To Be Involved with People in a Non-Mother Tongue --- "Suki Yaki" by Yang Yi

"Suki Yaki"
Written by Yang Yi
(Shincho Bunko, Shinchosya, 27/04/2012)
Buy this book (jump to a Japanese page)

Hong Zhi, called Koko-chan, is a Chinese student who attends a third-rate private university in Japan. Not being good at studying, she failed the entrance examination in China and came to Japan counting on her sister who is married to a Japanese. Encouraged by the sister, she starts working part-time at an exclusive beef nabe [hot pot] shop in Den-en-chofu. In this book Suki Yaki everyday life of Koko-chan is described who is leading a Japanese-speaking life while living with her sister’s family.

Koko-chan, who struggles with putting on a kimono, meets various regular customers in the shop --- a rich man and bar girl couple,  an old couple whose wife is suffering from dementia, a man frequenting this expensive place disproportionate to his income because he wants to see a waitress, and etc.

Koko-chan hovers between the shop manager who has a plain face with narrow eyes and Korean student Ryuyu Hyeon Cheol who is crazy about her. And the communication between Koko-chan and Ryuyu is funny. That reminds me of my experience where all of us were desperate to communicate with the other foreign students in a language other than our native tongues.

But, while Koko-chan comes into contact with foreign cultures at a beef nabe shop, the customers here and the kimono are in fact foreign cultures even to me as a Japanese. I don’t have any kimonos, not to mention being able to wear one by myself.


Original article written by lita (http://wan.or.jp/book/?p=4119)

Translated by A. Tawara

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