Paperback ¶ キッチン [Kitchin] PDF/EPUB Á

Paperback  ¶ キッチン [Kitchin] PDF/EPUB Á
  • Paperback
  • 142 pages
  • キッチン [Kitchin]
  • Banana Yoshimoto
  • Dutch
  • 27 July 2019
  • 9789025456122

キッチン [Kitchin][Epub] ❧ キッチン [Kitchin] Author Banana Yoshimoto – Kitchen is het verhaal van Mikage, een jong meisje dat na het overlijden van haar grootmoeder zonder familie achterblijft Ze trekt in bij een jongen die ze maar vaag kent en zijn transseksuele moeder Kitchen is het verhaal van Mikage, een jong meisje dat na het overlijden van haar grootmoeder zonder familie achterblijft Ze trekt in bij een jongen die ze maar vaag kent en zijn transseksuele moeder Dood, eenzaamheid en liefde staan centraal, net als in Moonlight Shadow, het tweede verhaal in dit boekKitchen kreeg twee belangrijke literaire prijzen en er werden over de hele wereld miljoenen exemplaren van verkocht.

10 thoughts on “キッチン [Kitchin]

  1. says:

    There's something about Japanese writers. They have the unparalleled ability of transforming an extremely ordinary scene from our everyday mundane lives into something magical and other-worldly. A man walking along a river-bank on a misty April morning may appear to our senses as an ethereal being, barely human, on the path to deliverance and self-discovery.
    There's something deeply melancholic yet powerfully meaningful about the beautiful vignettes they beget. Few other writers are capable of creating such exquisite surrealistic imagery as the Japanese writers.

    Kitchen, by Banana Yoshimoto, is no exception to this cherished convention.
    Revolving around the theme of dealing with loss, Kitchen focuses on two young women as protagonists and their perceptions of life and death.
    It tells us about how recurring personal tragedies shape and reshape our views on life and death, the kind of catharsis we wish for and the mechanisms we often end up resorting to, in order to keep our personal grief from spilling over into the realm of our everyday reality.
    Kitchen is definitely not the most ingeniously narrated tale ever. Rather it suffers from the monotony of brief, simple sentences that may not sit well with some readers who love eloquence.
    But this simplistic mode of narration helps it stay true to its original intention, that of recounting the story of ordinary people doing ordinary things yet coming to unexpectedly profound realizations about the great quandary of life.

  2. says:

    Can cooking help you cope with the despondency you feel from loss? I’m not talking about wolfing down garlic mashed potatoes from a pan; I’m talking about a multi-course gourmet meal that you are willing to toss out if it’s not perfect and start all over again. That’s the theme of Kitchen. Our main character is a twentyish-woman who lost her father at an early age and then her mother. She went to live with grandparents but her grandfather died, and then her grandmother, and now she has no living relatives.

    She turns to her kitchen. But she is also invited to live with the family of a young man she has known since childhood. Now here’s a modern family: just two people, the young man and his mother. But did I tell you his father is his mother? Or, to phrase that more correctly, his mother is his father? It’s a transgender situation. The two young people are drawn to each other but then he is hit by loss. They grapple with trying to help each other, maybe love each other, or maybe just pity each other, and try to stop each other from jumping over the edge.


    This very short novel has a short story appended at the end: Moonlight Shadow. This story, also about loss, and it could be the same woman, takes us into magical realism. Maybe they do come back, at least to tell you they’re ok.

    I found the two stories very moving and fascinating to read. Translated from the Japanese.

    Photo: Model of a Japanese kitchen, ca. 1880, from

  3. says:

    Kitchen and its accompanying story Moonlight Shadow comprise the first novella by award winning Japanese novelist Banana Yoshimoto. Both stories are told through the eyes of young women grieving following the death of a loved one, and deal with how that death plays a profound role in relationships going forward. Told in straight forward prose leaving nothing to chance, Yoshimoto tells two elegant stories.

    In Kitchen, Mikage Sakurai had just lost her grandmother, the last person in her family to pass away. Alone in the world and unable to cope with her university schedule, Mikage falls into a bleak existence. One day, a classmate named Yuichi Tanabe invites her to live with him and his mother in their apartment because Mikage's grandmother had a profound effect on him. Although reluctant to accept the kindness, Mikage agrees and the Tanabe's couch becomes her new home.

    Mikage becomes rooted in the kitchen. It becomes her compass by which she compares all homes that she has ever entered. Upon arriving, she takes over cooking for Yuichi and his mother Eriko, a transvestite who runs an all night club. Both lead busy lives and emit positive energy, encouraging Mikage to engage in her newfound passion of cooking. The three make up a new family unit until Mikage can recover from all the death around her.

