I gave this book 3 stars on goodreads.
Warning – Non-specific spoilers ahead
Strange Weather in Tokyo offers a quiet insight into a women dealing with depression and the conflict of love seeping back into her life. The narrative methodically tumbles through Tsukiko’s daily goings on and I adored this soft, gentle telling of her story.
The distance created between the reader and the protagonist underlines the suffocation of depression and how it numbs you to feeling the actions and emotions of those around you. The focus on food and smaller details, such as certain trees and animals, indicated the main characters state of isolation as these observations emphasised her detachment.
Nevertheless, this melancholic tone of narrative sometimes seeps into the background as Tsukiko’s personality starts to break through, however subtlety.
I found the slowly building relationship between Tsukiko and Sensei as incredibly sweet, not in spite of but because of the age gap. I have the belief that if you love someone and it’s not illegal or non-consensual, then be with who you want to be with. There are too many restraints in society and honestly a 37 year old women interested in a man more than 30 years older than her isn’t the worst thing in the world; it’s felt like kindred spirits finding each other at last.
One of my biggest irritations was the ending. We got no real culmination of their relationship and I felt we missed out on seeing anything substantial in regards to development of the characters. Like I mentioned, the narrators voice distances you from the characters emotions, so despite finding myself reflected in some of what was being said, I never felt particularly emotional in regards to Tsukiko’s and Sensei’s situations.
It was a sweet, soft and slight insight into Japanese culture and even though there was a missing sense of emotional attachment, it’s delicate romance made me feel a sweet melancholy.
If your looking for a short gem of a book, with a tendency for smaller pleasures, check this book out. I definitely want to pick up some of Kawakami’s other works, for sure.