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3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  16,999 ratings  ·  1,220 reviews
'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.
Paperback, 160 pages
Published July 23rd 2001 by Faber and Faber (first published January 1st 1988)
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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 re...more
Jason Pettus
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...more
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 c...more

A couple of days ago, I watched a film called Millenium Actress, a Japanese anime film centered around the life of a once wildly popular Japanese film star. I loved it for its lovely story as well as its wonderful animation, but most of all for its peculiar disregard of many of the 'rules' of film that I hadn't realized I unconsciously followed until they were subverted. This sort of bending and breaking of my own sensibilities into something I had never considered something that would work...more
Idle Hippo
Jan 25, 2011 Idle Hippo marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
maap kalo tulisan ini sepertinya gak nyambung ama bukuna

"Ada buku EA?" ...

Inget buku ini otomatis inget kelakuan seorang rekan durjana yang bisa bikin malu sesama rekan durjana. Ternyata ketua dewan pembina jaduler lebih durjana dari gw :))

Buku ini didapat dilapak buku bekas Dewi Sartika dalam rangka Reuni Durjana sekaligus merayakan ultah seorang durjana yang sudah di rancang sejak awal bulan atas permintaan seorang durjana yang bermukim di Tangerang.

Jam 12an nyampe di lapak buku Dewi Sartika...more
"Kitchen" is a great little novella, and reading it is like having an old friend come to stay with you for a few days out of the blue. That one friend who had just the perfect quirky turn of phrase, the oddly poetic outlook on things like noodles and shoelace-tips. Yoshimoto's writing has matured since "Kitchen," but this story remains fresh and thoughtful, charming and simple and deep. My favorite part of the book, though, isn't the title novella but the one included after it, "Moonlight Shadow...more
Nidhi Singh
If there is a colour for the prose of Banana Yoshimoto, it is blue. Reading ‘Kitchen’ is like walking in the clear crisp air of a blue night in Tokyo. She works beautifully with surrealistic imagery, with artless simplicity. The images of the night, the houses in the streetlight, the colour of the sunset and the sky, the moonlight in the kitchen transpire again and again in the beautifully sparse writing until one breathes completely in the dreamlike quality of it. These images do not convey the...more
K.D. Absolutely
Sep 18, 2011 K.D. Absolutely rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
Kitchen (3 stars) is about losing a loved one and finding solace with something and someone. Something here is the kitchen including the food that you cook in there and someone is somebody like you who also lost a loved one and currently trying to move on with his life too. The plot is thin and the storytelling is simple. When this came out in 1988, Japan went "Bananamania" but you have to understand that Japan was also going crazy with Haruki Murakami's 1987 novel, Norwegian Wood and both of th...more
Any time I try to read Japanese novels I feel like I'm missing something. In Kitchen, as in the few other Japanese novels I've read, the prose seems flat and spare. I'm beginning to think it's not a question of translation and more a question of a different writing style. Mikage, a young woman, is left alone when her grandmother dies, following the deaths of her parents and grandfather. She ends up being sort of adopted by the Tanabe family, a young man her age and his transsexual (m to f) mothe...more
Jan 27, 2011 Shovelmonkey1 rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: japanese lit fans
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: 1001 books list
Loved this book, although I was surprised by the sudden, almost terminal end to the main story. This is a book about loss and bereavement and how people adjust or find escape in places or things associated with the person who has gone. Someone very close to me died last suddenly last year after a short illness and this book summarised a lot of what I felt at the time. It also reinforced one of the things that he taught me - hang onto life and live every minute because it's only coming around onc...more
Helvry Sinaga
Novel karya Banana Yoshimoto terdiri dari dua judul, Kitchen dan Moonlight Shadow. Secara umum, cerita tentang sepasang anak muda yang ditinggal orang terdekat, dan berusaha bangkit dari bayang-bayang kesepian dan rasa kehilangan itu.

Kitchen bercerita tentang seorang gadis muda di Tokyo, Mikage, yang ditinggalkan oleh kematian neneknya. Ia sebatang kara, hingga ia bertemu dengan Yuichi Tanabe di pemakaman neneknya. Yuichi adalah seorang pekerja paruh waktu di toko bunga favorit neneknya....more
Abdyka Wirmon
Ini sungguh diluar dugaan, sekali lagi aku dibawa hanyut kedalam arus cerita oleh penulis jepang, Pertama Kobe Abe, kemudian Haruki Murakami dan sekarang Banana Yoshimoto, memang nama yang tidak biasa seperti itu pula karyanya.

