Shinchōsha (Shinchō Bunko), 2012. 174 pp. ¥400. ISBN 978-4-10-138761-1.
Also published in: Chinese (appeared in the Taiwanese literary magazine Lianhe wenxue in 2010)
While striving to polish her Japanese and succeed in her university studies, Coco works part-time at a high-end sukiyaki restaurant. When dressed in the traditional Japanese uniform of the restaurant, wrapped in her obi belt, she feels that she looks like a bundled-up leek. At first, she does not know how to serve sukiyaki to diners, but as her more experienced colleagues look out for her, she slowly adapts to the restaurant. The regular customers come to like her.
At the same time, a male Korean student at her university regularly speaks to her. As the two of them hold conversations in broken Japanese they achieve a sense of solidarity. But while the Korean student is hoping for a relationship, Coco herself feels a growing passion for the sukiyaki restaurant manager.
As the author amusingly brings into relief the gap between Japanese, Chinese, and Korean practices and thinking, she succeeds in lightly weaving what might be called a comparative cultural or multicultural novel. (NK)
Translation rights inquiries
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(attn. Kimura Tatsuya, Foreign Rights Section)
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