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3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  25,691 Ratings  ·  1,869 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, 152 pages
Published April 17th 2006 by Grove Press (first published January 30th 1988)
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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
Jason Pettus
Jul 09, 2007 Jason Pettus rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 14, 2013 TK421 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literary
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
"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 insig
Jr Bacdayan
May 12, 2015 Jr Bacdayan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 hol

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
Now that I teach English as my main job I am more than ever aware of how language shapes and limits what can be expressed, how it makes and remakes the social world as it is made and remade. I have read few books from the Japanese, but I would wager I can tell such a text after reading a page! Perhaps it was the themes, not only the flavour of the language, that made this taste so distinctly Japanese to me. Quirky relationships, dramatic melancholy, organised and comfortable domesticity, defianc ...more
Lynne King
...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
Nidhi Singh
Jan 12, 2015 Nidhi Singh rated it really liked it
Shelves: japan, most-loved
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
Sep 23, 2015 Brian rated it it was ok
Recommended to Brian by: Samadrita
Shelves: 2015_sow
My reading of this short work might have been snake-bit from the go. In the first I’m regrettably tinny eared when it comes to stories of romance and lost love. I also have no fundamental understanding of the Japanese language in its native form, other than its nuances successfully translated to English run the spectrum from Aflred Brinbaum to Jay Rubin – translators of Murakami’s works so very different that their output feels like two completely different authors. So perhaps it was the transla ...more
Oct 23, 2013 Sarah rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Paul Bryant
Jul 06, 2014 Paul Bryant rated it liked it
Shelves: novels
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 &
Hippo dari Hongkong
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
Apr 07, 2007 ruzmarì rated it it was amazing
"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
Feb 27, 2008 Jennifer rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
May 20, 2016 Mahsa rated it really liked it
Shelves: cultural
یوشیموتو نویسندهایه که به زیبایی از حقایق قابل لمس مینویسه؛ شاید قبل از خوندنِ داستانهاش حواستون به اون حقایق نباشه، اما همینکه خطی رو خوندید، همینکه از جمله ای عبور کردید... یه لحظه مکث میکنید. مکث میکنید چون اون جمله رو خوب فهمیدید، چون قبلا با قلبتون لمسش کردید. و لبخند میزنید به درکِ قشنگی که از اون جمله دارید و حالا اون درک به قشنگی روبروی شما بین کلمات جای گرفته.

But I was afraid—terribly afraid—to even hope for such happiness.

تِم آشپزخانه
ماها همه یه مکانِ به خصوص داریم که وقتی اونجا ب
Apr 11, 2016 Lalarme23 rated it really liked it
Hôm rày có cô gái nhắn tin cho tôi. Cô ấy hỏi nhưng cũng là tự trả lời rằng liệu sự tương tác giữa con người khó khăn vậy sao, liệu những tiểu tinh cầu mà mỗi người đại diện có gặp nhau? Trong câu chữ của cô ấy, là sự trách móc, vì tôi đã không trả lời tin nhắn đầu tiên. Quả thực, tôi không thể dành hết thời gian để trả lời những tin nhắn không có chủ đích rõ ràng, ngoài những lời nói mông lung, đượm buồn, như muốn trút bớt đi nỗi lòng mà không cần tôi đáp lại.

Quả thực, chẳng bao giờ dễ dàng gì
K.D. Absolutely
Sep 18, 2011 K.D. Absolutely rated it liked it
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
Sophie VERStand
"Kitchen" - Banana Yoshimotos Debüt versammelt 3 "long short-stories", die ganz ähnliche Elemente verbinden.
In "Kitchen" und "Vollmond (Kitchen 2)" begegnen wir der jungen Mikage, die bei ihrer Großmutter aufwuchs, diese letztlich auch verliert und dann bei der Familie Tanabe unterkommt.
Dort begegnet sie Yuichi und seiner "Mutter" (die eigentlich sein Vater ist, sich jedoch zum Leben als Frau entschieden hat) und nutzt als Rückzugsort für ihre Innerlichkeit und Träume häufig die Küche, in der s
Helvry Sinaga
Dec 22, 2010 Helvry Sinaga rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Abdyka Wirmon
Apr 29, 2010 Abdyka Wirmon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: just-for-fun, fiction
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
Yi Ly
Jan 20, 2016 Yi Ly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(4.5) Hay libros que llegan en el momento preciso con la historia que tu corazón inconscientemente está esperando. Me ha pasado con este libro.

Me he sentido muy conectada con ambas historias, en especial con Kitchen. He marcado muchas citas y es que ya les dije, ha llegado a mí en el momento exacto.

Libros como éste me confirman lo hermoso que es conocer historias a través de la lectura.

Totalmente recomendable.

PD: Gracias Jess, fue un precioso regalo de cumpleaños. <3
Jan 27, 2011 Shovelmonkey1 rated it really liked it
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
Tamsien West (Babbling Books)
A haunting, beautiful little novel about grief, lonliness, and the solace we find in others.

There are three parts to this tiny 160 page book, and 2 distinct stories. Usually I would call this a novella, but there is something about the narrative that, despite its word count, feels whole. It has the depth and character development of a much longer novel, which was a surprise to me.

The first tale, which unfolds across Part 1 'Kitchen' and Part 2 'Full Moon' deals with the grief of Mikage after t
May 25, 2015 Joey rated it really liked it
Shelves: fictions
I bet my boots whoever has lost loved ones can relate to this. It has two stories but they have the same theme- struggling with loneliness.

The first story is KITCHEN. Mikage Sakurai is a Japanese woman who has lost her parents and closest grandmother consecutively. Eventually, she will become close with her grandmother’s friend, Yuichi, along with her transgender mother, Eriko. However, the sudden murderous death of Eriko will make a big difference to the lives between Mikage and Saturai. Meanw
Aug 21, 2014 Jill rated it really liked it
Recommended to Jill by: Samadrita
Banana Yoshimoto likes circles: opposing ideas and feelings that turn round and round until you’re so dizzy that finally you can see clearly, the opposites collapse into each other, and you see they are the same. Melancholy and hope fuse together; pain accompanies joy; love is both the origin of and cure for loneliness. Around and around these feelings go, the only certainty being, of course, how difficult this oscillation makes life, leaving us with no choice but to, as one character says in Ki ...more
Jan 12, 2012 Marvin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
Sep 14, 2014 Anastasia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 0-2011
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
Dec 29, 2015 Caroline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
KITCHEN is such a beautiful story. I was mesmerised by it. I think it has been quite a while since I read something with such an achingly beautiful and accurate portrayal of grief. I borrowed this book from my sister because I wanted to see if I liked the style of writing; having heard so many good things about Banana's other highly acclaimed novel Asleep, I could hardly wait. This book is honestly beautiful. I enjoyed Kitchen more than Moonlight Shadow but both were wonderful.

I don't think a l
Vishnu Vardhan
May 02, 2016 Vishnu Vardhan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have observed that some of my favourite books have been those I've read in a single sitting. Yoshimoto's book, at 150 pages, is such a good length for a read of that sort.

It would be criminal for me to write too much for a book which itself is so minimal. And yet, it is such a powerful work. There is a very basic tendency of humans to be attracted to tragedy, to heartbreak, to grave sadness for such emotions often triumph over the most gleeful joys. For Yoshimoto, death, that most claustropho
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Banana Yoshimoto (よしもと ばなな or 吉本 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.

See also 吉本芭娜娜 (Chinese).

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 libera
More about Banana Yoshimoto...

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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.” 227 likes
“People aren't overcome by situations or outside forces. Defeat comes from within.” 173 likes
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