Skip to main content

Title – The Easy Life in Kamusari

Author – Shion Miura

Type – Fiction  / Coming-of-Age

Reading Prompt – #2 – A city/country name in the title


Having read almost every Keigo Higashino novel, I’m not new to Japanese settings in fiction. The Easy Life in Kamusari by Shion Miura however, is a pleasant story of a young man from Yokohoma who finds himself as a trainee in Kamusari, a laid-back village. 

Just like its eponymous place, the book moves at a languid pace. The bildungsroman doesn’t feature any twists or even a severe conflict. It is a feel-good story where everything falls into place. Of course, there are minor hindrances faced by Yuki, but they bring a smile to our lips. 

Like most Japanese works, the initial struggle is to get familiarised with the names. However, once you get the hang of who is Yuki and who is Yoki, the novel grows on you. The translation looks good, but I’m sure certain nuances would have gotten lost in it. The main character struggles with the dialect spoken in Kamusari, and it would have resonated better with a native Japanese speaker. Having said that, most of us have to rely on translators keeping these factors in mind.

What keeps the interest of the readers piqued is the semi-supernatural element that occasionally rears its head. The young Santa gets spirited away, and the search operations are fantasy-like. Similarly, the mysterious daughters of Oyamazumi make cameo appearances, but nothing much is known about them. It’s almost as if secrets are better off being secrets. 

In the end, the readers too take away something from the novel. Like Yuki, they too become wizened. Old Man Saburo gave Yoki a piece of his mind. You can’t bring wild things where folks live. Wild is wild, folks are folks. Pearls of wisdom, I say. If this isn’t a lesson in peaceful co-existence, I don’t know what is. 

What I liked best about the book was how the author steered clear of the usual romance tropes. Here, there is just a hint of something brewing between Yuki and the tomboyish Nao, which may or may not culminate in love. Will the boy from Yokohoma find his true calling in the rustic Kamusari? Will Nao succumb to love? Like the well-kept secrets of the mountains, they tease the readers. 

The Easy Life in Kamusari may not be a classic, but it is a pleasing read. As someone who is bored of the cacophonous bustle of city life, I would certainly like to experience a month of bliss in a village, soak in the warmth of mother nature, and let certain mysteries remain unresolved. Do grab the book if you want to take it easy.

Leave a Reply