(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.


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 Such Thing As An Easy Job!


The protagonist is after just that – an easy job. Something like ‘watching over collagen extraction’. She’s had her fill of burnout at a job she’d previously worked at for a long time. The five chapters of the book each describe, in turn, the unusual jobs she ends up pursuing next. On the face of it, they all sound quite easy, but of course, the protagonist starts finding each has its own unique difficulties…


The more serious and committed to your job you are, the more the job will consume first your thoughts and then your entire life. In an era of ‘work-life balance’, people are aware of the importance in re-defining your work as just ‘work’; to allow you to better see and enjoy your life outside of office hours. But no matter how you try to preserve the balance, jobs have a way of sweeping you up and you are ultimately powerless to resist. This book clearly depicts that precise moment when you feel completely overwhelmed.


With lots of humour and interesting settings, this book will surely help you feel better about work and come to terms with how to build a sustainable relationship with your job.


One of the things I want to emphasize about this book is that, comparatively speaking, it does not require much prior knowledge about Japan in order to fully enjoy the story. The themes are quite universal. Lots of newly translated Japanese fiction is often more to do with the societal norms in Japan and I have seen some English readers find it a bit hard to comprehend all the nuances and critical ideas the authors were trying to make. With that in mind, this book might be a great starting point for those who have not tried Japanese fiction before, due to this.


Polly Barton’s translation was very readable and maintained Kikuko Tsumura’s humorous writing style perfectly! Very beautifully done!

Polly Bartonさんの手掛けた翻訳も、作者のユーモアをきっちり掴んでいて、イキイキとした英文になっていました。とっても良い翻訳、ステキです!

The book will be published on 26th November. Thank you Bloomsbury Publishing for sending me the finished copy in advance!


More reviews available on my book blog Intermission Ambience
書評ブログの Intermission Ambience にも本のレビューを書いています。あわせてぜひご覧ください!

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