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(Book Review / 感想) Earthlings / Sayaka Murata * 地球星人 / 村田沙耶香

Having lived in London for a long enough now to be able to explain the difference between life in Japan and life in the UK, I’d say the sense of societal peer pressure, in particular, is much stronger in Japan. I’m certain everyone in Japan has the feeling it’s just all too much, at one point or other in their lives. However, the overwhelming conformity gradually pushes you back onto the ‘correct’ track to follow. Society just won’t let you drop off the route you ‘should’ take. イギリスと日本の違いについて、なんとなく答えられるくらいには長くイギリスに住んだかなと思う最近、日本の同調圧力は特に大きな違いだなと感じています。きっと、日本でも誰しもが、他人に合わせるなんて「もう充分」と感じることが一度や二度はあると思うのですが、それでもどこかで思い直し、指定されたルートや、正しい道に戻っていく…そんな感覚。脱線なんてさせない、そんな圧力。 Sayaka Murata’s award-winning novel ‘Convenience Store Woman’ was a big success, even in its English translation. However, I felt at times that…

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(Book Review / 感想) How Much of These Hills Is Gold / C Pam Zhang

I was luckily part of #HowMuchOfTheseHillsIsGold#Readalong .This book was set in America’s Western gold rush period but came from the very unique angle of writing about a family of Chinese descent and the struggles of immigrants and cultural heritage.This was a topic I had never heard of before, and this book felt like it helped me learn a new page in world history.The author’s writing is very beautiful, in particular the landscape as seen through Lucy’s eyes felt so real. With lots of metaphors and quite abstract writing, it was sometimes a bit difficult for me to clearly understand what was going on, however, the more I read, the more I loved…

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(Book Review / 感想) The Mystery of Henri Pick / David Foenkinos

It’s such an interesting book about how stories are written, created and told. Very subtle and beautiful but really comical at the same time.The mystery part of this book was very beautifully written, but I personally think this book is not necessarily for mystery fans, it might be more appealing to literary fans. To avoid potential spoilers, I’m not going to write a detailed synopsis here, but the story starts at the library of rejected books, where unpublished manuscripts are stored. The young editor finds an extraordinary masterpiece hidden in the shelf! Who wrote this? – the book was so gripping and I found myself wondering all the way through…

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(Book Review / 感想) The Dutch House / Ann Patchett

#TheDutchHouse was such an interesting book that hooked me straight into the story of an unfortunate life of a family and a house.The characters were all so powerful, but at the same time, I thought every one of them was super unlikable!!! After finishing this book, I cannot stop imagining how the house would look like, and the portrait of Maeve… How do we consider people’s relationships with their house, such as the bonds and emotion with the physical structure and how it will become part of the history of the old buildings all around it… Participating in the #Readalong has always been fun, but especially for this one, exchanging the ideas of…

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(Book Review / 感想) Hamnet / Maggie O’Farrell

I was part of the #HamnetReadAlong and enjoyed this book so much that I had to write a little review about it (which I don’t normally do for the readalongs!!!) This book was about the beautiful love and loss of the family of famous playwright William Shakespeare. Written through the eyes of his wife Anne Hathaway, it perfectly captured the relationship between parents and children, siblings and relatives in fine detail. In this book, Shakespeare’s name is never mentioned. The effect of this is to better spotlight Anne, and brings a completely new perspective to the reader. Also, it’s worth noting that in the book Anne is called Agnes and the title…

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(Book Review / 感想) Where the Crawdads Sing / Delia Owens * ザリガニの鳴くところ / ディーリア・オーエンズ

Over the past year, it’s become such a massively hyped book that I even felt a little hesitant to read it at first; however, the unique setting and strong female protagonist made the reading experience extraordinarily fantastic, all in all! アメリカで出版され、英語圏で大ヒットとなった作品。人気すぎて読むのを躊躇ったほど。笑読みだしたらあっという間!ステキな主人公とユニークな舞台設定に魅せられ、ページを捲る手が止まりませんでした。 Abandoned by her family, the protagonist Kya grows up alone in a shack in the swampland. 主人公のカイアは幼い頃に家族に見捨てられ、たった一人で湿地で暮らしています。 Honestly speaking, it took me a while to get into the core plot; the first few chapters of the book in particular were slow going. It sounded like a very typical ‘poor kids from a disadvantaged background’ kind of story, but if you feel the same I did, please do persist beyond…

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Kimono – Kyoto to Catwalk – @ The Victoria & Albert Museum, London * ロンドンのV&A博物館で開催された着物展について

I had been looking forward to checking out this special exhibition about Kimono since the V&A first announced it. During the opening weekend, I popped along for a visit to find lots of people curiously working their way through galleries packed to the brim with a whole host of beautiful Kimono. In this sense, I couldn’t have been happier to see so many people turning out for a Japan-themed exhibition. ロンドンの博物館「ビクトリア&アルバート (V&A)」で着物の企画展示が開催されると聞いてから、この日をずっと楽しみにしていました。2020年2月末からスタートした展示に、オープン直後の週末に行ってきました。空間いっぱいに広がる美しい着物の展示。オーディエンスであふれた空間で、日本に関する展示がこんなにも注目を浴びるなんて嬉しいと感じました。 Overall, the gallery space was not bad when viewed as a kind of fashion exhibit; all the kimono on display were very beautiful. However, I was left with somewhat mixed feelings in my mind. As a Japanese woman…

