Mariko / Mariquita – Natsuki Ikezawa

Mariko / Mariquita is the fourth book on the Keshiki series, and it is definitely an uplifting book. Of course, only if you like the sea, the sun, the heat and meeting new people that is. This book is short and very pleasant, but it will make you miss summer.


Kyojiro is a Japanese anthropologist, and he is in Guam for work. While he was walking to his hotel on a terribly hot day, he gets very thirsty but couldn’t find a place selling drinks. But he sees a sign for a jetski ride. And near the sign, there is an ice chest. He immediately goes to the beach to see if there is anything to drink. There he meets Mariko and, she gives him a drink for free. Long story short, they like each other and start hanging out together.

Mariko / Mariquita - Natsuki Ikezawa

Mariko is nothing like the women in Japan. She is carefree, easy-going, doesn’t plan her future; she is totally different. As you can guess, Kyojiro loves that about her. And we get to know Mariko only from his point of view, which is more than enough.

Some may say that this is a sad love story, but I think it is about this beautiful, independent woman. And it is always great to read about interesting women. Enjoy!

Mariko / Mariquita - Natsuki Ikezawa

Mariko / Mariquita

Kyojiro is a cultural anthropologist, days away from making the trip of his career when he meets Mariko, a free-spirited Japanese woman living on Guam, a remote island in the Pacific Ocean. Mariko is everything Kyojiro isn’t adaptable, whimsical, and ready to make life-changing decisions with the changing tides. It is during their brief time together that Kyojiro is able to watch the woman he loves metamorphosize from Mariko into Mariquita, shedding her Japanese identity and becoming a woman who belongs to Guam.

In Mariko / Mariquita, Ikezawa explores the shifting notions of Japanese cultural identity against a politically charged backdrop. Ikezawa’s light, teasing dialogue, and the tone conveyed in Birnbaum’s translation, delicately explore the seemingly inconsequential choices we make as part of our day-to-day existence, and friction this creates with our cultural identities.

Natsuki Ikezawa

Natsuki Ikezawa is a Japanese poet, novelist, essayist and translator. He draws upon the relationship between civilization and nature in his writing, among other themes.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges: 

Keshiki – New Voices from Japan

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