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Forest #1

The Easy Life in Kamusari

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From Shion Miura, the award-winning author of The Great Passage, comes a rapturous novel where the contemporary and the traditional meet amid the splendor of Japan’s mountain way of life.

Yuki Hirano is just out of high school when his parents enroll him, against his will, in a forestry training program in the remote mountain village of Kamusari. No phone, no internet, no shopping. Just a small, inviting community where the most common expression is “take it easy.”

At first, Yuki is exhausted, fumbles with the tools, asks silly questions, and feels like an outcast. Kamusari is the last place a city boy from Yokohama wants to spend a year of his life. But as resistant as he might be, the scent of the cedars and the staggering beauty of the region have a pull.

Yuki learns to fell trees and plant saplings. He begins to embrace local festivals, he’s mesmerized by legends of the mountain, and he might be falling in love. In learning to respect the forest on Mt. Kamusari for its majestic qualities and its inexplicable secrets, Yuki starts to appreciate Kamusari’s harmony with nature and its ancient traditions.

In this warm and lively coming-of-age story, Miura transports us from the trappings of city life to the trials, mysteries, and delights of a mythical mountain forest.

205 pages, Kindle Edition

First published May 15, 2009

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About the author

Shion Miura

68 books264 followers
Shion Miura (三浦しをん) (1976–) , daughter of a well-known Japanese classics scholar, acquired her love of reading at a very young age. When, as a senior in the Faculty of Letters at Waseda University, she began her job hunt looking for an editorial position, a literary agent recognized her writing talent and hired her to begin writing an online book review column even before she graduated. Miura made her fiction debut a year after finishing college, in 2000, when she published the novel Kakuto suru mono ni maru (A Passing Grade for Those Who Fight), based in part on her own experiences during the job hunt. When she won the Naoki Prize in 2006 for her linked-story collection Mahoro ekimae Tada Benriken (The Handymen in Mahoro Town), she had not yet reached her 30th birthday—an unusually young age for this prize; in fact it was her second nomination. Her novels since then include the 2006 Kaze ga tsuyoku fuiteiru (The Wind Blows Hard), about the annual Ekiden long-distance relay race in which universities compete, and the 2010 Kogure-so monogatari (The Kogure Apartments), depicting the lives of people dwelling in an old rundown wooden-frame apartment house. In 2012 she received the Booksellers Award for the novel Fune o amu (The Great Passage), a tale about compiling a dictionary. A manga aficionado, Miura has declared herself a particular fan of the "boys' love" subgenre about young homosexual encounters.

Source: http://www.booksfromjapan.jp/authors/...

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5 stars
1,367 (31%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 528 reviews
Profile Image for Tim.
476 reviews616 followers
May 13, 2022
Years ago I read the author's book translated into English, The Great Passage, and loved it. It somehow made the seemingly mundane job of writing a dictionary fascinating. I loved the main characters and seeing their dynamics evolve. All around that book was a major success. Here she takes another less glamorous job (forestry) and makes a charming slice of life novel about it (though this time with a touch of magical realism).

The novel follows Yuki who leaves (more like kicked out) of his family's home and takes a job in forestry (Somewhat taken hostage? Whose to say…). He chronicles his year of training and the various going ons of the village of Kamusari.

While Yuki is clearly our lead character, I would argue that the book is really more about the Kamusari itself than him, and that he is just our eyes to this strange little village. Kamusari uses modern technology (well, somewhat) but seems very stuck in the past. Some of its traditions are honestly a bit… well, unpleasant, but for the most part the book plays in a very relaxed and, well, easy going pace.

Overall I found this an enjoyable read. It's not a truly great read, but it's rather comedic, relaxing and fun. Fun, but not quite as good as The Great Passage. I debated between three and four stars, but decided to go the higher rating as fun wins me over quite frequently. 4/5 stars
Profile Image for Liong.
132 reviews83 followers
October 9, 2022
This is my first book by Shion Miura.

I met this book accidentally when looking for Japanese fiction storybooks.

I started reading the reviews and comments of my Goodreads friends and others before I decided to read it.

When I read this book I felt like I was truly in a green forest surrounded by trees, streams, wild animals, fresh air, nice people, special festivals, stars, the moon, and so many things.

Now I have a better picture of people living amid the forest and it is different lives compared with city life.

I enjoyed reading page by page and every moment of the story.

I will continue to read her other written books soon.
Profile Image for Henk.
851 reviews
August 22, 2021
Sweet slices of life in the forestry business, simply written but with the same compelling aesthetic and love of nature as a Miyazaki movie

A fun short book on a student being sent away to mountainous Japan to take up forestry in a small village. I do feel this book is very simply written, which might in part be from translation, but had quite a lot of fun while reading it.

