The Easy Life in Kamusari by Shion Miura and translated into English by Juliet Winters Carpenter ticks off a lot of boxes on various reading challenges:
✅book translated into English
✅set in Japan
✅coming of age story
✅book with a green cover
I am sure there are others, too, so add this to your TBR! It is such a good, simple story about a young man who’s parents sign him up for a forestry program as soon as he graduates from high school. He gets assigned to the small remote village of Kamusari where he can’t use his cell phone, there is no internet and spotty tv reception. There are very few people his age, no shopping centers or restaurants. What Kamusari does have is a beautiful mountain and lots and lots of trees. It has tradition, rituals and a philosophy to “take it easy”.
It is such a different type of life for Yuki and without much other entertainment, he writes this story I’m about his year as a trainee in the forestry department.
Even though the forestry industry is big where so live in Arkansas. I knew very little about what all they do. It was interesting to read about the day to day work Yuki and his team did high on a mountain. My favorite part was all the traditions the villagers had, but the spark of romance was a fun addition too.
This sweet book is a very quick read, I read it through in an afternoon and felt like I had been swept away to a far off Forrest. It is available tomorrow!
'There were more fireflies over the paddy than before. If you'd told me that stars had fallen from the sky and turned into twinkling insects, at that moment I would have believed it.'
The Easy Life in Kamusari is a beautifully written coming of age story of a Japanse youth from Yokohama being sent away to a small village to get trained in forestry. Reluctant at first, Yuki wishes to make the most of his time in Kamusari and soon starts to recognize the beauty of the job and the people he works with. Infused with a little bit of mysticism, this is ultimately a story about a man emerging from boyhood, finding a place for himself, learning to persevere. The natural descriptions are really well done, allowing clear pictures to form in my head.
What makes the Easy Life in Kamusari such a delight to read is the fact that it is written much like a diary/memoir from Yuki's perspective. This means it follows the seasons. and as such we learn a lot about forestry across the year, Simultaneously, we can see Yuki's personal growth between the lines and It is as though we get to know the other characters ourselves, as Yuki slowly gets to know them. We wonder about the village's (Shinto) traditions as we see them through the eyes of 'an outsider'. My anthropology-loving heart really enjoyed this particular writing style and though fictitious, this could easily be a memoir of a big-city boy becoming a man in a rural setting.
What a lovely book, that gave me hope for the future and maybe someday getting off the grid and living somewhere completely removed from the fast pace of society. I kid, kind of, but this book was really interesting in it's premise. Yuki Hirano graduates and is subsequently accepted into a forestry program in Kamusari - a very remote mountain town. As a city kid, he isn't exactly suited to this type of work. However, the story follows him as he learns how to become a forester, live in a remote area, and learn about the world in a new and different way. I definitely enjoyed this book because it had a very cozy feel and allowed me to be transported to the mountains of rural japan. There were also many different interesting cultural references I found myself looking up and then further researching as I read through the book and I definitely enjoyed learning more about Japan, and am excited to someday visit.
I highly recommend this book if you feel stuck in a rut, as though the pace of the world outside has gotten to be too much or if you just want a completely different style of book.
This ebook was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
A different sort of coming of age novel. Yuki is not happy when his parents enroll him in a forestry program-no cell phone, no conveniences, lots of work, It turns out, however, to have been the best thing they could have done for him. The small village, the folklore, the tress, all of it combine to make a sweet, short read. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.
While I found this to be an easy read and loved learning about forestry in Japan, I had a problem with how the women in this book are portrayed. They seemed to easy fall into stereotypes: the happy homemaker, the crone, the one that turns a blind eye to infidelity, and the interesting mysterious one. While they played a relatively small part in the book, the fact that their lives seemed to mostly revolve around men bothered me. However, I think what bothered me the most was all the advice that people kept giving to Yuki about the girl that he liked: "If you keep pursuing her, even though she's said no several times, she'll say yes eventually." This isn't a particularly great message for young adults, which is where I have seen this book categorized.
Overall, I would say those interested in learning about the cultures and the happenings of rural Japan, with a side of magical realism and a cute dog would love this book. Those who don't like somewhat whiny characters, probably should give it a pass, since Yuki can be a bit whiny. However, I am a firm believer that there is something for everyone to take away in any given book. So, if the premise sounds interesting, check it out. You'll probably be able to tell pretty quick if this is something for you. And if you can't, it's only a little over 200 pages.
Thank you to Negalley, Amazon Crossing and the author for providing me with an e-ARC of this novel. All thoughts and opinions in the review are my own.
*Many thanks to NetGalley and AmazonCrossing for the ARC of the book in exchange for an honest review.*
Yuki, who hasn’t worked hard a day in his life and has no plans for his future after graduating high school, is forced by his parents to leave his home in Yokohama to go to Kamusari and take a job there as a forestry trainee. The small community in Kamusari whose motto is “take it easy” first strikes Yuki as boring without any mobile phones, internet, shopping centers as well as weird due to the scarcity of public transportation that can carry him back to Yokohama. At first, he finds his job very hard, and not as his cup of tea since he lacks physical strength, knowledge, and experience. But after a few failed attempts to escape, working with his small but efficient forestry team teaches him how a good, honest day’s work, as well as nature’s beauty, can fill the emptiness in him and help him become a man. After some time, finding himself a true home there, Yuki works very hard to become one of the Kamusari people, mesmerized by the religious myths, local festivals, the people and the beauty of Kamusari, and a girl named Nao.
