I can't recall when and how it started, but I have an intensifying interest over Japanese literary pieces. In particular, I'm drawn to the segment of light, easy and contemporary reads. While shopping for Christmas presents at Fully Booked last year, I thought of buying something for myself. I didn't find anything interesting at the small branch in Gateway Mall. I was about to leave when I saw the lone copy of Strange Weather in Tokyo. And just because it's Japanese, my impulsiveness hormones worked.

I didn't read any review prior to reading. Either I was lazy or avoided landing on spoilers. Despite being a short read, it took me several weeks to finish. It's not the plot to blame though. It has always been my laziness and sleepiness. :p

The book relates the story of Tsukiko and her Sensei. In a nutshell, it's a May-December love affair between a teacher and a former student. Decades after their last encounter, Tsukiko and Sensei met again, became drinking buddies, friends that was obviously heading to a romantic relationship. If life was uncomplicated, Tsukiko and her Sensei would easily end up together. Unfortunately, happily ever after is not always an easy reality.

Not everyone will like this book for several reasons. On most parts, the events were slow, shallow, repetitive and felt like it was leading to nowhere. However, Hiromi Kawakami left an exclamation on the concluding chapters. The ending was realistic, made sense but emerged unpredictable. My mind was saying, I didn't see that coming. And those who know me, having unpredictable endings is one of my determinants for a great read. 

On the positive side, I love the book because of the immersion on Japanese culture and lifestyle. I almost craved for Japanese food whenever the author starts describing the food shared by Tsukiko and her Sensei. I also like the unique way of how the characters hid, expressed and manifested their feelings. I mentioned to my friend Leah, they have a reserved and intellectual way of flirting. :p 

After finishing the book, I was reminded of those "happiness" surveys, suicide rates and the observations of my few friends, who stayed in Japan. Most would claim that despite its economic advances, many people remain unhappy. I haven't been to Japan but I surmise, the place and it's people may not be sad at all. Maybe, Filipinos are just exaggeratedly happy. :p Being a third world country, it's easier to bring happiness to most Filipinos (i.e. when the MRT successfully and safely transported passengers, humor stories and analogies on malfunctioning trains and not hearing Mocha Uson for several months hahahahaha) Having said these, I guess I gave a semi-spoiler. If I were to summarize, it was another story that emphasized Dr. Seuss' thoughts, don't cry because it ended, smile because it happened.

I'll definitely give 5 out of 5 stars to Strange Weather in Tokyo. It's my first read from Hiromi Kawakami and I intend to check out her other titles.