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Ms Ice Sandwich

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  3,376 ratings  ·  555 reviews
A quixotic and funny tale about first love – from the Akutagawa Prize-winning author.

Ms Ice Sandwich seems to lack social graces, but our young narrator is totally smitten with her. He is in awe of her aloofness, her skill at slipping sandwiches into bags, and, most electric of all, her ice-blue eyelids. Every day he is drawn to the supermarket just to watch her in action.
Paperback, 92 pages
Published November 30th 2017 by Pushkin Press (first published November 2013)
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Susan Reeves deMasi
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Average rating 3.85  · 
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 ·  3,376 ratings  ·  555 reviews

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Nov 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: feminism, japan, childhood
The cusp of adolescence is a tumultuous time when everything you thought you understood about life, yourself and others is suddenly rent asunder. There is a paradigm shift in all your relationships and you clamour to hold on and ride the changes into what you hope is a more mature You. Ms Ice Sandwich by Mieko Kawakami (beautifully translated by Louise Heal Kawai) has a remarkable grasp on these volatile moments that is prodigously told through the perspective of a young boy grappling with these ...more
Amalia Gkavea
"If video games make you stupid, then what do mobile phones make you?"

A young boy buys egg sandwiches every day. The reason? The mysterious young woman behind the counter. Her black hair and beautiful eyes with eyelids the color of blue Popsicles make him fall in love with her. His visits to the store provide his sole wish in an otherwise mundane daily life where no one seems to understand him.

Kawakami creates a novella about what we like to describe as "the coming-of-age" of a boy but I don
¸¸.•*¨*•♫ Mrs. Buttercup •*¨*•♫♪
I picked up this novella because I am trying to read more Japanese literature. I found out I apparently like it very much, since I seem to enjoy every book I choose. This one is a short, interesting story about a little boy who has a crush on a supermarket employee, and visits the store every day to see her. Of course, he's young and shy and never finds the courage to talk to her.

The story is narrated from the perspective of the boy, and one of my favourite things about this book is the ability
Jim Fonseca
May 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a good story, a novella, that I’m tempted to call ‘cute.’ It’s a story of a young Japanese boy, grade school age, who essentially has a crush on a young woman who works in a deli selling sandwiches.

For the reminder of this review, I’ll say CONTAINS SPOILERS:

The boy is fascinated by the woman’s distinctive large eyes, but we learn later that he is puzzled by conversations he hears that she may have had plastic surgery or even facial reconstruction.


There is no father present and the boy g
Mar 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japan, 2020-read
I found this little novella strangely moving: Kawakami tells the story of a fourth grader who learns about loss. The little boy has a crush on the woman who sells sandwiches at his local store, and when a disturbing incident keeps him from visting her, his friend Tutti, who has lost her mother to an illness, teaches him an important lesson. At the same time, the unnamed boy is struggling with the fact that his ailing grandmother is getting worse.

Kawakami tells the story from the little boy's po
2018 is the year I've fallen in love with novella's: I’ve read many great ones this year and Ms Ice Sandwich is maybe the best one so far. Only look at its funky cover: that already promises something good.

But the story itself is more gentle than funky. In it we learn about the innocent life of an 8-year old Japanese boy. He goes to school, spend time with his sick grandma, but mostly he tells us about Ms Ice Sandwich, the cool sandwich lady with her ice-blue eyelids (eyeshadow?)
However, when
The Artisan Geek

What a great read! It's about a young boy, who becomes obsessed with a lady selling sandwiches in a supermarket, who he affectionately calls Ms Ice Sandwich. Kawakami so deftly shows the innocence and naivety of a young mind as they slowly have to deal with the uglier parts of life. Having said that, it's not a dark story - it leant more on the endearing side for me.

"There's loads of hard stuff in life, and maybe when we're grown-ups, there's going to be tons more hard stuff to deal with.
Katie Lumsden
Jan 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really loved this - so impactful for such a short book! It really lovingly and warmly looks at grief, growing up and friendship. I would highly recommend!
/ / / Read more reviews on my blog / / /

