Kitchen

Published by Charlie on 2020-04-16
Hey there! Whatsuuuup?

I'm guessing nothing much because the whole world is still under lockdown (at least in most cases). Since I've been having a lot of time, I started to enjoy an activity that, not so long ago, seemed boring and exhausting: reading. Yes yes calm down you nerdy followers, there's no need to have heart attacks, I said I like it now.

What I read, which made me rediscover the beauty of having a book in my hands, is called Kitchen. It's written by Banana Yoshimoto (of course Banana is a pseudonym, you didn't really think that in Japan people are going around having fruit names, didn't you?) and it's set in Tokyo. Now: a Japan fan after these few information, would have already ordered it online. For those of you who aren't let me convince you what a beautiful book this is.

Let's start by saying that the topic isn't really light, in fact, Kitchen talks about overcoming traumatic experiences such as the death of a beloved. BUT!! DON'T BE DISCOURAGED!! TRUST ME!! Despite of the topic, I assure you that the book isn't sad. Do you get what I mean? It is a really difficult concept to explain but even though the death topic is deepened, the writer takes under consideration the bright sides of it. The hope there is behind loneliness and the strength you find in your other relationships, especially when you're young.
Kitchen is divided in three parts: Kitchen, Kitchen 2 and Full Moon. The protagonist in the first two parts is a teenage girl called Mikage who, already an orphan since she was a child, loses her last piece of family, her grandma. After the funeral, Yuichi who's one classmate of hers at the university, asks her if she wants to stay at his and his mother's place in order not to be completely alone. She agrees and slowly, she starts to feel as if she found a family again. She grows closer to the mother (who is transgender, btw in Banana's books there are plenty of LGBTQI+ characters) and in a slower way to Yuichi as well. These relationships are what keep Migake fine. The story goes on but, unfortunately the central theme is still death, as Yuichi loses his mom. I won't tell you the entire story, I won't be a part of your laziness, the only option you have is reading it yourself.

I know that from the plot many could consider this book depressing and see it just as a series of unfortunate events. However, Kitchen is so much more than that. The softness with which Yoshimoto tells us this story is almost unbearable. Reading this book is a caress for your soul. The beauty of the descriptions of the simplest things such as watering the plants or making some tea is shocking. I think that by reading them we are able to understand better the healing process the characters go through. We feel the relief of enjoying simple things as the characters do after much grief and pain. Rather than a book about death, I would describe it as a book about hope and friendship. Plus, it talks about us! It talks about teenagers!
That's why I chose to talk about it here. The book is about us, expresses what we probably would feel in these situations and it helps, in its way, to overcome this difficult time that (sorry for the dark thought) everyone of us will experience at least once in their lifetime.

P.S

But why is it called Kitchen? Let's say that food, cooking and kitchens are involved, but if you want to find out, I guess you're left with no choice but read it.
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