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(Book Review / 感想) 82年生まれ、キム・ジヨン / チョ・ナムジュ * Kim Ji-young, Born in 1982

Are you a ‘feminist’? I think I am. It’s so sad to admit this but there are still so many misconceptions and negative stereotypes associated with feminists. あなたは「フェミニスト」ですか?私自身は自分をフェミニストだと思っています。世間ではフェミニストに対する誤解やネガティブなステレオタイプがまだ多くて、なんだか残念。 Do you support equality of men and women? I expect most of people would answer yes. Can you list some of the inconvenience or problems in society to achieve the equality? Can you at least try to understand what it means for me to make society ‘equal’ despite gender? What are all the frustrations I feel in everyday life? Isn’t society not really even trying to achieve the equality? 男女の平等を支持しますか?きっと多くの人がYESって答えると思うんです。でも、平等を実現するために、社会の不都合さや問題を挙げることはできますか?ジェンダーにとらわれない「平等」って一体何のことなのか、せめて理解するような姿勢を示すことができますか?私が感じている日々の不満はいったい何なのか。社会は本当に平等を実現するための努力をしているのでしょうか・・・ This book explains so much about frustration I feel towards the male…

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Musée Rodin* Rodin Museum @ Paris, France * アートの世界に浸る、ロダンの邸宅ミュージアムとガーデン

I am not a big fan of sculptures. Before I visit this famous Rodin Museum, I was unsure about how to enjoy the sculpture as an art form. The visit to this lovely house where Rodin himself lived, made me realise the true joy of exploring the world of sculptures. 彫刻芸術の楽しみ方があまりわからず、よさが理解できていなかった私。このロダンミュージアムに訪れるかはかなり迷いました。でも、行って正解。ロダンがかつて住んでいた邸宅がそのままミュージアムとなっているこの空間、迫力のある彼の作品を間近に鑑賞することができます。 It was small enough to see the art very close to you. Lighted warmly by a sunlight, natural shadow created a deep contrast on the surface, the sculptures looked almost alive. I felt like they were about to start moving! 館内に日が柔らかく差し込み、自然な陰影が、彫刻の美しさを引き立てます。まるで、動き出すのではないかと思うほど。ぐんぐんと、その魅力にひきこまれていきました。 Museum offers variety of Rodin art everywhere in the building, as well as the famous ‘Le Penseur’ in…

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(Book Review / 感想) Olive Kitteridge / Elizabeth Strout

This book is about an ordinary woman in a small town in coastal Maine named Olive Kitteridge. What does it mean to live and get older? This book gave me ideas about the beauty and cruelty of aging and made me think a lot about how I want my life to be like. アメリカの小さな港町に住むごく普通の女性、オリーヴ・キタリッジの物語。生きるとか、老いとか、とてもシンプルで美しくて、でも残酷なテーマについて、じっくり考えさせられた一冊です。 All the characters in this book were somewhat unlikable because their personalities were depicted so realistically. No one is perfect, that is the truth of being human. Everyone has their negative aspects and everyone can be very self centred. Thus this very very unlikable main character Olive was so convincing and she turned out to be…

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(Book Review / 感想) Conversations with Friends / Sally Rooney

This book was ‘YES!!!! That’s exactly what I would say in that situation!!!’ kind of book that I really enjoyed reading while I commute. 「そうそれ!よく言った!!」と思うような瞬間ばかり。通勤途中に笑いながら読みました。 The main character was Frances a 20-ish woman in uni, her friend Bobbi (ex-girlfriend) and people around her. Frances gets involved with a married guy and starts cheating. 主人公は20代の学生Francesと、彼女の元カノBobbi、そしてその周りの大人たち。Francesは既婚者と関わり浮気をはじめます。 They are all such unlikable characters but I kept laughing about all the things they say, especially Frances says about herself. It is impossible to empathise with their situations but it captures the feeling of awkwardness and anxiety realistically. 好きになれないキャラクターばかり登場しますが、彼らの会話がとてもおもしろい。特にFrancesの回想シーンが最高です。決して共感できる内容ではありませんが、居心地の悪さや不安をとてもリアルに描いた作品です。 This book has a similar feeling to Convenience Store Women, but does not tackle social issues so…

