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Mild Vertigo, and Japanese literature

What did our podcast book club make of Mild Vertigo, Japanese author Mieko Kanai’s 1997 novel, recently translated into English by Polly Barton and published by Fitzcarraldo. A ‘modernist masterpiece’ written in sentences that go on for pages with hardly any paragraph breaks might not seem like an obvious book club winner; listen in to find out if we were won over.

To discuss it Kate is joined by Yuki Tejima, also known as @booknerdtokyo, and Shawn Mooney, aka Shawn the Book Maniac, two fantastic readers both with significant connections to Japan. Listen in for their thoughts on Mild Vertigo, their current reads and our book recommendations for anyone wanting the inside track on great Japanese fiction.

Listen via the media player above or via your preferred podcast app with this Podfollow link

Book list

Mild Vertigo by Mieko Kanai (trans. Polly Barton)

A Woman of Pleasure by Kiyoko Murata (trans. Juliet Winters Carpenter) 

Home Reading Service by Fabio Morábito (trans. Curtis Bauer)

Woman Running in the Mountains by Yoko Tsutshima (trans. Geraldine Harcourt)

Also Territory of Light and Child of Fortune by Yūko Tsushima

Grass for my Pillow by Sayiichi Maruya (trans. Dennis Keene)

The Little House by Kyoto Nakajima (trans. Ginny Tapley Takamori)

There’s No Such Thing as an Easy Job by Kikuo Tsumura (trans. Polly Barton)

Fifty Sounds by Polly Barton

Porn: An Oral History by Polly Barton

Butter by Asako Yuzuki (trans. Polly Barton)



Kate: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to The Book Club Review, the podcast about book clubs and the books that get people talking. I’m Kate and this episode is all about Mild Vertigo by Japanese author Mieko Kanai, translated by Polly Barton, which explores the internal train of thought of a Tokyo housewife. This was our book club pick for January in Japan, but how did our podcast book clubbers get on with this novel, where single sentences go on for multiple pages, and paragraph breaks are few and far between?

I’ll be reporting back. I am also delighted to be joined by two guests, both of whom have significant connections to Japan. Yuki Tajima is a writer and translator who delights thousands of followers with her Instagram account Book Nerd Tokyo. If, like me, you enjoy Japanese aesthetics, her feed is a joy as she posts about amazing spaces to buy, browse, and consider books and literary culture.

She is currently hard at work translating a novel by Mizuki Tsujimura titled Lost Souls Meet Under a Full Moon, due to be published by [00:01:00] Penguin in early 2025. My second guest Sean Mooney hosts a popular booktube channel under the name Sean the Book Maniac. He describes himself as a Saskatchewan based queer Canadian booktuber maniac who moved back home after 13 years in Tokyo in the spring of 2022.

I’m delighted to have them both join me and I’m looking forward to hearing their thoughts on Mild Vertigo. And don’t miss our recommendations at the end for other books we think you might like to try. All that coming up here on The Book Club Review.

Yuki, Sean, it’s wonderful  to have you both with me.

Shawn: So great to be here. I would assess my vertigo level as moderately high to be on your podcast, Kate. 

Kate: Sean was enjoying the early evening in Saskatoon. I’m the night owl here in London and Yuki heroically offered to take the early morning shift in Tokyo.

To be on three continents and to be able to connect in this way is a wonderful thing, I was thinking. [00:02:00] We’re often a bit wary, perhaps sometimes with technology and the way that it’s taking over everything in our lives. But at the same time, I was Just noticing that fact that we’re able to do this and how extraordinary that is.

Anyway, welcome to both of you. 

Yuki: I’m so excited to be here and Kate, I think your late night shift is just as hard. So thank you for this. 

Kate: Tell us a little bit more about yourself. You were born in Tokyo, but you grew up in LA. Is that right? 

Yuki: That’s right. I was born in Tokyo, moved early, I was four years old when I moved to Los Angeles, and grew up there.

I hadn’t been back to live in Tokyo until very recently actually. I’ve been in Tokyo for about 10 years now, but it’s taken me this long to come back. It feels like a completely, not foreign because I have visited as a child with family, but living here is a whole different thing. Every day is a new adventure and I think my way of getting to know a city is to go to all the bookstores and that’s how my account Bookner in Tokyo started.

I just wanted to show everyone all these wonderful independent bookstores that [00:03:00] were in Tokyo. 

Kate: Are you completely bilingual? Were you brought up speaking Japanese as well as English?

Yuki:  My parents are Japanese. They’re both from Tokyo. So we did speak Japanese in the house, but that got harder as my brothers and I started speaking in English to each other because going to American school, our friends were all speaking English and that just became easier.

So speaking in Japanese gradually became more of a burden. We had to go to Japanese school on top of our regular school and so I think I really do respect the way that my parents were. That was the one thing that they were very adamant about. Speak Japanese at home. No, you are not allowed to quit Japanese school.

You will thank us one day and they really were right. 

Kate: And when you read, do you tend to read in English or do you prefer to read in Japanese or are you completely comfortable switching between the two? What’s your reading language of choice?

Yuki: I do read in both. I usually have two books going, one in Japanese and one [00:04:00] in English, not related to each other, but my mind wants to be in one language at certain times of the day, and the other language at other times of the day.

And also I spend a lot of time at home. I still consider the States home. So when I’m my parents house, or with my family, I want to read all of the English books that I can get my hands on. I go to the library, I go to the bookstore, and I’m reading English books. I forget that Japanese books even exist.

But then when I come back to Tokyo, and I go to the bookstore and I see all these new books that have just come out, all of a sudden, I have this hunger for Japanese books that had been laying dormant. So I do wildly go from one end to the other and obsessively  read in both. 

Kate: And before we move on to Sean, I’d love to know, what are you reading right now?

Yuki: Right now, I’m reading, this is the Japanese version of a book that’s coming out at the end of February. The English book is called A Woman of Leisure by Kiyoko Murata, [00:05:00] I’m just getting started, so I don’t know how it is, but I’m very excited.

Kate: I can’t wait to come back to you and talk some more about the differences in reading both languages, but let’s move on to Shawn. Shawn, I feel I know very well those bookshelves I could see behind you because they’re the regular feature on your YouTube channel. But tell us a little bit more about yourself and your connection with Japan.

Shawn: I was born and raised in Saskatchewan and I’ve lived all across Canada. And I became an ESL teacher in the mid 2000s. And that’s what got me to Japan. I was interested in Japanese culture and Japanese food and history. And then I made a visit, my first visit to Japan, and oh, I was hooked on the culture and everything.