Sejak halaman pertama aku sudah sadar buku ini akan membawaku kemana, malayang pelan diatas permukaan dan dipertengahannya aku tenggelamkan sampai dasar. aku bisa melihat semua hal dari dasar ini, semua konflik, dilema dan pikiran yang terombang-ambing mencoba menolak rea...more
Emir Never
Why do we read? Surely nothing is new out there. What emotion has not been felt by you or another man or woman before you? What story has not been told and retold, in different variations and highlights? Still, countless books had been written and many more are being written around the world.

Suppose readers have this void. There, deep inside, you feel it and wonder how it came to be. You go on living of course, but you’re aware of that empty space, although you forget about it as you go through...more
Sep 18, 2012 asdewi rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Semua orang yang suka cerita-cerita depresi macam gini
Recommended to asdewi by: the 1001 books list

Kitchen bercerita dari sudut pandang Mikage yang baru saja kehilangan neneknya.

"Aku tak bisa tidur di tempat lain selain dapur."

Mikage Sakurai sebatang kara sejak neneknya meninggal. Dapur menjadi satu-satunya tempat pelarian dimana ia dikelilingi panci bekas pakai dan sisa ceceran sayur, serta ditemani sepetak langit malam berbintang di jendela.
Namun dapur keluarga Tanabe yang membuatnya jatuh cinta. Di sana selama satu musim panas ia bergulat dengan acar, udon, soba, dan tempura. Di sana pula...more
I think I'm in love with another woman.

You can tell my wife. I'm sure she understands. As a former instructor of world literature, she can understand how a reader can become totally infatuated by a writer's virtuosity and their ability to transcend culture when they poke at the universal longings and fears in all of us. She will know that readers can immerse themselves in language and equate that wonderful turn of a phrase with the qualities of the author. She will definitely understand this ha...more
Jun 16, 2010 Palsay rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Palsay by: Roos
Ada dua kisah dalam buku ini. Kitchen dan Moonlight Shadow.

Keduanya diceritakan dari sudut pandang orang pertama (Aku), dan keduanya secara garis besar bercerita tentang perasaan kehilangan.
Bagi yang pernah mengalami rasa kehilangan yang amat sangat, bukan tidak mungkin tenggelam dalam pusaran kata-kata penulis yang menurutku cukup berhasil menggambarkan perasaan kehilangan itu sendiri.


Cerita Dapur ini mengisahkan seorang gadis yatim piatu yang baru saja ditinggal mati oleh neneknya, se...more
Reading this brief duet – a novella and a companion short story – brought me a breath of fresh literary air. The emotions were so authentic and the characters so delicately-drawn that I felt cleansed by my reading. After many heavy, word-thick reads, Banana Yoshimoto’s clean, bright prose was refreshing and heart-lifting, and she never veers into the maudlin or the saccharin.

The novella, Kitchen, is the real star here, and the paired story, Moonlight Shadow, serves to follow up on related themes...more
Two or three times a year I read something by a Japanese writer. And every time, almost without fail, I am reminded of how simply and beautifully written much of their fiction is. Also there so often seems to be an undercurrent of loneliness or alienation, sadness, or melancholy. And suicide is openly talked and thought about. Yet book endings are not necessarily sad, nor do terrible things always happen.

And this book was no exception. After teenaged Mikage's grandmother dies, she is left with...more
Un altro libro della scrittrice Usa e Getta. Sì, perché i suoi libri sembrano salviette, le usi e dopo un po' non se ne sente neanche la freschezza. Insomma, un'ottima soluzione per distrarsi dal caldo dei pomeriggi estivi. Insieme a questo arriviamo a tre opere della Yoshimoto, e sinceramente si assomigliano un po' tutte. Hanno un tono leggero e delicato, ma, come ho fatto capire, non rimane nulla. Le sue protagoniste sono quasi tutte anonime, se non per qualche tratto accennato. Ma anche gli a...more
This slim book consists of the novella "Kitchen" and a shorter work "Moonlight Shadow". Written in spare, lovely language, both stories deal with themes of love, loss, grief, and comfort. There are bits of magical realism, especially in "Moonlight Shadow". Dreams, the moon, and the comfort of the kitchen, food, and friends figure prominently in both stories.

These stories are both written from the point of view of young women who have lost people they loved. There is a youthful, contemporary fres...more
This is, hands down, the worst thing I've read in recent years.

Let's start with the translation, because that is largely to blame for my utter disgust. The prose is terrible. Awkward, contradictory, inconsistent, hackneyed and immature. (Apparently not so in the original Japanese which has been hailed as poetic and lyrical. Even given my limited knowledge of Japanese, I can see how this would be the case.) This is what I would expect from an electronic translator, e.g. google-translate and its i...more
David Ruekberg
I have to teach this book. It is weak. I don't know what to do. The writing is trite and the themes straining for meaning. I have done a good amount of work to find positive literary value in this book, including searching far and wide and ordering some books from university libraries. I even walked through deep icy snow and dodged drunk college students to visit a library to download an obscure review which, at its best, reads this work as a "parody," perhaps an unintentional one. Unintentional...more
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
You read a book. Your mind comprehends the plot, understands the characters, and lets itself be manipulated towards the delight and satisfaction literature brings. The mind is, however, fickle and there is no book which one can remember in every detail after the passage of a long time.

