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Fujisan [Kindle Edition]

Randy Taguchi , Raj Mahtani
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

From acclaimed Japanese author Randy Taguchi come four unforgettable stories of redemption, discovery, loss, and remembrance anchored by one of the world’s holiest peaks. Mount Fuji has been a source of spiritual inspiration since it was first ascended by a monk over a millennium ago.

“Blue Summit” introduces a former cult member struggling to maintain his escape from a mountain monastery, seeking solace in the fluorescent lights of the convenience store he manages. In “Sea of Trees,” three teenage boys who share a fascination with the metaphysical confront the startling realities of death and despair on their final adventure together before parting ways for different schools. “Jamila” chronicles a privileged young man’s descent into disillusionment as he works with a compulsive hoarder to clear her mess. And in “Child of Light,” a nurse struggles as she comes to terms with her role in the oft-brutal cycle of birth, life, and death.

Throughout the stories, Mount Fuji stands sentinel even as it fades in and out of view—watching and remembering as it always has.

About the Author

Randy Taguchi first began writing online in 1996 and soon attracted a large following in Japan, where she is sometimes referred to as the “Queen of the Internet.” She is a popular and prolific author, whose work includes a busy blog, fourteen novels, just one of which—Outlet—has been released in English to date, many short stories, and twenty-one essays. She is currently supporting the Fukushima Kids’ Summer Camp program, helping children impacted by the 2011 earthquake, and she released a short story entitled “How Japan Made the Nuclear Choice” in reaction to the incident.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly enjoyable, uncomfortable, alienation 13 Dec 2012
By Lady Fancifull TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Fujisan is a collection of 4 stories with the brooding, beautiful, symbolic and spiritually charged presence of Mount Fuji at its heart.

This is fine, precise writing, clear and often casually shocking. The central characters in each story - the manager of a convenience store, previously a member of a spiritual cult; a group of teenage boys obsessed with the dark side of the psyche - ghosts, the cult of suicide; a beautiful young man with an emptiness and violence at his heart; a nurse working in gynaecology alongside both birth and death, all have a certain similarity, of an almost shellac brittle exterior, through which surges all sorts of repressed and partially repressed violence and secrecy.

The characters are all loners, to some extent, but preserve acceptable veneers. The mountain speaks to each of them, or they use it, in some way, to project aspects of their own nature on to.

It is the casual weaving in of the fascination of suicide, the brutality and sadism of thought or action, the contrast between the delicacy, spareness and refinement of Japanese art, for example, and this expression of an almost matter of fact brutality of certain aspects of the culture - seppuku, for example, and how that has a cult value accorded. It is the difference between the spareness of the writing, and at times the violence and brutality which is being written about which is so alien and unsettling. The stories express loneliness, disengagement, have a nihilism about them - and yet have this strange purity. A fascinating, unsettling read - a bit like pulling on wet clothes, and finding discomfort at the edge of your skin, so that the clothes not quite settling right almost translates to an unsettling feeling in your own skin, so that your own, known, edges, are somehow suddenly revealed to you
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Four molehills out of a mountain 23 Nov 2012
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
As a former ex-pat resident in Japan who passed by Mount Fuji several times on the Shinkansen, this also interested me as a diversion away from my routine crime-mystery genre because the stories aroused my curiosity. Mount Fuji is without doubt a magnificent sight to behold but this is the first time I have read a work of fiction that relates to it. I have to say that in the years I spent there, I wasn't aware of any spiritual significance to this, Japan's most famous landmark, and I suspect that such followings are more prevalent in or around Shizuoka, the nearest major city - in Kobe, Osaka and Tokyo where I spent my time, Mount Fuji was very seldom mentioned. I can't help feeling, therefore, that these four otherwise unrelated stories are somewhat tenuously linked, giving the author little more than a reason to come up with the idea of the book's title.

One thing I can relate to however is the concept of Japanese cult groups, touched on in the first tale. I was very fortunate to miss, by just minutes, the sarin gas attack carried out by members of Aum Shinrikyo in 1995. In 'Blue Summit', Okano is a former cult operative now working in a convenience store (Lawson Station would be my guess) who strikes up something of a relationship with a young female colleague who has a tendency towards self-harming and probable suicide; the forests around Mount Fuji are known to be popular to those seeking to end their lives. In the second tale 'Sea of Trees' - probably my favourite of the quartet - teenager Jun and his equally intellectually-endowed friends Satoshi and Yuji confront isolation and possible death (albeit unintentional) while taking a short adventure before moving on separately to university.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quick Reviews! 15 Nov 2012
By carlosnightman VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Being a fan of most things Japanese, I generally try to snap up any new Japanese films or books which sound interesting. I had never heard of Randy Taguchi before and apparently she is proving quite popular around the globe so I thought it was time for me to leap on the bandwagon. Short story collections are not always the best place to start when experimenting with an author you haven't read before, although they do provide bite-size insight into the authors style and interests. As the foreword mentions, this collection is a tribute both to Fujisan and the Japanese people's fascination with it. Taguchi puts it best when she says that it would be the monument which people would be most affected by if it was targeted by terrorists. To most it is not merely a mountain, but a symbol of Japanese spirit, always there, always watching. The Japanese keep nature very close to their hearts, treating it with a respect unknown to most of the modern world. If you think of Japan, most will think of terrifying ultra modern cities, but fail to see that many of these cities are built around the natural landscape where possible. With that in mind, Taguchi gives us 4 stories connected by the mountain which at times is merely a quiet presence, but at others almost becomes a central character.

'Blue Summit' tells the story of an ex cult member who simply wants to create the perfect convenience store, but finds his life and thoughts interrupted by co-workers and customers. With this opener, we are introduced to the themes of loss and detachment which run through the collection as a whole. Most of the stories, this included, are told from the perspective of one character with only glimpses of how they are seen by others.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
rather turgid and slow
Published 1 month ago by kath
5.0 out of 5 stars Fujisan
A sensitive and perceptive exploration of social issues such as abortion, isolation ectera. The main character, in all the stories are well drawn
Published 4 months ago by Danabhadri
4.0 out of 5 stars Very unusual short stories all about how different people relate to...
A nice insight into Japanese culture as well as very interesting stories. Some heartwarming , others will make you think twice.
Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Existential Angst!
Bought this for £1 on a Kindle special offer. Glad I didn't pay more. Is Japan really so full of tormented souls?
Published 10 months ago by Amazon Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars Short stories
Simply not my taste. perhaps a younger persons book. I certainly gave up after the first one and a half stories. Too depressing
Published 10 months ago by Alan Evans
3.0 out of 5 stars 4 Different and sometimes long winded essays that touch Mount Fuji,...
As a whole it's okay. It's worth covering each of the 4 essays briefly but as a whole it wasn't worth it for me. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
I loved this book, each story was well written, unique and beautiful in its own way. This book is one of my all time favourites. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Gaki-sa
4.0 out of 5 stars An unusual collection of stories
An unusual and typically Japanese collection of stories, which I greatly enjoyed. If you are familiar with the works of Haruki Murakami, you will enjoy these stories. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Dave
4.0 out of 5 stars Mount fuji
Short stories, each somehow linked to mount Fuji. I chose it because having visited Japan I am interested in Japanese culture and way of life. Read more
Published 16 months ago by pat dowling
5.0 out of 5 stars A tour de force
I loved this collection of short stories (actually they are more novellas) and much credit must go to the translator. Read more
Published 17 months ago by S. Emmett
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