I didn’t plan on reading this book – but after reading Before The Coffee Gets Cold, I figured I need more dose of Japanese literature. I loved Strange Weather In Tokyo just as much, despite the time I took to finish reading it (I really miss the times when I can finish reading a book in one night). It was full of so many things I could relate to, things that I never thought could be beautiful if put together.
One thing I noticed in the two Japanese books I’ve read is that there were no surprises. No, of course, they weren’t mystery books, but if you’re expecting an unusual twist to the story, you’d be disappointed. This book is straightforward – you know what’s going to happen, and it will happen. The art, however, lies on how the story unfolds, on haikus and little poems you’d stumble upon along the way. And the way it was written is just too beautiful it’s almost lyrical. I know this is just a translation, so I could only imagine how much more when it’s in its original language?
The hovering loneliness… again?
I am not sure if this is just me, or the characters in the Japanese books I’ve read (there’s only two of them though) feel a little bit too lonely. For the most part of the book, I believed Tsukiko has been suffering from extreme loneliness, and maybe from the monotony of her life as a single woman in her late thirties, that she thought she has fallen in love with a man twice her age. It was something to look forward to – a few hours of talking about things like poetry, food, mushrooms, the stars, and the reasons why there are birds that hum in the evening over beers and saké with the most sensible person you could ever know. After all, Mr. Matsumoto was her high school teacher. When Kojima came into the picture, I saw a bit of distraction. I thought of it over and over: will Tsukiko fall for him instead, since they were the same age and, therefore, would understand each other more? But as I finally closed the book, I realized that this kind of “something to look forward to” is maybe what we all need in life. Maybe we all need someone to talk to about trivial things that matter. At the end of the day, Mr. Matasumoto was true, the kind of man any woman would fall for.
Beer, food, rain
There were lots of food in this book – edamame, mushroom soup, daikon, yudofu, miso… I Googled them all and found out they’re just simple dishes, but they were all described as mouth-watering meals one could ever have they all made me hungry and craved for beef udon. Beer and saké, food, and rain – these things remind me of the lonely table for one I used to occupy in the convenience store at 2 in the morning on a Sunday back when I worked graveyard (minus the alcohol, of course). There’s that word – lonely. For some reason, I felt lonely while reading this book. But it was the kind of loneliness that one would embrace wholeheartedly. The kind that one wouldn’t want to let go. The kind that’s too peaceful.
Strange Weather In Tokyo is the book you would want to curl up with alongside your coffee on a lazy, rainy, Saturday afternoon when you’ve got nothing else to do. It intensifies the mood. In a good way.
Stay sane, lovelies! ❤️