When Hitomi takes a job on the cash register of a neighbourhood thrift store, she finds herself drawn into a very idiosyncratic community. There is Mr Nakano, an enigmatic ladies’ man with several ex-wives; Masayo, Mr Nakano’s sister, an artist who has never married; and her fellow employee Takeo, a shy but charming young man. And every day, customers from the neighbourhood pass in and out as curios are bought and sold, each one containing its own surprising story. When Hitomi and Takeo begin to fall for one another, they find themselves in the centre of their own drama – and on the edges of many others.
A calm, simple story. This is what this book is all about. It tells the story of Hitomi, a 20-something university dropout who works in a thrift shop. The book is simply divided into chapters which talk about a certain object with the story it brings with it. A letter opener, a dress, a sewing machine, each of these objects brings a new story into Hitomi life. I picked this book because I know that contemporary Japanese literature has something in common which I really like, and that is the laid-back feeling it gives you. It describes Hitomi surroundings, her feeling, and the people around her in such a gentle way. Reading this book felt like laying down, relaxing and watching a calm Japanese movie.