STAY SALTY ...... means column

Kicks from Books

Satoko Kumagai Column

from  Kyoto / Japan

Satoko Kumagai
bookstore landlord

The owner of "Picture Book no Cotachi", a picture book store in Fushimi, Kyoto. Through picture books, we are transmitting the thoughts and feelings through cultural traditions and exchanges.

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DAYS/ Satoko Kumagai Column

Kicks from Books



Please take a look at the girl on the cover.

Her hair is long and unkempt, and the frayed cuffs of her clothes are probably never worn.

She has dark circles around her eyes and the bridge of her nose is red and looks cold.

The matchstick he holds straight in his hand is as majestic as a royal scepter.

With the name ALLUMETTE written at the bottom, it looks like an election poster.


Allumette is a little match girl.

She has no parents and no home to return to, and sleeps in an abandoned car.

Even though Christmas is approaching and the town is in a festive mood.

Everyone is pushing him away, telling him to go away.

Poor Allumette prays breathlessly.

Then, with a thunderous roar, everything and anything he wished for

And then, with a thunderous crash, everything and anything that Allumette could ever wish for fell: ......


The author is Tomi Ungerer, who has captivated the hearts of many children with "THE THREE ROBBERS" (Kaiseisha) and other works.

He was born in France, went through World War II, and came to the U.S. to work on picture books.

After coming to the U.S., he worked on picture books as well as caricatures for magazines and advertisements.

He also created works with political messages such as the Vietnam War and racial discrimination.

Until his work became more stable, he had a hard time finding enough to eat.

"Allumette" was produced in 1974, and was his last children's picture book.

It was his last, but it is one of the most intensely felt.

The completely crazy world of "Allumette" is not pleasant, but it is a reality that is happening somewhere in the world.

We adults know that it is a reality that is happening somewhere in the world.

While there are those who feel terrible, there are also those who are materially fulfilled and yet poor at heart.

There are those who are materially satisfied but poor in spirit.

Where there is nothing, there is an abundance.

Those who are truly in need live quietly in some forgotten corner of the city.

Somewhere in the world, in the constant disasters, wars, and pandemics that keep happening.

People offer to help, people make donations, and powerful people try to take advantage of the situation.

Yet many of the people still choose to help each other to overcome the difficulties.

It's hard to say this to Andersen, but I hope Little Match Girls survives.



Created by Tomi Ungerer

Translation|Shuntaro Tanikawa





DAYS/ Satoko Kumagai Column

Kicks from Books

The Star Thief


They say it is not a crime to be a flower thief, but what about a star thief?

The thief wanted to live alone at the top of the mountain and touch the stars in the sky.

He probably lived alone at the top of the mountain and looked at the stars every night.

Perhaps he felt closer to the stars than to people.

Deep in my heart, I wanted to have a star of my own.

How reassuring it would be to have a star in my heart.

Deeper in my heart, I wanted to have the stars all to myself.

I would be greedy to go so far.

But to have all the stars in the night sky is grand and romantic.

One night, the thief finally stole all the stars in the night sky.

But the stars don't belong to anyone.

You can reach out and get them, but you can't keep them all to yourself.

The old man uses his wits and the young man uses his courage to catch the thief.

The villagers verbally condemn what the thief has done and do not forgive him.

How can we explain to children that they are also taught not to touch the stars, but when adults break their promises, what can we explain to them?

Now, the crucial thing is to put the stars back in the sky, but how?


“THE STAR THIEF“  is the first work Andrea Dinoto has written for children. It is filled like a barrel full of stars with something to tell.

It is going to move in a dusty warm comical way while also depicting the darker side of the heart, such as the desire that lurks deep inside.

The thief running with a barrel full of stars is like an innocent child.

What is sin? What is a suitable punishment?

Are sinners not entitled to make wishes?

What is the difference between touching a star in the sky and touching a star on earth?

What is forgiveness?



Text|Andrea Dinoto

Illustration|Arnold Lobel

Hold Shuppan Publications,Ltd.,




DAYS/ Satoko Kumagai Column

Kicks from Books



I prefer a dog as a pet. Dogs can be walked.

I got my first dog when I was in third grade.

A mongrel dog with long hair and droopy ears with a western feel.

He would wander around the elementary school and

the leftover bread from school lunches from the children.

I saw the dog near my house.

I woke up early to give him milk, and he became my dog.

I could go anywhere with the dog, even in the mountains at dusk.

I was easily tempted to be alone, so the dog became a good excuse.

I watched with my dog as the fields and mountains were cleared and turned into new residential areas.

When the dog's last day was approaching, I took him in my arms.

I took him in my arms and climbed the mountain where we always went for walks.

The dog, who often spent most of his time in a state of lethargy.

He was resting his chin on my shoulder, as if he was trying to listen and sniff something.

He rested his chin on my shoulder and cooed his throat.

In this way, I spent precious time with dogs.

I spent time with him and parted, as humans and dogs have done in many parts of the world for 15,000 years.

The dog in Shaun Tan's "DOG from TALES FROM THE INNER CITY" is not like any of my dogs.

I know this feeling, even though they do not resemble any of my dogs.

Humans and dogs are so different and yet so close.

With a dog, I can walk away.

Dogs make my loneliness complete.



by Shaun Tan

Translations by Sachiko Kishimoto

Kawade Shobo Shinsha




DAYS/ Satoko Kumagai Column

Kicks from Books

The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles


A small house on a sea cliff is home to a postman with a handkerchief from the sea.

He scoops up glass bottles that are washed ashore by the waves and delivers them if they contain letters.

If there is a letter in it, he delivers it.

Every letter has a recipient.

One day, the letter he scooped up was an invitation to a party without an address or sender.

The postman with the ocean handwritten letter has no choice but to go around to each of the recipients.

He visits each and every one of them.


Erin E. Stead's smooth and soft touch of pencil soothes the heart.

