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Quotes Taken From: Kitchen By Banana Yoshimoto

Recently I made a new friend on the bus.

Well, off the bus. I had noticed her really nice jacket as she sat nearby, and once we got off at the same stop, I decided to tell her she indeed had a great jacket. That lead to talking about goth clothing, witches, and then starting our own coven.

Our first friendship date was at a super lovely vegan cafe, during which we discussed books, and my new friend highly recommended the author Banana Yoshimoto. In fact, she was singing her praises so much that we decided to try and find some of these books at the local Waterstones.

Unfortunately they didn’t have any Yoshimoto in stock, and it was unlikely that they would be getting any in the near future. However; the other cashier behind the till caught wind of our conversation and started to also sing the praises of Yoshimoto’s work, especially the novel “Kitchen”.

I think within a few days I had ordered three of Yoshimoto’s books, Kitchen included. It’s a short one, almost a novella I guess, but it’s lovely. It reminds me of Ali Smith, whom I love.

I scored the book with watercolour pencils because it was full of wonderful pieces of writing. Here are some of those quotes that I pulled out:

“If a person wants to stand on her own two feet, I recommend undertaking the care and feeding of something.”

“By doing that you come to understand your own limitations.”

“But if a person hasn’t ever experienced true despair, she grows old never knowing how to evaluate where she is in life; never understanding what joy really is.”

“As I grow older, much older, I will experience many things, and I will hit rock bottom again and again. Again and again I will suffer; again and again I will get back on my feet. I will not be defeated. I won’t let my spirit be destroyed.”

“I never thought it would be this hard, but I would go on living in the midst of a gloomy depression, and that made me feel sick to the depths of my soul.”

“No matter what, I want to continue living with the awareness that I will die. Without that, I am not alive. That is what makes the life I have now possible.”

“I realised that the world did not exist for my benefit. It followed that the ratio of pleasant and unpleasant things around me would not change. It wasn’t up to me. It was clear that the best thing to do was to adopt a sort of muddled cheerfulness.” 

“Everyone we love is dying. Still, to cease living is unacceptable.”

“She made me realise that the human heart is something very precious.” 

“People aren’t overcome by situations or outside forces; defeat invades from within, I thought.” 

“We all believe we can choose our own path from among the many alternatives. But perhaps it’s more accurate to say that we make the choice unconsciously.” 

“With the breaths we take everyday, with the expression in our eyes, with the daily actions we do over and over, we decide as though by instinct.” 

“Truly happy memories always live on, shining. Over time, one by one, they come back to life.” 

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