Japan based memoir with suspense and cats
My rating: 5 out of 5
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An uplifting memoir that will probably make you want to visit Japan.
CJ and her boyfriend arrive in Osaka to teach at one of the largest language schools in Japan. They return to the UK after a week. A month later they return to Japan, this time to the mountain area of Takayama and they stay in Japan for 2 years – partly because of Gershwin the cat. This is CJ’s story of her time in Japan, plus the cats she meets/adopts along the way.
It is also CJ’s story about changing the way she reacts to life, and how her stay in Japan , the culture, the people she met (and the cats) enabled her to grow within herself.
CJ takes the reader through an earthquake, along to festivals, introduces different ideas, and of course the different culture, customs and foods of Japan. This is a fast moving, uplifting and fascinating read. No lengthy over detailed sections here on anything! CJ concentrates on the present, glancing back to her past, and looking for her “reason for being”.
There are some references to tourist spots, but mostly this book is about the experience of living and working in Japan. Also of course about rescuing Gershwin the kitten, and their life together and with other cats.
A memoir with suspense and loads of interest, – nearing the end it was as gripping as any thriller as I wondered how it was all going to work out. Although under 300 pages, it took me a long time to read this book as I was so immersed in what was going on.
5*s from me, as I was enthralled by CJ’s life and experiences in Takayama, and later at a school in Shirakawa. CJ’s writing style was relaxed, very open and upbeat (also referring to, but not dwelling on, difficult times). I felt CJ was living “the dream”, but of course there was also the reality, and CJ blends these two together perfectly.
I enjoyed this memoir so much that I have already looked into visiting Japan and visiting the places that CJ talks about. She breathes such life into the country and the people, that, for the first time, I have realised Japan is a “must visit” country.
This book would be a great gift to anyone thinking of moving abroad (I found many comparisons with my own experiences of moving to Europe), anyone thinking of teaching English abroad and of course anyone with a love of cats and/or an interest in Japan. Actually this book is for everyone who wants a great read!
I do hope there will be a follow up memoir, so I can find out how CJ, Ryan and Gershwin get on in the next chapter of their life. I’ve have been thrilled to find Gershwin on Instagram: The Cat with 3 Passports, and CJ is on Twitter: @CJFentiman