~E-PUB ♞ The Samurai's Garden ⚇ A Year Old Chinese Painter Named Stephen Is Sent To His Family S Summer Home In A Japanese Coastal Village To Recover From A Bout With Tuberculosis Here He Is Cared For By Matsu, A Reticent Housekeeper And A Master Gardener Over The Course Of A Remarkable Year, Stephen Learns Matsu S Secret And Gains Not Only Physical Strength, But Also Profound Spiritual Insight Matsu Is A Samurai Of The Soul, A Man Devoted To Doing Good And Finding Beauty In A Cruel And Arbitrary World, And Stephen Is A Noble Student, Learning To Appreciate Matsu S Generous And Nurturing Way Of Life And To Love Matsu S Soul Mate, Gentle Sachi, A Woman Afflicted With Leprosy
This was an excellent and peaceful bookit is about a young chinese man who is sent to his parent s summer home at the beach in Japan to recover from an illness The caretaker of the home becomes his life teacher and as the book unfolds he learns about relationships, how to find peace within himself, and about love and loss It is written as excerpts from his journal and so it is from his perspectiveas though we, the reader, are sharing his inner most thoughts and feelings It gave me an insight into the beauty of Japan and the way of life in the remote parts of that country in the 1930s I also particularly enjoyed it because the caretaker s garden is his reverent and therapeutic domain..something i can relate to I had a sense of peace while reading this book and could not wait to find time to sit and read it in my free time I would strongly recommend this book..it is an easy book to read and a quick read..one that I hated to see come to an end. Beautifully written and hypnotic I found such peacefulness when reading this story even though much of it is about a village of lepers living in Japan in the 1930s.It begins with the young man, Stephen, who is sent to live at his family s summer home nearby in order to recover from tuberculoses While there he meets their housekeeper, Matsu, who tends the garden and finds beauty in all things, which explains why I fell in love with this book and the characters in it even though it was filled with sadness. 3.5 5The jury s still out on this one, but frankly, I know myself too well to believe that they ll ever return with a definitive answer in hand.Relying simply on gut instinct, I enjoyed the book I have never traveled outside the US, and the cosmopolitan feeling of having aspects of China, Japan, and vague traces of Western culture all wrapped into one story was appealing, to say the least The appeal for me was strengthened by the majority of the story taking place in Japanese landscapes filled with calm and natural beauty, an aesthetic that the prose made an especial effort to convey However, there were many things that increasingly bothered me as the pages progressed, and were never satisfactorily resolved enough for my taste.My biggest issue was with the main character, who as the sole first person narrator was entrusted with setting and maintaining the tone through the entirety of the novel This tone is a very comforting, but ultimately placid one, and it is hard to believe someone would be so overwhelmingly lighthearted and good naturedly accepting considering all the events swirling around him Tuberculosis, being in a foreign country that is currently attacking your homeland, leprosy, suicide, parental issues, and so many other major events that seemed to only register for brief moments within the narrator s mind as a side note to an entry However, I fully admit to being introspective in reaction to external conflicts to the point of neurotic anxiety, so I may be judging the character too harshly in terms of how he chooses to deal with all the chaos around him It still seems odd, though, his ability to block out major concerns and focus on the smaller events of the much less chaotic everyday life One event in particular makes me believe that the author used the epistolary form as a means to achieve exactly that, namely when the narrator view spoiler receives a letter concerning the Nanjing Massacre Just as he sits down to compose a letter to his family and friends back on the mainland, time skips forward than two weeks, and there is little mention of what had to have resulted in huge amounts of mental conflict hide spoiler Buddy read with JeannetteOn the face of it, The Samurai s Garden is a beautifully told story of one young man s journey to figure out who he is, a sort of coming of age story But there is really so much below the surface There is an enchanting and poignant love story The reader is shown how beauty can exist in a cruel world There is betrayal, adultery, young love, and two gardens that play a large role as a place of peace Plus other topics I don t want to mention so as not to spoil anything All of this