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The Red Wheelbarrow Bookstore @ Paris, France * リュクサンブール公園近くのフレンドリーな本屋さん

As soon as I found it on Instagram, The Red Wheelbarrow Bookstore was on my to-visit list in Paris. With a cute blue look and cosy atmosphere, I was certain that this bookshop must be a hidden gem for booklovers in Paris. Instagramでかわいいブルーの外観と居心地よさそうな店内の写真を見つけた時から、 The Red Wheelbarrow Bookstore はずっと私のパリで行きたい場所リストに載っていました。パリの本好きたちが集まる秘密基地のような場所に違いない!確信がありました。 It’s not a big shop, but it’s full of well curated books. The Canadian owner is very helpful and easy to chat to, I got a handful of very good recommendations for books set in Paris! 決して大きな本屋さんではありませんが、選び抜かれた本が空間中にぎっしり。カナダ人のオーナーは親切でとても話しやすく、私もパリが舞台の本を何冊も選んでもらいました! Well loved by the local English community, there were customers coming in and out very frequently. Everyone starts chatting with the staff about new books…

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Noglu @ Paris, France * ほっこりあたたかいパリのグルテンフリーカフェ

As a big fan of glutenous food (eg. bread and pasta) I have never tried gluten free products before. After visiting Noglu in Paris, I can safely say gluten free food can be just as tasty as the normal options. グルテンの入っているような食べ物(パンやパスタetc)が大好きな私は、グルテンフリーの食品には挑戦したことがありませんでした。でも、パリでNogluを訪れて、グルテンフリーだって普通の小麦製品と同じくらい美味しい!と気づくことができました。 I did not plan ahead to visit this cafe, it was just a coincidence. I was very hungry after a long walk and desperately in need of some hot food to warm me up after a spell of cold, rainy weather. もともとNogluはノーチェックで、偶然訪れたカフェでした。かなり歩いた後で、雨も降っていてとても寒かったので、何かあたたまるランチを探していたのでした。 Noglu’s soup of the day was very tasty. I went for the pumpkin based vegetarian option – warm, creamy and full of flavour! A tasty slice of…

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Officine Universelle Buly 1803 @ Paris, France * サンジェルマンにあるBuly本店で出会ったステキなマダム

Buly is one of the trendy cosmetics brands everyone seems to be talking about all over the world right now. Their lovely packaging had been tempting me to splash out online, but I was determined to get my first Buly at their original shop in Paris, where the brand was first established back in 1803. 今、世界中の注目を集めているBuly、私もかわいいパッケージに惹かれて思わずオンライン購入してしまいそうだったのですが… 初めてのBulyは絶対に、パリの本店で購入したいと決めていました。 The shop is located in a quiet street, and I was just about to walk past without noticing it. Their classy looking decor and costumes made me feel like I had traveled back in time! お店はとっても静かな通りに位置していて、思わず通り過ぎてしまいそうになったほど。クラシカルな雰囲気の内装とスタッフさんの衣装が、まるで本当に1803年にタイムスリップしたかのような気分になります。 From the varieties of products they offer, including hand cream, hairbrushes and toothpaste, I decided to start…

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Librairie Galignani @ Paris, France * 吹抜けが美しい、パリの正統派書店

Exceptionally elegant and chic, Librairie Galignani is one of the most Parisian bookshops you can find in Paris. エレガントでシック、まさにパリジャン!という佇まいの Librairie Galignani は、きっとパリで一番の本屋さん。 They sell both French and English books. Their English section is located at the back of the bookshop. Lit by the natural light from the roof window, it looked like a scene from a booklover’s dream! 英語とフランス語の本を取り扱っています。英語のコーナーはお店の一番奥、吹き抜けの自然光に照らされて、まるで本好きの夢のような空間なのです。 They cover a wide range of newly published English books as well as a collection of classics. The French author selection was definitely the best among the bookshops I visited in Paris. 英語で出版された新刊の他にも、古典作品が多く揃っていました。フランスの作家の本を集めたコーナーは、今までパリで訪れた本屋さんの中で一番品ぞろえが良かったので必見です。 Their original merchandise, including tote bags and notebooks, were very chic. Perfect for a gift or souvenir. オリジナルグッズもお店と同じくシックでステキ。トートバッグやノートがあり、お土産にもぴったりです。…

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The Abby Bookshop @ Paris, France * アットホームなパリの書店で本好きな店主とおしゃべりを

When it comes to English bookshops in Paris, people tend to refer to the famous Shakespeare and Company. It’s such a lovely bookshop, but my new favourite is located just round the corner from it. パリで英語の本を買う、というと有名なShakespeare and Companyを挙げる方が多い。確かにステキな本屋さんなのですが、私の新しいお気に入りは、Shakespeare のすぐ目と鼻の先にあるのです。 The Abbey Bookshop is very homey and friendly, it makes you feel like you are visiting your bookish friends’ house. The staff were very easy to chat to, knowledgeable and helpful. I spotted so many locals coming to see the owner to discuss the books they were reading. とってもアットホームな雰囲気のThe Abbey Bookshopは、まるで本好きな友人の家に遊びに来たような感覚になる本屋さん。本の知識が豊かでおしゃべり好きな店員さんはとっても親切。たくさんのローカルたちがオーナーと話すためにお店に来ていました。 The shop itself is almost like a book cave. You will be surrounded by massive walls of books. It might…

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