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.
'With its flying-waitress cover and kooky title, this Japanese novel - shortlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize - hints at Murakami-style weirdness. ... Delicate marks of the passing seasons reveal Kawakami's frank debt to classical Japanese poetry, while the odd couple's shared meals will tickle foodie palates. An elegiac sense of speeding time, and yawning distance, drizzles the story - sensitively translated by Allison Markin Powell - with a sweet sadness.' --Boyd Tonkin