top of page


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.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • note
なんにもおきない まほうのいちにち


DAYS/ Satoko Kumagai Column

Kicks from Books

On a Magical Do-Nothing Day


“What about a break from your game?”

How many times have I said these words to my sons?

Don't you have anything better to do than play games?

Apparently nothing.

They play games so much, I've made them take lessons and get a dog, but all they do is play games.


 The boy of "On a Magical Do-Nothing Day"

There is a house that his mom and he go to every time we go on vacation.

It's deep in the woods and it's always raining.

Every day, his mom sits idle and writes on her computer, but all he can do is play games.

But she tells me not to play games all the time.

There is nothing else he want to do but play games,

What on earth is he supposed to do in the rainy forest?


The outside of my house was filled with boredom.

The boy thought so.

The swamp water is so cold I can hardly breathe, and the rain is patting my back.

The snail's buds are jelly-like.

I miss the smell of mushrooms. The smell of my grandfather's shed.

The sound of drums echoes in the background. It is the sound of my heart.


The moment I step outside the house and come into contact with the world, my senses are awakened.

At first, I was lonely, as if I were trapped in a gloomy forest.

I realized the richness of the forest, which I thought was nothing at all,

Like a door opening one after another, I encounter and connect with the world.

To realize the certainty of the world is to realize one's own existence.

We know ourselves not only in relation to nature, but also relative to others.

How much of the world are we exposed to in this digital age?

How much of ourselves do we feel certain about who we are?


When I return home after my adventure, I see my father's reflection in the mirror.

I share the silence of the room and the smell of hot chocolate with my mom.

It was the best day of my life.


Book 『On a Magical Do-Nothing Day』

Author Beatrice Alemagna

Trancelator Eiko Sekiguchi

Japanese edition

ナンティー・ソロ 子どもたちを鳥にかえたひと


DAYS/ Satoko Kumagai Column

Kicks from Books



The name Nanty Solo is a beautiful name.

Nanty" has a familiar sound, and "Solo," which means "alone," is also good.

The mysteriously named Nanty Solo is said to be able to turn children into birds.

Perhaps he is based on a real person?

What does it mean to turn them into birds?


Laura Carlin, who illustrates the book, won the Bologna Ragazzi Prize for Excellence in Fiction for her debut novel, "The Iron Man".

In "King of the Sky", Carlin depicts a child's emotional contact with another person, and the way he or she learns to be himself or herself and spreads his or her wings in a beautifully light, tender, yet not overbearing style.

Who better to illustrate "Nanty Solo: The Woman Who Turned Children into Birds" than Laura Carlin?


One day, a woman named Nanty Solo appears in town,

Nanty Solo, a woman who appeared in town one day, claimed that she could turn children into birds.

The adults not only did not believe her, but were alarmed and tried to keep the children away from her.

But some children still approach.

They may not be able to suppress their curiosity, or they may be able to see the truth.

The adults were increasingly afraid and panicked when they saw the children flying freely and humming songs, leaving the adults behind.

Oh, yes. To be free is so frightening.

It must feel good to be free to flap your wings.

It would be fun to sing a beautiful song.

Even though I think so, I can't imagine myself being able to do the same.

That is what it means to be an adult.

It is very difficult to be free.

But is it really so?

Do we truly believe that we can be free?

Who was Nanty Solo?

Where is she now?

Can no one be her?



Text|David Almond

Japanese text|Yukiko Hiromatsu

Illustration|Laura Carlin

Japanese edition Published by BL shuppan



DAYS/ Satoko Kumagai Column

Kicks from Books



The first spread that appears when you turn the cover of a book is called the facing.
The facing, which connects the cover and the text, shows the ingenuity of the designer.
The designers' ingenuity can be seen in the facing.
A plain white turnip with no printing on it is refreshing and gives a sense of spaciousness, while a special color paper or single-color printing that matches the image of the book is also good.
The special paper and monochromatic printing are also good.
Mayonaka no Yuenchi" is printed in four colors, just like the text.
The prologue begins on the back of the book.
Animals are behind the trees. Several trucks are entering the brightly lit plaza.
What do these strange-shaped objects do?
This picture book is a story from the point of view of the animals in the forest.
There are no words. It is a picture book without words.


The truck brings a mobile amusement park.
During the day, it is crowded with people.
It is time for the animals.
Neon lights glittering, popcorn bouncing.
Coffee cups spinning round and round. ......
The fantastic expression of light and shadow is enchanting.
You can almost hear the music and the cheers, the dynamic pictures.
This and that goes on and on.
Surely an amusement park in the middle of the night would be more wonderful.
Fun that humans don't know about. I envy the animals!


When the sky begins to turn white, the fun is over.
It's time to take turns with the humans. But there are traces of intruders here and there.
When you think about it, the animals have gotten used to it.
I can only assume that the dog hot dog vendor is a real job.
They cleaned up and brought back souvenirs.
It's not like this is their first time playing in an amusement park.
Maybe humans and animals share more than we think.
And animals are taking back with them what humans have created.
In forests, mountains, rivers.
Perhaps even to places where humans have never set foot.
Through many things, humans influence the environment.
We are probably influenced by animals as well.
The mobile amusement park is leaving.
Compare the first look back to the last look back.
The truck appears to have left without leaving anything behind.
Nothing left behind.
But it will come back someday.
And the animals know it.



Text|Gideon Sterer
Illustration|Mariachiara Di Giorgio
BL publishing



DAYS/ Satoko Kumagai Column

Kicks from Books



The year 2022 is coming to an end.

What a long year it has been!

The Corona disaster, rather than ending, has entered its eighth wave.

Russia invaded Ukraine during the Beijing Winter Olympics.

A former prime minister was assassinated during the House of Councillors election.

A coup attempt in Germany during the World Cup.

The year 2022 is drawing to a close, and there is no end in sight to the various events that are taking place.

Still, one can't help but hope that something will change as the year progresses.

I can't help but have such expectations.

May 2023 be a good year for you.


Half a century ago, in 1973.

A woman set out on an adventure to travel around the world on a motorcycle.

Anne-France d'Hauteville.

She was 28 years old.

She want to go to an unknown place.

With a little luggage, she got on her 125cc Kawasaki motorcycle and

leaving Paris, she had to deal with motorcycle breakdowns, storms, and

She overcame many difficulties, such as motorcycle breakdowns and storms, and crossed the world in four months.

Anne's motorcycle travelogue was a big hit in France.

She wrote in her book, 


-I want the world to be beautiful, and it is.I want people to be good, and they are good people. The world is so beautiful.


“GIRL ON A MOTORCYCLE“ is modeled on Anne-France d'Hauteville.

“Louise Bourgeois, Sculptor of Threads and Spiders" 

(Nishimura Shoten) and other biographical stories.

Julie Morstad's drawings are delicate and soft, light yet strong.

I imagine that the silk scarf around Anne's neck must have fluttered in the wind like this.

In an era when women's participation in society was not yet as rapid as it is today, how many women were given the courage to make their own way in the world?

I wonder how many women were encouraged by these scarves.

And to motorcyclists, too.


Half a century ago, there were women who set out in search of freedom.

The world was bright and open.

Some of the places Anne ran through have completely changed.

Some places will never be seen by anyone again.

Still, I want the world to be beautiful.

I continue to hope that human beings are good.

May 2023 be a good year.



Text | Amy Novesky

Illustrations | Julie Morstad

Translation | Kazue Yokoyama




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.

すきなものみっつ なあに


DAYS/ Satoko Kumagai Column

Kicks from Books

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

Kicks from Books




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

Kicks from Books

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

Kicks from Books

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

Kicks from Books

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.