Monday 25 October 2021

Tokyo Ueno Station

Finished October 23
Tokyo Ueno Station by Yu Miri, translated by Morgan Giles

This book tells the story of Kazu, a man who wanders the world he lived in before he died, not understanding why he hasn't moved on. No one sees him or reacts to him, but he reflects on his life, working long hours on jobs away from his home, not seeing his children grow up, or spending very much time with his wife. 
He also describes the circumstances that led to his last few years living as a homeless man in the Ueno Station Park in Tokyo, and his interactions with some of the other inhabitants of the park. 
The moments of reflection on the past are interspersed with his observations on the present, seeing how life goes on, and witnessing the passing of others he knew.
This is a very interesting novel, with intimate details of Kazu's life told in such a way that removes the emotion from the experiences. He seems removed from his life, not just by death, but in remembering key moments of his life as well. 
His life also has ties to that of the royal family in a limited way. He is the same age as the Crown Prince, and his son was born the same day as the prince's son. His life in the park is also changed by visits from the royal family. 

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