I really loved reading this book. The descriptions of the forestry work, the nature, the myths, and the easygoing village people gave me a sense of freshness and peace. One may expect the descriptions of forestry work can be boring, but I was intrigued thanks to the authors writing style. If you like slow-paced stories woven with nature imagery, a slice of life, and cultural elements, then this book is for you.
"Running around won't make the tree grow faster. Get plenty of rest, eat hearty, and tomorrow take what comes"
Yuki was sent to a rural village in Japan as his employment in forestry had been arranged by his mum behind his back. He has no interest in the job, however there is no chance to escape from it.
The reader follows Yuki experiencing and growing up in nature. Although he probably ended up being a jobless young man if he remained in the city, he is buffeted by people and nature in Kamusari village. They are sometimes harsh to him, but they also fulfill his heart and he comes to life there. He roams to find his place as his mum's attention is on her grandson and the villagers sometimes treat him as an outsider in the village despite his effort to fit in.
I like Japanese rural areas and this story reminded me of my grandma's village. Kamusari has a belief in god like we used to have everywhere in Japan. I enjoyed reading about the village which has a faith and spiritual atmosphere. The pride in the forestry and love and respect for the mountain are beautifully woven into the story.
I enjoyed reading Japanese traditional beliefs in this book. I had no knowledge of forestry, so it was quite a fun read!
I don't know how to start this review. The writing was nice, and I liked the way the nature and general mood was described; it was very atmospherical. I, however, hated the narrator/main character. Yuki was such a whiny brat for most of the book, even after he got used to Kamusari and started to fit in there. I don't mind unlikable characters, when they're meant to be unlikable. Yuki was definitely meant to be someone relatable that you root for, but he was just super annoying most of the time. Another thing I hated was the whole "if you just keep chasing the girl she will eventually stop saying 'no' and start saying 'yes'" trope. I generally didn't like the way women were written in this book (which is by a female author, so that's a bit disappointing).
I have just read The Easy Life in Kamusari by Shion Miura, Juliet Winters Carpenter (Translator)
The main character Yuki Hirano has just finished high school, and his parents enroll him in a Forestry program in rural Japan.
This is a young adult story that is very simple and engaging.
A Quick read, with an interesting story.
Thank you to Goodreads, Author Shion Miura, and Amazon Crossing for my advanced copy to read and review.
Sweet slices of life in the forestry business, simply written but with the same compelling aesthetic and love of nature as a Miyazaki movie
A fun short book on a student being sent away to mountainous Japan to take up forestry in a small village. I do feel this book is very simply written, which might in part be from translation, but had quite a lot of fun while reading it.
Yuki Hirano is send from Yokohama to a small village, Kamusari, to work in subsidized forestry. Initially his response is resistance but soon he starts to become part of the community and he settles into the rhythm of tending to the forest throughout the seasons. Surprisingly a lot of Japanese culture comes back in the book, a lot even unknown to the urban narrator of the book. Quite striking at the start of the book is for instance the term Shirikodama - a soulball located in the anus according to the villagers. I felt jealous for the giant onigiri that Yuki has a lunch everyday and the believe in spirits, rituals and traditions is certainly a major component to the book. Another part that takes prominent place is forestry itself, something I am not super into, but definitely requires a lot more care and attention than one imagines.
Yuki is quite fortunate in his placement in an area with 6 million trees on the land of one person, in an overall declining industry within Japan. Even his very vocational teaching and presence in the mountain village is due to the Japanese government subsidizing an otherwise shrinking workforce in the region.
The forest festivals involve some pretty theme park like rituals and overall I kind of had the feel of Spirited Away in a book. However the right to sleep with any woman as a prize to a festival is very icky (even if not enforced) and it’s clear old school gender relations are still prevalent in the community.
Traditions and rituals govern life and give a sense of belonging, which clearly is something aspirational to many office workers. An interesting get away to a very different world, I enjoyed The Easy Life in Kamusari, even if the pace was not very high and the language not something to specifically write home about.
This was so refreshing to read: a unique blend of humor, slice of life and wisdom. Def recommend it!
#theeasylifeinkamusari by #shionmiura is my first ever buddy read and I had the pleasure of reading it with @jeshisbooknook Big thank you for reading it with me, it was great to chat as we read through this amazing story!
This is an ARC from #netgalley @netgalley, so thank you!
As my first ever buddy read, I approached this book slowly, it isn't a long book so I read it across a few days. I must say it reads like a much longer book than the number of pages it is made up across. The rich detail and vivid images that I have of the setting, the various characters and the amazing scenes are incredible.
Without offering any spoilers, the book's premise is a memoir of sorts tracking the year in the life of a young city man who goes to live and work in the countryside or in a rural place. For me it was all about finding yourself, deciding who and what you want to me and persevering with things even when the going gets tough.