The beautiful grain of the woodblock prints is like waves swaying in a gentle breeze, and the grainy colors are like the slightly rough heart of a bottle boy who lacks self-confidence.

The story is told in beautiful words, just as in the poetic illustrations.

The postman of the ocean's handwritten letter is a sincere and humble man.

Even though he knows that the letters he delivers hold treasures like pearl oysters, he does not flaunt the importance of his work.

But he says he has never received a single letter, has no friends, and does not even have a name.

What does it mean to have no name?

Does it mean that he is only involved with people through his job as a "postman"?

Does it mean that you are called by your job or role?

Are we called "policeman," "teacher," "clerk," "nurse," "mother," and so on?

Do we also only expect people to do their job or fulfill their role?

We expect efficiency and uniformity of service from everyone.

Do we take for granted the work and roles that are supported by a person's diligence and integrity because of his or her profession?


A letter without an address or sender, scooped up by a postman of the ocean's hand, is very attractive but incomplete.

The incompleteness of a perfect letter, which would have been completed by posting it in a mailbox, allows for face-to-face contact and communication.

Perhaps it was the postman who thought he could only relate to people through work.

Maybe you thought that people were waiting for letters, not you.

He delivers important letters with care. He may not know how happy that makes me.

But that won't be a big problem anymore.

Tomorrow, I will continue to deliver letters with care.

To those who are waiting for me.


Book 『An Old Tailor Shop at Intersection』

The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles

Text by Michelle Cuevas

Illustrations byErin E. Stead

Translations by Miki Yamamoto

Kagaku-Dojin Publishing Co., Inc.




DAYS/ Satoko Kumagai Column

Kicks from Books

An Old Tailor Shop at Intersection



A clothing store opened at a three-way intersection in town.

This was when everyone was still wearing ethnic clothing.

Mr. Doc is the owner of the Sansaro Yofuku store at the three-way intersection.

The first customer finally arrived.

He carefully selected the fabrics, took measurements

We took a paper pattern and tailored the clothes to fit the customer perfectly.

Seeing the look of satisfaction on the customer's face, Mr. Dock

I'm so glad.


Times change, and with the outbreak of war, the stores and the town fall into disrepair.

Everyone began to wear clothes, and many clothing stores sprang up in the town.

Soon, the town was filled with mass-produced, cheap, similar-looking clothes.

The way of making clothes carefully and wholeheartedly, valuing the techniques that have been handed down from generation to generation, does not fit with the times?

Is it not in step with the times?


No, no, I would like to think not.

Even though there is an abundance of cheap and easy-to-buy ready-made products

People will not all be the same size.

Individuality and special memories will not disappear.

There must be technology and care that cannot be mechanized.

Even if it is not convenient for many people

But we can deliver something special to just one person who needs it.

It is wonderful to have a job that makes you feel happy.


Book 『An Old Tailor Shop at Intersection』

Copyright Jaesun Ahn

Japanese translation Kirin Hayashi

Toy Publishing Corp.




DAYS/ Satoko Kumagai Column

Kicks from Books

Windy Night


Riku is looking out from inside his room.

He seems to be trying to grab a leaf that is dancing in the wind.


The mother says to the child, "It's a great wind.

It's like someone is crying and asking me to play with them.

To Riku, the sound of the wind sounds like a sad cry.

The wind rattled and shook the windows.

Riku seems to be concerned about the outside. He also feels a little scared.

Just then!


In 2020, with the publication of "Aitaina" (Hidamari-sha)

Yui Abe made her debut as a picture book author.

This was followed by "Pretending to sleep Yuuchan" (Hakusensha), and

"AKAKY & THE SNACK THIEVES" (Fukuinkan Shoten).

She is a hot author with a string of publications under her belt.


Yui Abe's picture books are based on children's feelings.

It seems to me that the dreams of children are reproduced exactly as they are.

How can we understand children's feelings so well?

I long to fly through the night sky on the wind.

I'd eat a full snack and sleep on a cotton candy bedding.

Warm naps.

That said, there are many occasions to sleep.

Sleeping comfortably is the happiest thing in the world, isn't it?

In the story, we are filled with a sense of happiness, even though we may be feeling bewildered or anxious.

In such a world, children's imaginations are free to flourish.

And what's more, the children in the story are full of charm.

They are pampered, carefree, and full of curiosity.

Their round, balloon-like faces seem to be bulging with potential.

Even if a big wind blows him away, he will play with him.

He will survive any adventure and return home without fail.

Children grow up by traveling through many dreams, don't they?


Book 『Windy Night』

Yui Abe

POPLAR Publishing Co., Ltd.,




DAYS/ Satoko Kumagai Column

Kicks from Books

The Suitcase


One day, a strange animal arrived.

It looked very tired.

He was pulling a big suitcase.

What on earth is in it?

The strange animal replied.

But is that true?


Everyone has doubts about the strange animals who have struggled to cross the sea and barely reach it, and pry open their luggage with curiosity.

While the exhausted stranger is resting for a moment.

They don't even know what kind of thoughts are packed in there.


How could they have done such a violent thing?

How could they pry open someone else's belongings without permission?

If it's a stranger, I can't believe what he says.

Can I work rudely?


When I was in elementary school, there was a large new housing development in our school district.

Every new school year, one or two new students would arrive, and we would gather around them and ask, "Where are you from? Where do you live?

Do you have the same textbooks? What are you learning?

Some people took it as a favor.

Some people took this as a sign of goodwill, while others looked puzzled.

Some people came to me looking forward to the move.

Some of us were looking forward to the move, while others must have been anxious to leave their familiar environment.


There are people who come across the sea for various reasons.

Some come to Japan with dreams, while others arrive barely alive.

Some people want to talk about it, others don't.

How should we welcome these strangers?

This is something that the whole society should think about.


When a strange animal wakes up.

What do you think he sees?


