Spirit of Kyoto and the Modern Life
The book tells story of Chieko, a young woman who was abandoned by her parents when she was young. Her parents just left her in front of a shop, until she was adopted by merchants. During that time, it was shamefull to be orphan in Japan.
In the mountains surrounding Kyoto, she meets a mysterious girl Naoko, who looks just like her, and who turns out to be a twin. In the old Japanese tradition, it was shamefull to be an orphan, but it was also shamefull to be a twin. But more stronger than the painfull and difficult circumstances are wish of friendship and longing for a long lost sister.
Yasunari Kawabata's Kyoto still touches. The book is one of the most famous pieces of Japanese contemporary literature. He describes Kyoto in such a natural yet lyrical way. Isn't the way how Kawabata describes the friendship of the two girls in a way symbol for past and present of Kyoto? Love, as well as seasons in this book is fleeting. Spring is short, and one must accept the passage of seasons.
Kyoto's temples which are favored by foreign visitors are described so beautifully. After reading this book, I really found a new beauty and symbolism to the temples like Kiyomizu. It is still possible to find the similar atmosphere from Kyoto as described in the book.
The story peaks in last chapter "Winter flowers". In the winter scenery, Chieko finds finally peace next to her sister. And gentle snow falls over the old imperial city.