Strange Weather in Tokyo is a story of loneliness and love that defies age.
Tsukiko, thirty-eight, works in an office and lives alone. One night, she happens to meet one of her former high school teachers, "Sensei," in a local bar. Tsukiko had only ever called him "Sensei" ("Teacher"). He is thirty years her senior, retired, and presumably a widower. Their relationship develops from a perfunctory acknowledgment of each other as they eat and drink alone at the bar, to a hesitant intimacy which tilts awkwardly and poignantly into love.
As Tsukiko and Sensei grow to know and love one another, time's passing is marked by Kawakami's gentle hints at the changing seasons: from warm sake to chilled beer, from the buds on the trees to the blooming of the cherry blossoms. Strange Weather in Tokyo is a moving, funny, and immersive tale of modern Japan and old-fashioned romance.
192 pages, paperback.
About the Author & Translator
Hiromi Kawakami was born in Tokyo in 1958. Her first book, God (Kamisama) was published in 1994. In 1996, she was awarded the Akutagawa Prize for Tread on a Snake (Hebi o fumu), and in 2001 she won the Tanizaki Prize for her novel Strange Weather in Tokyo (Sensei no kaban), which was an international bestseller. The book was short-listed for the 2012 Man Asian Literary Prize and the 2014 International Foreign Fiction Prize.
Allison Markin Powell is a translator, editor, and publishing consultant. In addition to Hiromi Kawakami's Strange Weather in Tokyo, The Nakano Thrift Shop, and The Ten Loves of Nishino, she has translated books by Osamu Dazai and Fuminori Nakamura, and her work has appeared in Words Without Borders and Granta, among other publications. She maintains the database japaneseliteratureinenglish.com.