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Strange Weather in Tokyo

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  6,954 Ratings  ·  880 Reviews
Tsukiko is drinking alone in her local sake bar when by chance she meets one of her old high school teachers and, unable to remember his name, she falls back into her old habit of calling him 'Sensei'. After this first encounter, Tsukiko and Sensei continue to meet. Together, they share edamame beans, bottles of cold beer, and a trip to the mountains to eat wild mushrooms. ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published August 1st 2013 by Portobello Books (first published 2001)
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Laura Atherton That's exactly what I thought when I read it. I love that film and although the tone is similar in some ways, it's very different in terms of the…moreThat's exactly what I thought when I read it. I love that film and although the tone is similar in some ways, it's very different in terms of the depth of both relationships (I personally thought Tsukiko and Sensei had a deeper connection) and I think this book gives a better exploration of Tokyo as a setting. But to answer your question, they do have the same kind of approach to love and evoke similar feelings.(less)

Community Reviews

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Mmars
Oct 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book reads like Japanese art. Clean lines, spare and uncluttered. Or sparse, haiku as opposed to Shakespeare. The story is slight and the book is short. I found it somewhat cinematic - chapters as scenes - in Santuro's bar, at Sansei's, on the island, mushroom hunting, etc. Each an experimental and incremental step in a casual relationship full of stops and starts.

There's not a lot of explanation to why they are the people they are. They are loners who do not seek out friendships, though th
...more
Maria Clara
Sep 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ay, qué historia tan bonita! Ni un día me a durado! Hace unas semanas vi este libro en la librería y ni me lo pensé: tenía que leerlo sí o sí, y realmente me alegro de haberlo hecho 😊
Pantelis
Jun 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My Japan exists thanks to books like this one. I live there...
Sian Lile-Pastore
Aug 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
oh. really sweet, tender and gentle book. There isn't much of a plot (I like no plot) just all about a relationship between two mismatched people and lots of lovely passages about japanese food and drink - tofu, miso, salted shallots, edame, beer and sake.
really beautiful.
Ms. Smartarse
Translated into English as Strange Weather in Tokyo.

38-year-old Tsukiko is content enough to split her days between the office, her regular bistro and her lonely appartment. She used to have a boyfriend... or two, but they weren't really significant, so the relationship fizzled out soon enough. Her high school Japanese teacher wasn't particularly memorable either, proof of this is that she can only refer to him as sensei (teacher in Japanese)... lest she didn't want to be outright rude. As it tu
...more
Antonomasia
Apr 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Antonomasia by: Independent Foreign Fiction Prize longlist 2014
Book 2200.

Not as twee as it looks. The heroine is about 15 years older than the flying manic pixie dreamgirl on the cover, she gets drunk a lot, works stupidly long hours, has arguments about sports and forgets to clean a pair of muddy shoes for weeks. Out of the characters in the limited number of Japanese novels I've read, Tsukiko is furthest from the traditional idea of a Japanese woman, though she doesn't seem to have set out to reject it; she isn't intellectual, she simply sees herself as n
...more
Patrick
Jan 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Poignant atmospheric love story involving a thirty something lonely Woman and her former teacher 30 years her senior.Lots of cultural and culinary insights about Tokyo.The fragmented storyline charts this unusual relationship to its inevitable conclusion.Very enjoyable.
Bert
Aug 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Gorgeous + delicate novel with quiet, minimal writing that also manages to be full of warmth (and delicious food). Like that beautiful cover picture it has a dreamlike floatiness. In the end I found it all very touching, sweet and sad.
Vanessa
May 31, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
#JapaneseJune Book #1.

I purchased Strange Weather in Tokyo on my Kindle for a mere 99p, and for that reason I am glad that I read this book. However, if I'd had to pay a normal Kindle price, I would have been a little bit miffed. Although this was a quick and easy read, I didn't feel very satisfied upon finishing it. I just feel ambivalence.

The story is told from the perspective of a woman in her late 30s named Tsukiko, who encounters an old teacher of hers at her local bar one night. From that
...more
Noce
Sep 20, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
In una giornata fate tutto: lo comprate, lo leggete e voilà..lo dimenticate.

Ecco un libro che mi ha deluso profondamente.
A sentir la quarta di copertina racconterebbe di un’insolita e delicata storia d’amore intrecciata con tradizioni lontane e ricette culinarie giapponesi.
Chi pensa di immergersi nella versione nipponica di “Chocolat” si sbaglia di grosso.
E mi sbagliavo anche io a rincorrere questo libro per mesi, perennemente in prestito in biblioteca e sempre esaurito in libreria.

E’ pur vero
...more
Inderjit Sanghera
Mar 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
‘Strange Weather in Tokyo’ is the story of the slightly aloof and repressed Tsukiko and her budding romance with her former school-teacher, ‘Sensei’ a jocular, if melancholic man who Tsukiko happens to run into in a bar.