I made another visit or two before I moved there to teach English. And that’s what I did when I was there for 13 years. But, that’s all kind of the ostensible reasons. If I had a beer, [00:06:00] I’d probably tell you the reason I moved to Japan was for the men. I just am obsessed, or certainly was for many years.

I still am to a little bit more mature degree with Japanese men. So yeah, I had a good time and I came home with a husband. So there you go. 

Kate: So you’re now married to a Japanese man. 

Shawn: I am. He’s not here. We’re still waiting on his immigration stuff to be finalized, but he’ll be joining me here any month now.

Kate: And what’s your degree of fluency in Japanese? And do you read in Japanese?  

Shawn: I don’t read in Japanese and I would assess my own fluency as which basically translates to my Japanese is really crappy. I hope that’s not too strong a word for your podcast, Kate. But I studied conversational Japanese for about two or three years.

And that enabled me to get through my daily life using Japanese and to have a date in Japanese and go shopping and so on. As an English teacher, everybody wants to talk English to you, even your friends after hours, and my husband. So anytime I try to talk Japanese to Kenji, [00:07:00] every time he would say, Oh, your Japanese is so cute, but he would never answer in Japanese.

I feel very lucky that I’ve been back here coming up to two years back in Canada. And I haven’t lost what little Nihongo I had. I’m still teaching my Japanese students on Zoom from here. And so I’ve kept it. So I’m happy about that. 

Kate: And you, I know, are a prolific reader. You often have many books on the go at once.

What’s just one that you’re reading right now?

Shawn: I just finished a Mexican novel that I discussed with Anna on her podcast Books on the Go. And it’s called Home Reading Service by Fabia Morabito. It’s translated from the Spanish by Curtis Bower. 2018 publication in Mexico, and then a couple years later in English.

And this is fascinating for anybody who’s into reading because it’s a novel about reading. It’s about a 35 year old Mexican man who He has a car accident for which he was at fault. And so his punishment is community service, reading to shut ins, reading to the elderly and disabled [00:08:00] in their homes. And he gets criticized by the people he reads to because they say, you have a beautiful reading voice, but we can tell you’re not paying attention to what you’re reading.

And the reading is not satisfying to us because we can tell you’re just not really into it. And from that premise, the story gets wacky and absurd in a way that just mesmerized me. It was absolutely fascinating. 

Kate: Let’s turn to Mild Vertigo. We would usually start with a clip from the audiobook, but actually no audiobook seems to have been made yet which I was thinking as a shame because it feels to me a book that would work really well on audio.

It’s narrated by a character called Natsumi, and it’s her internal train of thought about her everyday life as a housewife in Tokyo. She has a husband, she has two children, and she spends her days doing housework, shopping in the supermarket, cooking. She occasionally meets neighbours, she’s in touch with her parents, and occasionally she connects with her old school [00:09:00] friends.

But the main thing you sense about her is that she feels a certain dissatisfaction, a certain sort of disconnection with her life. And It seemed to me that the novel is about her attempts to understand those feelings and her place in the world. I wanted to read a passage from quite early on and I thought actually what I really wanted to do was I wanted to hear how it sounded in Japanese.

So I’m going to ask Yuki to read this little passage which is from quite early on. where Natsumi is doing the washing up and she finds herself transfixed by the water coming out of the tap. So Yuki will read the Japanese and then I will pick up and I will read you the English and I’ll carry on a little bit just so you get a bit more of a sense of the style of the book.

Yuki: I’m happy to do it. I’m actually only reading two sentences but it’s going to go on for a little bit because each sentence is very long. Here I go. […]

Kate: ‘After that, she’s standing in front of the enamel sink, washing the dirty breakfast dishes, picking the plates outta the plastic tub of water with blobs of butter and cooking oil floating on the surface and soaping them with [00:11:00] washing up liquid. And it’s as she’s rinsing off the washing up liquid under the tap that she finds herself there, a plate held in her hand, staring fixedly at the running water.

The rays of morning light pouring in through the window make the rope of water streaming from the tap twinkle and sparkle, and the water sends spray, sputtering about the sink as it’s sucked down into the drain, flowing continuously, ceaselessly, not exactly noisily, but creating a slight reverberation as the water and the air echo through the pipes, and the water spills over the rim of the plastic tub, making a faint, trickling noise.

It’s not a big deal or anything, but do you ever find that happening to you? I guess you don’t do the dishes very often, but what if you’re brushing your teeth, say? Do you not ever just find yourself staring at the water as it rushes down the drain? And it’s strangely pleasant, that feeling. Of course, it’s no big deal, but you kind of zone out, as if you’re dreaming.

Though, it’s not any dream in particular that you’re having. [00:12:00] And then you come back to yourself with a jolt as you realize that you’re wasting water. I guess you just wouldn’t understand it as a man, especially one who so rarely does any form of housework, Natsumi said to her husband. And her husband raised his eyebrows in a way that suggested both slight irritation and a modicum of concern, making a face that meant, what are you trying to say exactly?

I was very interested as I listened to you reading, Yuki. In the difference with the intonation between the sound of the Japanese and then almost listening to myself as I was reading it and my consciousness of the way that my voice was going up and down, it’s a different form of expression.

The more I thought about Japan and the original Japanese writing, the degree to which Reading this in English is different. And so I’m so interested to talk to both of you who have a stronger sense than I do of that original work and her voice in its pure form. What were your feelings about the book [00:13:00] when you read it?

Yuki: Yuki, should we start with you? This is my first time reading Miyako Kanae, even though she’s legendary in Japan, and she has 30 novels and short stories to her name, and more essays, and she writes in magazines and publications, and so it was intimidating. Where to start? Because she’s written so much in Japanese, I had no idea where to start.

But when I heard that Polly Barton was going to be translating Mieko Kanai, I thought, Oh, that’s my entry because I will read anything that Polly translates. And I know that I’m in great hands. So I started reading the English and I didn’t know about the structure. I didn’t know the sentences were so long.

So I just. I started reading, and I was reading, and I was reading, and minutes later I was still reading the first sentence, four pages in, and I was thinking, my goodness, Polly Barton, this is amazing. So from that point on, Miyeko Kanai kind of disappeared in my mind, and it became all about [00:14:00] Polly and the incredible work that she has done.