3 ½ stars

Unlike Breasts and Eggs and Heaven, Ms Ice Sandwich makes for a perfectly breezy read. This short story is narrated by an unnamed boy who is in 4th grade. His mother seems always too busy to pay attention to him and his elderly grandmother is dying. Unlike the protagonist of Heaven, the narrator in Ms Ice Sandwich seems to feel at ease at school and amongst his peers, in particular, a girl nicknamed Tutti. However, the person our protagonist is
Fiona MacDonald
Jan 23, 2020 rated it liked it
I am keen to read more foreign literature this year, and Japanese literature in particular is always a plus with me.
Mieko Kawakami is a new author to me, but I loved the sound of this adorable novella, and so picked it up when I saw it in my local library.
This charming story follows an unnamed 4th grader, who becomes obessed with a worker in a sandwich shop.
"Ms Ice Sandwich’s eyelids are always painted with a thick layer of a kind of electric blue, exactly the same colour as those hard ice lolli
Aug 03, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japan, fiction, 2018
I googled 'Japanese novellas' and it came up with these new Pushkin press Japanese novellas. I picked this one first 'cause this one was shortest of all. I'm not the sort of person to use words like cute, sweet and all that, but this was that. The writing in this book is really childish, but again the narrator is fourth grader, so it just works fine. Blurb promises lost innocence and loss, but it's not that deep. It's simply, you know, well, cute I guess. And sweet. ...more
A short story about a Japanese boy who has an infatuation with the sandwich lady at the local supermarket. Everyday during the summer he buys an egg sandwich from 'Ms Ice Sandwich' so he can look at her face. The pair never speak, but our narrator is obsessed with her giant eyes, lined with electric blue.

This is really just a slice of life story about growing up, and the awkwardness that comes with it. From dealing with an old and infirm Grandmother, to a tentative friendship with peer Tutti, th
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: japanese-fiction
Incredible. EXPERTLY translated (and I know I'm very particular, I can't help it - see my review of Dandelions たんぽぽ). I devoured this sandwich hungrily and it was delicious, thank you very much. Ms Ice Sandwich was exactly what I needed when I needed it. I've never laughed so hard and felt such loss in the span of, what, two pages? toward the end.

What an interesting book.

It's not every generation that we have a translator who can climb inside the psyche of the writer and expose the writer's
The second book from Pushkin Press's Japanese Novellas series which I am going to review today is Ms Ice Sandwich by Kawakami Mieko (yes, she shares the same last name as Kawakami Hiromi whose Record of a Night Too Brief I reviewed last week, but the two authors have no relation whatsoever as far as I am concerned).

I had never read anything by Kawakami Mieko before, but I have to admit that this novella caught my interest from the outset. It might have been very brief and left me yearning for m
Oct 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Ms Ice Sandwich is a quirky and immediately engaging novella, about a young boy's obsession with a woman who sells sandwiches from a counter in his local supermarket. As a character study, it is very interesting indeed from both sides. I enjoyed the almost stream-of-consciousness way in which the book was written, and overall, found it rather a thought-provoking story. The real strength here is the way in which Kawakami presents naivety and growing up. ...more
Nov 27, 2020 rated it liked it

This was very cute and wholesome - definitely for fans of The Convenience Store Woman - but it didn't WOW me. Still waiting for Kawakami to truly impress me, but she is overall pretty good
Umut Rados
Feb 12, 2020 rated it liked it
This book was a quick novella about a teenage boy having a crush on a girl working in a sandwich shop.
There’s also more to it like his relationship with his grandma, strange things going on at home and his best friend Tutti at school.
I did enjoy some parts. Innocence of the boy, the friendship with Tutti and the end was very heartfelt.
It didn’t have a big emotional impact on me as much as others and I’m not so keen on ‘slice of life’ narratives, so it was good to read, but it’s not a book that
Aug 22, 2020 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: japanese short stories
Shelves: asian, japanese
Ms Ice Sandwich is a short story with a coming of age theme. The unnamed mc is narrating his story, which is prompted by his adoration for the woman who works at the sandwich stall at the local market.

The second part of the book, with the weaving of the school life along with the mc's love life, as well as the conclusion of the story, was pretty much the best and masterfully handled and written.

However, the start was slow and kind of boring. It was difficult to keep the interest high, as the n
Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell
$9.99 for a 90-page book???

*emoji that looks like Edvard Munch's The Scream*
Nov 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
So sweet and pure of heart. Really needed to read something like this right now.
Tamsien West (Babbling Books)
Gently endearing story about a young boy and his adoration for a lady who sells sandwiches. I almost gave this story a miss, expecting it to be about a teen boy's sexual awakening. But I was delighted to discover it is a tale far more innocent.