Book 『The Suitcase』

Text and Illustrations by Chris Naylor-Ballesteros

Translated by Miyoko Kubo

Kagaku-Dojin Publishing Co., Inc.




DAYS/ Satoko Kumagai Column

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Tibble and Grandpa


Tibble's favorite Grandpa is a little sick.

He's always working in the yard and he doesn't seem to hear Tibble talking to him.

Tibble asked.

"Grandpa, what are your Top Three sandwich?"

"Grandpa, what are your Top Three Jellyfish?"


Conversations are born little by little, even from Grandpa

"Top Three Days Out?"  he asked.

Grandpa seems to be better than before.

Is it a grandfather who is a little biased? If you thought,

In reality, he was kind and playful, and he was a good playmate for Tibble.


The fantastic and beautiful illustrations are by

Daniel Egnéus, born in Sweden.

In addition to children's picture books, he is also a highly acclaimed fashion illustrator.

He is also a highly acclaimed fashion illustrator.

The illustrations depict an innocent Tibble and Grandpa whose heart has gone somewhere else.

In the first half of the book, Grandpa's heart has gone somewhere else, and the innocent Tibble is enveloped in a quiet, but gradually powerful and fresh color palette.


In the second half, I understood why the Grandpa was not in good spirits.

Tibble's innocence opens the door to Grandpa's heart.

Tibble put into words what Grandpa had been thinking.

The truth is, Tibble is still too small to understand Grandpa's sadness.

He may be too young to understand Grandpa's grief.

But in his eyes, he could see the memories shining like stars in Tibble's small chest.

It's okay.

You can share your sadness and loneliness with Tibble.

And I'm sure the stars are watching over them.


Book 『Tibble and Grandpa』

Tibble and Grandpa

Text by Wendy Meddour

Illustrations by Daniel Egnéus

Translations by Miki Yamamoto

Kagaku-Dojin Publishing Co., Inc.




DAYS/ Satoko Kumagai Column

Kicks from Books

Mon bison



One spring day, when she was four years old, her mother took her to a meadow where she met a bison.

The little girl and the big bison share a heart-to-heart.

The bison goes back to his friends, but he always comes back when the snow falls.

And so the girl and the bison spend the winter together. For years and years.


 The sky, the forest, the birds...

 The sky, the forest, and the birds all seem to miss the bison.


This is how the girl feels during the first absence of the bison.

The world looks different. Even the birds, flapping their wings freely, look lonely.

It's a feeling she never had before she met Bison.

The size of the absence you feel because of your precious existence.


When the snow falls, the little girl and the big bison are reunited.

They talk about what happened in the forest while the bison was away.

As if to fill the time of absence.

The bison has dark, kind eyes.

Maybe the girl has seen everything about the bison in her eyes.

In preparation for the next absence of the bison.

And so, the girl and the bison greet the winter in the same way for many, many years.

It's as if they are repeating forever.


The picture, drawn with a limited number of colors based on the color of charcoal

In the cold, dull winter air

I can feel the warmth of the bison and the warmth of heart-to-heart communication.

I guess a girl and a bison don't need many things.

The background of the cuddling girl and the bison is white and empty.

Nothing is needed.


The owner of this well-honed, sharp sensitivity and delicate, rich expressiveness is

Gaya Wisniewski, who was born in Belgium in 1980.

Surprisingly, this work, which has won four European picture book awards, is her debut picture book.

The translator, Hideya Kiyooka, also says that this is his first book to be translated.

Moreover, he also designed the book.

I wonder if this is a picture book secretly created by a minimum number of people.

It makes me wonder if I should keep it a secret and not tell anyone.


This is a love story of a little girl and a big bison.

There is no doubt that having an important existence is a blessing.

However, the larger the presence, the greater the loneliness of absence.

If that is the case, would it be better not to have an important presence from the beginning?

I would like to think not.

Unlike the time of the first absence, the years have accumulated with tranquility and love.

An abundance of happiness will fill up the absence.

The stars in the sky are telling us. The beginning of eternity.


Book 『Mon bison』

By Gaya Wisniewski

Transrated by|Hideya Kiyooka 

Kaiseisha Publishing Co., Ltd.




DAYS/ Satoko Kumagai Column

Kicks from Books



"Omaku" is a strange word.

When I searched, I found out that in the Kyoto dialect, some people say "Omaku" for pillow.

I wonder if they say it? I think I might.

That said, pumpkins are called "Okabo".

Tofu is shortened to "Otofu" and soy sauce to "Oshoyu".

"Oido" refers to the buttocks, but we don't hear it anymore.

That's how I felt when I saw the title "Omaku".

When I saw the title "Omaku", it seemed to me to be a word that refers to something that is so familiar to us that we are not even aware of it.


"Omaku" (Choubunsha) is part of the "Tono Monogatari" series of books based on Kunio Yanagida's "Tono Monogatari," narrated by Natsuhiko Kyogoku and illustrated by up-and-coming picture book artists.

This is one of the books in the "Tono Monogatari" series of picture books.

It was self-published in 1910. More than 110 years have passed since the first publication, so it is a long time ago from the present.


However, as the preface of "Tono Monogatari" says, "This book is a current fact," it is a true story that Kizen Sasaki saw and heard "just recently.

Of course, the "Zakiwarashi" and the "Kappa" are also true.



The introduction has become longer.

The picture of "Omaku" was undertaken by Toshikado Hajiri.

In a tranquil landscape with a clear blue sky, there is a sense of reality in the detailed depiction of the flowers and plants along the riverside.

A man floats in midair at the height of a man.

It looks like a surrealist painting.

The girls are not afraid to look at the man floating in the air.

"Who is that uncle?"

Is it "Omaku"?

What is "Omaku"?


Is "Omaku" a "precursor" or a "worm's sign"?

Oh, I see.

Maybe "omaku" is not a door but a curtain.

Beyond the blue sky that seems to suck you in when you stare at it.