But my reaction, hearing you read Kate, I thought, wow, it just sounds like Mieko Kanai just switched over suddenly into a different language. And she’s just speaking in the same kind of tone and the same pace and same rhythm. So that says a lot about how great the translation is. But I do feel that she would sound this way in English, which is, I’ve heard some translators say when they translate, they try to imagine what the author would sound like in their language.

And to me, this was an extraordinary experience. Being able to read in Japanese and then hearing the English, because it sounded like she was still speaking in the same language to me, the Kanai language. That was fascinating to hear.

Kate: Sean, how about you?

Shawn: I was surprised by how much I loved this. I thought I was going to be intimidated by it, but I found it actually accessible.

I found the long sentences an absolute delight. They didn’t give me a [00:15:00] headache. I can think of other writers where I couldn’t finish the book, the famous one being Ducks, Newburyport (Lucy Ellman). That was an utter failure for me, although I will give it another try. I just fell into the sentences and I think we’re probably going to be talking about the image that was at the heart of the reading about the tap water running, but I found the sentences flowed like that for me and created a very fluid texture of memory and emotion and irritation and social commentary was just incredible.

What I don’t know is whether I will remember anything about this book in six months. I’m not sure how much it was going to stick with me, but boy, it was a wild ride. 

Kate: Yeah, thinking about these sentences, as you both mentioned, they do go on. There are no paragraph breaks. You don’t get a rest. I had been a bit wary. I had read about it and I thought I’m not sure. And I went to the bookshop and I picked it up in the bookshop and I stood there and I read a few pages from the first chapter. And what you realize straight away is it’s not hard [00:16:00] to read. In fact, it’s very easy to read, and the reason it’s easy to read is because it feels like thought.

One of the pleasures of the book for me was that it felt like the process of thought was being really beautifully articulated in a way that you’re not used to seeing or experiencing. We think the way we think. But it’s unusual to see that captured, I thought, so effectively on the page. And after a while, it’s almost like when you’re not reading the book, you have a heightened awareness of your own thoughts.

The book works on you at the same time as you’re reading the book. One member of the book club, who’s Chinese American, was very interested to know, because she had more of a knowledge of Japanese than the rest of us, whether structurally those sentences in Japanese have more direction. than they do in the English, because one thing that we were remarking on is that you don’t really know where they’re going.

You follow them along, but you don’t have any sense of momentum and where they’re taking you.

Yuki: I actually  found the Japanese [00:17:00] harder to follow in that I would be reading and reading and suddenly be lost and I would need to start the sentence over, which starting the sentence over means you’re going back a couple of pages.

But I thought the English was actually easier to read. The structure with each sentence This is why I was so amazed with what Polly did. It’s not just, okay, the English and the Japanese, grammatically, they’re opposite. So just switch everything up and everything is in the opposite order. And it’s not like that with this.

Polly does do some switching so it feels and reads more naturally in English, but there’s no set rule. So it’s. different with every single sentence. And I know that the English was described as an endless stream, lonely, dizzying words, like verbally acrobatic work. And I think that acrobatic is exactly right in the acrobatics of taking the Japanese and creating an English version of it, where you’re using.

All of the words and all of the information, so you’re translating all of the information [00:18:00] and the feel, the whole vibe, but you’re reorganizing it so it reads naturally, and that is what I think is so amazing. But I would say in Japanese, you don’t know where she is going either as you read, and that’s part of the fun, I think.

Kate: One interesting thing that came up in the book club is the question, is it a horror story? 

Shawn: I don’t think so. Homemaking and housecleaning is horrifying. That’s why I never do it. 

Kate: There you go. But this character, it doesn’t feel like she really has a choice about that. Even though no one is forcing her physically to do these things.

But at the same time, you have a very strong sense that she feels obligated to do all these things. And not only that, but to do them to a certain standard. To perform this role. And that somehow, is she trapped within  that? 

Shawn: You feel the cultural expectation, but she never meets it. she doesn’t keep the cleanest house.

I think that’s why I liked her so much. 

Yuki: I do think horror might be a strong word because she writes [00:19:00] in the afterword in the Japanese that she really is a fan of the non dramatic. She does not like to create drama, find drama. This is I’m talking about the author, Kanai, she says that I’m so drawn to the non dramatic karui memai, which is the Japanese title, karui memai.

It translates obviously to my own vertigo, but it’s a light dizziness. Karui means it’s a light dizziness. So just in everyday life, you go around and sometimes you just feel a little dizzy, but it’s mild because it’s just there. It exists. It’s not a dramatic event. She lives with it. She goes with it.

And that might feel in a way, I think she’s saying that there is something horrific about that in that we’re all lightly dizzy at all times, but this is not just because Natsumi is. It’s the fact that she’ll go to a friend’s house and it’s the fact that her friends don’t seem to notice. have become.

I feel like the horror for her is in [00:20:00] not noticing the state of your life, going through life without really thinking about it or noticing anything, 

I came out of this, like you were saying, Kate, I came out of this wanting to just go immediately to my journal and write down every single thing that’s happened in my day. But then do I think about my life being a horror show? Not really, but yes, there are things that I don’t want to do in my day.

Definitely it’s back and forth in my mind.

Shawn: And I would like to circle back to Kate and I feeling that there was a sense of contentment here. And so the mild vertigo or dizziness that describes to a T the effect her writing had on me, those looping sentences that went back to memory and back to the present and all this almost sociological description.

They did make me a little bit lightheaded. moments of beauty. But not just that, just moments of wonderment about the quotidian, the banal, 

Kate: She’s quite disconnected. We were struck by the degree to which she [00:21:00] has two boys, she has two children, but she doesn’t exhibit particularly strong maternal feelings towards them. And indeed she’s quite pleased when she gets the opportunity to pack them off to the grandparents for an extended stay so that she’s going to get some time to herself.

I’m a mother, I can relate. Like I’d be delighted if a grandparent offered to take my children off my hands for a few weeks. But it’s there with again, that my instinctive reaction to that was, I know how she feels kind of thing. But others in the book club were surprised at perhaps the extent to which she seemed quite detached.

And also from her husband to a certain degree, you get the sense the balance between them is that he is very loving towards her. Yeah, very kind, very concerned about her, very into her, I suppose is one way of putting it. But that she remains detached from him and is quite judgmental about him. In a way that starts to make you ask questions.

Psychologically, is there something going on here? Is there a reason why she’s withdrawing in this way? And I feel like the novel plays with [00:22:00] that. The other example was her connections with her friends, where it’s almost like her female friends and people she encounters in the community are offering different models of how to be.

