Books From Around the World.

Hiromi Kawakami – Strange Weather in Tokyo.

So I’m starting a new thing this week, where every month I’ll spotlight a book of an author from around the world. (Hence the title).  I want to use my platform to highlight the talent and works of diverse authors and in some small way, allow representation to flourish. Literature is a wonderful medium for us to connect to different cultures, backgrounds, ways of life and I think we forget that sometimes. This isn’t a preachy post either, I’m trying to expand my own booksphere (can I claim the patent for ‘booksphere’?) and this is merely a space for me to verbalise that.

That said, Here is my book for the month of March.

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Hiromi Kawakami is a Japanese writer best known for her off-beat fiction. She has been awarded and has made the shortlist for many honours, such as the 2014 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and the 2012 Man Asian Literary Prize for Strange Weather in Tokyo.

Honestly, I had no prior knowledge of Kawakami’s work, and my reason for picking this book up was that the cover was pretty (I know how this sounds) and that it was a relatively short read. To summarise the story, it tells that of Tsukiko a woman in her thirties and Sensei a man in his seventies who was once Tsukiko’s teacher. The book explores their relationship as it blossoms and they realise they have many similar interests.

I was immediately taken by how cinematic it was, though slow and largely character-driven, the chapters read a lot like scenes, from Santuro’s bar, to mushroom hunting, Sensei’s house etc there’s almost an episode quality which I really enjoyed. There also isn’t any explanation for why they are lonely, unfulfilled perhaps, but they just are and it’s not a detail I feel lacks. We as readers begin to accept it without any real need for an explanation, and as their relationship becomes more complicated there exists a  juxtaposition in their need to deepen their acquaintance but remain separate. It very much becomes a book about two people attempting to navigate their spaces in a way that accommodates for the other, but also allows for solitude.

Perhaps this next association is a stretch, but Japanese culture is often known for its’ cleanliness and love of simplicity (at least by my very minimal understanding).  I believe that’s something that is palpable through this novel, the narrative style is neat, uncluttered and organized.

I really enjoyed this book and I’ll definitely be checking out Kawakami’s other works. It read almost like a dream and was very gentle, a book that you read with ease, and not something that you feel rushing. Definitely recommend it.

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Has anyone else read this or any other Kawakami’s books? Have any recommendations for me? (I can never get too many of those.) Leave me a comment below, tweet me or head over to my Goodreads all of which can be found in my sidebar and let me know!

 

 

 

 

 

Travels · United Kingdom

Girls just want to have fun.

As any early twentysomething, I too suffer from university related nostalgia. Heck sometimes it’s high school nostalgia. It’s not so bad seeing as most of my best friends have been my best friends since high school, but the days where we stay up all weekend living it up seem fewer and further between now that we’re trying to become functioning, responsible adults. (It has its’ ups and downs). Naturally when we went to Birmingham mid-February we tried to reclaim our teenage days. Here are some snaps from our adventures.

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Note everyone’s different reactions. M’s confused, K’s bemused and B is just a happy girl always.

 

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“Basically I saw it on snapchat. Or was it Instagram? I don’t know, I’m too much of a millennial to remember.”

The food here was super! And perfect for a group of gals who totally did not sleep at 4am and drink too much the night before what. Definitely recommend this place if you’re ever down in Birmingham, it sits right on the canal.

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Not sure if this was the best hot chocolate she ever had, but she loved it. See the canal peeping in the back? So wonderful.
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Hash, tomatoes, mushrooms and all the cheese. A Hungover girl’s joy. Also, plus points for serving it in a frying pan.

I’m definitely going to try and document our adventures a little more, if only just for me.

Neha x

Uncategorized

Update.

Can you believe it’s been almost a year since I’ve written on here?  I think what’s weirder is that I didn’t realise it had been so long. Rather I always told myself that I’d write something ‘soon’ and I never got round to it.

Here I am pledging, that I’ll have at least one new post every month – which, I know, if you scroll down, you won’t believe. But I’m going to do it this time.

Also, this post doesn’t count.

Speak soon.

Neha x

 

Neha's Poems · writing

Wings. – Neha’s Poems.

Why do they think we take up space

in the workplace, on the pavement, in the bed

As though it’s not meant to be ours

When we are half of the space, itself.

Do they dread?

A world in which they have to compete.

Does it frighten them beyond belief

that we can take what they have

that we can raise hell,

with our brains and our wit

our rose tipped knuckles and hair with sweet smells.

I may wear bows and frills

but the wings of my eyeliner, dear one,

are the kind that can kill.

twentysomething

Almost half way through the year.

It’s been a long time, I know.

Like all of three months actually. But, you’ll be happy to know that I just finished up a wonderful internship, like the best one I’ve done. (I’ve done three in my lifetime, which is an interesting reflection on our current state of employment). If you sense a passive aggression, you’ve sensed correctly.

A lot’s happened in three months. Batman Vs Superman was surprisingly bad, and Civil War was good. We lost Agent Carter, a big screw you to ABC, and it’ll be two years without The Newsroom this year. Also, Donald Trump is no longer a novelty and Azealia Banks called my people ‘curry scented’ and people are still wearing bindis’ and headdresses to Coachella because people are morons. We also lost David Bowie and Prince, who inspired the very first short novel I wrote, with his song ‘Purple Rain.’

I’ve grown a lot too. Turns out confidence really is the best thing that can happen to a person. Resulting side effects include happiness and a ‘take on the world’ attitude that I’m really embracing. For this reason, I hope to spend the remainder of my year job-hunting (obviously) and getting around to starting some personal projects. We’re talking films and podcasts. But I won’t go into that just yet.

Stay tuned, and I swear it won’t be another three months.

Neha. x

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Sidenote, I’m always looking for book recommendations (of any kind) and my goodreads is in my sidebar. Along with my twitter and Instagram. Please send me your book recommendations!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Neha's Poems · Uncategorized

Substance and style. – Neha’s Poems.

I liked you a lot, but I just didn’t like you enough, you said

I was almost prepared to like me enough

for the both of us.

I didn’t mind, not one bit

but then I did mind more than one bit.

You wanted blonde, you wanted tall

you wanted no personality at all

you didn’t want funnier than you

and honey, I am the funniest of them all.

And as a student, my teacher once said

that I must, not ever

“be style over substance, dear.”

                                                and I will not, I would rather be dead.

 

happy things · writing

Happiness Jar.

We are officially, almost three weeks into the new year! I can literally still taste the food I had for Christmas, insane.

Anyway, my friend gifted me with one of these: a happiness jar.

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This jar has “Kilner” written on it. And while I’m not entirely sure where it’s from, I’m sure it’s not hard to find out!

 

While I thought I’d have nothing to put in here till at least February, I’ve found that I’ve already got a lot to be thankful for. You don’t need to wait till January 1st to start one, head on down to Ikea – or Asda/Walmart depending on where you all live – and buy a little inexpensive mason jar and you’re good to go! Pimp it out if you like, add some glitz.

The notes inside don’t have to be long, but if like me you need gentle reminders that everything in your life is pretty great, I definitely recommend it.

Have a great day, and I promise – Berlin part II will be up tomorrow.

Neha. x