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(Book Review / 感想) The Tattooist of Auschwitz / Heather Morris

It was a story of survival from the infamous Auschwitz. Although it was very easy to read, the writing was not on an amazing level. It sounded too much like a cheap love story while I was supposed to be reading about the horror and inhumanity of Auschwitz. アウシュビッツの生存者の物語。とっても読みやすい作品ですが、決してよく書けているわけではないという印象。強制収容所のおどろおどろしい空気や、恐怖…そういったものが全く伝わってこず、安っぽいラブストーリーを読んでいるような気分になりました。 The book is based on the real story, including the love drama part. It’s such a miracle that the couple survived and the story of them is passed down to the world through this book all around the world. I really wished if this book had more depth in the writing, it would have become another one of the masterpieces on…

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(Book Review / 感想) Outline / Rachel Cusk

This book was not really about ‘story’ but conversations with interesting people who the main character Faye met throughout her journey in Greece. 「物語」ではなく、主人公 Fayeがギリシャで出会う人々との「会話」を楽しむ一冊。 It had a lot of black humour in it that made me smirk. Almost like a guilty pleasure, I found it hard to put it down. So many conversations I almost wanted to underline, just because they sounded so perfectly written! ブラック・ユーモアたっぷりで、思わず何度も鼻で笑ってしまいました。ずるずると引き込まれ、読みだしたら止まらない、そんな魅力があります。マーカーでハイライトしておきたくなってしまうような、完璧!な文章をいくつも見つけました。 It reminded me of Flights / Olga Tokarczuk a lot. If Flights was a collage of beautiful pictures, Outline was like a very insightful Instagram feed, including proverbs from someone you just met, and observations of people you happened to meet. All the people appeared…

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Kościół św. Apostołów Piotra i Pawła @ Krakow, Poland * 聖ペテロ聖パウロ教会のクラシックコンサート

Poland is a country of music. I really wanted to enjoy something relate to this. ポーランドは音楽が有名な国。なにか、音楽にまつわる体験をしたいと思っていました。 As I was a budget traveller (maybe poor lol), I could not afford expensive concert ticket to experience famous halls and conductors. Instead, I was thinking of going to see ‘dinner show’, enjoying dance show with polish food, but int the end, I found something much nicer than that. 私はバジェット・トラベラー(というよりも貧乏なだけかも笑)なので、有名なコンサートホールで行われる素晴らしい指揮者の演奏会!にはもちろん手が届かず。笑 最初は民族衣装を着た踊り子たちのディナーショーに行こうと思っていたのですが、もっとステキなものを発見。 In front of a very beautiful church, staff was selling this quite cheap concert ‘in’ church at night! The players were graduates of local music university. I decided to give it a try. 観光中に、教会の目の前でナイト・コンサートのチケットを販売していたのです!地域の音楽学校の出身者が演奏するそう。これだー!と思いました。 The program was like all hit Classical music. I’m…

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(Book Review / 感想) コンビニ人間 / 村田沙耶香 * Convenience Store Woman / Sayaka Murata

Because of its catchy title and the very interesting background of the author (she works for convenience store), this book was everywhere when she won the Akutagawa Prize in 2016. 2016年に芥川賞を受賞した「コンビニ人間」、キャッチ―なタイトルと、作者自身もコンビニで働いているという経歴から、すごく注目されていました。 Because I tend to pick the book which is more relatable to myself, this book Convenience Store Woman was something I have been avoiding to pick up. I decided to give it a try when I found out it is finally translated into English… 私はより共感できそうな主人公の本を選んでしまう傾向にあるので、この本はどちらかというと避けてきた一冊。でも今回、英訳が出版されると聞いて、なんとなく手に取ってみました。 Surprisingly, I really enjoyed reading this book. It was about the life of a woman who finds it hard to assimilate with the societal norm to behave ‘normally’ in Japan. The main character works…

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(Book Review / 感想) A Gentleman in Moscow / Amor Towles

