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The Nakano Thrift Shop

3.39  ·  Rating details ·  3,760 ratings  ·  566 reviews
From the author of Strange Weather in Tokyo comes this funny, heartwarming story about love, life, and human relationships that features a delightfully offbeat cast of characters.

Objects for sale at the Nakano Thrift Shop appear as commonplace as the staff and customers that handle them. But like those same customers and staff, they hold many secrets. If examin
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Kindle Edition, 224 pages
Published June 6th 2017 by Europa Editions (first published April 1st 2005)
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Average rating 3.39  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,760 ratings  ·  566 reviews


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Maxwell
Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2017, i-own-it, translated
I think I expected something more whimsical, maybe even a hint of magical realism in this, from the way it's described. But it's a pretty plain story told by a pretty plain narrator; in fact she has virtually no personality which is probably why I could never really get into it. It's a quiet story about a woman who works in a second-hand shop, under the employment of a sort of eccentric playboy, Mr. Nakano. She's in love with her co-worker, friends with her boss's sister, and generally a pretty ...more
T.D. Whittle
I adore this writer. She is appealing in a very individualistic, particular, introverted Japanese way that is reminiscent of Murakami's works yet entirely and uniquely her own. I mention Murakami only because the authors share enough similarity in their character types and their descriptions of the small, mundane rituals of daily life that it deserves an NB: if you love Murakami's quirky characters and his descriptions of cooking "simple meals" and having "nice long talks", you will find much to ...more
Michael
Oct 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
On a suburban street in Tokyo lies a quaint little shop called "The Nakano Thrift Shop", that is home for all the nick nacks you could ever want. But while what can be found inside is wondrous, it is the lives of those that work there that is the most fascinating. The store's owner, Mr Nakano for one is on his 3rd marriage, has 3 children, and spends his time working and spending time with his lovers or as he calls them "the Bank". His sister Masayo is also a hopeless romantic who think she has ...more
Alice Lippart
Sweet story with a great setting, but got kind of repetitive.
Alison Smith
A contemporary Japanese novel written by an award winning female writer.
As ever, I finished the novel, feeling somewhat baffled - such is the nature of Japanese fiction : oblique, dreamlike, enigmatic, subtle.
I enjoyed the book, but ...
If you want to dip your toes into the strange waters of Japanese fiction, give this one a try.
The characters are very engaging - this much I can say.
And there are passages where a trivial, daily detail is described beautifully - a sort of verba
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Dani ❤️ Perspective of a Writer
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Check out more reviews @ Perspective of a Writer...


The Nakano Thrift Shop is home to many secrets... found in their customers, staff and many objects. Hitomi, the inexperienced young woman who works the register at Mr. Nakano's thrift shop, has fallen for her coworker, the oddly reserved Takeo. Unsure of how to attract his attention, she seeks advice from her employer's sister, Masayo.


The short review...

This was an odd and unexpected read for me... I kind of expected the sweetness of Sweet Bean Paste and the wonderful humor of CMasayo.
The
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Sara J. (kefuwa)
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed this a bit more than Strange Weather in Tokyo. Another interesting slice-of-life type book. I swear reading translated works allows you insight into stuff you never thought you needed insight in. The way some words defy direct translations into other languages. How you need a string of sentences to convey what that one word actually means.

As I read it over the work week though I may have missed a lot of things/quotable quotes as I tend to skim on the surface and my inner monologue somet
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Marisa
A very quiet, simple novel about the everyday. Full review HERE , but for now I will just say that this is book is just SO JAPANESE.
Sean Farrell
Oct 03, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I loved Strange Weather in Tokyo, but found this book by the same author quite appalling. Dull, aimless, the characters irritating, it was a real chore to get to the end. Haven't been this disappointed for quite a while...
Liviu
Mr. Nakano's Trinkets Shop

"On a commercial street in a suburb of Tokyo, there was a seemingly trivial trinkets shop. But here, in a space with nostalgic scent, a succession of betrayed or unfulfilled love stories are weaved with refinement and subtlety. Nakano a late middle age man, owner of the shop, currently in his third marriage and third child with third wife, longs for something undefined and divides his life between his beloved shop and his temporary lovers he meets at the sta
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Karmologyclinic
Jul 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Naturalism is nothing new nor is slice of life genre. But leave it to Japan to take something and make it its own. Slice of life anime is my favorite type of anime, I can get lost in no action, under the magnifying lens of the genre that focuses so much on the quotidian that makes it look unreal.

