Book Reviews

Audition Review: Hell Hath No Fury Like A Crazy Woman Scorned

As an author, Ryu Murakami specialises in presenting Japan in a way that few other writers do. His stories combine the seedy underbelly of Japan with the darker side of human nature. One of his most famous works, Audition, became so popular that it was adapted into a film. The novel is a brutal exploration into the psyche of a scorned woman and the hell she can unleash on the men who have wronged her. Continue reading “Audition Review: Hell Hath No Fury Like A Crazy Woman Scorned”

Book Reviews · Pop Culture and Japan

Samurai Slasher: Volume 1 Review: A Darkly Entertaining Graphic Novel

Samurai were known for their deadly skill in combat and over the years they have been reimagined in various forms of media. But few stories have reframed the legend of Japan’s greatest warriors quite like the Samurai Slasher graphic novel series. Created by Mike Garley, the Samurai Slasher comic is based on an idea for an ‘80s movie that never came into being. Pulpy, violent and darkly entertaining, Samurai Slasher: Volume 1 follows the birth of a terrifying new monster. Continue reading “Samurai Slasher: Volume 1 Review: A Darkly Entertaining Graphic Novel”

Book Reviews

Sake Confidential Review: A Phenomenal Guide For Novices And Experts Alike

sake confidential review

When it comes to Japanese drinks, sake is perhaps the most recognised alcohol. As simple as it is complex, sake is a beverage of many contradictions, and I didn’t realise how truly interesting the subject was until I picked up John Gauntner’s Sake Confidental: A beyond-the-basics guide to understanding tasting, selection and enjoyment.

Known as the ‘Sake Guy,’ Gauntner is the world’s leading non-Japanese sake educator, and his book is an amazing guide to sake novices (like me), and experts alike. Filled with informative facts and witty anecdotes, this book should be read by anyone who has even a passing interest in Japan. Continue reading “Sake Confidential Review: A Phenomenal Guide For Novices And Experts Alike”

Book Reviews

After Dark Review: The Passage Of Time Is Like A Long Sleep

Haruki Murakami is known for writing surreal fiction, and that can be seen in After Dark. Taking place in a single night, the novel focuses on Eri and Mari Asai. The sisters are vastly different to each other, but are connected by a sense of loneliness. After Dark stirs up a lot of emotions, with Murakami using various techniques to keep the reader guessing what will happen next. Continue reading “After Dark Review: The Passage Of Time Is Like A Long Sleep”

Book Reviews

In The Miso Soup Review: Revealing The Dark Heart Of Japan

Japan is known for its beauty and rich history, but the country has a dark side that isn’t explored as much as it could be. Japan’s seedy underbelly is exposed by Ryu Murakami’s In The Miso Soup, which focuses on the sex trade and Tokyo nightlife. Kenji, a young tour guide, takes an American tourist called Frank on a journey. But Frank is far more sinister than he appears to be and it’s not long before Kenji is dragged into a nightmare he wishes he could escape from. Continue reading “In The Miso Soup Review: Revealing The Dark Heart Of Japan”

Book Reviews

Killing Commendatore Review: A Beautiful Tale Of Loneliness, Love And Triumph

When it comes to Japanese fiction, Haruki Murakami is the name that usually jumps out at me first. His surreal stories, which mix Japanese and Western themes together, can be as poignant as they are hilarious. So, when I came across his latest novel, Killing Commendatore, I was excited to dive into a new world of weird happenings and emotional characters. I’m pleased to say the book exceeded my expectations and delivered on everything fans have come to enjoy about a classic Murakami tale. Continue reading “Killing Commendatore Review: A Beautiful Tale Of Loneliness, Love And Triumph”

Book Reviews

An Artist Of The Floating World Review: Rebirth Is As Beautiful As A Cherry Blossom

One of my goals for 2019 is to read more widely, and that involves becoming familiar with authors from different backgrounds. I recently picked up An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro. Ishiguro has established himself as a talented storyteller and I was drawn to the novel because of my fascination with Japan. The book features a post WW2 Japan recovering from its scars and looking towards the future. Continue reading “An Artist Of The Floating World Review: Rebirth Is As Beautiful As A Cherry Blossom”

Book Reviews

The Penguin Book of Japanese Short Stories Review

When I think of Japanese authors, the first name that comes to mind is Haruki Murakami. His surreal fiction is a big hit with western audiences and reading his stories opened a gateway for me to other Japanese writers. So, it’s appropriate that Murakami introduces The Penguin Book of Japanese Short Stories. The collection covers traditional Japanese themes like bushido and bizarre situations like UFOS, sugar-filled vaginas and nightmarish paintings. But what unites all the stories is a genuine love of writing from each author. Continue reading “The Penguin Book of Japanese Short Stories Review”