It may be connected to the Tono of 110 years ago.


When the evening sky is dyed red and the sun sets behind the mountains.

When the surface of the river reflects the whole area like a mirror, the curtain between the other shore and this shore opens, swaying in the wind.

Souls come and go, transcending time and space.

This is what is called "Omaku" in the Tono area.


Book 『Omaku』

Author|Kunio Yanagita

Text|Natsuhiko Kyogoku

Illustrations|Toshikado Hajiri

Choubunsha Publishing Co., Ltd.




DAYS/ Satoko Kumagai Column

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There is a word "speak fluently"

Fluent means that the words come out smoothly and without stagnation.

The image I have is that of an announcer who speaks with precision.

Like water that flows smoothly...

Flowing water?

Where and how does it flow?


"I" has some sounds that cannot be pronounced well.

Words get stuck in my mouth, and I can't get them to come out.

And yet, my heart overflows with unconcealed trepidation.

On days when I could not speak well, my father would take me to the river.

He would look at the river and say, "It's the way you talk.

The river is bubbling, surging, swirling, and breaking.

Like "me", it's not constant.


"I Talk Like a River" was modeled after the author himself, Jordan Scott.

The book is based on the author himself, Jordan Scott, and carefully describes how some words are difficult to pronounce.

A conversation with his father freed his mind from the unbearableness of the classroom and made me cry when he was able to accept himself.


Sidney Smith expresses these emotions beautifully in his paintings.

In " TOWN IS BY THE SEA ", " Sidewalk Flowers", and "SMALL IN THE CITY", the characters are not the main characters.

His work is quiet and reminds someone who isn't the main character to be there. You get the peace of mind that you haven't forgotten.

Among them, the expression in "I Talk Like a River" stands out.

In the shining picture, "I" look like a part of nature.

He transcends the "normality" of the classroom and becomes one with nature.

Outside the classroom, stuttering is as natural as a river.

It is also natural that we are not the same as others.



Text|Jordan Scott

Illustrations|Sydney Smith

Translation|Masaru Harada

Kaisei-sha Publishing Co., Ltd., Tokyo




DAYS/ Satoko Kumagai Column

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Night is coming


He's got a big stuffed bear in his arms, sleepy eyes.

Is it time for me to go to bed?

His mouth is tied in a straight line, and his face are full of tension and determination.

I'm going to sleep alone from today.

But the "night" is coming.

The night is coming, not the "night".

I can't touch it, I can't smell it.

But the child feels the presence of the approaching "night".

The shadows on the wall seem to start moving. The pattern on the wallpaper looks like something.


The moment you close the door to the children's room, you feel that your mother and father are far away.

The moment you turn off the lights, you feel like you've been thrown out into space where it's pitch black and you can't see anything.

When I turn on the lamp, the shadows created by the light, "night" has finally arrived.

It's scary to be alone!

Such feelings are depicted realistically in this book.

When we are scared, we actually use our imagination.

We create all kinds of things.

The interesting thing about picture books is that you can project yourself into the story and at the same time,

you can look at it objectively.

Children can share the "scary" part of the story with themselves.

But it's kind of cool. It's kind of funny.

The ghost-like thing is scary but also cute. Maybe I want to meet them.

The balance between scary and friendly is very good.

I think I'll sleep alone today.

I'm sure there are children who feel that way.

If not today, it can be tomorrow, or even much later.

They will grow up slowly, and before they know it, they will be adults.

"Knowing what to be afraid of will give you greater peace of mind and a deeper restful sleep.

"Most of our fears are just our imagination.

But are all of them really your imagination?


Book 『Night is coming』

Masakatsu Shimoda

KOGUMA Publishing Co,Ltd.




DAYS/ Satoko Kumagai Column

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Because Haru has wings


It's impossible, but strangely real.
A strange feeling after reading it, as if you had a dream at dawn.

"Haru niwa hane ga haeteru kara" is as sparkling and elusive as a splash of water, and dangerous and shiny like a piece of glass.


The words released by the novelist Ao Omae formed a rainbow through the prism of the manga artist Natsujikei Miyazaki.

I thought this picture book was like watching a rainbow.

I can see it, but I can't touch it.

I can't touch it, but I can feel it.

Haru, Natsu, Aki, and Fuyu.
Their ages are probably around junior high school.
Their ages are too complicated to be called children, and too undefined to be called adults.
The sharpness of the four girls' inner senses and their painful kindness are dazzling.
Haru may have had the high potential to fly.
But he wouldn't fly if it meant making his good friends feel lonely.
Natsu may have had a keen eye to see through people's feelings.
However, being too understanding may have made people uncomfortable.
She would put away her wings and close her eyes for the sake of her most precious friend.
Even if I can't fly or see, it's much better than having my friends leave me.
We hold ourselves back because of our inexperience, we hurt each other, we cry in pain, but we don't leave.
Jealousy, envy, dependence, obsession, and various feelings that cannot be named are hidden in plain sight.
The days pass momentarily, maintaining a delicate balance like walking a tightrope.
Like a seesaw, the relationship is balanced, and there is no way for one side to come down.

Isn't it hard for you? Aren't you straining yourself?
If you're that kind of friend, wouldn't it be better if you weren't together?
If you were in front of me in real life, you might be tempted to say so.
While hurting and being hurt.
Even so, "friends are more important than me. Friends are what we can trust more than anyone else.
The story depicts "friends are important" without logic.
Individuals who clash with each other gradually learn to take it in stride and develop understanding and empathy.
It's a miracle that we met, and when we're all together, we're the strongest.

It's cool, beautiful, and sparkling.


Book 『Because Haru has wings』

Text by Ao Omae
Illustrated by Natsujikei Miyazaki
Akishobo Co.





DAYS/ Satoko Kumagai Column

Kicks from Books




When the parents hear Harriet play the cello, they envision their future daughter playing in an orchestra.

What kind of performance is that?

