Book Review: The Good Shufu

The Good Shufu has been sat on my book shelf for a while. I won it in a competition on a blog a while back, along with some other books. But The Good Shufu was always going to be the awkward one.

Before I saw the competition, I read an article on Tracy Slater in some English language Japanese online site. It told of the tale of an American woman living in Japan, married to a Japanese man who didn’t speak Japanese very well and couldn’t write her daughter’s name in Japanese.

In my time in Japan, I knew a fair few people who had lived there a long time and just didn’t bother to learn the language. Although at least one of them is a very dear friend of mine, I find this kind of thing very rude, especially if it’s coming from westerners. Learning a language, especially if you’re living there and dating within that culture, isn’t such a hard thing to do. No, really. So the article really rubbed me up the wrong way. [Read more…]

All The Things I’ve Read (Running Through My Head…)

Photo Credit

How’s that earworm? πŸ˜‰

I’ve found time to fit reading into my schedule recently – right after my morning gym session and before I climb the stairs to my desk. My favourite kinds of podcasts are those which talk about books and tv, but it was horrible not having any time to be able to read and watch the things they recommended.

Anyway, here are three amazing books I’ve read recently!

Us by David Nicholls

Us is about a man named Douglas who is geeky; a scientist. Pushed by his sister, he ends up dating and then marrying the free-spirited, gorgeous Connie. The book opens with Connie feeling that, after many years of marriage and raising a son together, she wants a divorce. Hurt and shocked, Douglas takes his family on one last trip around Europe where he tries to fix his relationship with Connie as well as with his son.

This book verges on being emotionally abusive. I had to stop reading it around Boyfriend as it would put me in such a funk I couldn’t interact with him properly without being grumpy or moody. The three characters are so vivid – poor Douglas who is just trying to do his best, Connie who made life choices and wants to be free and Albie, the son who feels his dad hasn’t done him right his whole life.

There were times when I laughed out loud, and many more times when I just wept for the tragedy of the whole situation. I described it on my podcast as a modern horror story – no one wants to wake up one morning when they’re in their 50’s and have the love of their life want to leave them.

This is also the kind of book that, when I finished it, I tried to look around for more people who have read it so I could discuss it with them. I couldn’t find many (not even on Reddit!) so if anyone else out there has read this book then please contact me!!!

γ„γ€γ‹γƒ†γ‚£γƒ•γ‚‘γƒ‹γƒΌγ§ζœι£Ÿγ‚’ Some Day It’ll Be Breakfast At Tiffany’s

I’ve loved manga from the second I became able to read Japanese, but I would always gravitate towards the same girly storylines: underdog girl falls for handsome, rich guy. For whatever reason, they find themselves in the same space (living together/same class etc). She tries over and over to win his affections but he is nothing short of a twat. Eventually, 25 books later, he comes round and they get married.

When I went to Japan recently I wanted out of this outdated storyline and wanted something fresh to read. Some Day It’ll Be Breakfast at Tiffany’s is about a group of girls around the age of 30 who just want to get on in life. The main character is Mariko, who broke up with her deadbeat boyfriend to live by herself and found a new love of going out for breakfast before work. We follow her in her struggles at work, coupled with her love of really good breakfast.

The storyline really hits close to home for me as it covers a lot of the same themes that my own life has – I’m nearly 30 and am not married; is it too late? How can I get ahead in my job when I stuggle along? And – food.

I love how gorgeous the pictures are in the manga but my favourite thing about it has to be that all of the places they visit are actual places that you can go to yourself. The book I just read had them go to Nagoya, where I studied at uni, and I loved seeing the places I know so well right there in manga form in front of me.

I know there are a few Japanese speakers out there so if you have the chance, check out this manga. There aren’t any scanlation projects for it yet as far as I can see. If any scanlation groups out there want to cover it, I may be interested in translating for you, depending on my schedule. Send me an email and I’ll see what I can do.

Here Comes the Sun by Leza Lowitz

I actually won this book in a giveaway! I never win anything so I was so shocked! I won two other books too, but this one arrived first and also Leza gave me loads of love on Twitter so I felt compelled to start on her book ASAP.

This memoir follows Leza as she finds love in Tokyo and struggles through the pain and sorrow of not being able to become pregnant. All through this, there are lessons from yoga, snippets of life in Japan and California and even some bits of India too!

Leza is, for me, what I’d describe as a very American person. When she finds difficulties, she turns to spiritual things and looks for deeper meanings in everything – even going to a fortune teller at times as well. For me and other British people, our minds do not go that deep and so it was at some points difficult to understand what she was doing. However, I have certainly never even tried to have a baby let alone try and find difficulties and so I went along with Leza with whatever she needed.

