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Reading Between The Lines with JAST

JAST's Online Book Club hosted by Yurina Yoshikawa

Reading Between the Lines features books by Japanese authors that have recently been translated to English. Yurina Yoshikawa, writer and reviewer, hosts the close-reading of excerpts followed by an interactive discussion. See the details below for our upcoming events and previous selections, along with links to the conversations. 

Yurina Yoshikawa is the Director of Education at The Porch. She holds an M.F.A. from Columbia University, and her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, NPR, Lit Hub, The Japan Times, and elsewhere. She was the winner of the 2020 Tennessee True Stories Contest, a 2021 recipient of the Tennessee Arts Commission, and the 2024 Tennessee State Fellow for the South Arts Prize in Literature. She has lived in Tokyo, Palo Alto, and New York before settling down in Nashville, Tennessee, where she lives with her husband and two sons. For more information about Yurina, visit 

Butter by Asako Yuzuki                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Translated by Polly Barton                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              September 12, 2024

In this installment of Reading Between the Lines with JAST, we will discuss Butter, a cult Japanese bestselling novel by Asako Yuzuki. The story follows a female journalist investigating a woman accused of being a serial killer who uses delicious food to lure her male victims. Perfect for fans of Japanese food, true crime, and female friendships. You can purchase the book at Parnassus for a book club discount, though reading the book is not required to attend this event! 

Register Here


The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ozawa

Translated by Stephen Snyder

April 11, 2023 

This beautiful short novel is about a delicate friendship between a housekeeper and a mathematician whose memory only lasts 80 minutes. The book has several memorable scenes featuring cherry blossoms, and there are cherry blossoms on the book cover does as well!

A perfect way to kick off Japan Week, for those planning to attend the Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival on Saturday, April 15th.

Where the Wild Ladies Are by Aoko Matsuda

Translated by Polly Barton

February 7, 2023

On February 7, Yurina Yoshikawa explored Where the Wild Ladies Are by AokoMatsuda, published and translated in early 2020. This book is a collection of feminist retellings of Japanese folktales where humans live side by side with spirits who provide a variety of useful services—from truth-telling to babysitting, from protecting castles to fighting crime. 

View the conversation on YouTube, here

Dead-End Memories by Banana Yoshimoto

Translated by Asa Yoneda

September 27, 2022

Dead-End Memories is a collection of 5 short stories featuring women who, following sudden and painful events, quietly discover their ways back to recovery. It will also, in Yurina’s words in a recently published NPR article, “make readers especially hungry for Japanese food”. Read more of Yurina’s review on NPR here.

View the conversation on YouTube, here

Scattered All Over The Earth by Yoko Tawada

Translated by Margaret Mitsutani

May 24, 2022

This book imagines a dystopian future in which Japan no longer exists and a Japanese woman who goes on a journey throughout Europe to find someone who can speak with her in her native tongue. 

View the conversation on YouTube, here

How Do You Live? by Genzaburo Yoshino

Translated by Bruno Navasky

March 3, 2022

How Do You Live? by Genzaburo Yoshino is a unique coming-of-age novel centered around a 15-year-old boy and his musings on science, friendship, and bravery. This uplifting story is being adapted into a feature film by Hayao Miyazaki. 

View the conversation on YouTube, here


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