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The briefcase

Translated by Allison Markin Powell

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Tsukiko, thirty-eight, works in an office and lives alone. One night, she happens to meet one of her former high school teachers, “Sensei” in a local bar. Tsukiko had only ever called him “Sensei” (“Teacher”). He is thirty years her senior, retired, and presumably a widower. Their relationship-traced by Kawakami’s gentle hints at the changing seasons-develops from a perfunctory acknowledgment of each other as they eat and drink alone at the bar, to an enjoyable sense of companionship, and finally into a deeply sentimental love affair. As Tsukiko and Sensei grow to know and love one another, time’s passing comes across through the seasons and the food and beverages they consume together. From warm sake to chilled beer, from the buds on the trees to the blooming of the cherry blossoms, the reader is enveloped by a keen sense of pathos and both characters’ loneliness.

japanese title: Sensei no kaban
subjects: Love stories
Women authors
genre: Fiction
ISBN: 9781582435992
OCLC number: 746834455
publisher: Counterpoint Press, Distributed by Publishers Group West
publication place: Berkeley, CA, New York
japanese publication date: 2001
english publication date: 2012
document type: Book
description: 176 p. ; 21 cm.
related: Republished as Strange Weather in Tokyo