03 December 2005

Review: A Rabbit's Eyes

Rating: ☆☆☆

Title: A Rabbit's Eyes

Author: Haitani Kenjirou

Genre: Fiction (Japanese)

Read: 16th Nov 2005

Comments: I was randomly looking through the Japanese Lit section at Kinokuniya when I picked this up. The story of an inexperienced though extremely earnest young elementary school teacher in a bad part of Kobe who sets out to turn the homeroom from hell into a class of little angels; this book is quite a tear-jerker.

The story is set on 'the wrong side of the tracks' at a dirty and neglected elementary school situated right next door to a garbage disposal plant. Most of the students are the children of the disposal plant workers and they live and play amidst the filth and squalor of the plant; catching rats and pigeons, scrapping with each other, and sometimes scamming the other students for money to buy food when Dad gambles or drinks away his paycheck. The view this book offers is a far cry from the spic-and-span, regimented image most people have of Japanese schools.

The story begins with young Miss Kotani taking the reins of a first grade classroom only to retreat to the teachers room before the end of the day in tears, after a student named Tetsuzo kills the pet frog the children were raising for a nature project. Although terrified of the boy (who later attacks her and one of his classmates as well) she is determined not to see him as a bad child and with the help of a gruff but lovable senior teacher Mr. Adachi (known as the Yakuza teacher); she sets out to befriend him and the other disposal plant children.

Over the course of the book she becomes close to the plant children, by listening to them and treating them with respect where previous teachers had thought of them as human garbage and refused to allow them to help at meal times for fear they would contaminate the school lunches. She shares their lives and learns that even the seemingly bizarre and uncommunicative Tetsuzo (he rarely says more than yeah, no or uh-huh) has something to offer in the form of an encyclopaedic knowledge of flies (which he breeds at home).

Although the characters are cliched, the dialogue rather contrived (or perhaps just badly translated), and the plot as a whole sappy in the extreme, there's no denying that this is a very touching, heart-warming, and affirming book that will have you in tears for pages at a time. I recommend it highly to anyone who wants to have a good cry.

Quote: "I'd rather have chocolate than sincerity."

  • A Rabbit's Eyes

  • Goog Niter!

    PS: re-edited to gel with the new format


    02 December 2005

    Two For The Price Of One: (Warning Severe Babelfish-osity Ahead)


    When I choose this, I the attaching and others of Japan it is passing by the section, looked at the Kinokuniya optionally. But the sutra of the part where the Kobe is bad it is shallow being very serious, the story of young elementary school teacher it started in order to turn the homeroom from the hell to class of small angel; It is the jerker where it becomes and pulls this book and tears.

    As for story tracks It is put with the side which between the the is different; Being ignored to becoming dirty, elementary school puts the following door the right to the plant of trash place amount. The majority of the students is the child of the worker of planting ones of dealing, impureness impureness of the plant and the performing play in the squalor you live,; The father bets that payment inspection or, or occasionally in order to buy each other throwing away and the food in drinking case other study raw for the money scamming contagion characteristic rut/rat and the pigeon. The view which this book offers is the scream from the spic directly, as for the span, the image which most people have the school of the day book the regimented.

    The Tetsuzo end of day of damage after the student who is shown, before killing the pet frog which the child has raised because of the professional ject of character is retreats the story to the teacher room which is, is the bridle of the classroom of 1st class is taken in the , it is young, from the Kotani beginning. Whether the boy (her of that classmates and and it attacks one after the saw our and others it is known someone) as a bad child and (as Yakuza teacher) in help of the person of gruff loveable senior teacher it is decided in Adachi him, but because it does not meet as for her; She him and the child of planting ones of dealing of other things started to the befriend.

    Before she inquires about those in course of the book, is close to the child of the plant the point by handling those, becoming those thoughts and those permitting the fact that the meal because of the fear dyeing of having school lunch dirtily occasionally helps the stopping/deciding and others is was in the teacher as a trash of the human. She shares life, queer, the uncommunicative Tetsuzo (he rarely, can obtain on the surface with no or uh-huh many and does not say) to grow (him propagates something the fact that it offers) erudition learns the fact that in the form of knowledge at the house.

    Quality translated the cliched, (or perhaps exactly badly), and the extreme, the there' Sappy it is plotted is devised with S the dialogue which on the other hand as all body you are impressed this very, the heart-warming, with is in the book of assertion it denies that there are no times when but you of damage for the page at the foremost time the. As for me to being whoever, nominates that very the good scream the wants.

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    29 November 2005

    Last Sumo Post of the Year (Or is it?)

    So the Kyuushuu tournament has finished with Asashoryuu breaking just about every record on the books and taking home the 'Prime Minister's Cup' in addition to the usual 'Emperor's Cup'.

    Let's take a closer look...

    In this tournament Asa:

    became the first ever wrestler to win all 6 tournaments in a year

    became the first ever wrestler to win 7 tournaments in a row

    broke Kitanoumi's 1978 record of 82 wins in one year by posting a total of 84 wins!

    It boggles the mind! Out of a total of 90 matches in the year he lost only 6. 6! Most of the guys, even in Makunouchi (the top division) lose more than 6 matches in a single tournament, never mind all year. Asa is a sumo-wrestling machine; he's got the speed, he's got the agility, he's got the brute strength, but more than that he's got the brains. He doesn't fuck around, he knows exactly the right tack to take against each new opponent and he's able to make the crucial split-second tactics decisions that make the difference between a good wrestler and a brilliant one. He's unstoppable....

    Except for one little (!?!) problem: The Bulgarian Bomber, Sumo's David Beckham, Mr. 204 cm: Koto'oushuu
    He's basically the only guy these days who can be counted on to give Asa a run for his money, and so he does...handing Asa a full 1/3 of those six losses! (The others, by the way, were to Tochiazuma, Futenou, Kokkai, and [for fuck's sake] Aminishiki). He's still young and a trifle unpolished, and falls for stuff that he really oughtn't to, like that little spin move Kaiou pulled on him on Senshuuraku (the last day of the tournament), but at age 22 he's already assured of a promotion to Ozeki after only his 8th tournament in Makunouchi, and I can definitely see him becoming the first ever European Yokozuna...

    All in all it looks like 2006 is going to be pretty exciting year for sumo!

    On a sadder note though, this tournament also saw the retirement of Kotonowaka, who I've always liked. He will be missed.

    Goog Niter to everyone, and I'll try to get some more non-sumo posts up within the next few days.