So there is her friend, Who remained single, is an architect, feels like a very kind of almost quite aspirational model of womanhood. She’s very independent. She’s successful. She’s feisty and interesting and culturally very connected. And Natsumi assessing all this, but at the same time, it doesn’t move her to make any changes in her own life.

She doesn’t do anything with the information. What do you think? She seems strangely passive.

Yuki:  In Japanese culture, there’s Honne and Tatemai. These two are often spoken about in a set. is how you really feel inside. It’s your truth. It’s what you feel. is the face that you put forward when you’re seeing anybody. When you’re speaking to people, you have your which is your presentation. This is how you’re presenting yourself. [00:23:00] to tatemai happens all day long in Japanese life.

You rarely are in your honne state, unless you’re maybe by yourself, you’re writing in your journal If you’re doing any kind of creative work, maybe you’re experiencing moments of honne, your truth, as you do that creation. But most of the time, whether you’re going to the supermarket or whether you’re just on the train reading quietly when you want to not be there.

You want to go outside and run and scream because the trains are driving you crazy. public life in Japan is all about that. most of the time. It’s how people perceive you. It’s how you want people to perceive you. It’s how you present. And so I feel this book is all honne, because we get to hear her internal dialogue.

So this is her honne, her truth, but the truth that only she knows and only we as readers no, and we’re allowed into her honne, but everybody else in the book sees her [00:24:00] patemae, I think even her family to some extent, because she’s not telling them her truth. But the truth is coming out in her attitude towards them, I think.

So she might not say it in so many words as we might in English. We might say, you’re really annoying me right now. Will you please leave me alone. But in Japanese, you don’t say that. You might. Obviously families do. But if you’re comparing between an English speaking household and a Japanese speaking one, a lot more is just read.

You just read the room and you do what you feel is appropriate in that moment. And so it, Exactly. KY which means you can’t read the room. So if someone, they used to say this kind of slang oh, that person’s so KY would mean that he or she can’t read the room.

They have no sense of what’s going on around them and they’ll say something appropriate. So that’s the thing. People tend to judge you. if you can’t read the room, if you don’t get a sense for what. People are [00:25:00] thinking and so when I first got to Japan, I am Japanese I grew up in a Japanese family, but I did not know what these people were thinking, except for the Japanese people just, when we’re in public, on a train, on a bus, I felt like everyone on the train and the bus would be communicating with each other an unspoken way.

Yeah. Nonverbal way so all day long you’re thinking about the appropriate thing to do. And that’s why I think this book, it’s full of non appropriate thoughts but it’s her honne.

It’s her truth. And that’s why I think I appreciated it so much. 

Shawn: I think that’s spot on. I hadn’t thought of it as I was reading, but now I’m running the whole novel my brain again with that in mind. Absolutely. And I also thought that one moment where her husband showed his truth, his honne, was when he came home drunk and said, you’re not going to leave me, are you?

And alcohol in Japanese culture is fascinating in that way. 

Yuki: Absolutely. a lot of the times drinking and getting drunk is the only way [00:26:00] to allow people to hear your honne and to hear other people’s honne. So even in, work settings, the people go out and they drink because. In the office, they’re not able to communicate in a way that they might be able to after a couple of drinks.

So I think that alcohol is definitely a part of the culture here because people need a ticket. They need, two drinks, three drinks to be able to say, here’s how I really feel about this situation.

Shawn:  They actually have a hybrid English Japanese word for that in a business setting.

Going out after work for drinks is Nomunication. Nomu means drink and nomunication. It’s a very important part of Japanese business life. 

Yuki: Communicating through drinking. Yes. 

Kate: We have that here in the UK, but I don’t think we really have a name for it. It’s interesting. I’m curious to know then is there a sense that this is actually quite a radical novel in a way? Would it be unusual to have a woman’s thoughts expressed like [00:27:00] this on the page? And the other thing to note which we talked about quite early on in the book club is the fact that this book was published in 1997. So there is a considerable time lag from when this book was originally written.

To now. And, for us, it seems very fresh and new and exciting, but of course, actually, this is a book that’s been around a while and I’m guessing that, the conversation about women’s writing feminism in Japan has moved on in the same way it has in other countries, but I’m curious to know Yuki, how you feel this book fits in with writing by women in Japan and Japanese feminism?

Yuki: I’m definitely not an expert on Kanai Mieko, Mieko Kanai. We had this discussion about whether to call her Kanai Mieko or Mieko Kanai in Japanese you say the last name first, so it’s Kanai Mieko, I’m used to an English speaking context.

Saying Mieko Kanai the first name first, but I might [00:28:00] go back and forth. But I think in Kanai’s case. This writing is not radical for her. She’s very vocal. She writes a lot a lot of essays as well and she doesn’t mince words, she has never been thought of, I don’t think, as a radical.

reserved type of writer or communicator. So I don’t think this is surprising for her. I think it’s incredible that something written in 1997 is translated in 2023 and is just as powerful and feels timely. But I don’t think that this is radical in that nobody has written in this way.

Especially when it comes to Tokyo housewives. there are a lot of novels in Japan centered around the honne, the truth of the Tokyo housewife. And it usually is not what the media. It’s the opposite of what in the media. And that’s why you get these novels.

Because the media and society doesn’t oftentimes [00:29:00] give housewives the credit that they deserve. so amongst each other, among the housewives, this is nothing surprising. everyone just relates. And oh, of course, what, why would anyone question this at all?

This is obvious. Duh but to somebody who is not in that world, this might come up, come as a shock as surprising that, oh, wow, these women have thoughts, these women have things that they’re not happy about. So I think this is I wouldn’t call it a genre, but there are a lot of novels about housewives and the truth about being a housewife and how there’s not even just one definition. Though society seems to think that there is, there’s one shifu, housewife, and that’s it, that kind of encompasses everything.

Shawn: I would just add very briefly that I think that the status of women in Japanese society is decades and decades behind what is in the West. And Yuki, feel free to correct me, but I just was shocked and the status of like human rights. And. Women around childcare and around employment and the kinds of humiliating job interviews women have, young women have Oh, why would I, why should I hire you?

You’re just going to get hired. Why should I hire you? You’re just going to get pregnant and leave like it’s unbelievable. So yeah, Japan has a lot of catching up to do or a lot of its own evolution to do around these issues, gender and feminism. 

Yuki: And I do think a lot of women are becoming more and more vocal now.