is framed by the Japanese invasion of China during 1937 1938 Writing this I wonder how it all came together to make a cohesive story, but it does, and with beautiful imagery Stephen Chan is a young man of 20, recovering from tuberculosis He is sent from his family s home in Hong Kong to their summer beach home in Tarumi, Japan Stephen is met at the Tarumi train station by Matsu, the family s long time gardener caretaker of the summer home From the beginning it is clear that Matsu will not baby Stephen and that is just what Stephen needs at this point in his life At first it seemed to me that Matsu was the teacher or guide to Stephen But really Matsu and Stephen form a bond and learn about life and family from each other Stephen is introduced to other inhabitants of Tarumi who play a large role in his year long stay Kenzo, Keiko and the most important, Sachi an older woman who actually lives in Yamaguchi all develop a relationship with Stephen This story is told by way of entries in Stephen s journal as he learns about loyalty to friends and family Japanese culture is incorporated into the story Read the book it really is wonderful This was a good book, a well told, gentle story, with believable, likable characters, but, for whatever reason, I just never got emotionally involved A solid 3, heading toward 3.5. Languish for a while in the Tsukiyama s Japanese garden and you may never want to leave The serenity created in Matsu s little haven is contradicted by the military domination of the Japanese over the Chinese and the reclusive leper colony struggling for a peaceful existence in a realm beyond that of war It is to this environment that a young Chinese boy enters into in search of healthier air and soothing salt of the sea As his body begins healing, his emotions are delicately fractured by all that he learns of war, leprosy, first love, his family secrets, and the servant Matsu who is truly a master of wisdom, honor, and faith I wanted to walk through this garden again and again. Mientras le esta novela estuve en xtasis, un sentimiento de belleza me embarg Una historia preciosa, que me record a Kabei Nuestra Madre Yoji Yamada, 2008 y a Una Pasteler a en Tokio Naomi Kawase, 2015 , no porque al igual que en esta novela de Gail Tsukiyama estas pel culas retraten la segunda guerra mundial y la enfermedad respectivamente, sino por su calidez, que me lleva, pese a las distancias culturales, a espacios donde la cotidianidad es sublime al ser inmanente a la vida, a una experiencia profunda del ser y el estarsu belleza era algo que ninguna enfermedad o persona podr a arrebatarme jam s Me qued all durante largo rato hasta que tuve la sensaci n de no ser yo misma, sino parte del jard n. La historia es contada por el Stephen en su diario l es un joven chino que en 1937, en los inicios de la segunda guerra mundial, viaja a desde Hong Kong a la finca de su abuelo en Tarumi, un pueblo costero de Jap n, para recuperarse de tuberculosis Y si bien la guerra ya es, y Stephen est lejos, la vida siempre llega, te busca, te sacude, te invita Y as , en este viaje de iniciaci n aparecen Matsu Y Hachi como gu as, pero no de una forma convencional Aparecen para ser interpretes de la vida Y es maravillosa la manera como G Tsukiyama cambia el mirador de la historia, porque el lector pasa de Stephen a centrar su atenci n en Matsu y Hachi, y la historia es di fana, sigue su curso, no cambia, es la misma, seguro porque la vida tiene muchas formas de manifestarse Con una escritura casi transparente, Gail Tsukiyama hace una hermosa met fora de lo que es vivir, del aprendizaje vital, con las estaciones del a o La novela est compuesta por cinco cap tulos el primero es oto o, pero tambi n es el ltimo, se abre y cierra un ciclo, y no termina con el verano porque, como a prop sito de la p rdida dice uno de sus personajes,al final, s lo se puede mirar atr s y confiar en que todo lo que sucede en la vida haya sido por un prop sito Tanto s la ves o si no la ves m s, eso ya no evitar que la hayas conocido Si ella es importante en tu vida, se quedar en ellaY ah est uno de los asuntos, la autora crea a Matsu y a Hachi, dos personajes entra ables que no quieres dejar Quer a quedarme en Tarumi con ellos dos, en ese lugar seguro, bello y tranquilo A final, parece que lo que pasa es el tiempo Bell simo De las mejores novelas que he le do ltimamente Un libro que habla de la soledad, el abandono, la perdida, la verg enza, la cobard a, el tiempo y la vida Hasta aqu Gail Tsukiyama fue una desconocida para m , ya tengo pendiente otro de sus t tulos Ya es uno de mis favoritos.A manera de nota al pie, debo agregar que es generoso en referencias culturales, pero de una manera explicada, lo que tambi n contribuye a acercar al lector a ese lugar, esas personas y esas circunstanciasel puente