My "Kitchen", part 4

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Mar 18, 2019 01:09 bookclub
While I was reading Banana Yoshimoto's "Kitchen" to go to a book club meeting, I often cooked deep-fried food. This book contains three short stories; "Kitchen", "Full moon - Kitchen 2" and "Moonlight shadow".
The first two are a series of the same story and the last one is another story. This book was released in the midst of the 80's when people in Japan weren't discussing sexual identity or transsexuality that often yet. Those two stories have a transgender character and it was very unconventional in those days. If you read this book now for the first time, you might find this book unconvincing, but think of that before criticising, you didn't even have cell phones or the internet in the time of this book describes! I mean, for the majority, those stuff didn't exist. In those days, I remember that my dad used a car phone which was very alike to nowadays cell phones and some people enjoyed the communication through their PC network. I don't know how you call it, but in Japanese it was called パソコン通信. Those things hadn't spread well yet, I mean.
The sexual identity issues from this book was one of the reasons why the organiser selected this for a book club meeting, and I assume that another reason was that it was a bestseller written by a Japanese author. After all, all the participants are currently living in Japan.
I noticed another point in common between those two stories; A deep-fried food is delivered to someone who has just lost their loved one, and the food gives them the energy to survive. In "Kitchen 2", it is a katsu-don (pork cutlet and cooked eggs on hot rice). The protagonist, Mikage, took a taxi and drove a long distance at a midnight to deliver it to her friend Yuichi. This episode conveys the atmosphere of the 80's Japan, in the midst of the bubble period very well.
In "Moonlight shadow", a kakiage-don (various vegetables and sometimes small shrimps of tempura on hot rice), and something from Kentucky Fried Chicken.
I really like the idea, the food I cooked gives someone energy to live their lives. That's why I was into cooking deep-fried food in February. And I had someone with me in my flat to make food for, as a host mother. It is different thing at all, cooking for someone else from cooking for yourself alone. That might not sound like what a feminist says, but for me, it is sheer joy to cook for someone whom I consider as my family.