The same is achieved with Kawakami's book. It's a brilliant slice of life of The Nakano Thrift Shop (nothing hiding in the title, I love when things are literal). The low page count doesn't m
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Claire
Aug 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2016
I absolutely adored how this was written. It was described in the bookshop as a Japanese 'Amelie', and that was so right. I love how episodic it was, and how Kawakami introduced the characters and took the narrative along.

It reminded me of 'This Should be Written in the Present Tense' by Helle Helle, and I'd really like to read more Kawakami and translated lit.
Jennifer
hmm... so, while this story had its moments, overall it all felt very flat to me, the story and the characters. i did quite like masayo - sister of the thrift shop owner, mr. nakano. masayo was layered, and interesting; the story was more lively when she was in any scene.
Tim
Feb 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, japanese, 2000s
This is the type of book that pretty much all my friends would expect me to hate, but that I always love. A slice of life novel, more on the humorous than serious side and with little to no plot. Strange for someone who is usually found reading horror or fantasy…

What got me started into Japanese literature in the first place was a love of anime, and while yes, when I was younger I delighted in Dragon Ball Z and Cowboy Bebop as much as pretty much as all my teenage friends did, the so
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Moby
Dec 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
A daily slice of life story surrounding the thrift shop owned by Haruo Nakano, told by a narrator Hitomi Suganuma-- the shop assistant. Pretty daring, like just how Mr Nakano said about Tadokoro and Sumiko. The narrative feels so nostalgic and classic, portraying the Nakanos sibling aura-- they love things with tradition.

The story telling was fun to read. Hitomi's way of saying things and expressing thoughts were kind of naive but I find it very charming. I like the part when Hitomi imagining s
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Moonkiszt
May 21, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The Nakano Thrift Shop

Seriously. Got nothing out of this except a long, drawn out “Ewwwwwww!” Mr. Nakano is a bona fide Creeper.

Yikes. There were absolutely no ups / downs in plot. Narrative was flat and too understated for this reader. Characters. . .well I didn’t like any of them, much. There is no change from start to finish. . . everyone is asking the same questions. A story told implies that something remarkable (get it?. . .something worthy of remarking verbally) ha
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Lulufrances
Shocker! Low rating from me!
Not that this was by any means a bad book!
It did have its moments and it wasn't a pain in the buttocks to read or anything - but something just fell flat pour moi.
Dare I say the b-word?
Well yes, I was a lil... bored .
A whimsical Japanese episodic story which seemed more like an interlinked short story collection than a consecutive narrative (which it was, though) and didn't hold any memorable moments for me.
Oh apart from this crazy
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Ridzuan Rosli
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It feels like watching a sitcom series. Funny, irritating and enjoyable. I smile and laugh and annoyed at different pages. And I love it!
Magen
Writing a review for this type of book is hard for me. It's a book I greatly enjoyed, but I don't necessarily think you will enjoy, but I so very much want to convince you to give it a chance! How do I do that in a review? In real life, it would involve some level of hand waving and bouncing from foot to foot. I'll try to replicate that here.

