver. I loved the book right from the beginning, because I liked the protagonist and found it easy to identify with him. However, 『運転者』 is not as much a great fictional story as a philosophical reflection on our life and how much our attitude alone can change things. …

Book review: 『ぼくはイエローでホワイトで、ちょっとブルー』by Mikako Brady

Introduction Title: 『ぼくはイエローでホワイトで、ちょっとブルー』Subtitle: The Real British Secondary School DaysAuthor Mikako Brady (ブレイディみかこ)Published by 新潮社 『ぼくはイエローでホワイトで、ちょっとブルー』is a nonfiction book published in 2019 (only available in soft cover but bigger format than pocket books). It is divided in 16 short chapters (around 15 pages each). Review I bought 『ぼくはイエローでホワイトで、ちょっとブルー』because it had amazing reviews on Amazon, it won prizes for nonfiction, and most of all, because I was interested in (what I thought would be) the main topic of the book. The author is Japanese, she lives in Brighton with her husband (who is Irish) and talks about the first year of middle school of her son in her book. Her son, who is half Japanese half Irish, is going to a school where the majority of students are coming from white working class families. When I chose this book, I thought it would be mainly about ethnic identity and racism. I was particularly interested in reading about identity from a Japanese point of view in a European country. I was certainly misled by the title that suggests …

Book review: 『いま、会いにゆきます』by Takuji Ichikawa

Introduction Title: 『いま、会いにゆきます』Author: Takuji ICHIKAWA (市川拓司)Published by 小学館文庫429 pages This novel was first published in 2003 and soon became a bestseller. In 2004, the story was adapted into film by Japanese director Nobuhiro Doi (土井裕泰). In 2018, Korean director Lee Jang-hoon (이장훈) made a remake of the film, under the title 지금 만나러 갑니다 (in  Japanese: Be With You – いま、会いにゆきます). This film, featuring stars like So Ji-sub (소지섭) and Son Ye-jin (손예진), has become a blockbuster in Korea and was released in Japan in 2019. When the Korean movie came out, the idea of watching it did not even cross my mind, because it is not the kind of films that I enjoy watching. At the time, I did not know that it was an adaptation of a Japanese novel. Though I had already seen the cover of 『いま、会いにゆきます』several times in bookshops or on Amazon, I failed to make the connection until I saw a copy of the book with the obi advertising for the Korean movie. Review 『いま、会いにゆきます』 has a beautiful story with interesting …