What is JETAABC Yomi-Kai?

JETAABC Yomi-Kai is a reading club created for JET Alumni, JETAA Friends and community members to gather to discuss and discover short stories by Japanese Authors in translation or by Japanese Canadian authors.

We always start by sharing first impressions and questions that we have and let that guide the evening. From exploring characters, plots, point of views, to the general theme of the work; these are just some of the angles we will talk about with each reading piece.

How to join?

We have a rolling registration system. Sign up here.

When you sign up you will get access to the readings, next meeting updates, and access links. Next month’s dates and readings will be decided by the attendees of the previous meeting.

For our next Yomi-Kai meeting

January 2022: We will be reading Banana Yoshimoto’s “Mummy.” It’s only 8 pages long and to summarize it would be spoiling it a bit but we can say, while reading it, you have the question of what if… Come join us on January 25th at 7pm PST.

Previous Reads

December 2021: “The Second Bakery Attack” – Haruki Murakami

We will be reading “The Second Bakery Attack” by Haruki Murakami. A couple is suddenly awaken in the middle of the night and things take a turn for the weird.

November 2021: “The Hut on the Roof.” Hiromi Kawakami

We will be transporting ourselves to sit in an izakaya together with a divorced English teacher narrator in Hiromi Kawakami’s “The Hut on the Roof.” Through the interactions with other regulars, we get to learn everyone’s backstories and connections.

October 2021: Aoi no UeDojo-ji

Taking a step away from short stories and reading some Noh Play scripts. Noh is the oldest form of specialized dance-theatre that has been performed since the 14th century.

September 2021: Dancing Girl by Mori Ogai

September’s reading is the Dancing Girl by Mori Ogai. This was Ogai’s very first published short story. It’s based on his personal experience in Germany during the Meiji Period with strong parallels with Puccini’s Madame Butterfly.

August 2021: First Night & Third Night by Natsume Soseki

August’s reading was from one of the classic modern authors Natsume Soseki’s First Night and Third Night.

July 2021: Ikebukuro West Gate Park by Ira Ishida

July’s reading will be Author Ira Ishida’s first short story out of his urban novel series, “Ikebukuro West Gate Park” or IWGP for short. These short stories have been adapted to anime, manga, and more popular cultural mediums. The series revolves the Ikebukuro neighbourhood and 20-year-old, Makoto, who frequently gets involved in highly dangerous situations, usually against his own judgment.

June 2021: Rashomon by Akutagawa Ryūnosuke

June’s selection is from the Father of Japanese short stories himself, Akutagawa Ryūnosuke. We will be reading Rashomon. A classic short story that has often been referenced in Japanese and even North American pop culture. Bonus points if you have seen the film adaptations of this short story!

May 2021: Chiru Sakura — Falling Cherry Blossoms: A Mother & Daughter’s Journey through Racism, Internment and Oppression by Grace Eiko Thomson

We have invited Author Grace Eiko Thomson to discuss her memoir, Chiru Sakura — Falling Cherry Blossoms: A Mother & Daughter’s Journey through Racism, Internment and Oppression. Join us as we learn more about the Canadian Japanese History through Grace Eiko Thomson’s powerful story of resilience in the face of racism, sexism, and internment.

April 2021: “The Special Place” or “Flower Abstraction” by Yumiko Kurahashi

Choose one or both of the following short stories from Yumiko Kurahashi’s Anthology “The woman with the flying head.” Yumiko wrote these stories based on the art pieces linked beside each short story:

March 2021: “The Pregnancy Diary” by Yoko Ogawa

The Akutagawa Prize winning short story by Yoko Ogawa accumulates details to subtly yet expressively comment on the human psychology in her writing. What kind of meaning into the details of this short story can you gain?

February 2021: “The Tattooer” by Tanizaki Junichiro

A classic short story by Tanizaki Junichiro’s debut work, “The Tattooer.” This is Tanizaki’s very first published short story and really sets the tone of his future writing styles and themes. Tanizaki is one of Japan’s famous modern writers. His writing often challenged aesthetics and sexuality in an era where Japan was being introduced to “western” ideas.

December 2020: “Faith” by Sayaka Murata

“One friend gathers their old college friends in an attempt to start a cult for economic gain.” 

November 2020: “A Clean Marriage” by Sayaka Murata

This short story explores a couple who entered an asexual marriage in exploring ways to have children.

October 2020: “The Lonesome Bodybuilder” by Yukiko Motoya

This book is a collection of eleven stories where individuals who lift the curtains of their orderly homes and workplaces are confronted with the bizarre, the grotesque, the fantastic, the alien–and, through it, find a way to liberation. This collection of short stories would be a good contrast of discussion with this week’s reading. *rephrased from the Goodreads synopsis.

September 2020: “The Elephant Vanishes” by Haruki Murakami

Discussions will start with “Barn Burning” and then we will move to the other short stories in the book. Food for thought: What is the Elephant that Haruki is acknowledging in each short story in order for the “elephant in the room” to vanish?