The unnamed protagonist is a 4th grader who finds excuses almost every day to visit the local supermarket to see 'Ms Ice Sandwich'. He never speaks to her beyond asking for a sandwich, so he gave her the name based on her job and the brilliant ice-blue ey
Divine Anas
The reason why I'm so drawn to Japanese literature recently is because of the pervasive contemplative nature found in them. Ms. Ice Sandwich might not be for everybody's taste but reading it made me feel a little bit lighter. Mieko Kawakami's prose depended so much on her protagonist and I love how the MC's voice is so easy to delve into. Books like this makes me think that reading really is a form of therapy. ...more
Tink Magoo is bad at reviews
1.5 stars

I enjoyed the bumbling narrative but I'm either too thick to 'get' this or it just didn't translate into the humorous love story it was supposed to, for me at least.
Oct 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I’m continuing my streak of reading Japanese books this year. I couldn’t resist this cover, and it’s a short little book. I thought I could finish it last weekend, but life and work got in the way so I just finished it this morning.

The narrator is an unnamed Japanese boy who is obsessed with the woman who sells him sandwiches every day. The boy lives with his mother and his father’s mother, but his father passed away when he was four. He struggles with school, friendship, connection. Everyday he
I'm pretty sure that everyone in the class must know about my dad too, but not one person has ever asked me about him, so I've never talked about him to anyone. As I'm walking with Tutti I start to feel like talking about all that, I don't know why. There doesn't feel like there's all that much to say, and yet I still want to say something about it. But what does talking about it mean exactly, and what should I start by asking, and would the conversation go something like you don't have a mum
chantel nouseforaname
School aged boys are exactly as you’d expect them to be, doesn’t matter where they are in the world LOL!

I did love this book. I loved the fact that our young protagonist is trying to understand what he likes about Ms Ice Sandwich, whom he buys sandwiches from but can’t stop staring at. Her and her electric blue eyeshadow and eyeliner. He just can’t stop staring.

I love that he learns the lesson that — not everything is what your friends (also children) at school say that it is! I love that he i
A rather strange book about a young boy who becomes infatuated (obsessed?) with the woman who sells sandwiches at the local store. There's this undertone of sadness and longing throughout.

I hadn't heard of this book or its author before. But the title and the fun cover caught my eye while I was browsing my library's Libby catalogue.

It's a coming of age novella, a story about growing up and feeling different and learning to cope with all these strange new emotions and feelings.

Kind of moving,
Mar 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite
This novella is about friendship and love. The characters were built up simply and exactly. My heart ached and healed at the same time if I may describe how I felt reading this.
Soumya Prasad (she_booked_it)
Dec 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
There is a difference in being alone and being lonely. Not many people get that. I personally am someone who loves her me time and likes being alone, but I never feel lonely. However, things weren't always like this.

I have had my share of dark, lonely, hopeless days. Growing up, family is supposed to be your strength. They were the first people you were supposed to go to when you needed someone or felt lonely. The scenario was completely different for me. Support was the last thing I could expec
Feb 10, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

A boy falls in love with a supermarket employee who sells sandwiches. He is mesmerized by her eyes especially when she closes them to reveal something else. Meanwhile, his grandmother is doing poorly and he doesn't know if his mother is a good person or not. He doesn't seem to have a relationship with his mother because she tends to be too busy with her own life to care about what is happening with her son. There's also a girl he is befriends who learns about his admiration of Ms. Ice S
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TW Book Club: Winter Reading 2019-2020 1 27 Dec 15, 2019 06:16PM  
translation 2 13 Nov 27, 2017 05:56AM  

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Mieko Kawakami (川上未映子, born in August 29, 1976) is a Japanese singer and writer from Osaka.

She was awarded the 138th Akutagawa Prize for promising new writers of serious fiction (2007) for her novel Chichi to Ran (乳と卵) (Breasts and Eggs).

Kawakami has released three albums and three singles as a singer.

Articles featuring this book

Did you set an extremely ambitious Reading Challenge goal back in January? And has this, uh, unprecedented year gotten completely in the way of...
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“If I’m in a good mood and having fun, then it’s really good for the whole family, if I’m happy then you’re happy too, right?” 0 likes
“Which is the real Grandma? The Grandma who used to pick me up from nursery school? The Grandma who made me her special veggie meatballs? Breakfast-time Grandma when she dipped her bread in coffee before eating it? Gentle Grandma who, whenever Mum scolded me and pushed me away would sit next to me and let me talk? When Grandma goes away from this earth, where will she go? It's not happened yet, but I'm thinking about it now because I know that one day it's definitely, for sure, going to happen, And when I think about it, the air inside my chest gets heavier and heavier and it feels as if there's no escape.” 0 likes
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