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Ms Ice Sandwich

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  6,636 ratings  ·  1,071 reviews
A boy is obsessed with a woman who sells sandwiches. He goes to the supermarket almost every day, just so he can look at her face. She is beautiful to him, and he calls her "Ms Ice Sandwich", and endlessly draws her portrait.

But the boy's friend hears about this hesitant adoration, and suddenly everything changes. His visits to Ms Ice Sandwich stop, and with them the last
Kindle Edition, 97 pages
Published January 23rd 2018 by Pushkin Press (first published November 2013)
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Bookworm Yes, you may be right. But the three girls in the narrator's class also talk about a mistake the docs made. So could it also be a facial reconstructio…moreYes, you may be right. But the three girls in the narrator's class also talk about a mistake the docs made. So could it also be a facial reconstruction gone wrong?
I'd like to believe that she went to get larger eyes but something wrong happened on her eyes and she uses blue colour to hide it. (less)

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Average rating 3.81  · 
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 ·  6,636 ratings  ·  1,071 reviews

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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
¸¸.•*¨*•♫ 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
[Editied for typos, clarity 11/5/22]

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.

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.

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


aly ☆彡
Jun 06, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Three hundred forty-nine books, hundred thirty eight minutes, forty-two contemplations it took for me to start reading this one.

I remember lamenting how I couldn't get anything out of The Woman in the Purple Skirt, but this book has successfully presented me with another perspective on Japanese literature. Ms Ice Sandwich is a succession of wonderful, vividly depicted observations seen through the innocent eyes of a bright, attentive child, and is very effective despite being relatively short.
growing up, am i right.

i have mixed feelings on books from the perspective of a child (children have a tendency to be annoying, which is their right, and the only thing more annoying than them is a weird adult doing a long saccharine literary impression of them for several hundred pages), but this was a thoughtful look at coming of age.

honestly i wish it was longer! in this glimpse (and i do mean glimpse, as this is like 7 pages long) we got very little of our protagonist's mother or his grandmo
daph pink ♡
This is my second Mieko Kawakami book; the first was Heaven. I haven't gotten around to reading Breasts and Egg yet, but I want to do so soon..

Her teen characters are quite enjoyable to read about. Her handling of adolescent naivety and the harsher aspects of puberty is excellent. I liked how our MC loved Ms. Ice Sandwich from afar and how she is lovely in her own right. The friendship between MC and her friend Tutti was intriguing, and his exchanges with his dying grandmother were both emotiona
Jul 25, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
"But 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. And when that happens, I'm going to tell myself I can't give in or freeze up and get discouraged and do nothing. I have to believe that."

perfectly mundane, neurodivergent coded and beautifully handled ♡

going on my favorites shelf!

Mar 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020-read, japan
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  ·  review of another edition
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!
luce (so' morta dentro)
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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
Caro the Helmet Lady
3,5. First friendship, first love, probably not the first loss and all in the same year - that's a lot for 4th grader to get through, but he manages it, with a little help of blue crayons and egg sandwiches. Personally, I'd prefer this story to be a bit longer to fully get into Author's writing and mood of it all but overall it was quite enjoyable and close to cute, I guess, but not in a bad way. ...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
Fiona MacDonald
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
Shelves: 2018, fiction, japan
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
Sep 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nihon
‘So Ms Ice Sandwich’s face that I look at almost every day was made by plastic surgery. That’s not Ms Ice Sandwich’s real face…What does failed plastic surgery mean? One of the girls said that if it was her, she’d die. And that Ms Ice Sandwich would never be able to get married, and that her life was over.’

Between a 4 and a 5-star rating – a great concept; a light read – and/but also felt a bit lacking in terms of characterisation (as per usual when it comes to Kawakami’s work). But compared
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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, 2022 rated it really liked it
Ms. Ice Sandwich is the first book I’ve read by Mieko Kawakami and it was beautiful. A young boy is infatuated with a woman who makes sandwiches at a local grocery story. He loves everything about her especially her eyes. This story truly touched my heart.

I look forward to reading another Kawakami book soon.

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
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*
Feb 12, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 17, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ever since the publication of Breasts and Eggs Meiko Kawakami’s has become more popular but before the English translation of that novel, indie press, Pushkin quietly released this novella way pre-Kawakami mania.

The book focuses on a narrator who is obsessed with a lady who sells sandwiches from a stall in the local mall. The reason why he gave her that nickname is because of her distinctive eyes. However the narrator’s life is a challenging one: he does not have a father, his mother neglects hi
Oct 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 05, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mieko Kawakami’s Ms Ice Sandwich is a bittersweet novella about growing up, longing and loss. Her Breasts and Eggs left me with very mixed feelings, but luckily this one exceeded my expectations. The language is simple, yet subtle and sometimes playful. A wonderful surprise♩

Bilingual reading in Japanese and English (mostly in Japanese since the language is so simple, but English translation seems to be brilliantly done).

Nov 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So sweet and pure of heart. Really needed to read something like this right now.
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
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
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TW Book Club: Winter Reading 2019-2020 1 36 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.

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