Accurate, polite, understated, with a refined tone.

But Harriet prefers to play the cello by herself.

I don't want to play in front of people.


But I don't want to be in an orchestra.

I don't think I ever said it outright.

One day, my parents said to me, "You can be an orchestra player in the future."

"Is that so?" And I agreed with my parents.

I couldn't say "I don't want to be" when I saw the happy faces of my parents.

I think it's still the same

If I told them now that I didn't want to join the orchestra.

I'm sure my parents would look at me sadly.

That's not what I want.


I don't want to be praised. I just want to like it.

is it strange?

It's not that I don't want to be with everyone.

I just want to be free to do what I want without having to conform to anyone else.

Is that selfish?

It's not that I want to hurt you. I just like to be alone.

Is that lonely?


Harriet just wanted to be alone.

But she hurts the owl and scares the moon.


I think Harriet is a good girl, and she has been loved and cared for very much.

However, I think she may have taken it as a burden.

Maybe she was only receiving and didn't know how to give.

Maybe she was afraid of hurting someone else.


When she met the moon, Harriet's heart changed a little.

Just by being there, the moon decorates someone's memories and helps someone.

The moon wants to hear Harriet's cello.


What kind of sound would Harriet's cello make?

I think it would be quiet, calm, soft, and gentle.

Maybe it's like the moonlight.



Text by Philip C. Stead

Illustrated by Erin E. Stead

Japanese text by Mari Tanaka

Pneumasha Co.




Book 『Because Haru has wings』

Written by Ao Ohmae
Illustrated by Natsuji Miyazaki
Aki Shobo




DAYS/ Satoko Kumagai Column

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Lovely loneliness


The story grabbed me right from the beginning.

Ippei, who is a good painter, is surrounded by everyone in the classroom asking him to draw and show them his pictures.

But the child's attention was soon scattered all over the place.

By the time he had finished his drawing, he was all alone.

But Ippei says he is used to being alone like this.

Even when he fell on a rainy day and his umbrella was broken.

He was left all alone without anyone noticing.

He say that you are used to such loneliness.


It's not that he's okay with being alone, it's just that he's used to it.

He may be a little better at pretending to be okay.

But it's not enough to make me forget.

He's alone again.


If you don't notice, you don't realize that you're making someone else feel lonely.

Even Ippei-kun can make someone uncomfortable without realizing it.

If he had looked the person in the eye and talked to them, he might have noticed.

But if I gave a hand to someone who was in a bit of trouble.

If you start talking to them eye to eye.

You're no longer alone.

If you just pay a little attention to others.


The truth is that we are all alone. Basically, you're alone.

It's not bad to be alone.

If there is no one else, it means you can be alone.

The sky at dawn, the silence.



Book 『Lovely loneliness』

Chihiro Nakagawa

Nora shoten





DAYS/ Satoko Kumagai Column

Kicks from Books

If you come to Earth


Lying on the earth, a boy is writing a long, long letter.

This is a beautiful cover with a lot of gold color.

The cover of the main body of the book without the cover is also beautiful.

What does a friend in space look like?

I'd like to tell you about the Earth to a friend I've never met somewhere in the wide universe.

The boy writes a letter to a friend he has never met somewhere in the wide universe to tell him about the earth.

The earth is near the big sun, and the moon is right next to it.

It's a green and blue planet.

What kind of place is it, what kind of people live there, what kind of life do they lead?

What kind of people live in what kind of place?

People can fight with each other, but they can also cooperate.

We grow old, but we can help each other.

That's what we earthlings are like.

What about you?

When will you come to Earth?

I am writing such a long, long letter.

According to the author's afterword, the idea for this book was born at the top of the Himalayas in Bhutan.

While working with 10 children at Save the Children, a non-profit international organization, she decided to create a story that would unite the hearts of children around the world.

I thought the same thing when I was in Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Singapore, and New York.

After talking with children all over the world, I was able to turn my ideas into stories with their help.

For example, "If you were to give a snack to someone from outer space, what would it be?

Children's answers are full of compassion as they imagine someone they have not seen yet.

We don't even know if they have teeth or not.

And it is very difficult to explain about the earth.

We all have different faces, different ways of living, different ways of thinking, and no one person is the same.

There is no one person who represents a typical human being on Earth.

However, we are all the same in the sense that we were all born and live on Earth.

Imagine describing the earth to someone in the universe.

Wouldn't you want to say it in a nice way?

If everyone on earth thought that they wanted to say something nice, the world would become a little better.




Days Top

Book 『If you come to Earth』

Sophie Blackall

Kazue Yokoyama

Suzuki Publishing




DAYS/ Satoko Kumagai Column

Kicks from Books

Pokko and the Drum


There was a girl frog named Pokko.

She lives with her father and mother in a mushroom house in a quiet forest.

The father and mother think it was a mistake to give Pokko a drum.

The father wants to live a quiet life.

Pokko makes so much noise that her father asks her to go outside.

But don't make too much noise.

He doesn't want to stand out.

But as Pokko plays the drum outside, more and more people join her...


Canadian illustrator and cartoonist Matthew Forsythe's warm-toned illustrations are beautifully colored and comical.

The father cooks dinner for Pokko and his family and talks to Pokko.

The mother only reads books.

However, she seems to understand Pokko better than her father.

In the text, the phrase "to Pokko, a girl" invites us to read the story from a gender perspective.

Pokko must be a very talented girl.

No matter what is given to her, she always uses it in a way that is beyond her parents' expectations.

But her father says it was a mistake.

He doesn't want to stand out.

If Pokko had been a boy, what would he have thought?

When Pokko leaves home and plays the drums alone in the quiet and beautiful forest, she thinks, "It's too quiet.”

Maybe there are other animals who want to live as happily as Pokko does, but their family, who doesn't want him to stand out, requires him to be quiet.

On the way, a wolf joins the pack and eats a rabbit.