She’s such a warm and open person, it was difficult not to be completely invested in her story from the word go, and I found myself properly crying (snot-flying and all) at some points.

I’d recommend this book for anyone who has faced similar troubles, or even for people who have lived in Japan – there were so many things that hit home for me even though that is the only thing she and I have in common.

 

What have you read recently? What should I add to my bookshelf next?

Currently… 03.06

Roasted nectarines, a little drizzle of balsamic vinegar and icecream. #vegbox #morefruit #totesnotcheating

A photo posted by Charlotte Steggz (@charlottesteggz) on

 

Reading…

I’m reading two books… the one I mentioned before from the British comedian Stewart Lee, but also A Cat Named Bob. The comedian book is good but it’s such a slow read. So I read chunks of the easy-reader cat book when I’m wanting some change. It’s a lovely true story of a homeless guy who gets adopted by a cat (because that’s the way it works with cats, right?) and the adventures they go on. It was a huge hit a few years ago here in the UK, and I really do recommend it to anyone who wants a nice easy-read.

Listening to…

Breakfast For Dinner podcast.

I found out about this through Sara, who is also awesome, but this podcast is my favourite right now.

It’s hosted by a guy and a girl (Dago and Nicole) and they talk about loads of things like tv (I have no idea how they watch so much! I am so jealous) sexism, fashion and current affairs. What I like about them is that they are forward thinking and socially aware. They’re have really interesting discussions like how rape as a plot point isn’t a good thing. It’s sort of like chatting with friends, only they can’t hear you and you just have to listen to them.

At the start of one of their podcasts as well you can hear me speaking with an American accent because they asked me to. That’s how much I love them.

Loving… (1)

Companies who have awesome Twitter feeds.

Example 1: I was served by a very rude guy at a BP garage the other day when I was paying for petrol. I tweeted to BP and they reported him for me. Yay.

Example 2: My Spotify still thought I was in Germany and I couldn’t change it. I tweeter to the Spotify guys and they changed my account location. Yay.

Example 3: I love tweeting to companies that I love telling them about things that made me happy when I was shopping with them, and it’s just the best when they reply. Sainsbury’s are great at this, but so too are Harris + Hoole (this amazing coffee shop from Tescos).

Loving… (2)

Friends who have super awesome Etsy shops.

Firstly, we have Kate who makes gorgeous pictures in her shop Dreyer Draws. If you’re a Star Trek fan, you’re going to want to check out her bingo card!

Then there’s Kelly who will make you an amazing blog template in her shop. She’s my go-to girl for WordPress advice as her blog is chock-full of hints and tips.

I’m really proud of my friends for pushing themselves to have their own small businesses. <3

 

What have you been up to this week?

Book Review – Starting Out In Stand-Up

davepitt

Last week I finished reading a book called Starting in Stand-Up by the British comedian Dave Pitt. I’d bought it because on the Kindle it was very cheap and I was on a comedy book shopping spree hehe.

Dave’s comedy style is very different to mine – he, as a person with depression, has very dark, raw and honest humour full of swearing. Even though this style isn’t for me, I’ve seen some clips of him on YouTubeΒ (warning: very strong language)Β and it’s clear that he has a lot of comedy talent.

The book is essentially a record of Dave’s first 100 gigs. He is brutally honest all the way, about gigs he bombed, about gigs that went well, about friends he makes along the way and about really petty arguments that happen on Facebook or something (it was really confusing).

Should people read this book?

Hmm… I think people wanting to be comedians will find this book very useful. It has lots of really great advice (spoilers: don’t do gong shows), and, honestly, it was just nice reading the inner thoughts of someone starting out in comedy, as I too am very nervous when I am planning gigs.

However, for regular folk it may not be the most exciting read. It’s very repetitive, and has so much waffle about things the reader, quite frankly, doesn’t care about – things about his mates, and their girlfriends, and what they ate at the bar, and what they listened to in the car. This could all be taken out to make a very nice streamlined overview of his experiences.

Due to the repetitiveness, it took me about 4 months to read. But my friend enjoyed it a lot more and whizzed through it in a few weeks. But he is also a heavy reader so that may have something to do with it.

Have you read this book? I would normally ask for more book recommendations along the same lines but honestly I have SO many comedy how-to books lined up, I cannot fit any more in.

And Dave, if you’re out there – give us a wave! (And put more photos of your book cover on the internet please!!!)

 

 

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