    Months pass and Eriko is murdered at her club. The tables turn and Mikage helps Yuichi cope with his loss. Their relationship continues to center around food, and Yoshimoto paints a vivid picture of their life with her description of food and colors as well as Mikage's dreams that determine which life path that she should take. Although both Mikage and Yuichi appear to have bleak existences, their story ends with the reader feeling hopeful that they have finally turned the corner.

    These dreams segue to Yoshimoto's second story, Moonlight Shadow. Satsuki is only twenty years old when her boyfriend of four years Hitoshi passes away in a tragic accident. Unable to cope, she turns to jogging in order to push away sad thoughts. Hitoshi's brother Hiirage who is also coping with the death in his own way attempts to pull Satsuki out of her destitute life, yet to no avail. Eventually a stranger named Urara appears and tells Satsuki of a phenomenon that could end her pain at once. This leads to a denouement in which Yoshimoto gives Satsuki hope for her future.

    Banana Yoshimoto has been a leading Japanese novelist for the past thirty years. Her first two stories contrast the pain of death for the living with their hope for a brighter future. Using luscious imagery of food and dreams, Yoshimoto creates vivid scenes in which the living should be happy to be alive. These two stories compliment each other perfectly and rate 4 bright stars.

  4. says:

    Oh, let's face it; I love everything Banana Yoshimoto's ever written! But that said, she's not for everyone; she's a minimalist storyteller, at least in my opinion, able to turn the emotional state of the right reader with the flick of just one beautiful perfect phrase, but only if you're ready to catch that beautiful perfect phrase and appreciate it for what it is. Give up on this review yet? Then you shouldn't be reading Yoshimoto! Actually consisting of two novellas, Kitchen (named after the better of the two) is the story of 1990s urban life in Japan, full of quirky postmodern characters right at the beginning of an age where the Web let everyone on the planet understand that. If you liked the movie Amelie, you'll love the sparse, haunting story of a hurt woman being told here, who slowly learns to trust the world again through the relative warmth of urban kitchens; like I said, the finale can be heartbreaking if you let it. Oh, just read any of Yoshimoto's books, seriously!

  5. says:

    This is a book on healing, a lovely look at the hurting human heart and its captivating reflection. Convalescence has never been so beautiful. One has to admit that the theme of loss in literature has been one of the most exploited and has been done so masterfully by the best. But never have I encountered one on recovery where it has been handled as exquisitely.

    “Everyone we love is dying. Still, to cease living is unacceptable.”

    When you lose someone, a void is created. You seek to fill that hole inside you. Stability is what you desire, because your once solid world of certainties has crumbled. And so we latch onto the most basic things and habits. Constant things we know that will never leave and never fail us: a kitchen, cooking, the road, running, clothing, videos, pictures, songs, books. You lean on that, get strength from the habit till you are strong enough to gamble on more uncertain things.

    Hurt is ice. It melts; it turns to water that evaporates into thin air. But ice takes time to melt, tear by tear. There is nothing you can do but wait, and so you do. Until the time when the coldness is gone and you sigh and inhale the air that was once pain.

    “In a downpour of blessings, I prayed, as though it were a hymn: Let me become stronger.”

    Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto is divided into two stories of love, loss, and hope. It’s one of the most breath-taking pieces of literature I’ve read. The stories’ elegant simplicity feels like a breeze of cold air that can hurt, numb, and refresh. There’s also an element in the writing that feels almost evanescent, a certain transparency that is pure honesty. I wasn’t instantly spell-binded as you might think. It took a while, but when it did, it felt right. Everything was perfectly clear, like looking into a small pond seeing your own reflection and washing your face with its cold clear water.

    I really needed this. Oftentimes we read books, they touch us and we cry but after a few hours it’s completely out of mind. Sometimes though, just sometimes we encounter a book that touches us so directly that it isn’t readily manifested by external emotions. This book is one of those. I didn’t cry, but I suffered. The last paragraph is nothing but one of the most beautiful things I have ever read. It stirred something inside me and after reading I felt a deep tranquility. I felt at peace. It seemed like a heavy burden was lifted from me and after, a delicious calm radiated through me. It still does.

    I feel light. I feel like flying, soaring.

    The worst is yet to come, but I feel hope.

  6. says:

    People aren't overcome by situations or outside forces; defeat invades from within.