Pokko scolds the wolf with a firm attitude, and the wolf is truly sorry.

Pokko is small, but he doesn't run away from the wolf out of fear.

And she seems to have all the qualities of a leader.

A lot of animals follow Pokko.

The music gets louder and louder, and soon Pokko's father and mother are involved.

The father is startled and says, "Stop it! “ But when he sees Pokko in the lead, he says to his wife, "Her's really good?”

Just because the forest is quiet doesn't mean that there are no problems.

We may be made unaware of what our heart really wants.

A presence that makes you aware may feel noisy.



Book 『Pokko and the Drum』

Matthew Forsyth

Minami Aoyama





DAYS/ Satoko Kumagai Column

Kicks from Books

In Memoriam: Mitsumasa Anno


Mitsumasa Anno, painter and picture book author, has passed away.

There is no end to the list of Mr. Anno's representative works, but for me, his special picture book is "Strage Pictures" a long-selling book published by Fukuinkan Shoten Publishers' Kodomo no tomo in 1968, which has been loved for more than half a century.

The first time I saw this picture book was at a temple near my parents' home.

There was no children's park in the old country town, so the temple became a playground for the local children.

There was a piano at the temple, and once or twice a week, a teacher would come and teach piano lessons.

I was taking piano lessons elsewhere, so while my friends were taking lessons, I was quietly reading books on the small bookshelf by myself.

While my friends were taking lessons, I was quietly reading books on a small shelf by myself. Among the books like "The Birth of Buddha", there was "Strage Pictures".

In "Strage Pictures", there are many dwarfs with pointy hats. ...... I'm not sure if they are dwarfs or not.

Don't be so sure.

If you turn the book upside down, they are standing upright.

You have to go up and up and up and up and up and up and up and up and up and up and up and up and up and up and up and up and up and up and up and up and up and up and up and up.

Some people are exhausted. It's a strange picture that I've never seen before, whether it's small or big, up or down, or even where it leads.

I was so absorbed in the mysterious world of pictures with a foreign atmosphere that I could not stop looking at them.

I even tried to find a pointy hat hidden in the high ceiling of a temple hall or on the palm of a Buddhist monk.

Picture books are so interesting! I love picture books.

The first picture book that made me realize that I liked picture books was "Strage Pictures".

When I became a junior high school student, I no longer played at the temple like the younger children, but I really wanted to keep it with me.


I bought the first picture book with my allowance, "Strage Pictures".

I did this because I remember seeing "Strage Pictures" spread out on the tatami floor at a temple.

"Strage Pictures" is the starting point for children's picture books.

It's fun to look at things from different directions, to imagine the unseen side, to doubt whether what you see is an assumption, and to think about whether it's true or not.

Those things are fun! 

This is what "Strage Pictures" is all about.

When I learned of his death on the news, the exhibition of Mitsumasa Anno's illustrations was being held at Ehon no Cotachi.

Surrounded by his pictures on the wall of the gallery, I felt sad, but I also felt that this world has become much more beautiful thanks to Mr.  Anno.


Book 『Strage Pictures

by Mitsumasa Anno




DAYS/ Satoko Kumagai Column

Kicks from Books

Mary Poppins


Mary Poppins arrives on the east wind at the Banks house in Cherry tree lane, London.

When Mary Poppins arrives at the Banks house in Cherry tree lane, London, she performs a feat of graceful sliding up the banister of the staircase.

She has already won the hearts of the four children of the Banks family, the older two, Jane and Michael.

The important thing is to be gentle.

Mary Poppins is an adult who knows what she's doing.

She negotiates the terms of her employment with Mrs. Banks and makes her wishes come true.

I admire her resolute attitude, as if she knows the world better than she does, without any hint of humility because she is employed.

I don't remember Mary Poppins being this mature.

Wasn't she supposed to be magical, carefree, fashionable, and childlike?

Mary Poppins" is a delightful and fun story, but it is also a story about the loss of imagination and the loneliness of being trapped by common sense as children grow up.

The two younger members of the Banks family, baby twins John and Barbara, can talk to sunlight and starlings. They can talk to sunbirds and starlings in a language that human adults can't understand.

But like everyone else, they will soon lose the starling's language.

John and Barbara don't even realize that they've forgotten, and it's the starlings who realize that the time has come.

Mary chided the starling, "Are you crying? Mary chided the starling.

It's like she's seen it a hundred times before.

What makes Mary Poppins special is that she is a rare person who has retained the heart of a child and has acquired the sense of an adult.


In addition to Mary, other people who defy common sense are Bert, who puts himself in his drawings, Mr. Wigg, who floats in the air on laughing gas, and Mrs. Corry, who sticks stars in the night sky.

Mary treats each person with consideration and courtesy.

Being an adult is not just about being assertive or having common sense.

To the children of the Banks family, she maintains a strict attitude as a nanny.

Mary, who is difficult and knows everything but doesn't tell us easily, doesn't question Michael on Tuesdays when he's been bad for no reason, but on the contrary, she has an attitude of bad days for no reason, and even shows the world's vastness with a The Magic compass.

Michael, realizing that he is a small child, feels safe at Mary's side, takes his time to drink milk, and sincerely feels glad to have been born in a warm bed.

In front of Michael, Mary cleans up the dinner table without any sentimentality, but with the attitude that it is only natural for a child to be happy.


For children, "Mary Poppins" is a delightful fairy tale.

For adults, it is a story that makes them wonder what it means to be an adult. For adults, it is a story that makes them think about what it means to be an adult.

When dealing with children, it is often said to "look at things from the child's perspective," but I don't think it means to adapt to the child.

Mary Poppins is a person who understands the world as children see it and can open the door to the world.

She is someone who can encourage them to grow by meeting adults who are themselves.

She is someone I would like to use as a role model.