And Mieko Kanai has definitely inspired, I would say, a generation of women. A lot of my [00:31:00] reading in Japanese literature is self taught and self driven, so I just naturally, I gravitate towards novels by women, contemporary. Women writers, and the more I read them, the more I see that these people look up to writers like Mieko Kanai.

And they grew up reading Mieko Kanai. And so you can see how Kanai has inspired generations of younger women writers. So in that way, she’s I feel like I need to go back and read everything she’s ever written. But it’s also very it’s very intimidating in a way. It’s really even though I am Japanese and I am a woman, I was Raised in Los Angeles.

So I do this. This does feel at times foreign to me I don’t I don’t relate on a lot of on a lot of levels because I’ve never been to school in Japan So I don’t know what schools I’ve read about them I read I’ve read so many novels about them and what happens in schools, but I don’t know from [00:32:00] experience So same with being a housewife.

I don’t know what the kind of quote unquote typical Japanese housewife. There are expectations. I don’t feel that I need to live up to any of those. This is, this was a refreshing read for me as well.

Kate: There’s one section I would be curious to know both of your response to. So towards the end of the book, we [00:34:00] suddenly have.

Two essays that are on photography, they’re on two different photographers Araki, whose work I was more familiar with, and the other one began with a K, Ineo Kuwabara, right? Whose work I didn’t know, but then I looked him up and it felt like his work was much more, it felt almost every day.

Japanese people doing everyday things, almost like a quite a warm, almost affectionate look at Japanese people just, going about ordinary lives and capturing all these little intimate moments as if unobserved. It felt like that’s what I was getting from His photography, whereas Araki, I felt has a much more sort of performative style and also someone who it feels like the photographer himself is really making strong statements with his work.

This feels like the most basic possible overview. I’m not really familiar with either of their work, but the sort of problem for the [00:35:00] reader is that these essays have a significant portion of the book. The narrator, Natsumi, is given the catalog to these exhibitions by her friend, and she reads it, and as I understand it this was, these were essays that Kanayamieko had already written elsewhere, and so she placed them here in the book, but I have to say, as a group, collectively it was interesting.

We found them difficult because they’re more difficult in tone than the rest of the book because they’re just more complicated, they’re harder to understand. And I think culturally, they’re much harder for us as Westerners to pass. But also one of the book clubbers, Pauline said, she really felt that the entire point of the book was somehow conveyed, contained within these essays and that it was something to do with this way of looking at the world or this difference in the way of looking at the world.

That was what. the novel was all about. I wasn’t able to get to that kind of clarity myself. I’m curious to know if [00:36:00] either of you, how you responded to those sections. Sean, should we start with you? 

Shawn: Sure, because I’ll be very brief. I didn’t make very articulate, eloquent connection either. But I did think there was something about the fact that the is it Kuwabara?

Fuwabara was a street photographer. So he was basically just taking pretty candid shots of people, whereas the Araki photographs were very stylized, very shaped. It was his vision. He was putting people in positions, posing them for his photographs. And I thought there’s something there about what is found and photographed that roughly cues to her writing style, the way that it’s what is found in this.

Protagonist consciousness without the honey of this protagonist consciousness that is unedited and unfiltered. And it’s what is what you get, but I couldn’t get any farther than that. So we’ll let Yuki to take over and [00:37:00] deepen or tell us what it really meant. 

Yuki: No those sections, definitely they were harder to follow.

And you’re right, Kate I did read in the afterward in every Japanese book or almost every Japanese novel. There’s always an afterward. afterword, but usually by the author. And in the Atogaki, the afterword of this novel, she specifically states that those essays were written for when Kuwabara, Kineo Kuwabara, had a photo exhibition in 1995.

They usually have these booklets, these books, these catalogs for the photo exhibition. And those two essays were written for that they were published there first. So she wrote those two pieces to be included in a photography catalog by, for this photographer, Kuwabara. At the same time, she said she wrote them with the intention of including them in a novel that would become Karui Memae, it would become Mild Vertigo.

So she did write it with this novel in mind. I don’t know how [00:38:00] much of the novel had already been written at this time, but she had been intending to include it. But I thought, what I thought was interesting was that speaking about, it made me think about the audience. The audience when she writes for a photography exhibit, which is not even an exhibition of her own, she’s writing about, she’s writing for an exhibition by a different artist, by a different photographer.

The audience she’s, she has in mind for that exhibit versus the audience that she has in mind for Mild Vertigo, which in itself was a column, a series a serialized novel in Kate Gaho, which is a very high end women’s magazine, and it still exists, and it’s this thick, and it’s so heavy, and you can’t read it on the train because it’s, it uses such a, High quality paper, and the photography is beautiful, and it’s just this very high end, classy novel for for women.

And Mild Vertigo was written as a serialized [00:39:00] novel in that magazine. So that has a certain audience. Women who maybe they may or may not be housewives, but they are interested in culture and art and craft and travel and food. And that’s what this magazine is about. So she’s writing a lot of mild vertigo.

She’s writing for these women, or she’s, she has this audience in mind. And then the photography catalog has a whole kind of a whole different audience, I believe. So bringing these two together, I think the voice is going to differ slightly the tone. And, but I thought that was interesting in itself that she writes for these different audiences and, but she has something to say for each audience and to think of Mild Vertigo as something that was in the late nineties.

for these women who can read these high end, these classy magazines. What was the message that she was trying to get across there versus [00:40:00] this photography exhibition, which is the audience is not going to be all women it may be younger and people who are interested in photography. And so in that way I, it was interesting for me to learn that context because it gave me an idea of.

The different types of writing that she does for different audiences. And I think that, I don’t know if that deepens it, but for me it gave me a better understanding of why they sounded so different on the page. 

Kate: She writes in the section about Kuwabara, she writes, ‘The title given to Kuwabara’s most recent photo exhibition, Afternoon Smiles, 1992, refers to the smiles of reconfirming in the ethics of the finger and the gaze, a world, be that of Tokyo or Tokyo, that is not flattened by being accommodated within the frame, which flows over with a dynamism of time and life, and truly continues to expand. By sharing Kuwabara’s smiles, we can find the conviction to live in this world. [00:41:00]’

And it, it seemed like there was something there about art, about somehow looking beyond oneself, about somehow in the connections with others.

And then perhaps that feeds into my sense from talking to you and other things I’ve read is there’s such a strong sense of collective society in Japan and one’s place as an individual within that, which I think is very different and very alien, I think. To to English readers. Something, there’s something there.