If what you've read is a great book, however, something would remain. Time cannot lose it. It is not in the mind, however, where it rests but in the soul. Great literature touches the soul. And when the soul is tou...more
"I had a feeling that I wasn't crying over any one sad thing, but rather for many. [...] I wished my heart would break and get it over it." Thoughts on Kitchen and Moonlight Shadow, both by Banana Yoshimoto (translated from Japanese by Megan Backus)

Banana Yoshimoto made me cry on my birthday. She made me think of my past year, and she made me think of you, too.

It wasn't my intention, really, to read Kitchen and Moonlight Shadow on the night of my birthday; in fact, it wasn't my intention to read...more
So deceptively simple, yet so full of emotion that it had me reeling. Yoshimoto's prose is like a time machine that took me back to some very difficult events in my life, events I thought I would never recover from, and like her protagonists I was surprised that I too found myself in the kitchen when things looked very bleak indeed.

What is it about food that gives us comfort when facing loss on an earth-shattering scale? Following instructions on how to prepare a dish, making a cup of tea or to...more
Jan 20, 2008 Shimelle rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Shimelle by: Jen
Having read this last week, I'm now confused. Not about the book (which reads in a way that doesn't require the slightest bit of effort) or about Japanese culture (which comes to life with enough universality to make sense). No. I was confused as to why, with an MA in contemporary English literature -- and a specialism in gender studies -- I had only come to find this book now, at the suggestion of a dear friend. During my studies, professors lauded extremes. Books like Tim & Pete, Dennis Co...more
I'm reviewing this book as part of The Grief Project, which is my personal exploration of the literature of loss. My reviews are not academic. They're more like rambling meditations on life, death, my own grief, and books.

If you'd like to read this review at my blog, you can do so here.

Below, I've reproduced it in its entirety behind a spoiler alert because I go into extensive detail about the plot of the book.

(view spoiler)...more
Cam Tu

I once threw this novella onto my friend and told him to read it. Obediently, he took one glance at the book and told me how ironic it was that this story should be about a woman and a kitchen. Of course he was only judging the book by its cover, but to me it's just how he described it. In the story, the kitchen symbolized life and to Mikake Sakurai it stood as her favorite place in the world. Mikake, who would charmingly grasped my hand and offered me a cup of tea walked me through her emotion...more
This book caught my eye on the bookstore shelf, and I'll be honest: after flipping through and reading the back, I was interested but not enough to bother. Then I got to the part on the jacket where the novel is compared to early Duras, and...being an absolute Duras fangirl, I couldn't resist. I bought it.

Kitchen was good, a great idea for a story, and I really do love what the author was attempting to do with the simple prose. Often I find that much more effective and emotionally resonant than...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Two beautifully written novellas about people dealing with grief - Kitchen No. 1 and Kitchen No. 2, also known as "Moonlight Shadow." Something that stuck out to me is the lack of internal dialogue; you never know what is going on until a character tells you, and so a lot of little details are left to be discovered.

In Kitchen, Mikage's grandmother (and last living relative) dies, and she goes to live with Yiuchi and his transgendered parent. There are lovely bits about how Mikage understands pe...more
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Japanese Literature: Kitchen : February 2014 Read 13 44 Feb 28, 2014 01:24PM  
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Literary Award Wi...: Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto 7 14 Nov 11, 2013 11:01AM  
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Banana Yoshimoto (よしもと ばなな) is the pen name of Mahoko Yoshimoto (吉本 真秀子), a Japanese contemporary writer. She writes her name in hiragana.

Yoshimoto, daughter of Takaaki Yoshimoto, was born in Tokyo on July 24, 1964. Along with having a famous father, poet Takaaki Yoshimoto, Banana's sister, Haruno Yoiko, is a well-known cartoonist in Japan. Growing up in a liberal family, she learned the value of...more
More about Banana Yoshimoto...
N.P. Asleep Goodbye Tsugumi Lizard The Lake

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“As I grow older, much older, I will experience many things, and I will hit rock bottom again and again. Again and again I will suffer; again and again I will get back on my feet. I will not be defeated. I won't let my spirit be destroyed.” 123 likes
“People aren't overcome by situations or outside forces. Defeat comes from within.” 115 likes
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