Book 『Mary Poppins』

Created by|Travers
Translation|Eriko Kishida
Picture| Mitsumasa Anno
Asahi Press




DAYS/ Satoko Kumagai Column

Kicks from Books

House with a ghost


There is a ghost in my parents' house.

The shutters were rattling, the pillars were making a creaking sound, the ceiling was making little footsteps, and something was living there.

It's a ghost.

The proof is that they've never shown themselves.

I didn't mind that they were there, but they were hiding the TV remote control and

I don't want them to stop the alarm clock without permission.

If you have a shape, you're white, round and fluffy, floating in the air.

I'm a bit shy, a bit scared and distressed.

I'd be happy to talk to you about it, but

It's been 20 years since I left my parents' house without being able to open up to them.


The ghosts in Mamiko Shiotani's Yaneurabeya Ghosts are

I've been living alone in the attic of my old house for a long time now.

When someone comes in, it becomes as transparent as glass, and when I sleep, I am small enough to put in a matchbox.

So no one notices the ghosts.


But at some point, the girls of the house started coming to the attic every day, and the ghosts were not amused.

She felt like she was taking up space all to herself.

But the girl was actually looking for something in the attic...


You say that it's good to be alone, that you don't want to be noticed and that you don't want to be noticed, but

It's surprisingly happy when people notice.

That's what happens, isn't it?

You may think you are in contact with people on a regular basis, but you don't communicate with them except for work.

You think you're having a conversation with your family, but all you're doing is nitpicking.

I've tried so hard to get them to act the way I want them to act, but it doesn't work, and their spilled frankness comes across as slurred.

It's not easy to communicate your true feelings if you aim for it.

I think it's the same for both adults and children.


Ms. Shiotani's unique expression, which looks like a collection of particles drawn on a black background, is a strange world carefully drawn with a charcoal pencil.

The sharp lines and slippery glassy ghosts in the rough surface of the picture are quite mysterious.

It can take up to a month or two to draw a single piece of work.

To get a closer look at the original drawings, an exhibition of them is currently being held at the Children's Picture Book Gallery from November 27 to December 15.

Please come and see the exhibition.


Please take care of yourself to prevent the spread of the new corona.



Book 『Ghost in the Attic』

Created by|Mamiko Shiotani




DAYS/ Satoko Kumagai Column

Kicks from Books

Ivan the Fool


'Ivan the fool'.

It is by no means 'Ivan is a fool'.

The word 'idiot' is sometimes used as a derogatory term for lack of wisdom.

It's like Stupid Honest, Stupid Big, Fishing Stupid Diary, and then Genius Bakabon.

The way they're straight, the way they're so big, the way they're so obsessed that they can't see anything else.

As the saying goes, "There's a fine line between an idiot and a genius," and it can also be used to refer to a substandard person or behavior that cannot be imitated by ordinary people.

Now, here's "Ivan the Idiot".

When I was a child, I wondered what was so stupid about Ivan.

What a thought, but it's not an extraordinary thing to be honest.

I've grown up to be a badass adult who realizes that.

The eldest brother, a soldier, and the second brother, a merchant, both rule their respective countries, but after losing everything at the instigation of a little devil, they return to their parents' home.

Unlike his so-called "smart" brothers, Ivan has no greed and is willing to give up his property and he takes care of his aging parents and works hard at farming, making octopus in his hands.

He is so unselfish that the devil's whispers are out of the question.

On the contrary, Ivan turned the little devil's tricks to luck and became the king of a country, not because of his military or economic power, but because of We will create a sustainable and self-sufficient country, just as we have done ourselves.

My youngest sister, who lives with Ivan, is deaf and can't speak well.

I have a way of telling who is hard working and who is not.

Oh, that's nice, isn't it?

You can get around well, you can round people up in a cunning way, you can make it easy and squeeze them out.

In some organizations, such things are valued and promoted as "smart guys".

How refreshing to see Ivan's stupidity in such a world that is so unworldly.

It is truly a story to read again in this day and age.

Lev Tolstoy (August 28, 1828 - November 20, 1910) was a he is also known for his major works such as War and Peace and Anna Karenina, as well as his non-violent works.

Ivan the Fool" may depict Tolstoy's ideal way of life.

The new translation of Ivan the Fool by Yu Komiya of Anonima Studio Publications is rhythmic and very easy to read.

This is a book for parents and children to enjoy and get to know the essence of Tolstoy's work.

The illustrations are by Hans Fischer, who is also the author of "Pichi the cat" (Iwanami Shoten) and "Bremen's Ongotai" (Evangelical Bookstore).

The illustrations are by Hans Fischer, who is also known for his work on "Pichi the Cat" (Iwanami Shoten) and "Bremen's Ongakutai" (Fukuinkan Shoten).

This book has a slightly old-fashioned, adult-style binding, and would make a great gift for children in the upper grades of elementary school or junior high school.

I'm sure you'll get the point across.

Hopefully, we'll live in a world where people don't look foolish if they live a normal, honest life, even if they're not as good as Ivan.


Book 『Ivan the Fool』

Created by Lev Tolstoy

Hans Fischer


Publishing|Anonima Studio




DAYS/ Satoko Kumagai Column

Kicks from Books



The man Stavros of the cover is drawn against the background of red earth color like a Greek pot.

He smashes a glass against his own forehead and bleeds violently.

    If you'd rather bleed than the music... kill me! Now!

    Or we'll play it for you.

His name is Levetes; he is a musician who plays the popular music "Levetiko", which originated in Greece in the 1920s.

The story takes place in Athens in October 1936. Marcos, the leader of the Rebates, is being released after six months in prison and is greeted by Stavros and his friends.

At that time, as a result of World War I and the War of Rare Earths, the Greek Orthodox Christians who had lived in Turkey for several generations were repatriated to Greece, where they numbered 1.5 million people.

They were forced to live in misery, and the slums that formed on the city's doorstep were filled with people living their days.

The musicians who were included in this group brought Turkish music to Greece, and Rebetiko was born.

