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Nola @ London * ローカルが集うおしゃれカフェで食べる、おいしいブランチ

As a cafe lover, I am always looking for new hot places to visit. ‘Nola’ opened its doors in 2020 in Peckham, and is run by the London-based band ‘Oh Wonder’. 今回ご紹介する「Nola」は2020年にロンドンのペッカムエリアにオープンしたばかりの新しいカフェ。ロンドンで活動する「Oh Wonder」というバンドのメンバーが手掛けています。 They mention that they decided to focus on the neighbourhood to create a comforting place, after cancelling their world tour due to the pandemic. It’s such a strange time we are currently experiencing, however, their decision must have welcomed by the locals, the queuing customers for their coffee just kept coming! パンデミックの影響で2020年はワールドツアーをキャンセルせざるを得なくなったバンドのメンバー、世界に目を向けていた彼らが、ロックダウンを経て「ご近所」での活動にフォーカスを変更。世界中のカフェで得たインスピレーションを元に、ローカルのための居場所を!と作り上げたカフェなのだそう。実際、この記事を書いている2021年の夏、未だに心の落ち着かない日々を過ごす私たちですが、このカフェにはひっきりなしに「ご近所」のローカルたちが笑顔で足を運び、和やかに列を作っていました。バンドの想いが実ったプロジェクトですよね。 We visited for a breakfast and ordered food along with coffee. They have quite a good selection if you’re looking for an all-day-brunch, ranging from…

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(Book Review) From Little Tokyo, With Love / Sarah Kuhn

A modern fairytale – ‘From Little Tokyo, With Love’ by Sarah Kuhn – aimed at Teen/YA readers. I don’t normally pick up much from this genre, however this book was really something very special, and I’m so glad that I got the opportunity to read it. I wish I’d had this novel when I was a teenager. 「From Little Tokyo, With Love」は、おとぎ話をモチーフとして物語が展開する、ティーン / ヤングアダルト向けの作品。作者のSarah Kuhnは日系3世のアメリカ人です。ヤングアダルト系の本はあまり積極的に手に取らない私ですが、この本は心から出会えてよかった。自分がティーンエイジャーの頃に読みたかったなと思う1冊です。 The protagonist, Rika-chan, is a Japanese-American orphan girl living in LA with her cousins’ family. While her cousins are obsessed with princesses and rom-coms, she is proud of her judo skills, and believes she is not a princess type at all. She feels like she…

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(Book Review / 感想) People From My Neighbourhood / Hiromi Kawakami * このあたりの人たち / 川上弘美

‘People From My Neighbourhood’ is a new collection of translated short stories by Hiromi Kawakami , published by Granta Books in the UK! This is a collection of mini stories about the people in an unnamed place.All the stories are about 3 pages long and are interconnected. I really enjoyed how the stories sounded ‘ordinary’ and ‘likely’ while at the same time the events in this book were all unusual and quirky. The book was full of characters with unique personalities, detailed with minimal descriptions, but I felt like I still got to know all of them quite well! Kawakami’s storytelling made me feel like it’s not strange at all…

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(Book Review / 感想) Midnight Chicken / Ella Risbridger

I’d have to say I’m usually rather more a baking person than a cooking type. Normally I don’t bother to cook nice meals, and instead prefer to pay to get great quality restaurant food. (Though I really enjoy baking special biscuits for myself!) With that in mind, giving this cookbook a try was a bit of a challenge for me! The recipes are all easy to follow, covering fancy meals to daily dishes. I tried the Carbonara (Page 166). It requires only a few basic items, things we’d usually have in our fridge anyway. It turned out to be very quick and easy to make, so I can definitely see…

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(Book Review / 感想) A Burning / Megha Majumdar

Megha Majumdar’s ‘A Burning’ was my first time reading a book set in contemporary India. I’ve visited the country twice in the past and loved experiencing its culture on both occasions. However, this book felt like it really took me to parts of Indian society I’d previously had very little knowledge or awareness about. The story starts with a narrative by Jivan, who has been arrested for assisting with terrorist activity. She’s an ordinary girl who just happened to once post somewhat anti-government material on Facebook. This is later used as ‘evidence’ of her oppressive attitude, and the trigger for her involvement with terrorists. Her life in prison, her trials,…

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(Book Review / 感想) We Are All Birds of Uganda / Hafsa Zayyan

We Are All Birds of Uganda by Hafsa Zayyan is such a gripping book about family history, culture and moving between two countries: The UK and Uganda. The protagonist Sameer works for a law firm and is in the midst of a quarter-life crisis, caught up between a busy career and his relationship with his parents. As a business newcomer and working in the City myself (obviously WFH for nearly a year now though), as well as growing up with my parents – who hold quite traditional values – back in Japan, his struggles felt very familiar to me. The author captured these kinds of ‘moment’ very vividly; those times…

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(Book Review / 感想) Common Ground / Naomi Ishiguro

