Enter Kiyoshi, whom Mizuki begins a friendship with that becomes more serious as they spend many days and evenings together exploring the vibrant city that is Tokyo. Her outings happen during the school hours and on the evenings when her children are asleep with a babysitter and her husband is working late at the office.
The cultural aspects of being a traditional woman, mother, and wife in Japan stood out for me. The rigorous expectations of society for women are difficult for Mizuki as she has lived in the U.S. and experienced more freedom and life choices. That she finds comfort in a friendship outside of her marriage is not a surprise. The outcome of this friendship could go both ways, as Mizuki is influenced by her culture and her love for her children. She describes the fault lines in herself as similar to the ones that lie beneath the city of Tokyo, always threatening to plunge the city into a catastrophe.
I enjoyed touring Tokyo by day and night through the book, visiting the various sights, restaurants, and museums and the crowded and busy main streets. The story was excellently told to reveal a place and culture that many Westerners don't know or may not understand very well.
The whole Kyoshi situation started a long time before he was ever in the picture. The way a calligraphy painting begins before the first black stroke makes it onto the page.
The bar was in Shinjuku, and though places were closing, the streets were still full of people.