The relationship between Greece and Turkey is long and complex, and their roots are intermingled.

The rebetes were symbolic of the mixing of the West and the East, and they were also eyed for this.

General Metaxas, who came to power in 1936, imposed a dictatorship and regulated speech.

He eliminated orientalism, spearheaded the rebates as the cause of the decadence of the people, and tightened the controls.

Indeed, the slum dwellers, frustrated by the lack of vision, spend their days in apathy, violence and drug addiction. Languid, obscene and barbaric, the music played by Rebates sings of sorrow at being abandoned, venting their feelings of despondency and uniting the people with their feelings of helplessness.

It should be noted that there is some bawdy language in this book.

But what's numbingly cool is that in the cramped atmosphere of the impending World War II, where even singing with unsettled freedom is discouraged, Rebetico sings about the truth of life, the freedom of the soul that is not at the mercy of anyone.

Rebetiko: Songs of the Weeds is a band desine for adults.

Bandes dessinées are French-speaking manga, also known as graphic novels.

Most of them are published in large hardcover format, and are somewhere between picture books and manga, but they are a genre that has attracted a lot of attention because of their powerful stories and drawings, which are worth reading for adults of YA and older who are not satisfied with picture books.

The author, David Prudhomme, was born in France in 1969.

David Prudhomme's paintings are wonderful, as he says he was captivated by Rebetico.

You can almost hear the rhythm in the figure as he dances and shakes his body, and it is the expression of shadows that creates the world created by the background and spirit in which the music and music were born.

The delicate expression of light and shadow throughout the piece is a sight to behold.

Shades and shadows express the dimness of the interior and the sunlight of the outdoors. Speckled patterns created by the shade of trees.

The red color which gradually dips into the setting sun. The darkness of the night.

The darkness of the bar at night is different from the darkness of the hashish cave in the daytime.

The dawn which arrives on the sea after rowing a boat through a riot.

The sun shines brightly on the world and casts a dark shadow as if nothing happened.

But that doesn't mean that nothing has happened.

There are things that stay, things that slip away, and things that drift away.

Each one has its own choice.

The soul is free.


Book 『Rébétiko - Song of the Weeds』

By David Prudhomme

Translation: Hara Masato

Southern Books, Inc.

Published: October 2020



DAYS/ Satoko Kumagai Column

Kicks from Books

The World of Shinsaku Osada


Shinsaku Osada's latest books, "True Star" and "The Moon of the Soragoto" have been released.

303BOOKS has released two books at the same time.

The True Star, painted in red and black, and The Moon at Every Door" is a mysterious world of blue and black.

The gaping holes in the cover are snarled and seem to represent something.

It's a shape that seems to be nothing, something that catches you by surprise.

Is the star in "The Real Star" really a star?

They don't seem to be confident.

To the other stars, "Hey, you guys are stars, right? I asked him.

You know, "Of course.

I guess I never really questioned it.

I'm a star, right? Are you sure about the stars? What are the stars?

What's the truth? What is it that we're looking for?

Maybe we've all felt that way.

Uncomfortable and difficult to live with.

Maybe you've wondered if there's another place for you to be, or

I'm not sure if this is the right thing to do.

Maybe we don't need to think about such things.

The moon in "The Moon of the Beaten Path" cannot sleep.

It can't sleep, it has to stay awake forever.

The night doesn't end forever, and we can see it through the gaps in the night.

Strange creatures hover in the darkness.

The night persistently clings to them and never lets go of the moon.

Would you rather throw yourself into the night?

Let your dreams eat you up!

Have you been in the darkness of the night, or are you trapped in the darkness within yourself?

Shinsaku Nagata has been working on two books at the same time or a trilogy.

Often published, the stories move forward in pairs or in series.

They contain conflicting worlds and contradictions.

Although each element is intricately intertwined with the other.

It doesn't feel like it's melting and mixing together.

It's like there's something shiny in the chaos.

I'm tempted to find something like that.

Suddenly that Nietzsche's saying comes to mind.

 He who fights against monsters should be careful not to become a monster himself.

 He who looks into the abyss is also looked into by the abyss.



Book 『The Moon of the Soragoto』


Book 『True Star』



DAYS/ Satoko Kumagai Column

Kicks from Books

Let's Go - - Ga je mee?


Kyoto seems to be getting more and more people in the center of the city.

Our shop is far from the tourist areas, though, so it's not too different.

The government's "Go to Travel" policy has begun with an undeniable lack of preparation.

You want to go somewhere, but you don't know where to go.

That's when daydreaming comes to the rescue.

"Ga je mee?" is a very pleasant picture book.

It starts with a view of the city from the sky.

The view from a flying bird's eye view is called a bird's eye view, but It would be better to have a drone's-eye view if I had a current sense.

"Me" was asked to do an errand.

What should you do? The road is grim.

There are dragons in the forest on the way and the sea beyond the rugged rocky mountains.
You can be attacked by pirates, you know.

Isn't it too harsh to go to the grocery store to buy apples?

I'll tell you what it is, a large garden of trees, a forest, a pond, and the ocean.
Any place is a great adventure with the rich imagination of a child.

Breathtakingly beautiful Dematone's drawings are a revelation every time you look at them.

The author, Charlotte Dematons, is a Dutch picture book author.

The Netherlands is said to have the highest level of child happiness in the world.

In school, they can learn from any subject they want.

Work-life balance is so prevalent.

She spends a lot of time at home with her family.

Even from the gardens of the houses in the town depicted in this picture book.

We see a glimpse of each of them enjoying life in their own way.

Children are happy and free to flap their wings of imagination and go on adventures.

It's like a fairytale that such a country exists.


Book 『Let's Go - - Ga je mee?』

Charlotte Dematone
Nozaka Etsuko
Bronze New Company



DAYS/ Satoko Kumagai Column

Kicks from Books

Different ways of thinking about "work"