What I Learned: Kitchen

John Kensinger
2 min readMay 8, 2016
Photo by Ivan Yeo on Unsplash

Banana Yoshimoto’s Kitchen (1993) introduces the reader to Mikage, the female protagonist, with the death of a loved one, an isolating experience. Feeling lost, Mikage is invited to live with Yuichi — a friend of her deceased grandmother — and his mother.

After finding out that Yuichi’s mother used to be his father and stumbling into an unclear relationship with Yuichi, the story brings the reader on a journey visual and gustatory indulgence.

Here are some of the quotes I found to be the most meaningful.

“…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.”

Life is about balancing experiences, both positive and negative.

“But I have cheerfully chosen to make my body my fortune.”

To me, this represents a turn away from materialism. The best investment one can make is on his or her own health.

“Truly great people emit a light that warms the hearts of those around them.”

What you can bring to the table? What can you give today?

“I want to continue living with the awareness that I will die.”

A play on momento mori — or more aptly, in Japanese, mono no aware — the idea that everyone dies, so why not make the best of the time we do have.

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

If you can’t find success in yourself, how can you ever find it in the world?

Great read. Now time for lunch ;)

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John Kensinger

California native now living in North Carolina after several years in the Bay Area. Follow along to learn more about Health, Learning, and Language.