The book is more a series of pretty vignettes-some touching, some amusing and some suffused with a kind of sadness which reminds me of the films of Ozu-Kawakami lacks, perhaps, Ozu’s innate sense of genius, yet her almost detached way of telling the story, whilst imbuing the nove
...more
Tonymess
Jul 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here’s a challenge for you, write a novel about loneliness without becoming boring. Write one about emptiness without being melancholy, how about deep love without sentimentality? “the briefcase” is a moving sparse and deeply emotional tale of loneliness, emptiness and love but in a style that that is removed and scant enough to elicit a sadness that lingers long after the final page has been read.

This is the story of Tsukiko, in her late 30’s, a loner and a food aficionado who crosses paths wit
...more
Oscar
Sep 09, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
La literatura japonesa tiene algo especial. Tanto sus paisajes como su sensibilidad a la hora de tratar situaciones y personajes son únicos. Mediante una prosa sobria pero profunda, Hiromi Kawakami nos cuenta, como reza el subtítulo, una historia de amor. Pero el corazón y el tema principal de la novela es la soledad en la que están imbuidos los dos personajes principales.

Para llenar el vacío que rodea su vida, Tsukiko acude a su bar a beber sake y cerveza. Un día se da cuenta de que el hombre m
...more
Viv JM
Strange Weather in Tokyo is a love story between Tsukiko (late 30s) and her former teacher "Sensei", 30+ years older than her. Their growing closeness revolves largely around eating tofu or fish, and drinking sake or beer. This is certainly not a wild and passionate tale of romance. Slow burn would be an understatement! There are some poignant moments but overall, I was a little bit underwhelmed with this book, sadly.
Lorena
Cada vez comprendo mejor que la magia de la literatura japonesa no reside en las historias que se cuentan sino en la forma tan bella e intimista de contarlas. Esta historia me ha recordado a Un grito de amor desde el centro del mundo, historias corrientes que en un primer momento pueden no llamar la atención por lo simple o manido del argumento pero que atrapa por la forma en la que el autor aprovecha cada detalle de la historia y cada rasgo de los personajes.

Una lectura estupenda, estoy deseand
...more
Tamsien West (Babbling Books)
Beautiful and poignant, this little story stole my heart. The layers of the friendship and love flow like waves on the shore as the tide comes in. Each time a little higher than before.

I picked this novel up in a bargain/sale bookstore because the cover and title piqued my interest, and I love discovering Japanese authors I haven't read yet. It seems that Kawakami is quite a famous novelist, and though this is the only story of hers I have read so far, the beautiful mood and touching romance lea
...more
I. Mónica del P Pinzon Verano
Mi primer y único libro de Hiromi Kawakami. Preciso un comentario tan corto como esta novela. Y es que lo quiero hacer, porque ésta novela corta de Hiromi Kawakami es preciosa y única, como bien reza la sinopsis: todo un descubrimiento literario. La historia en sí es sencilla pero exquisita, podría contarla en dos renglones y no arruinaría la lectura, porque el sine qua non aquí es la escritura y la desmitificación del llamado amor con diferencia de edad (tantas categorías y rótulos que creamos ...more
Kate
Jun 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.25/5stars

I REALLY enjoyed this!! I'm happy to say my initial thought that it reminded me of Hotel Iris mixed with Murakami was pretty spot on!

This book follows a woman Tsukiko who accidentally runs into one of her teachers she had in secondary school, and the two of them become fast friends. This story is about them getting to know each other, and slowly falling in love. This book was ADORABLE. Tsukiko was so blunt and didn't take no bullshit, and Sensei was so cute (legit, he did the thing th
...more
David
Mar 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: big-red-circle
If your book is going to be a bit rightwing, can it at least be a bit sexy (I'm thinking of Yukio Mishima)? Kawakami's young woman is unsatisfied with modern (*cough* Western) life and so falls for the wise old "wax on, wax off" Japanese and his spadeful of mono no aware, his haikus, his cherry-blossom viewing, his pachinko, his "let's look at the moon and no we can't have sex oh go on then".
Mai Laakso
Virallisesti hänen nimensä oli Harutsuna Matsumoto, mutta minä kutsuin häntä vain opettajaksi eli Senseiksi.
Näillä sanoilla alkaa japanilaisen Hiromi Kawakamin Sensein salkku teos. Teos on kuvaus ystävyyden syntymistä, joka kehittyy matkalla syvemmäksi tunteeksi ja lopulta rakkaudeksi. Kirjan minäkertoja on noin nelikymppinen tokiolainen Tsukiko ja Sensei on hänen entinen opettajansa lukioajoilta.
Tsukiko poikkeaa japanilaisesta naisesta. Hän ei ole mennyt naimisiin eikä ole perustanut perhettä
...more
Alice Lippart
Strange and beautiful.
Faiza Sattar
Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, ylto-2017-read
★★★★☆ (4/5)

Sometimes when I call out, Sensei, I can hear a voice reply from the ceiling above, Tsukiko

Hiromi Kawakami’s “The Briefcase” is a silent and unique meditation on nature of love and loneliness which thrives in tandem. It’s quite simply a story of a rather unusual relationship between an older gentleman and his younger student from the bygone times.