    I didn't like this book. It comprises a novella (Kitchen) and short story (Moonlight Shadow), but I'm not sure how much is the book's fault, and how much can be attributed to being set in an unfamiliar culture (Japanese teens/twenties), possibly bad translation, and that although the atmosphere is contemporary, it was actually written and set nearly 30 years ago.

    I was expecting lyrical language, and quirky insights into Japanese attitudes to death and LGBTQ issues. I was sadly disappointed, but kept going because it was short and because I gave up part way through my previous book (something I rarely do).

    Language: Teens and Translation

    The weaknesses here made me sad. Both stories are narrated by a (different) young woman. The language is often simple, but rather than the spare beauty I vaguely associate with Japanese and Chinese writing, it's mostly just banal and awkward. That may be how angst-ridden, love-up, bereaved Japanese YAs really speak (or spoke, 30 years ago) or it may be the translation, but the result is the same.

    After a particularly egregious section of stilted psychobabble, one character says, What kind of talk is that? Sounds like it was translated from English. I guess the author is aware of how clunky it is. Odd.

    It's amazing how good this is, I said.
    Isn't it, said Hiiraji.
    Yes, it's delicious. So delicious it makes me grateful I'm alive, I said.

    Another: Why do I love everything that has to do with kitchens so much?... a kitchen represents some distant longing engraved on my soul. Does anyone think like that? (And it doesn't answer the question anyway.)

    Metaphors must be hard to translate, but this one is so mixed up, I grudgingly admire it: The two of us, alone, were flowing down that river of light, suspended in the cosmic darkness, and were approaching a critical juncture.

    Maybe YAs would relate to the characters better than I did (I have no idea), but I'd be reluctant to recommend it to them because of the next problem...

    Transgender is not Transvestite

    The weaknesses here made me cross. Anyone concerned with LGBTQ issues (especially trans ones) may feel the urge to throw this book at the wall. One has to remember it's a different culture, a generation ago, but the trouble is, it doesn't feel like a historical novel.

    One young man takes to wearing his dead girlfriend's sailor-suit school uniform. He finds that comforting (and no one would think it odd for a girl to wear a boyfriend's jumper); a female friend is mortified to be seen with him, but other girls find it attractive because they assume it means he understands women. Not exactly enlightened views, but plausible, perhaps. However, they're not challenged, which tacitly condones them.

    Worse, is the trans character. She's much loved and sympathetically portrayed, but the terminology is muddled and descriptions would raise eyebrows and hackles nowadays. Early on, she is described as having had everything 'done', from her face to her whatever, but she is often referred to as really being a man or a transvestite. Then it turns out that it was only when her wife died that she realised I didn't like being a man... It became clear that the best thing to do was to adopt a sort of muddled cheerfulness. So I became a woman. Really?! Just like that? To be cheerfully muddled?!

    Finding Solace after Bereavement

    The sudden death of loved ones is a unifying aspect of both stories. They all find awkward support from each other, and one finds solace in kitchens and food, another in jogging (and the river that had divided them, been their meeting place, and was ultimately where they were separated for ever).

    I felt that I was the only person alive and moving in a world brought to a stop. Houses always feel like that after someone has died.

    If I had lost a parent, partner or child, maybe I'd have been more engaged with this book, but I suspect my experience would be so different as to be barely comparable. I'm grateful that I'm not in the position to compare.

    Still, this helpfully explains that losing a partner is even worse than losing a dog or a bird! So I've learned something.


    There were glimpses of something deeper. When overtly self-analytical, I don't think they worked, but some were genuinely poignant and thought-provoking.

    Mikage was an orphan, raised by her grandmother: I was always aware that my family consisted of only one other person. The space that cannot be filled, no matter how cheerfully a child and an old person live together - the deathly silence that, panting in the corner of the room, pushes its way in like a shudder. (The punctuation is a little odd, though.)

    Reality, Magical Realism, Dreams

    Both stories have a dash of this. In the first, it's a dream that might be a premonition; in the second, there's an ethereal character who (maybe) shows another character a little gap in time.


    * Far off in the pale sky, thin clouds gently flowed, suspended.

    * It was the kind of frozen morning in which mood shadows seem to be pasted on the sky.

    * She was someone whose face told you nothing.

    * The little girl, whose face epitomized 'grandchild'.

    * Her power was the brilliance of her charm which condemned her to an ice-cold loneliness.

    * The sound of raindrops began to fall in the transparent stillness of the evening.

    * Traditional housewives had been taught, probably by caring parents, not to exceed the boundaries of their happiness.

