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Kitchen

My best friend Jeff first introduced me to this author. We are both half-Japanese and like to explore our heritage. Receiving this book was one of the most wonderful gifts that have been given to me.

NOTE: All quotes are copyright © 1988 by Banana Yoshimoto. English translation copyright © 1993 by Megan Backus. Typos and grammatical errors copyright © 2000-2014 Monica Hübinette.

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Kitchen (Paperback)
Author: Banana Yoshimoto, Megan Backus -- Published: Mar 1994 -- Format: Paperback
Amazon Amazon.com Price: -- This item is currently not available.
Amazon UK Amazon UK Price: -- Limited availability
Click for larger image DESCRIPTION:
Two stories, "Kitchen" and "Moonlight Shadow," told through the eyes of a pair of contemporary young Japanese women, deal with the themes of mothers, love, transsexuality, kitchens, and tragedy.

MONICA'S REVIEW:
The first story is a novella titled Kitchen. It features Mikage who is a young woman who recently lost the last member of her family, her grandmother. She finds solace in her kitchen and in the meals she makes there. During this tale, her journey to find peace, love, friendship and family again are told.

Moonlight Shadow is the second story. A young woman is the main character and she has to deal with a love lost much too early. She encounters a mysterious young lady who gives her an incredible gift. The whole story is cloaked in enchantment, sorrow, love, and loss. You realize how hazy the boundry is between dreams, reality, time, space, and death are.

I was totally enthralled by the story and the mysticism that Banana weaves around her stories. I am not sure if Kitchen is really her best work or if it is just my nostalgia kicking in, but I do highly recommend it.

OTHER EDITIONS:
There is also an edition available in a French translation from Amazon Canada®.

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Kitchen (Hardcover)
Author: Banana Yoshimoto, Megan Backus -- Published: Jan 1993 -- Format: Hardcover
Amazon Amazon.com Price: -- This item is currently not available.
Amazon UK Amazon UK Price: -- Limited availability
Click for larger image DESCRIPTION:
Two stories, "Kitchen" and "Moonlight Shadow," told through the eyes of a pair of contemporary young Japanese women, deal with the themes of mothers, love, transsexuality, kitchens, and tragedy.
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Favorite Quotes from Kitchen
Information · Book Reviews · Interviews
Now only the kitchen and I are left. It's Just a little nicer than being left all alone.
--Mikage Sakurai's thoughts after her Grandmother's death--

Hair that rustled like silk to her shoulders; the deep sparkle of the long, narrow eyes; well formed lips, a nose with a high, straight bridge—the whole of her gave off a marvelous light that seemed to vibrate with life force.
--Mikage's first impression of Yuichi Tanabe's mother--

When was it I realized that, on this truly dark and solitary path we all walk, the only way we can light is our own?
--Mikage's thoughts on death and loneiness--

As I walked along in the moonlight, I wished that I might spend the rest of my life traveling from place to place.
--Mikage wandering the nighttime streets, pondering her life--

But I'm not free, I realized; I've been touched by Yuichi's soul.
--Mikage relishes her relationship with Yuichi, even though it can be difficult--

In the gloom of death that surrounded the two of us, we were just at the point of approaching and negotiating a gentle curve. If we bypassed it, we would split off into different directions ... [and] would forever remain friends.
--A pivotal point in Mikage and Yuichi's relationship--

We all believe we can choose our own path from among the many alternatives. But perhaps it's more accurate to say we make the choice unconsciously.
--Mikage's thoughts about destiny and fate--

I felt that I was inside Yuichi's nightmare, and that if I stayed too long I, too, would become a part of it, destined to be snuffed out in the gloom.
--Yuichi depression was obvious to Mikage--

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Favorite Quotes from Moonlight Shadow
Information · Book Reviews · Interviews
There was electric charge between our hearts, and its conduit was the sound of the bell.
--Satsuki on how the love between her and Hitoshi can be represented by a trinket--

If, in a flash, we remembered, we would suddenly be crushed with the knowledge, the knowledge of our loss, and find ourselves standing alone in the darkness.
--Satsuki sees how Hiiragi and herself have been refusing to accept the loss of their loved ones--

In places where a loved one has died, time stops for eternity.
--Satsuki comments on the intersection where Hitoshi and Yumiko had died--

In retrospect I realize that fate was a ladder on which, at the time, I could not afford to miss a single rung.
--Satsuki realizes that no matter how hard it gets, it isn't worth taking shortcuts--

If only the sun would rise. If only morning would come.
--Satsuki trying to deal with her dreams about Hitoshi being alive--

There are people I have yet to meet, others I'll never see again. People who are gone before you know it, people who are just passing through. Even as we exchange hellos, they seem to grow transparent. I must keep living with the flowing river before my eyes.
--Satsuki, in a letter to Hitoshi--

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