We didn’t get an afterword, unfortunately, by the author. So that was not translated. It’s interesting to me that it exists, but it wasn’t included in the Fitzcarraldo edition. Interestingly, the American edition, which was published by New Directions, did have an afterword. Yes, you’ve got Yuki is holding up the beautiful cover of a sort of it’s like a a woman’s shirt and it’s, has flowers coming out of it and the type is very slightly distorted.

It’s all very subtle and beautiful. But we didn’t get that in the UK. We have our very [00:42:00] minimalist Fitzcarraldo, which I think, The very interesting idea behind Fitzcarraldo books is that there is no cover image. The only clue you are going to get to what this text is about is to read the text.

You’re not going to get influenced by a cover image that’s been imposed on it, which in itself is a really interesting thing, but particularly interesting in light of this book where we just had nothing to go on. All we had was the words that we read. But the afterword in the New Directions edition is by an author called Kate Zembrino.

And it was, I did find it online and obviously, you have it in your edition. Some of us were able to read it. And and that was curious because she was writing about the difficulty of writing this article on Mild Vertigo and approaching Kanai Mieko’s work but at the same time, she was finding it impossible to carve out the space within [00:43:00] her everyday life, which was busy, and she had family commitments, and lots of things going on, as we all do, and that whole article was basically about that.

And so when I read that, I was oh. Is that what the book was about then? Was it about somehow failing to, to write a novel because you’re just living and the everyday busy work of living gets in the way?   

Yuki:  That’s fascinating. I love that. I love that idea. So in this version, in the New Directions version, the afterward begins, but it has, it doesn’t say Kate Zembrino, I know it doesn’t have her name.

On the page, the afterword begins. I finished reading the novel, and I was reading, and I just, it’s the afterword, and it says on the cover, that afterword by Kate Zembrino, so I should have known. I should have known, but I just kept reading, and I was reading, and reading, and I thought that this was Kanai still writing.

And even if names like Sophia came up, and The Strand, and New York, and things like that, I still [00:44:00] felt Kanai is so experimental. She can write about basically anything. Maybe she’s, maybe she went to New York for this bit. Maybe she’s writing, she’s a cultural critic. She writes, she has so many cultural references.

So I read maybe two or three pages until I heard, or until the word Instagram came on the page. Then that was the first I thought wait, okay, wait. Instagram that’s weird. So then I went back and I realized finally that. Kate Sombrano had been writing this and the reason why I couldn’t make that connection is because the writing was so similar.

She wrote in the style of Miyoko Kanai in this kind of stream of consciousness way. And so I so enjoyed the afterward. I thought it was wonderful. And it, for me, if anything about the Kanai part was foreign, sounded foreign in terms of, in, in context, and just, I didn’t get the cultural references.

Once we switched to the English, the American context it, it made so much more sense to me and [00:45:00] I was able to make so much more sense of the Kanae piece the Kanae novel through the afterward, thinking that, okay, maybe there’s a universal quality to Kanae’s writing, what she’s writing about.

Because you change the country, change the context, but you write in the same style and it it’s very universal. It connects. And it made me feel that maybe the Japanese. Kind of housewife experience is not as foreign or particular to Japan as I had thought. So maybe it is a more universal experience.

And so I truly appreciated the afterward. It allowed even me, someone who lives in Japan and can see. and come in contact with women every day. It made me see that even living in Japan, I still think of them and this country as a foreign place that I am just a visitor in.

And the Afterword helped me connect that and see the Japan that I see before me [00:46:00] in a more kind of relatable way. So I really appreciated the Afterword.

Kate: So many things from the cleverness of its structure, The way what happens at the end is a certain amount of repetition comes back in and that in itself and this idea of this, the endless circularity of her days. I think it’s interesting, it would be interesting if you were to look at it almost with this lens of how dark is this book?

Is there horror in there? There are definitely elements that you could pull out where you could say, yes, actually, this is terrifying, or this is very threatening or, it’s all expressed so lightly and almost in a very even tone. But nonetheless, I think if you look for it, that darkness is there.

At the same time as humor, there are points where, it never made me laugh out loud, but there were definitely many moments where it made me smile. And I loved it for that. And it made for a fantastic discussion. I could sit here and talk to you both for it easily for another hour, I’m sure.

But I would love to come on to actually your own [00:47:00] recommendations for other things that you might suggest. People might like to try some follow-on reads. From Mild Vertigo. Sean, should we start with you? 

Shawn: Sure. One one of my favorite, one of my favorite writers, really, not just Japanese writers, but favorite writers in the world, is Yoko Tsutshima

And her most recently translated novel is Woman Running in the Mountains, which came out from NYRB, either late 2021 or early 2022. And it was originally published in Japanese in 1980. And her earlier novellas I loved too. Territory of Light and Child of Fortune. And this one I loved even more.

And it is about a, I believe it’s a 20 year old Japanese woman. Who becomes pregnant as a single woman with a very brief affair with a married man and she’s living at home with a violently alcoholic father and a wacko mother and a [00:48:00] indifferent brother and decides to keep the kid and keep the baby. And The parents pressure her to get an abortion, and she chooses, she adamantly refuses to get an abortion.

And that, to be a single mother, especially in the time, in that time, was scandalous. It’s a fascinating look about how, the thing that made me think of Mild Vertigo, or that made me think of Woman Running in the Mountains while I read Mild Vertigo, is the protagonist’s The way that imagination where she goes off into the mountains in her mind, and that is a a place of kind of serenity or a way that she calms herself down, contrasting that with the vertical inducing flights of fancy that our protagonist here does this was just amazing.

It’s translated from the Japanese by Geraldine Harcourt, and I absolutely loved it.

Kate: I saw when you held the cover up briefly [00:49:00] that the full word is by Lauren Groff, which also would catch my attention. Anything that Lauren Groff liked, I feel, sure would be good.

Shawn: I have one by a man. I don’t like to read very many male writers, but this one was pretty darn good. I read it late last year, and it is a book that was published in Japanese in 1966, and the translation, I believe, is 2002, Grass for My Pillow by Sayiichi Maruya, translated from the Japanese by Dennis Keene.

And this is a novel about a draft dodger, although the term doesn’t quite apply during the Pacific war in Japan, but he was a Japanese man who resisted going into the army. And so he was on the run for the entire war, hiding out, evading military conscription. And it’s about that experience. So it was a remarkable way to get a different perspective on [00:50:00] what Japan was like during the war.

