Aska Mochizuki: Spinning Tropics



I really enjoyed this novel but the ending was unrealistic and strange Hiro a perceptive but anxious Japanese woman teaching Japanese in Vietnam embarks on an affair with Yun her student a petite energetic extrovert who is trying to create a better life for herself and her family For both their loving intimacy is foreign territory thrilling and exhilarating but also a risky place of exile As the two women whip through chaotic traffic on a motorcycle stopping to eat at outdoor cafes Mochizuki vividly captures the bustle of Ho Chi Minh City with its emerging economy and the ever present hustle between natives and foreigners This is a wonderfully atmospheric novel with an unfortunate unhappy for lesbians ending This is just an indulgment of someone that experienced living in foreign country half heartedly One foot says to the homeland I m out of here another foot says the new country that it is weird Same as with family You just love to hate them wtf is wrong with Yun Hiro a Japanese woman teaching her native language in modern Vietnam falls in love with Yun a vivacious modern young Vietnamese woman They are both surprised with this relationship but both are also seemingly ependent on it When their bond is threatened by Hiro s interest in a Japanese businessman named Konno living in Ho Chi Minh City their relationship unravels The most interesting parts of this book are the When Stories Clash descriptions of the expat community and the uickly changing culture of modern Vietn. Meet Hiro She's tall lanky and awkward a twenty something Japanese woman who hasecamped to Vietnam from Tokyo to work as a language teacher  Meet Dung She's shy beautiful and tough a young Vietnamese woman studying Japanese etermined to create a better life for herself and her family When Dung becomes one of Hiro's students they are instant.

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Rayal of cultural ifference and a wonderful evocation of the tastes smells and sights of Ho Chi Minh City The final pages were eeply moving for me personally not because of the way the plot works out although that has its surprises but because of the final spinning mixture of Hiro s perceptions and memories of the city around her The foreign land has somehow become hers and efines and confines her identity as much as the native land she left behind I have had the same feeling with Taipei over twenty years ago On my way to the airport after two years in that great city I passed place after place of which I had personal memories Where Perfect Girl Evolution Vol. 6 do I really belong It is a uestion all of us who have lived for a long time abroad and have begun to feel our own identity re forming around that other place Spinning Tropics captures this powerful andisorienting experience as well as any I have read I found this to be an interesting read Hiro is a girl from Tokyo who has moved to Vietnam to teach language classes That s where she meets Dung a student at the school They form an unlikely friendship that turns into a something much eeper Trouble isrupts their budding relationship and things go bad uickly The story unfolds at a nice pace and isn t too far fetched an idea The characters are fairly believable as well While I enjoyed this book it Dark Ties (Broken Saints Society definitely felt as though something was lost in translation The premise was promising butidn t eliver in the way I hoped it would. St Aska Mochizuki vividly brings to life the buzz of motorcycles and the tastes of Vietnamese coffee and spicy papaya salads; the confines of the Vietnamese family; the lingering effects of long wars; the rich who ride the economic wave and the poor who are left behind Spinning Tropics is a lush and evocative story of an intoxicating love affair.

Am The worst part The relationships between the characters I wasn t convinced for a second of Hiro and Yun s relationship Uncreative translation Bad storytelling I on t know but really clunky un sexy and wince inducing love scenes on all sides of this awkward triangle Loses something in translation Interesting piece about that economic period of growth and the sales of young men to major corporations without their knowledge Hooray Japan circa 1994 or 1995 slaves to the Lawn Boy Returns dollar making slaves for aollar Spinning Tropics was a random pick for the TBR Dare Challenge I haven t been reading Japanese literature for a while and I figured this book would be a good choice considering it is a thin book and that it was the 2007 winner of the Knopf Kodansha Prize plus I have mixed feelings about this four star rating Spinning Tropics is not great literature it plows no new nor unusual literary ground But part of what motivates my reading of international novels is a search for works that enhance cultural understanding From this latter perspective Mochizuki s novel is a stunning success Hiro the main character is a Japanese woman teaching her native language in Vietnam She falls Yolandas Genius deeply in love much to her own surprise with Yun a Vietnamese woman The relationship gets complicated in ways that engage the reader s attention Within the context of this story of romance in this case same sex romance between two women who also feel some attraction to men is a perceptive port. Lyrawn to each other For both of them it is their first time in love with another woman But when Konno an older Japanese businessman befriends Hiro Dung begins to grow unbearably jealous What unfolds is a love triangle with very complicated ultimately The Fairytale Hairdresser and Sleeping Beauty devastating results  Set against the backdrop of a Vietnam on the economic riseebut noveli.