Reading this book reminded me a lot about The Great Gatsby. It had a similar subtle flamboyant feel in the setting of the story. The personality of very noble and sophisticated gentleman made me so impressed by the elegance of his lifestyle and ways of thinking. どことなくグレート・ギャツビーを思い起こさせる一冊でした。華やかでキラキラした世界。そして主人公であるジェントルマンのエレガントなふるまいやライフスタイルが、なんだか読んでいて心地よかった。 It had a good essence of the historical background of Moscow around 1920s. Because the main character the gentleman is under the house arrest at the Metropol hotel, the story did not really mention anything about the world outside of the hotel. This seclusion from the outer society and how people react to this situation were well described in this book. 1920年代のロシア、モスクワが舞台ですが、主人公がホテルに自宅軟禁されているという設定のため、歴史背景描写は必要最低限。それなのに効果的に時代の空気を感じさせます。軟禁状態にあるという状況と、それをどのように感じ日々を過ごすのか、そういう心境を、とても丁寧に描いたストーリーです。 Although…

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(Book Review / 感想) 雪の練習生 / 多和田洋子 * Memoirs of a Polar Bear / Yoko Tawada

I wonder why this book isn’t as acknowledged as it should be? どうして誰も私に教えてくれなかったんだろう?って思うほど、大好きな1冊と出会いました。 This book felt like a masterpiece of historical literature!! 歴史文学作品の傑作!とでも呼びたくなるほど、素晴らしい一冊。 I spotted this cute polar bear cover at Foyles, not knowing the author is actually an Akutagawa prize winner! (* The Akutagawa prize is the most famous literary award in Japan.) この本、日本の芥川賞作家 多和田葉子さんの作品ですが、ロンドンのFoylesで翻訳版を発見し、初めて知りました。かわいいホッキョクグマの表紙が目立っていました。 Reading this book made me feel very intellectual, with it giving off a great atmosphere of pre-war and wartime Russia and Germany as well as an excellent analysis of humans from the polar bear’s point of view. とても知的な気分になります。戦前・戦中・戦後のソ連やドイツを、ホッキョクグマを主人公に疑似体験できるような作品。ホッキョクグマの視点から見る「人間」の姿がとても興味深い。 All these complex topics were introduced in just the right amount and at the right timing…

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Hubbard & Bell @ London * 勉強・作業にぴったり!ロンドンのゆったりしたラウンジカフェ

Central London is sometimes inconvenient if you are looking for a nice cafe to work on your laptop. ロンドンの中心で困ること、それはカフェの席がみつからないこと!笑 I really like to work at the cafe. The limited space and noisy background are always one of the biggest concerns. 私は外で勉強したり、仕事したりするのが好きなので、ステキなカフェほど席が少なく、ガヤガヤしているのが気がかりでした。 One day, I found this spacious cafe at the entrance of the hotel called the Hoxton near Holborn. Tables were big enough for your drink, food and laptop, there were even sockets for most of the seats. でもある日、The Hoxtonという、Holborn駅近くのホテルの入り口にすごくステキな空間を発見。なんとこの広いラウンジ、カフェになっていたんです!食べ物とコーヒーの横に、パソコンを置いても十分余裕がある大きなテーブル。しかもほとんどの席の近くに電源もありました。 Buttermilk pancake tasted good. There is an open-kitchen restaurant at the back of the lounge area and they serve posh burgers for lunch (Tasted good!). It is a bit noisy…

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(Book Review / 感想) Exit West / Mohsin Hamid

In a city far away, bombs and assassinations shatter lives everyday. Yet, even here, hope renews itself, welling up through the rubble. Somewhere in this city, two young people are smiling, hesitating, sharing cheap cigarettes, speaking softly then boldly, falling in love. どこか遠くのある街で、人々は日々、爆弾や暗殺で命を失っている。 しかし、こんなところでも希望は瓦礫の中から湧きあがるもの。 この街のどこかで、2人の若者は笑い、戸惑い、安タバコを共に吸い、柔らかく大胆に、恋に落ちます。 As the violence worsens and escape feels ever more necessary, they hear the rumour of mysterious black doors appearing all over the city, all around the world. To walk through a door is to find a new life – perhaps in Greece, in London, in California – and to lose the old one for ever. 暴力は激しさを増し、とうとう避難が必要になった時、彼らは世界中の街に現れる謎の黒いドアの噂を聞きつけます。 ドアを通り抜ければ、きっと、ギリシャ、ロンドン、カリフォルニアで、新しい生活を手に入れることができます。でも、前の生活は永遠に失うことになるのです。 What does it mean to leave your home…

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