And we also see him in the 60s. He’s a university administrator. And as the politics of Japan shifts, the 60s was a time of political fermentation and dissent, and his status as a draft evader becomes politically suspect in a way that it wasn’t in the first 15 years after he Re entered society, but in the 60s, people are becoming more suspicious of his past.

And so it’s that those two storylines and I found it absolutely fascinating. 

Kate: Oh, I have never heard of either of those books or those authors. So thank you very much for flagging them up for me. Yuki, how about you?

Yuki:  This is one of my favorite novels. It’s called The Little House by Kyoko Nakajima.

And it’s translated by the wonderful Ginny [00:51:00] Tapley Takemori. And this is a wonderful novel because it made me think about, it gave me a little bit more context about why Japanese housewives, why so many expectations are put on them about Keeping house and about cooking and they should everyone should be able to keep a spotless house while cooking while raising children while Doing crafts while basically building a beautiful home creating a beautiful home while maybe working on the side maybe having a job but to do all this and Even in modern Japan about the, I don’t know if you’ve seen the bentos that a lot of mothers make for their children every day, where these character bentos, these beautiful kind of basically animation in a bento box.

So you open a bento box and it uses this cartoon character and These mothers who wake up at five in the morning to make these lunches for their children and so many mothers in Japan, it’s still a given that they do [00:52:00] that. And I wondered about, okay, where did that all come from? Why are housewives expected to do all of this?

And if they can’t do it perfectly, why do they feel pressured? Why do they feel like failures? Why do they feel like they’re not living up to the people’s expectations? And I. And this, the little house is wonderful because it is about a long time maid. It’s about a maid who worked for a middle class family.

Taki, she was a young girl when she started working for them, but she’s now at the end of her life reflecting on her time with the family. And the, and her time with the family was wonderful. She had a great she calls her the mistress, but the lady of the house, the woman of the house was always kind to her.

We had a, they had a young boy that she took care of. And it’s a wonderful story. It’s basically written as a diary of this woman at the end of her life reflecting on her time in the 30s working for this middle class family and through the war and what happened in World War II to, to the family and what happened with her afterwards.

And [00:53:00] it’s very moving. This Taki is wonderful around the house. She, with what little resources as the war rages on and even a well to do family has less and less, but Daki is able to use what they have and cook up these beautiful meals. Or she’s able to, she just is so resourceful around the house and she’s allowed, she helps them continue to live a good life.

a quality, high quality life even without the material things that we all think bring us happiness. And so this kind of gave, because this, The novel is set before Kanae Miyako’s book in the 90s. This is set in the 30s and pre war and during the war. So it gives us an idea, it gave me a little context about Japan and the aspirations, why Japanese housewives aspire to be resourceful and to be able to whip [00:54:00] up wonderful meals with just with what they have in the fridge.

And it’s lauded it’s seen as such a wonderful thing when housewives can do this and it’s, it is great when you’re, when you look at people mothers who can, take care of their children and do everything while also folding the laundry and ironing and cleaning and doing all this and when they make it look effortless, it’s great.

It’s awe inspiring, and at the same time it’s, okay, we can’t all do that now, so what do we do? How are we supposed to survive? But I think this is great. There’s just a little passage, if I can read it where some guests have come over, and Taki has whipped up a little meal for them.

It’s just a short passage. It says while the guests enjoyed a drink with a couple of snacks of vegetables Simmered in soy sauce and white bait boiled in sweetened soy sauce. I steamed some rice together with shellfish Preserved in mirin, ginger and soy and cut up some sardines marinated overnight into bite sized pieces Coating them in potato starch before deep frying [00:55:00] them Oh my, Taki, what fantastic ideas you have, the mistress said delightedly.

I had always been adept at making do with what we had. And so that’s it gives us an idea of why Taki was such a wonderful part of the family, how she became a part of this family when her job was to housekeep and to cook and to clean for them. And it just it, connected inside of me of this, okay, so this is what a lot of housewives aspire to, or this is a line, this is a tradition that Japanese housewives are expected to be able to do these things.

But now in modern day, a lot of women are no longer they know the expectations and they also aspire to some of those things, but they don’t have the time and they don’t have the resources and they don’t have The need or the want to do those things. So this is a wonderful novel, more plot driven than a nine vehicle, but wonderful.

All the same. I really recommend that one. And another one is [00:56:00] It’s a novel that’s translated by Polly Barton, because I think that if you appreciated her translation in Mild Vertigo, you will definitely appreciate her translation in There’s No Such Thing as an Easy Job by Kikuko Tsumura and that I thought the connection there was that is about a woman who goes from part time job to part time job to part time job because she’s burnt out on just work altogether on trying to build a career on all of society’s expectations.

So it’s similar in that her, and it’s got this dry, cynical kind of humor that I think Kate, you were alluding to where it’s not laugh out loud, but it’s like you can relate and you laugh and it’s. It’s dry, but it’s got this wit because she’s in this state where she’s going from pointless job to pointless job.

And the point it for her is to find these pointless jobs where she doesn’t have to use her brain, where she can just do, she can just do these [00:57:00] things without thinking about it and doing, and, but it’s basically for me, Mild Vertigo is if that’s in the house. And in the mind of a housewife, There’s No Such Thing as an Easy Job is more career based, it’s more workplace based. But it’s a similar kind of dull, numb tedious. Everyday buzz, there’s a buzziness, there’s a light, there’s a light dizziness there. There’s a kind of a mild vertigo there in the workplace.

And they’re both translated by Polly. So you know you’re in good hands. And I thought that, Kind of theme wise and temperature wise, they talk about temperature a lot in Japan like your temperature about this movie, or your temperature about this book, and I think temperature wise are kind of these women, these two protagonists are this kind of similar temperature towards life.

And so that’s one that I recommend as well. That’s, there’s no such thing as, sorry, that’s, there’s no such [00:58:00] thing as an easy job, and it’s by Kiko Tsumura, and it’s translated by Polly Barton. So I know about the 

Kate: temperature thing because I’ve just finished reading Fifty Sounds by Polly Barton. Have you read it, Sean?

Shawn: No, but I’m aware of it. And I think I actually just got the audiobook through Spiracle. 

Kate: Oh, I think it would be wonderful to listen to. That would be great. I wouldn’t mind reading it again, actually, and listening to it the second time around. Polly Barton is a translator and so it’s really her memoir of when she first went to Japan and her interest in Japan and then falling in love with the language and her desire to [00:59:00] stay and really just. Master the language and become not only verbally fluent, but I think, culturally fluent as well. And almost the impossibility of that, that’s what’s contained within this book.