Set in contemporary Tokyo, Tsukiko, a single woman in her forties has a chance meeting with her old Japanese teacher Harutsuna Matsumoto -
...more
Bezimena knjizevna zadruga
Tece polako. Klizi neumitno. Kratka je. Razoruzavajuce jednostavna. Klasicno japanski svedena i minimalisticka. Prica o mladoj i usamljenoj devojci i njenom starom i jos usamljenijem profesoru iz skole. Beskonacni niz kratkih, slucajnih i usputnih prijateljskih susreta koji se do kraja pretvori u ljubavnu pricu bez daska patetike. Jer, japanski pisci to umeju. Zapravo roman o samoci. Lep.
Ghazaleh
مترجم خیلی تعریف کرده بود از داستان ولی به نظر من داستان متفاوت و چشم گیری نداشت.
هرچی بیشتر از نویسنده های ژاپنی و چینی کتاب میخونم کمتر با سبک نوشته هاشون ارتباط میگیرم،مشکل از منه یا اونا؟
Charlotte
Aug 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is just wonderful. It's quite short at 192 pages and I read it in a little over a day because I just couldn't put it down. It follows Tsukiko and her former teacher, whom she calls 'Sensei', after a chance encounter leads them to form an unlikely friendship. Sensei is much older than Tsukiko but as they are both consumed by loneliness they begin to seek comfort from their time spent together. It isn't long before Tsukiko begins to question her true feelings for Sensei, and the story ex ...more
Kirja Vieköön!
Feb 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Japanilainen kirjallisuus avautuu minulle yleensä vaikeasti, mutta tämä epäsovinnainen rakkaustarina ihastutti. Sensein salkku hurmasi viehättävällä maagisen realisminkin piirteitä omaavalla kerronnallaan. Pidin siitä että henkilöissä oli myös särönsä ja inhimilliset piirteensä. Kawakamin tekstissä kuultaa japanilaisuus monella tapaa: äärimmäisen kohteliaat käytöstavat, ruuat, juomat, Hanami ja talojen sisustus; kerronta on herkkää ja kaunista, mutta riemastuttavalla huumorilla höystettyä. Minua ...more
Jos
Jun 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romane
Was für eine schöne Liebesgeschichte. Selten liest man so ein ruhiges Buch, in dem so wenig geschieht und genießt trotzdem jede einzelne Seiten.

Tsukiko ist 38 Jahre alt und etwas einsam. Sie arbeitet viel, weiß jedoch in ihrer Freizeit wenig mit sich anzufangen. Sie glaubt, dass sie für die Liebe kein Talent hat. Mit trockenem Humor und etwas Verbitterung erzählt sie von sich und ihrem Leben.

Eines Tages trifft sie in ihrer Stammkneipe ihren fast doppelt so alten ehemaligen Japanisch Lehrer, sie
...more
James
Dec 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
1) A surprisingly refreshing novella that is rather more beguiling than the simple love story it seems to make out. Very cinematic atmospheres and chance encounters flow hazily and in a roundabout fashion from one to the next, from bars in Tokyo, mushroom fields in the mountains to Japanese island spas; the description of Japanese cuisine and drinks in the novella is delectable, since so much of the novel surrounds what seems like the mundanity and awkwardness of dining out and alone. I thought ...more
Lisa
Dec 04, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: c21st, japan
Reading The Briefcase, from the vantage point of one who has very little experience with Japanese fiction, it seems to me that it’s a bit like Japanese food. You either like its elegant simplicity and the artful way that very restrained flavours are arranged, or you don’t. And if you don’t, you may think this book rather lacking, in the way that you might prefer the robust flavours of Italian cookery or the complex artistry of French cuisine.

Well, I quite liked The Briefcase. It’s been longliste
...more
Hengtee
Apr 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Strange Weather in Tokyo is a story of the kind of love that takes its time reaching its destination. Told through episodes in the life of a woman and her old high school teacher, Strange Weather in Tokyo focuses on the odd difficulty we sometimes have in finding our own feelings, and expressing them to those we love.

I enjoyed the pace of the book, and it's because of this easygoing, lackadaisical rhythm that the story is sometimes able to arrive at scenes that are beautiful, poignant, and heart
...more
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Kawakami Hiromi (川上 弘美 Kawakami Hiromi) born April 1, 1958, is a Japanese writer known for her off-beat fiction.

Born in Tokyo, Kawakami graduated from Ochanomizu Women's College in 1980. She made her debut as "Yamada Hiromi" in NW-SF No. 16, edited by Yamano Koichi and Yamada Kazuko, in 1980 with the story So-shimoku ("Diptera"), and also helped edit some early issues of NW-SF in the 1970s. She re
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More about Hiromi Kawakami

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“I, on the other hand, still might not be considered a proper adult. I had been very grown-up in primary school. But as I continued through secondary school, I in fact became less grown-up. And then as the years passed, I turned into quite a childlike person. I suppose I just wasn't able to ally myself with time.” 30 likes
“If the love is true, then treat it the same way you would plant - feed it, protect it from the elements - you must do absolutely everything you can. But if it isn't true, then it's best to just let it wither on the vine.” 21 likes
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