representaba el dif cil transito del samur i desde este mundo a la vida en el m s all Al llegar a lo m s alto del puente, puedes ver el camino que conduce al para so Tengo la sensaci n de que los ltimos d as me han permitido echar un vistazo a eso El llevar una vida sencilla, sin temor, ha sido un verdadero para so No te parece interesante las muchas veces que uno tiene que podar algo precisamente para que crezca m s fuerte Es posible que, al principio, la rama podada parezca solitaria y pelada, pero las cosas cambian cuando florece de nuevo en la primavera Los seres humanos y esas plantas no somos tan diferentes Todos formamos parte de una misma naturaleza y aprendemos a vivir los unos de los otros NO SPOILERSThis book is beautiful The primary theme is about beauty And then there is a love story too I think beauty is very important in the Japanese culture What really is beauty The tempo is lulling, quiet, and calming This too creates a kind of beauty The concept of beauty is drawn through the lives of the main characters The novel takes place at the time of the Rape on Nanking, when the Japanese were invading and slaughtering the Chinese at the end of the 1930s In contrast, the novel plays out in a small Japanese village outside of Kobe You have the quiet village life following the seasons, the routine Japanese festivals and the pervading sense of tranguilty that gardens and gardening create Honor and respect and traditions of non confrontation silence still cannot stamp out the rumbling fears and problems of the time Not only are we confronted with hatred between Japanese and Chinese but also the fear and dishonor associated with leprosy, the lepers having been pushed out to the village Yamaguchi Silence and honor cannot remove the threats of natural disasters, fires and storms of nature and of people These contrasting forces play out against each other On one side you have the lulling order of society, and yet underneath rumbles these threatening problems All would seem less threatening if allowed to surface This novel teaches the reader about Japanese traditions The prose style fits the message Look at Indian art Compare it to Chinese art and then to Japanese art You clearly see that as we move eastward all the nonessentials are removed What is left is pure and simple Art is incorporated into all parts of daily life house construction, bathing, gardening, the use of scrolls, food preparation, to name but a few This pure, simple form of art is also reflected in how the Japanese interact with each other.I think you will be surprised about who the main protagonists are in this novel I do not see Stephen in this role It is Matsu and Sachi So be a bit patient when you begin the novel You will delight in the life story of the main two protagonists Remember, beauty is not always what is on the surface I said this book was about beauty Well it is But What is beauty Is it that we see only with our eyes Is it the clicking of stones when you rake a stone garden Is it the delight of soaking in a hot, clean bath , Is it all of these things Is it something P.S How the Japanese switch between Shinto beliefs and Buddhism for different ceremonies never ceses to amaze me Stephen and his family seemed a way for the author to incorporate the confict between the Japanese and the Chinese into the plot I do not think this was adequately explored I found it hard to believe the ease with which they were accepted by the Japanese Maybe that is why I chose three rather than four stars And was Yamaguchi truly a Japanese leper colony, or is this fictitious A gracefully illuminating novel that is tender and as delicate as a first blooming blossom in Spring There is so much to discuss in this story, perfect for book clubs At first it appears so simple, a story of a young Chinese Japanese young man named Stephen leaving his family house in Hong Kong so his younger sister may not get exposed his sickness So he travels to stay at his family s Summer shore side home in Tarumi, Japan to recoup from a battle with tuberculosis He stays with Matsu a master gardener and the home s caretaker As soon as I encountered Matsu a quite man with little to say and so much inner goodness I wished to be Stephen recovering and learning so much from a humble mentor with so much integrity it brings tears to my eyes Matsu slowly unveils and shares his life, customs, friends and secrets to Stephen and embraces Stephen as one of his own I realized there were so many lessons and metaphors I adored about this writing like nature, time, aging, health, balance, love, humanity and so much I could study and tear apart this book in sections but I just simply enjoyed it A powerfully moving comfort read to encounter once again one day as I mature and find myself needing enlightened once again.