Have you read a REAL Japanese book recently? (Or ever?) When I mean a real book, I mean a book that was originally in Japanese, and translated to your language.
Maybe you have read this one? It’s super duper popular, even comedian Mindy Kahling tweets about it.
See the English? KONMARI? Recognize it now?
The title is “Jinsei ga tokimeku katadzuke no mahou.” It’s this book, of course. “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up…”
Notice “Tokimeku” . What does this word mean?
That is the key word!!!!!! You know it. I know you know it.
Tokimeku means throb, palpitate. Spark joy?
If it doesn’t spark joy, then throw it out! That’s the gist of this famous book about tidying up.
If that is the only Japanese book (that and Haruki Murakami) you have ever read…..well, there are lots more. Lots, lots, lots more.
I was wondering why Americans don’t read more Japanese books. I think they don’t get the publicity, and that’s why. Mari Kondo somehow got the publicity and voila, everybody reads her book.
And also it has something to do with translation. Japanese does NOT NOT NOT translate easily into English. Therefore, the translator herself must be very talented. Just think how clunky it would be if Mari Kondo went with the title of her Japanese book literally:
The Witchcraft of Life is Cleaning Up with Palpitations
Or shoot, something like that. I friggin don’t even know how to translate it. But it sounds good in Japanese. Any time you use the word Mahou (Witch) and draw a a clever cartoon of a witch on the cover, you know you have got a sure winner. J.K. Rowling knew this, and look, now she is a billionaire.
So everybody out there. Read more Japanese books. Because haven’t you always wanted to read a book by a woman named Banana Yoshimoto? I know I have.