Enter your search into one or more of the boxes below:
You can refine your search by selecting from any of the options below:
Strange Weather in Tokyo
Foyalty 24

Strange Weather in Tokyo (Paperback)

Despatched in 2 business days.
Click & Collect
In stock in 1 or more stores.
Check Stock


Tsukiko is in her late 30s and living alone when one night she happens to meet one of her former high school teachers, 'Sensei', in a bar. He is at least thirty years her senior, retired and, she presumes, a widower. After this initial encounter, the pair continue to meet occasionally to share food and drink sake, and as the seasons pass - from spring cherry blossom to autumnal mushrooms - Tsukiko and Sensei come to develop a hesitant intimacy which tilts awkwardly and poignantly into love.

Perfectly constructed, funny, and moving, Strange Weather in Tokyo is a tale of modern Japan and old-fashioned romance.

Fiction & PoetryFiction in translationFiction & PoetryModern & contemporary fiction post c 1945 Publisher: Granta Books Publication Date: 01/05/2014 ISBN-13: 9781846275104  Details: Type: Paperback Format: Books
Availability: Despatched in 2 business days. Add to Basket

Born in 1958 in Tokyo, HIROMI KAWAKAMI is one of Japan's most popular contemporary novelists. She is the recipient of the Pascal Short Story Prize for New Writers and the Akutagawa Prize. Her novel Drowning won both the Ito Sei Literature Award and Joryu Bungaku Sho (Women Writers' Prize) in 2000. Her novel Manazuru won the 2011 Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission Prize. Strange Weather in Tokyo (Sensei no kaban) won the Tanizaki prize in 2001, was shortlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize in 2013, and has been translated into thirteen languages. ALLISON MARKIN POWELL is a literary translator and editor in New York City. She has translated works by Osamu Dazai, Kaho Nakayama, and Motoyuki Shibata, and she was the guest editor for the first Japan issue of Words Without Borders.

More books by Hiromi Kawakami

More books by Allison Markin Powell

Customer Reviews

Kawakami’s gentle yet compelling romance between middle-aged singleton Tsukiko and her former high school teacher, only referred to as Sensei for most of the novel, starts quietly and works under your skin, until after a time you cannot remember when you started reading it, nor do you want it to end. Stages in the relationships are marked by the passage of the seasons, and as with all things even the seasons have their end; but as to whether it concludes as Tsukiko devoutly hopes, or simply comes to a halt, is something you’ll have to read the novel to discover. Kawakami is better known in Japan than in the English speaking world, where she began as a science fiction author in the 1980s, and is currently a member of the Science Fiction Research Association. However The Briefcase, also known as The Teacher’s Briefcase, or Strange Weather in Tokyo in the UK edition, represents a different path for her, into more mainstream literary work. Since publication it’s received the Tanizaki Prize in Japan, as well as being shortlisted for both the Man Asian Literary Prize (2012) and the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize (2014). What makes this story work is the brittle, yet surprisingly tender relationship between Tsukiko and Sensei. Each, you suspect, are broken in their own way, though as narrator Tsukiko spends little time talking about her own troubles. Sensei, we discover, has endured a failed marriage. His bohemian wife, fond of magic tricks, cheated on him repeatedly, finally moving away; the ultimate disappearing act. Now retired, he spends his days in lonely isolation, occasionally making side trips to local markets, or adding to his small collection of tchotchke. Reading between the lines, Tsukiko has much the same problem, though without the tchotchke. She is unhappy with her lot, yet lacks the direction, or the will, to change it. It’s only when she and Sensei meet, entirely by accident, at a local bar, that things begin to take shape, that she comes to understand what she needs, and what they both might have to offer to each other. They begin cautiously to negotiate each other, never quite admitting what’s going on, but never denying it either. They never make arrangements to meet at that bar, regularly, irregularly, or otherwise. It just happens. Then it happens with increasing regularity. Things sometimes get fraught, often on Tsukiko’s side, but somehow never so disastrously as to indicate a permanent split. Then Tsukiko’s friend Kojima, a former school mate much closer to her in age than Sensei, makes his move, and Tsukiko has to decide what it is she really wants. Ultimately it’s the fragile humanity of the characters that makes this novel work. As a plot, the romance novel is a well-tilled field, and it would be easy to see this story as more of the same. Yet it isn’t, and this is in no small part thanks to Tsukiko, the woman who feels as a sister to the reader; someone who can be frustrating, muddle-headed, just plain wrong, and yet still compel affection. It’s odd to think that, though one of the two main characters, Sensei remains a bit of an enigma, even after the final page is turned. Yet we find out so much about his life, his former love, his joys and sorrows. As a reader, you begin to wonder what Tsukiko and Sensei’s ex-wife, the carefree conjuror, would have made of each other. One of them positive, risk-taking, determined to get what she wants, the other hesitant, unwilling to admit even to herself what’s going on, muttering under her breath, ‘don’t get your hopes up, don’t get your hopes up.’ Yet that meeting can never take place, for one is gone, the other alive. It’s tempting to color this with a bright layer of Japanese folklore, particularly given Kawakami’s science fiction past, but this isn’t that kind of story. No kitsune here. Just people, trying to get by. Here’s hoping more of Kawakami’s work makes its way to the English language market. Currently this and Manazuru, about a woman trying to reconstruct her past, are the only two novels of hers to have had an English translation. She’s also had a hand in The Book of Tokyo: A City in Short Fiction (various authors), which has a distinctly more fantastical bent than The Briefcase/Strange Weather. I’d recommend The Briefcase/Strange Weather to anyone who enjoys losing themselves, for however long, in a book’s inner workings and world. Particularly if they are romantics!