There is so much depth in this book. I am amazed at how the author was able to focus in on this small window of time and end up saying so much. But every
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Jennifer
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
I have nothing against slice-of-life type novels, especially translated ones (because who isn't curious about what other people in different countries eat and do and think?), but The Nakano Thrift Shop took me well over a week to get through. Sleeping was always more attractive than reading a few more pages. Each chapter centers around a different object that comes into the thrift store (a life-sized cardboard cut out of a former star, a celadon bowl, a lighter shaped like a pistol), but the storyli ...more
Stacia
Aug 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Charming, quirky, & unassuming.
Anita
Jan 05, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a fan of Murakami, I have to admit that Japanese fiction always leaves me perplexed with more questions than answers at the conclusion of the story.
Hiromi Kawakami's 'The Nakano Thrift Shop' is certainly no exception. Her characters are drawn with gentle, quaintly humorous brush strokes and her settings are familiar shops, restaurants and gardens. However, the style of writing is uniquely Japanese; frequently sparse and enigmatic. As a Westerner, who has not visited Japan, I have to ask if p
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Kate
3.5/5stars

Hiromi Kawakami's books intrigued me. This is the second of hers I've read and it remains that it's like nothing I've read before, and I'm not even necessarily why I keep coming back for more. Her books are more like collections of short stories, except that they follow the same characters and all the stories connect to each other - but each chapter basically has its own thing going on and happening. And, her books are almost boring, but not in a bad way? I'm not sure how to explain
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Nooilforpacifists
"The Nakano Thrift Shop" is as poetic as you would expect from a modern Japanese novelist. Charming too, and peaceful, despite the tension that is the book's primary plot. The thrift shop in which the characters work becomes a metaphor for its employees: lost objects, wandering until they find someone who will value them at least as highly than they do themselves.
Kim
Apr 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a beautiful story. The writing transports the reader into the lives of Mr Nakano and the thrift shop workers. A comfortable quiet story.

Main characters do not have to be exciting or special snowflakes to make a good story. It is nice to read about realistic characters.
Jo
Utterly charming book about the lives of the owner and staff of a second hand shop.
Winna
It took me a long time to finish this book. After a fair share of thrillers and teenage angst i felt like a refresher, a slice of life book about particularly nothing and everything. I was both right and wrong about this one.

I loved Strange Weather in Tokyo, and while Manazuru was hard to finish, it was not nearly as incomprehensible as this one. Nakano Thrift Shop was a slow read, with scattered thoughts of the bland narrator about this and that. The romance was downplayed, but the
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Rise
Jun 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-english
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Basma
Sep 20, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Meh... at this point I have nothing to say except I’m either picking/reading the books at the wrong time or they’re just the wrong books for me. I need to get my shit together with fiction books.

No offense but I found this rather boring (sorry). I have no problem with the way it’s written or the way it’s narrated as I tend to expect and look forward to this style when it comes to Japanese fiction, and the author does what I came to expect but there’s nothing in this book that seemed
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Padmaja
Mar 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a beautiful and a quirky read. I absolutely enjoyed every minute of reading it ♥
🍭
Hitomi, the inexperienced salesgirl, falls for the quiet and usually reserved Takeo. Both are awkward personalities dealing with adulting. The owner, Mr Nakano is an odd duck, very random but very adorable nevertheless. I also loved Mr Nakano's sister, the strong, independent Masayo, whose love life is very complicated unlike her beautiful creations.
The writing is poetic and so is the translatio
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Low stakes/no plot/slice of life books? 1 1 Nov 07, 2019 01:56PM  
Japanese Novel an...: The Nakano Thrift Shop 16 34 Feb 10, 2019 04:55AM  
Japanese Literature: 3/18 The Nakano Thrift Shop - Hiromi Kawakami 28 82 May 26, 2018 12:38AM  
North Melbourne Book Group 1 5 Mar 20, 2017 06:07PM  

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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
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“Having to worry about whether someone is healthy enough to tolerate my fierce hatred or criticism before I decide to blame them - that's what I call getting old.” 2 likes
“When you get old and long-sighted, you can't look your sweetheart in the eye from close up. You need a little distance, so that you can focus on each other. So that your faces don't look blurry- anyway, you need a little distance.” 1 likes
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