In a lot of ways, I’m basically where I was a hundred pages ago. I still wish an editor had gone through and tightened this beast up. My eyes start rolling now every time a brand name or extensive clothing description appears on the page before me. It’s just so unnecessary. I’m still not in love with the alternating chapters. Nothing is bringing them together yet, and nothing will in this book judging by the table of contents for Book 1, which lists alternating Tengos and Aomames right until the end. So I will stop talking about how irritated it makes me and wait for when the two stories connect up to discuss it again.
Archive for February, 2011|Monthly archive page
Haruki Murakami’s new book is actually three books (which anyone waiting for the English translation already knows), for a total of about 1600 pages of dense Japanese. These tomes have been intimidating me from my shelf of unread books since I got the third one a few months ago, until I finally worked up the nerve to crack the first one open last week. I figure that I’ll have forgotten most of my impressions of the beginning by the time I get to the end (I read slower in Japanese than in English, so this could take a while), so I thought I’d break it up into hundred-page chunks. Think of it as the slowest live-blogging event ever.
My friend M. introduced me to Yukari Takinami’s Rinshi!! Ekoda-chan. She’s never pushed anything on me so eagerly before. “Ekoda-chan is us!” she insisted. “She says all the things we want to!” Which is sort of a lot for a collection of yon-koma (four panel) strips to live up to.
Our hero’s name comes from the fact that she lives near Ekoda Station in Nerima-ku in Tokyo. Which is where I used to live, so that was a weird sort of coincidence. Nerima is definitely not the hippest ku in town. In fact, I’ve been told that it is the only ku where people still farm. And those people farm daikon. The Hello Kitty for Nerima is basically a daikon with a Hello Kitty face. Yes, I felt ripped off. Also, I’ve never seen anyone actually farming in Nerima, much less farming daikon.
Before I even say anything about the latest offering from Yoshihiro Tatsumi, Gekiga Yose: Shibahama, full disclosure: I think Tatsumi is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. And his wife is six kinds of adorable. So I may be a little predisposed to liking his work.
This new-ish book (released July 2009, but it’s been sitting on my shelf waiting patiently to be read) is a bit of a shake-up. I think in English, Tatsumi is known for stories that are a bit on the darker side, turning his focus on the downtrodden and underbelly of society in particular. But he’s actually really funny and a lot of the stuff he’s published in Japanese delights in plays on words, silly jokes and sight gags. So I wasn’t too surprised to learn that his latest publication is a collection of rakugo stories.
I just got a buttload of manga delivered by a very friendly postal worker! These are the kinds of things that make my week. I mean, the manga alone would have been more than enough to make me smile for days, but add a friendly interaction with a nice postal worker and it’s rainbows everywhere!
The best part about this box full of pictures and words? I am reading them for work! (I love my job.) Some more directly for work than others. The most recent volume of Ooku (I am seriously behind in this series. Volume 6 came out in August and I am just now getting it in the post?) is the more indirect kind of reading for work, the keeping-up-with-the-world-of-manga kind of reading, while Ono Natsume’s Tsuratsura Waraji is the more direct kind, the interpreting-for-her-in-May-so-better-prepare kind. (TCAF finally made the announcement today!)
My brain is less excited by all this than I am, though. It keeps casting fearful glances at the ever-expanding shelf of books to be read, and muttering to itself about not enough hours in the day and maybe it doesn’t really need sleep after all.