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3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  23,383 ratings  ·  1,665 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 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
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
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
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
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 2 of 5 stars
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
"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
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
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
Paul Bryant
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 &
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
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
K.D. Absolutely
Sep 18, 2011 K.D. Absolutely rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
Jan 27, 2011 Shovelmonkey1 rated it 4 of 5 stars
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
this book will probably heal you if you let it (but the translation might piss you off first)
Vishnu Vardhan
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
The slight novella Kitchen is a lean, uniquely Japanese meditation on grief, loss and love. Following the death of her grandmother, a young woman named Mikage moves in with her neighbour, Yuichi, and is captivated by his mother, a transwoman named Eriko. (Eriko is a fascinating character, but she features in the story less than I expected based on what I'd heard before starting it.) The title refers to Mikage's fascination with the kitchen, which she claims as her favourite room; she later start ...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
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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.” 205 likes
“People aren't overcome by situations or outside forces. Defeat comes from within.” 162 likes
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