Kitchens and moons by Banana

Today I have finally finished reading Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto. A total of 150 pages of easy-paced and smooth flowing story telling.

The book is actually composed of 2 different (non-related) stories. In Kitchen we get to know a young woman who is recovering from the tragedy of her grandmother’s death. While she finds the strength and the will to live on, her life slowly transforms. She meets a nice young man and his mother (who in reality is “the father”), and towards the end falls in love.

This is the kind of story that has highest point (climax) almost at the end. I loved how the author was leading everything to that one grand moment.

We all believe we can choose our own path from among the many alternatives. But perhaps it’s more accurate to say that we make the choice unconsciously. I think I did - but now I knew it, because now I was able to put it into words. But I don’t mean this in the fatalistic sense; we’re constantly making choices. With the breaths we take every day, with the expressions in our eyes, with the daily actions we do over and over, we decide as though by instinct. And so some of us will inevitably find ourselves rolling around in a puddle on some roof in a strange place with a takeout katsudon in the middle of winter, looking up at the night sky, as if it were the most natural thing in the world.

This narrative follows with a short paragraph.

Ah, but the moon was lovely.

The second story, Moonlight Shadow is a short sketch of a teenager living through a crisis of having lost her lover to a car accident. They knew each other for four years, only to be so cruelly separated. The central character, Satsuki, has support from her lover’s brother, Hiiragi, who also lost his girlfriend to the crash. The story gets a magical touch-up when a stranger, a woman, enters Satsuki’s world, and wonderful things start to happen.

Maybe she’s just telling me some weird kind of lie, I thought, but I wouldn’t even mind if, bright and early, I ran there, chest pounding, only to make a fool of myself. She had shown my heart a rainbow. The thing was … she had reminded me that I could get excited over something unknown, and a tiny window opened in my heart. Even if nothing happened - even if turned out to be just the two of us watching the sparkling glints off the cold, flowing river - it would feel good.