As a Japanese national who moved to the UK in mid-2019 to live with my British husband, Naomi Ishiguro’s Common Ground served to remind me of all those moments and things experienced in conversations with my British friends that they might never have even thought or known if they hadn’t talked about them with me. 2019年の中旬にイギリスに渡った日本人である私。ナオミ・イシグロの小説「Common Ground」を読んで思い出したのは、イギリスにおける生活の中で疑問に思ったことや違和感があったことをイギリス人の友人にシェアしたときの気持ち、「そんなことが起きているなんて」と驚くイギリス人の友人たちの反応。 The book – set in the early 2000s – tells the story of two young boys, Stan and Charlie. Stan lives in a suburban English town, and is struggling with his family and friends. Charlie, who is slightly older than him, is from a Traveler family. One day they happen to find each…

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(Book Review / 感想) There’s No Such Thing As An Easy Job / Kikuko Tsumura * この世にたやすい仕事はない / 津村 記久子

I think your job is something everyone struggles with to some extent. The type of work, the hours, relationships etc. I enjoy my job, but even I feel like I want something easier or perhaps ‘more fun’, sometimes. 仕事って、誰しも何らかの不満や悩みを抱えているものだと思います。それは仕事の内容にかもしれないし、労働時間や人間関係かもしれない。仕事を楽しんでいるつもりの私ですが、時々もっと楽な仕事や、もっと面白い仕事があるはずだ…なんて思ってしまう時もあります。 I first read this book in Japanese when I had just started working in London. I was really struggling to get used to a whole new environment and was exhausted with thoughts of how I needed to commit to the job and prove to others that I could do things well. But this book really ended up making me feel better, telling me – as the title says – There’s No…

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(Book Review / 感想) That Reminds Me / Derek Owusu

Have you ever felt like negative memories have trapped you; happy memories overtaken, deep in your thoughts? ネガティブな記憶に追い込まれてしまうような気持ち、幸せな記憶が塗り替えられて、考え込んでしまうような気持ち… This book reminded me of the times I’ve been caught by dispair, feeling trapped within society, within my own mind. この本はそんな社会に閉じ込められるような、自分自身の心の闇に留まっているような、「絶望感」を思い起こします。 The spider illustration used throughout the book – gradually forming a complete web towards the end – made me ponder what the author was trying to say by including these images. 各章のはじめに付いている蜘蛛の絵は、段々と蜘蛛の巣を形作っていく。これには著者のどんな想いが込められているのか。 The story is written in a beautifully poetic style, composed of very small chapters made up of short scenes. I read through the whole book as if I was enjoying a collage of fragmented memories! 詩的な美しい文章で書かれている本作、短い各章の中にさらに小さなパラグラフで印象的なシーンを描いています。まるで記憶の欠片を覗き見ているような感覚です。 This book is…

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(Book Review / 感想) Clap When You Land / Elizabeth Acevedo

I just came across a book that I think will be one of my favourite books this year! ‘Clap When You Land’ by Elizabeth Acevedo is aimed at a YA audience but was such a gripping book, even for adults, I just couldn’t put it down. It’s written in a colloquial verse style and beautifully phrased. ‘Clap When You Land’はドミニカ系アメリカ人作家のElizabeth Acevedoによるフィクション。ヤングアダルト向けですが、大人が読んでも惹き込まれます。全編が口語調の詩のように書かれていて、まるで音楽のようなスタイルです。 The story starts off with an airplane crash, inspired by a true incident just a few months after 9/11 happened. Most of the passengers were Dominican. 9/11の直後に起きた実際の飛行機墜落事故をモデルに書かれたフィクション。乗客はほぼ全員がドミニカ共和国の方だったそう。 It’s a story about two sisters losing their father, one in the US, one in the Dominican Republic. They find out about…

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(Book Review / 感想) Manazuru / Hiromi Kawakami * 真鶴 / 川上弘美

The protagonist Kei’s husband – Rei – disappeared 12 years ago. Kei’s life continues, but her feelings have been left somewhere else, along with her memories; she is constantly meditating on her life and her future. One day, she visits the seaside town Manazuru, and as if some magical power is leading her there, she keeps revisiting. 主人公は京、夫の礼は12年前に失踪しました。その後も京の日常は続いていくのですが、思い出に浸り、過去や未来の間をさまよい瞑想しています。ある日、何かの力に導かれるように海沿いの町 真鶴を訪れるようになります。 The book mainly focuses on her relationship with her missing husband, and is told through Kei’s memories and reflections. I really enjoyed the subtle explanations about three women living together in one house; the protagonist Kei, her elderly mother, and her teenage daughter Momo. The story depicts the distance between them…

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(Book Review / 感想) BUTTER / 柚木麻子 * BUTTER / Asako Yuzuki

BUTTER was inspired by the famous crime case of Kanae Kjima in 2009, who was sentenced with the death penalty for conducting a series of murders while taking part in ‘Konkatsu’ (marriage hunting), specifically targeting men seeking marriage. Because of this unusual setting – and her strong personality – the media reported this sensationally, with lurid details about her remarks and crimes; including her sex life and the amount of money she earned from the ex-boyfriends (who she’d killed). BUTTERは、実際の事件をベースに書かれたフィクション、「婚活事件」としてニュースで話題になっていた、木嶋佳苗死刑囚がモデルです。彼女の発言や性格、男性たちとのこと、様々な憶測を盛り込みつつ、センセーショナルに報道された事件でした。 Despite the public curiosity towards the case, a great deal of mystery continued to surround her, in particular regarding how the media described her appearance negatively (or more precisely, the…

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