Book Review · Books

Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami [BOOK REVIEW]

Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami book review blog blogging diary of difference diaryofdifference japan love romance

Being born in Macedonia, I grew up reading books that were mostly translated. Because of that, I always appreciate the amazing job that translators do and have always cherished translated copies of my books. Strange Weather in Tokyo is no different, and Allison Markin Powell did an amazing job translating this book. 

I read this book in August as part of the Tandem and Granta Books Instagram readalong – to celebrate #Kawakamimonth as well as Women in Translation month – and I am so glad I was able to join.


One night when she is drinking alone in a local bar, Tsukiko finds herself sitting next to her former high school teacher. Over the coming months they share food and drink sake, and as seasons pass – from spring cherry blossom to autumnal mushrooms – Tsukiko and her teacher develop a hesitant intimacy that tilts awkwardly and poignantly towards love.

My Thoughts:

From the very first chapter, we travel to Japan and the whole mood changes. I could grasp the culture, taste the food and feel the weather changing through the seasons. The writing is brief and concise, yet full of emotion and wisdom. Both the characters and the scene had something very special about their description – they appeared so close, so real, as if you could just reach out your hand and touch them, feel them, taste them. This feeling stayed with me and I will cling on to it, because it happens so rarely these days. 

Even though I am not a fan of student-teacher relationships, this relationship in particular kept me intrigued, simply because it was so much different than anything I have encountered before.

Tsukiko is young and tries to live in the modern world, while Sensei is much older and very traditional. They meet in the bar and talk. There are no dates, nor arranged meetings. They may see each other, and they may not. Sometimes it could be months before they bump into each other again. And that’s the beauty of their relationship. They live their own lives independently, and having each other as company is an added bonus. 

A few plot twists lingered in the way of their love. Tsukiko’s potential boyfriend, who is the same age as her, Sensei’s old age and what that might mean, and the numerous arguments that seem bizarre, but test their relationship on deeper levels. It was very refreshing to see the brutally honest issue that is age between couples. Sensei knows he doesn’t have too long to live, and he is honest with Tsukiko, as he wants her to truly understand what this means, and once she understands it, he wants to ensure she is okay to proceed the relationship, given those circumstances. 

I have mixed feelings about the ending of Strange Weather in Tokyo.

I was surprised at how it ended, but then I understood why. Perhaps I wanted a complete closure, but I learned that life doesn’t do closures. There is no perfect or right time to do something. We only have the “now” and we should enjoy every moment while we can.

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK |Amazon US |

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Book Review · Books

The Swords of Silence by Shaun Curry [BOOK REVIEW]

The swords of silence by shaun curry book review books netgalley goodreads love reading uk harper collins harpercollins japan christianity religion shogun

I was born and raised in a country where religion is sacred. I was surrounded with Christianity all my life. However, while I have learned lessons of love, respect and hope, I am not a believer. I do believe that we need to be kind to each other, respect each other and hope for a better tomorrow, but I don’t believe there is a God out there who decides our faith. My review is based on how I felt while reading and I believe everyone is entitled to their own opinion and should be respected for that.

The Swords of Silence features father Joaquim, who moves to Japan in the 1620’s, to share the religion of Christ. However, the brutal regime in Japan forbids any other religion than Buddhism. The Shogun is determined there is no more Christianity in his country. Throughout the book, we follow Joaquim’s journey, where he manages to get captured and escapes several times, with the help of God.

This book perfectly captures the regime in Japan during this time.

The true terror and the brutal punishments if you ever dare make a mistake. The world of no mercy. But this book is also a product of divine inspiration and has great elements some of us consider fantasy.

Many of the scenes in The Swords of Silence that featured escaping were unrealistic and resembled the Bible stories. We had walking on water, moving of mountains and a big storm in the sea that only affects the enemy ship, even though they are only metres away from father Joaquim’s ship.

There is one scene though, that I was absolutely in awe with, and that was the scene with the duels. As a person who trained karate all my life and is very familiar with the rules of a duel, honour, respect and combat in martial arts – this scene was perfectly set and accurate. It brought all the emotions and it was brutally realistic. And it is because of this scene that I will give this book three stars.

The Swords of Silence is a great book, and I love the fact that the author captured moments in history that were true and brutal, and not many people in the world know about. A story that will make people aware of what was happening in the past. Even though I am not a believer in God, I stand by that people shouldn’t be mistreated, bullied, or in this case – brutally murdered for what they believe in. Everyone has the right to believe in anything they believe in.

If this book was more realistic with the events and scenes, I would have given it five stars for the message it shares with the world.

True fact: Around 1% of the population in Japan claims Christian belief or affiliation. Most large Christian denominations are repressed in Japan today.

Thank you to LoveReading UK, the publisher Harper Collins UK and the author, Shaun Curry, for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase Links:
| Amazon UK |Amazon US |

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Fear of moving out

Annette has a fear of moving out. We all do when we’re young. It means new life, new friends, new environment. It is one of scariest things for one kid.

Annette has a fear of moving out.

Annette is a girl from Japan. She sent me this card by  Postcrossing, with the ID of JP-799542 and she told me she’s from Kagashima, Southern Kyusha. Right now, she might, or might not have moved with her family. In the card she was really scared.

Everything is so unsure and my life currently is on hold… 🙁

Annette, let me tell you something. Moving to a new place is not the end of the world. I don’t know whether you moved or not, but moving doesn’t always means a bad thing. It’s not always about losing everything, house, neighbourhood, friends… Sometimes, you have to think on the better side. It means gaining new ones , and that means a new start in your life. It means new friendships, new smiles, and new adventure, that will bring new memories. Don’t say no to life. Don’t say no to destiny. Say yes to the opportunity for something new. Always find the positive side in everything you do.