    * On the deserted bridge, with the city misted over by the blue haze of dawn, my eyes absently followed the white embankment that continued on to who knows where. I rested, enveloped by the sound of the current.

    * I want to continue living with the awareness that I will die. Without that, I am not alive. Hmmm.

  7. says:

    One of the many things I love about goodreads is that a person is able to see what other “friends” think about a novel before committing oneself to reading it. I would have never read KITCHEN had I not seen that Mariel, Oriana, and Jason Pettus, three of my friends, all thought highly of this slim book.

    But, even with the high ratings of these three “friends”, I still had to find out information about Banana Yoshimoto, the author. So I went to Wikipedia (obviously, where else would I go?) and read about her accomplishments and many literary awards in her home country of Japan. It seemed there was a phase lovingly referred to as Bananamania both in the US and in Japan. Then, just as I had decided that perhaps this book was not worth moving to the top of my TBR pile, I saw that Yoshimoto had outspokenly said that she aims to win the Nobel Prize in literature. (I loved this bravado!) Most critics don’t see this as happening, saying she is a “lightweight.” Well, I put what the critics had to say aside and began reading this novel.

    And I have to say I loved the use of a kitchen as a metaphor for life and life’s daily interactions. When you stop to think about it, there are a lot of events that happen in a kitchen over the course of the day. I had never stopped to give this much thought. (In graduate school I did read some essays by a sociologist and anthropologist team that ventured across Europe studying bathrooms as a way to see into a country’s culture.) But if the kitchen metaphor was only a stand-a-lone point of the story, the book would have floundered. So Yoshimoto supplies whatever actions happen in a kitchen (home, apartment, restaurant, even the simple act of eating as communion) with direct language that is sparse, beautiful, and laden with underlying messages. You see, the real question of this novel is: What does love mean to a person when it becomes absent in one’s life?

    This is an incredibly difficult question to answer, for both the characters in the story as well as for the reader. In the story, Mikage loses her grandmother and is then invited to stay with Eriko (a transvestite) and her (his) son, Yuichi. For the most part, this piecemeal family goes about its daily interactions as any “normal” family would. That is until tragedy strikes. I won’t spoil what happens, but let’s just say Mikage loses again, along with some other characters. It is at this point that the reader takes on a new role: one of participant. There are several choices that the reader must make: 1) stop reading; 2) allow the events to play out and continue reading; or 3) believe in the tragedy and get lost in the story. I chose number 3. And even though I have no basis of understanding to compare to these characters, I felt their pain, the confusion, the moments of helplessness that teeter precariously on the edge of hopelessness.

    Perhaps it would be easy to label this as just a sentimental novel by an overrated novelist—but that may be missing the point. This is a powerful novel if allowed to be read as a powerful novel. It tries to give answers to difficult questions. Sometimes the novel succeeds. Sometimes it fails, even, dare I say, becomes hokey. But all of that can be whitewashed over by the simple notion that this novel achieves what other great novels achieve: the ability to be whatever the reader wants it to be.

    I cannot say that Banana Yoshimoto will be a contender for the Nobel Prize, but I can say that she delivers a strong argument for being one of the great writers currently writing today.


  8. says:

    2 quirky, lazy, sloppy stars !!

    I wanted to like this book very much. In the end, I couldn't !

    Poor writing, incongruent character psychologies and inane dialogue took any enjoyment away from a rather sweet melancholy love story.

    Another little novella was included in this volume (Moonlight Shadow). I do not have the patience nor the stamina to read it.

  9. says:

    I did a quick audit of my Japanese cultural input and came up with the following :


    Tokyo Story – beautiful acknowledged masterpiece
    Nobody Knows – great indy
    Kikujiro – worth watching
    Love Exposure – quite insane, probably brilliant, unmissable, but you should be warned that it’s quite insane
    Visitor Q – er, probably avoid this one! Really gross.
    Seven Samurai – may be the greatest film ever, if there is such a thing


    Babel – brilliant film, but the Tokyo part is strange & uncomfortable
    Lost in Translation – what planet was everyone else on? This was a snoozefest. If you haven’t seen it, count yourself fortunate


    In the Miso Soup – Ryu Murakami – yeah, I liked this
    A Personal matter – Oe – yeah, I HATED this
    The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by the other Marukami guy – I LOVED this because it was so easy to parody and gave me my top scoring review (While I was reading it was a different story)


    Absolutely NOTHING

    And now to add to this very small Japanese input, Kitchen, a tender sprig of a novel. It was kind of goofy, kind of nice, kind of weirdly translated. Kind of sad. Had a transgendered person and a transvestite. Had a lot of food. If I write any more of this review it’ll be longer than the novel. But basically, I need more Japanese stuff. Recommendations welcome.