The characters are very likeable and real and provided lots of moments to remember, even some laughs too.
I have contacted the publishers as Amazon states its forest book 1 so I keen to find out if the story is continued or if its a new forest settling. Either way I think it will be brilliant.
I loved this book so much and it makes me yearn to visit Japan and embrace the culture and all it has to offer. I would recommend this book to everyone!
It's out 2nd November!
#books2021 #japanesefiction #translatedfiction #japaneseauthors
I loved parts of this, but the tone didn't fully work for me. As many reviewers have commented, this is very much like a slice-of-life manga or even anime, and the MC's voice and point-of-view reflect that. I was eager for a slightly more contemplative, chill character, frankly, though I do wonder if a bit of the tone issue is due to translation. I loved the world and the other characters, for the most part, though.
This story follows Yuki, a young man fresh out of highschool, who is sent away by his parents to study forestry in the mountains. At first Yuki is disgruntled and desperate to return to the city, but as time goes by he begins to embrace the calm village life.
This book is a blend of slice-of-life, comedy and folklore that all round feels like an anime. Vivid descriptions, wacky humourous characters and events with a little sprinkle of magical realism. A charm of a reading experience which I would highly recommend. Shion Miura is a master of her craft and I hope we see more of her works translated in the future.
For fans of: Relaxing vibes, vivid descriptions, mild magical realism/folklore/traditions, rural life.
I'm always grateful to receive an ARC, and I was originally very interested in learning more about forestry in Japan. However, perhaps something was lost in the translation...the overall tone was very odd and hard to engage with. I had a hard time understanding the premise (the parents making a life-changing decision for their son without even talking to him) and why the narrator just went along. The descriptions were beautiful, and I did enjoy learning more about Japan. But overall I struggled to finish this book.
About the book
The book gave me slice of life anime vibe,
The book is about Yuki a city boy graduate from High school (I guess) ship of by his parents for an unwelcome work, middle of nowhere a place called kamusari, without Phone. And we will see him falling in love the village , mountain, forest,villagers , experiencing weird spritual event .
The book vibe is peaceful looking at the current chaos around the world I also want to live in kamusari village with my books , working for certain hours and enjoy.😊 Sigh
Overall I enjoyed the reading but the book has forestry information as Yuki's work there and forestry is big part of the village but some or most of those information went over my head (that's my fault) .
This was an unexpected great read. Yuki, a unmotivated recent high school graduate, is enrolled in a job training program by his parents that leads to him moving to the rural mountain village of Kamusari to learn forestry. There really isn't a strong plot line with lots of action, and yet the simple seasonal descriptions of the forestry trade along with the peculiar characters and culture of the village make for a phenomenal read. There is a bit of the supernatural sprinkled in, but just enough to add some mystery. I fell hard for the people of Kamusari, just as Yuki did.
Se è vero (come io credo) che i giapponesi sono inevitabilmente shintoisti, questo è il romanzo più intimamente giapponese che abbia mai letto.
La vita di una comunità montana isolata dal resto del Paese, interamente devota al legname (che non vuol dire solo tagliare alberi, ma programmare l'accudimento delle piante e del terreno in un'ottica di decenni), che segue ritmi stagionali nel lavoro e nella vita e viene guidata senza fallo dalla credenza no solo nel dio della montagna, ma anche della moltitudine di kami che popolano il mondo, non potrebbe rappresentare meglio un Giappone alieno agli stessi giapponesi di città.
Che comunque continuano, in piccoli rituali quotidiani, ad omaggiare senza pensarci credenze che sono intessute nella cultura millenaria del Paese.
Per il resto, è una bella storia di amicizia e di formazione, all'interno di una comunità chiusa che si apre all'arrivo di sangue nuovo, necessario perché le tradizioni non scompaiano e la montagna - il fulcro di tutto - continui a essere onorata e protetta.
A charming tale of a teenage city boy in a tiny, distant rural mountain village learning the art of forestry. Yuki is unsure of himself and unsure, at first, that he even wants to be in this village learning to cut down majestic trees. He works with a crew of multi-aged men who teach him what needs to be done to preserve the forest throughout each season. The local traditions are very new to him and the reader gets a good picture of life in this village. It's a coming-of-age story, but with almost more emphasis on the village itself.
Kudos to the translator, also, for doing a great job in conveying dialect, and Yuki's youthful thoughts. These would not translate easily, so her work is very appreciated. I would definitely like to read more from this author.
The Easy Life in Kamusari was a pleasing coming-of-age tale with a fairy tale feel. Its strengths included a well-described portrayal of rural life and folk belief (which led to a great sense of place throughout the story) and a perfect blend of drama and humor. The weaknesses for me included the lack of background information about Yuki. His parents ship him off into the middle of nowhere, giving him no choice in the matter, yet we spend little to no time looking at his relationship with them or studying how he feels about what happened. But overall this was an easy and engaging read, and I felt by the end that I had learnt something about rural life, forestry and Japanese folklore and Shinto practices. This is my first time reading anything by Miura Shion, but I would definitely pick up more of her books in the future. This was a 4-star read for me.