You start to understand it’s not really something that’s possible to achieve. And it’s very interesting to see what, where she ends up. And almost her own reconciling, perhaps those expectations with the reality of what she is able to achieve and coming to terms with appreciating that, I think.

But it’s also structured around the mechanics of translation. So every section and they’re written in these short sections, 50 sounds is an onomatopoeic Japanese word or little, often they’re two words together. Just opening it at random. Zara. I didn’t know how you pronounce it.

Zara. Zara. The rough, the sound of the rough ground. How about Giza? Giza, yep. The sound of seeing what you thought was yours. Oh, hang on, I 

Yuki: can’t read that one out loud.[01:00:00] 

Kate: Sometimes they’re a bit X rated, because the other thing that happens in this novel is a love affair. A very powerful love affair she has with a man that she meets and where that, when that, where that takes her. Kira. The sound of a hashtag magic life or embracing your shining future.

So these are things where there is no direct translation into English. There’s no one easy word in English that sums up that. Even in the very beginning of every section, you have something that makes you think, it’s really interesting, considering these things that we don’t really have words for. And then seeing how she weaves them into her, expressing her own story and taking you on this journey with her.

And she weaves in philosophy, she’s looking at Wittgenstein and his understanding of language and communication and some sort of quite academic theories about that, but they’re woven in very lightly in a way that I found very accessible and interesting to read and I was [01:01:00] really just blown away by, by how beautifully it’s written, how much I enjoyed her voice and really the kind of extraordinary depth of both of understanding it gave me, but also my profound sense of just how little I knew about Japan.

And I’ve traveled to Japan a few times on holiday. My husband and I both really loved it, like you Sean, we went there and we absolutely fell in love with it, we just, and I think this is not uncommon many people do go there, and are incredibly swept away by, by, it’s many things about it and my daughter, my oldest daughter has a Japanese name, her name is Emiko and we did that quite lightly without really thinking anything of it, but I finished this book and I was a bit shocked at myself I felt like, oh my gosh, I had some sense of, Almost like how slightly transgressive that feels to have just really casually given my daughter a Japanese name.

I’m blushing now talking about it because that’s how I felt. I felt, I just felt so such a strong sense of how much I’d learned in reading this book and getting to see that journey that Polly Barton herself goes on. So I [01:02:00] just cannot recommend this highly enough. I thought it was an absolutely amazing book.

And if you are, enjoying reading Japanese literature or you’re thinking about reading Japanese literature and you really want to get a sort of a very a real insight. Into the kind of what it is that you’re reading. I just think you couldn’t do better than this book. It’s wonderful. And it made me then want to read other books that she has translated.

Someone in my book club has read other things that she’s translated and described her as a bright translator. She said she felt that there was a sort of brightness to everything that Polly Barton translates. Which I thought was interesting as well, and was getting a sense of her voice in this book, which I didn’t get from Mild Vertigo, because I was getting Kanayamieko’s voice.

So it’s so interesting, and I’m very wrapped up in this world, I just love this experience so much, and I love the way that it really connected me with Mild Vertigo in a very different way. So yeah, that was great, that’s a strong [01:03:00] recommend. 

Yuki: I agree. I agree. Brilliant. Thank you. Brilliant. 

Kate: Thank you. I’m curious to know I can’t resist one more question but then when you read something like that and you yourself are working as a translator, you must be wrestling with some of the same problems that she’s encountering.

Did, does that influence your own work as you find that, were you able to learn things on that or was there some kind of exchange when you’re reading something like that? 

Yuki: Whenever I read anything Polly has written or translated, it basically makes me want to pack up and leave and not, and never turn back never she’s just She’s such a great writer and a brilliant translator that I feel Japanese literature is lucky to have her, to have somebody like her translating and 50 Sounds.

This is one of my, my, my go to’s it’s an inspiration. I love it. She’s such a wonderful writer who has, who, who makes observations about Japanese. [01:04:00] Culture and the country that I can’t just because I can’t see them anymore because it’s too familiar. So I so it’s jolting and it’s revelatory and I loved it.

I loved, I love how I think she is translating. She doesn’t say, but she’s translating the book that I just mentioned. There’s no such thing as an easy job in this because she, there are passages about yeah. Her having to find a certain translation for a certain passage and when you know what book she’s talking about it’s exciting.

Oh I think that’s what she was translating. But yes reading her is inspiring and I understand the translation bits of course, of the challenges of wanting to translate. a certain nuance and the difficulties of that. And especially she did it just with this 50 sounds, all these sounds that she, that Japanese writers include in their novels, because it’s just part of everyday conversation here using words like Potapota and [01:05:00] Zaza for different types of rain it’s raining today, but okay, what would this rain how would this rain be described, and a Japanese person would describe it a certain way, and then you would need to find an English equivalent because we don’t have Potapota or Zaza or sounds shiku or anything like that.

So that, that’s always the challenge, but yes, I agree wholeheartedly with your recommendation, Kate, this 50 sounds is brilliant. And it’s hard because I want Polly to write more in her own voice, but we also want her translations as many as possible, and there’s only one Polly Barton, so that’s, so we don’t know.

So we just have to wait for her to keep, and I know she’s hard at work, but Yeah, anything that she writes or drown weights, I am there. 

Shawn: I see she has another book that was published somewhere last year and is coming out from Fitzcarraldo in April this year called Porn: An Oral History. 

Kate: Yes. That is out here in the UK. I was looking at it in the bookshop the other day and didn’t really know what to make of it, so I put it back down. But now I’ve read Fifty Sounds. I absolutely want to read Polly Barton’s book about porn!

Yuki: And she has a big translation coming out. It’s called Butter by Asako Yuzuki. And this is Butter was a bestseller, mega mega bestseller in Japan, and it’s going to be huge in English as well. I recommend Butter. I don’t have the exact date, but I know it’s coming out soon spring 2024, maybe sooner. So that’s definitely keep an eye out for that. 

Kate: Thank you both so much. I have absolutely loved this conversation.

It has been the greatest pleasure. Can I say arigato gozaimasu? 

Yuki: Arigato gozaimasu. Yes. Thank you so much Kate. It’s been so wonderful. I had a wonderful time and I love your podcast. 

Shawn: Absolutely on both of those.

And I, my response to your [01:07:00] arigato gozaimasu is  ‘It is I who should say so’. 


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