Memos from Asia

Books by Japanese Authors Worth Your Attention

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Today I am going to share some books by various Japanese authors for you to pick if you are interested in Japanese literature.

While many people had heard about authors like Haruki Murakami or Natsume Sōseki, there are many other creators whose novels are worth to be discovered, and books that will immerse you into a different culture and give some philosophical food for thought.

Here are the 5 books I would recommend for you to get into on a weekend night.

Traveling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa

This story tells us about a cat named Nana and a man named Satoru, and their relationship that develops throughout the book.

Nana is a stray cat who one day gets hit by a car, and Satoru picks him up to look out for and take care of. Later, they embark on a road trip together to find Nana a new owner, visiting some of Satoru’s old friends during their adventure. The story is filled with childhood stories, heart-grabbing memories, witty comments from little Nana, and the importance of loyalty and unconditional love. This wise feline’s narration will keep you engaged while also providing an insight into Japanese culture and traditions.

The Book has become a bestseller in Japan, and I would say – it is worth picking up!

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

This is the book about thirty-six year old Keiko Furukura, who lives in Tokyo. She has been an employee at the convenience store for eighteen years and enjoys her job. Keiko has out-of-the-ordinary perception of the world around her and doesn’t fit within the society. However, she is doing her best to adapt, to observe everyone and everything around her, studying the ways she should behave to fit into this world and to meet the expectations of others.

The story leaves its reader with some questions to think about. It raises the question of how people see the society, and how society has expectations for us all.

A short read worth picking up!

Sweet Bean Paste by Durian Sukegawa

Main character Sentaro has a criminal record, drinks more than he should, and he thinks his dreams are not possible to achieve anymore.

He is now working in a little confectionary shop selling dorayaki, drowning in his own misery. One day, an old lady named Tokue starts working in the shop alongside Sentaro. Not only Tokue makes the best bean paste Sentaro had ever tried, but she also guides him through a journey of self-discovery, teaching him patience, and the value of things in life.

Sweet Bean Paste is a novel about the importance of our past, the consequences that it brings sooner or later, and the ability to see and listen the world and people around you.

Get it on Apple Books

Tales of Moonlight and Rain by Ueda Akinari

This collection of nine supernatural and gothic tales was first published in 1776 and is an example of the literature of the occult. It contains atmospheric stories about creatures from Japanese and Chinese fiction, demons, vengeful ghosts, spirit possession, strange dreams and more, showing the fascination with the grotesque during that period of time.

This masterpiece had become a work of great significance, capturing the reader with the complexity of Ueda Akinari’s prose throughout the mysterious stories.

Get it on Apple Books

Miracles of the Namiya General Store by Keigo Higashino

Keigo Higashino tells us a magical story about three delinquents who were running away from the police as they decide to hide in an abandoned building. That building once was a general store, full of surprises for the main characters.

When they receive a letter in the mailbox that is clearly from the past, they realize that something strange and mysterious is going on in this building. After reading the letter from a woman asking for help, characters decide to reply back and give some counseling along the way. As the story goes on, they receive more and more envelopes from people with different troubles and do their best to help them out.

This book fluctuates between past and present times, catching reader’s attention with its heartwarming stories and great lovable characters!

Get it on Apple Books

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