  10. says:

    ...if a person hasn't ever experienced true despair, she grows old never knowing how to evaluate where she is in life; never understanding what joy really is. I'm grateful for it.

    Samadrita in her excellent review began with:

    There's something about Japanese writers. They have the unparalleled ability of transforming an extremely ordinary scene from our everyday mundane lives into something magical and other-worldly.

    I thoroughly agree with her and that magical quality transforms what could have been a rather banal book into a great one.

    The book is divided into two stories both concerning young Japanese women.


    Mikage Sakurai has lost her dearly beloved grandmother whom she had been living with, and she feels lost, alone and vulnerable. She’s now an orphan as there are no other relatives. The tide has gone out and she doesn’t know when or whether it will return. She knows she has to find a new apartment to live in but hesitates. So when a casual acquaintance, Yuichi Tanabe, who used to work part-time in her grandmother’s favourite flower shop, invites her to stay with him and his mother, Eriko, she agrees, especially when she sees the enormous sofa, which would be her bed, in the living room and finally the kitchen. She was a particular lover of kitchens.

    The place I like best in this world is the kitchen. No matter where it is, no matter what kind, if it’s the kitchen, if it’s a place where they make food, it’s fine with me. Ideally it should be well broken in. Lots of tea towels, dry and immaculate. White tile catching the light (ting! ting!).

    I truly empathized with Mikage from the beginning of this story to the end. A tale that on the surface appeared to be simple and even trite at times, but which soon uncovered a multi-faceted kaleidoscope of human emotions which I had never seen expressed in this way before.

    I was the sword in the scabbard firmly attached at Mikage’s side. I was her friend, her alter ego and champion in her quest to re-find herself, in fact her soul. I would protect her at all cost.

    Such interesting characters are to be found in this rather philosophical work, individuals in fact who I continued to think about after I finished the book.

    During the time that Mikage spends with Eriko and her son, Yuichi, the latter who appeared to be a quiet unassuming person, was slowly transformed into a soul-mate of Mikage which rather stunned her. She felt he knew her very soul.

    When you’re travelling, every night the air is clear and crisp, the mind serene. In any case, if nobody was waiting for me anywhere, yes, this serene life would be the thing. But I’m not free, I realized; I’ve been touched by Yuichi’s soul. How much easier it would be to stay away forever.

    Eriko in particular fascinated me. She was a transvestite, originally Yuichi’s father, then upon the death of his wife from cancer and thanks to plastic surgery, became his mother. She was also the owner of a gay bar. Eriko was such a vibrant individual, colourful and generous both emotionally and physically. She brought back purpose into Mikage’s life, but then tragedy struck again:

    Truly great people emit a light that warms the hearts of those around them. When that light has been put out, a heavy shadow of despair descends. Perhaps Eriko's was only a minor kind of greatness, but her light was sorely missed.

    The moon and light are also important themes that flow throughout this story.

    In addition, there are innumerable turns of phrase that are unforgettable but I particularly liked:

    Their faces shone like buddhas when they smiled., and

    The dirigible traversed the sky like a pale moonbeam, its tiny lights blinking on and off.

    When I finished this tale, I thought of love won and then lost, tragedy, pain, and suffering that I had just encountered but then beauty, hope and optimism are also there. What a marvellous mix.

    Moonlight Shadow

    ...Wherever he went, Hitoshi always had a little bell with him, attached to the case he kept his bus pass in. Even though it was just a trinket, something I gave him before we were in love, it was destined to remain at his side until the last.

    This story is also about a young woman called Satsuki who has lost her loved one, Hitoshi but it has more of a metaphysical feel to it. Yes, she has this same dreadful sense of loss as the earlier story. Hitoshi had a brother called Hiiragi, who had lost his girlfriend Yumiko at the same time as Hitoshi had been killed.

    Satsuki often goes to the bridge where she used to meet Hitoshi and one day she meets a young woman called Urara. And due to this meeting, Satsuki and even Hiiragi have these metaphysical experiences. This story is all rather dream-like and so different to Kitchen but still excellent in its own right.

    When I looked at this title I kept on thinking about the music of Mike Oldfield's Moonlight Shadow. In the preface, the author mentions that she wished to dedicate this song to Mr Jiro Yoshikawa, who had introduced this music to her, the inspiration for this story.

    Two exquisite stories and highly, highly recommended.

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