- 13/01/2016
Report this Review
Leave Review

Staff Choice

Maybe it was the levitating lady on the front cover, or the loveliness of the title, or the sparse, evocative chapter headings, or just the sheer colour and whimsy of it all, but I had a feeling about this book. I waited to read it until late one night when I was alone in the house, curled in bed with the sound of rain pattering against the window. My feeling proved right: I couldn't put it down. Now I'm waiting for just such a set of circumstances to eventuate once again so I can do it all over – because this elegant, delicate little story has been haunting me ever since. 

Marion, Fiction

Charing Cross Rd Bookshop - 31/03/2015


Delivery Options

All delivery times quoted are the average, and cannot be guaranteed. These should be added to the availability message time, to determine when the goods will arrive. During checkout we will give you a cumulative estimated date for delivery.

Location 1st Book Each additional book Average Delivery Time
UK Standard Delivery FREE FREE 3-7 Days
UK First Class £4.50 £1.00 1-2 Days
UK Courier £7.00 £1.00 1-2 Days
Western Europe** Courier £17.00 £3.00 2-3 Days
Western Europe** Airmail £5.00 £1.50 4-14 Days
USA / Canada Courier £20.00 £3.00 2-4 Days
USA / Canada Airmail £7.00 £3.00 4-14 Days
Rest of World Courier £22.50 £3.00 3-6 Days
Rest of World Airmail £8.00 £3.00 7-21 Days

** Includes Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Irish Republic, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Click and Collect is available for all our shops; collection times will vary depending on availability of items. Individual despatch times for each item will be given at checkout.

Special delivery items

A Year of Books Subscription Packages 

Delivery is free for the UK. Western Europe costs £60 for each 12 month subscription package purchased. For the Rest of the World the cost is £100 for each package purchased. All delivery costs are charged in advance at time of purchase. For more information please visit the A Year of Books page.

Animator's Survival Kit

For delivery charges for the Animator's Survival Kit please click here.


Delivery Help & FAQs

Returns Information

If you are not completely satisfied with your purchase*, you may return it to us in its original condition with in 30 days of receiving your delivery or collection notification email for a refund. Except for damaged items or delivery issues the cost of return postage is borne by the buyer. Your statutory rights are not affected.

* For Exclusions and terms on damaged or delivery issues see Returns Help & FAQs

You might also like

The mussell feast
A Man in Love: My Struggle Book 2
Karl Ove Knausgaard; Don Bartlett
Yoko Ogawa; Stephen Snyder
The Wife: Discover the critically...
Meg Wolitzer
© W&G Foyle Ltd
Foyles uses cookies to help ensure your experience on our site is the best possible. Click here if you’d like to find out more about the types of cookies we use.
Accept and Close