HAJET Book Club: A Tale for the Time Being

Last month we had our biggest book club yet, over 20 people took over the ever-so welcoming Bo Tambourine Café in Kobe to share their many opinions on Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being. The novel runs two stories side by side, Ruth an author who reads the diary of Nao, a Japanese junior high school student. It delves into Buddhist spiritualism entangled with real issues of the environment, bullying and suicide in Japan. Serious topics expressed through the thoughts of a teenager, this book set us up for a great discussion.


Jason Maclellan, second year JET from Inagawa-cho, reviewed the book gathering.


IMG_1729Our third Book Club meeting at the Bo Tambourine Cafe in Kobe was a great way to spend an unusually warm February afternoon. The cafe had an enjoyably cosy atmosphere for our meeting, other customers were turned away because of the 20+ book enthusiasts occupying all the tables. When our conversations managed to turn toward the book there were many different opinions on the story itself and the issues it raised. Did you enjoy Ruth or Nao’s story more? What did you think of the pacing of the book? Do you think the author tried to tackle too many topics at one time? Many of us had differing ideas on these questions, but one of the things that most of us agreed on was that, as teachers in Japan, reading Nao’s story had a much more powerful impact than it may have had reading it in our home countries. Some of us have noticed our own students become more withdrawn at times, only to learn later they are having trouble at home. We can also identify with the aspects of Japanese culture in the book that we’ve all come to be familiar with in our own lives. As always, February’s meeting of the Book Club was packed with engaging conversations all shared over some nice cups of coffee. A big thanks to Cherie for organizing a great day once again!

Thanks Jason and everyone who came! As always, after a few rounds of chair swapping and discussions the next book was chosen by the members that day. The book suggestion came from Dustin Henrich, a second year Osaka JET from Ikeda-shi, (Yes, we even let in other prefectures!)


Ender’s Game 1 by Orson Scott Card

The Ender’s Game takes places in the future where human-kind’s battle against an alien race has been raging for hundreds of years. In order to win, the government breeds genius children to become super soldiers. One child in particular, Andrew Ender Wiggin, shows potential to be the leader human kind needs in order to win.


I chose this book because the movie trailers caught my attention. Before I go see the movie, I want to read the book. I’ve heard lots of good things about it!


Ender’s Game is the first sci-fi classic to take the stage, and the film is out in cinemas in Japan now so there’s potential for a double discussion.


All book clubbers are encouraged to suggest books so we have a range of genres to keep things interesting. We’ve had some great suggestions in the past which, although not chosen, weren’t forgotten about. Introducing the Hyogo AJET Book Club’s bookshelf. Join us here on GoodReads to browse book suggestions and let us know what you think about them.


As the final term of the school year winds down and your classes start to deplete, why not dabble in a little science fiction and schedule a film date too.


All details about the book club are on the Hyogo AJET website and Facebook page (click ‘going’!).


See you next term!


Cherie Pham


Hyogo AJET Book Club 4

Book: Ender’s Game 1 by Orson Scott Card

Date: Sunday April 20th

Time: 2pm-4pm

Meeting place: Kobe, TBC.

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