Yuki Hirano is send from Yokohama to a small village, Kamusari, to work in subsidized forestry. Initially his response is resistance but soon he starts to become part of the community and he settles into the rhythm of tending to the forest throughout the seasons. Surprisingly a lot of Japanese culture comes back in the book, a lot even unknown to the urban narrator of the book. Quite striking at the start of the book is for instance the term Shirikodama - a soulball located in the anus according to the villagers. I felt jealous for the giant onigiri that Yuki has a lunch everyday and the believe in spirits, rituals and traditions is certainly a major component to the book. Another part that takes prominent place is forestry itself, something I am not super into, but definitely requires a lot more care and attention than one imagines.

Yuki is quite fortunate in his placement in an area with 6 million trees on the land of one person, in an overall declining industry within Japan. Even his very vocational teaching and presence in the mountain village is due to the Japanese government subsidizing an otherwise shrinking workforce in the region.

The forest festivals involve some pretty theme park like rituals and overall I kind of had the feel of Spirited Away in a book. However the right to sleep with any woman as a prize to a festival is very icky (even if not enforced) and it’s clear old school gender relations are still prevalent in the community.

Traditions and rituals govern life and give a sense of belonging, which clearly is something aspirational to many office workers. An interesting get away to a very different world, I enjoyed The Easy Life in Kamusari, even if the pace was not very high and the language not something to specifically write home about.
Profile Image for L.S. Popovich.
Author 2 books323 followers
June 23, 2021
The Easy Life in Kamusari is an easy read. It is compulsively readable, and I loved it.

It is one of the most pleasant novels I have read in my life. It is not as humorous as Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods, but it is frequently chuckle-inducing.

Read it, learn about Japanese tradition, history, and the great beauty of the wilderness, which above all, is a reflection of inner beauty, the same inner beauty hidden within human beings, concealed by the smog of city life, like a particulate cloud ensconces our modern minds and bodies - distraction, a sort of blindness. To immerse yourself in this green-hued story, to work with your hands alongside the protagonist, through all of the agonizingly detailed forestry implementation and day-to-day administration, is to rediscover a primordial love, harmony, and lust for life. It is a balanced tale, flowing as effortlessly as a leisurely river, the product of a wise and gentle writer who does not resort to literary writing in all of its egotistical indulgence.

It depicts the clash between a modern urban city youth within an unpandering forest community, where he learns to trust himself, others, and appreciate the fruitful and rewarding life he was prepared to ignore along with the bulk of contemporary homo sapiens. A brilliant and moving and unforgettable reading experience.

It is not slick or daring, except in the incredible level of fidelity to actual rural life in Japan. A breath of fresh air, an escape and antidote from the self-absorbed fiction produced in reams daily over the last hundred years.
Profile Image for Dona.
534 reviews89 followers
July 16, 2022
This is an elegant hero's story with a simple, irresistible unrequited love thread. The writing was magical and the translation did the book such merit. I enjoyed this lighthearted, youthful caper immensely.

Books which illustrate diverse characters and settings are in vogue right now, and THE EASY LIFE is a beautiful example of such a book. I was enthralled with the mountain and the tiny agricultural town Hirano, the protagonist, finds himself in for the summer.

"I'll get to that."
One of the things I really enjoyed about this book was the form. Miura wrote it as though the book were composed of a few really long journal entries written by Hirano. Because of this form, Hirano often directly addresses the reader, maximizes his vulnerability, or leverages other techniques that heighten the reader's experience of the book.

I listened to this book on Audible and loved the book for this medium. It was perfectly exciting, being read aloud. Because Winters Carpenter handled the translation so deftly, nothing gets lost in listening.

I can't wait to start the second book; in fact I've already downloaded it. This is unusual for me to move on to a second book in a series. I don't normally do this on principle--so many books, so little time, I usually won't read more than one about the same plot and characters!

But this one...

Rating 5 stars
Finished July 2022, starting the 2nd book
Recommended for fans of contemporary pop fiction and contemporary pop romance, and readers interested in contemporary Japanese writers/voices and diverse characters/settings
Profile Image for Lynda.
204 reviews82 followers
February 5, 2022
Rating – 3.5 stars
Author – Japan
Genre – Coming of Age

For the record, I LUV MY JOB! For the last three years I have worked in forestry. I have spent significant time with various crews throughout the country and am hugely respectful of the work they perform. A lot of the work these days is mechanised, but the manual tree faller still exists, albeit in smaller numbers. One of my most memorable assignments was spending 6 weeks with manual tree fallers in our managed forest plantations.

[Me out with a tree faller]

Manual tree falling is demanding work both physically and psychologically. Toughness and endurance in the face of uncomfortable working conditions is widely valued in the industry culture. It requires a great deal of skill and experience, understanding the tree, realising how actions can lead to particular results, and refining techniques used as required. Manual tree fallers do their job with such pride, such mana, and I am in awe of their abilities. They view their world as unpredictable, and always, ALWAYS listen, look, identify or anticipate in advance. They respect the forest, understand it, pay attention to it, and have an innate sense of how it changes.

It was because of this background that I chose to read The Easy Life in Kamusari. I wanted to see how the life of forestry was portrayed and whether it was faithful to what actually happens in the bush.

The Easy Life in Kamusari is a coming of age story about Yuki Hirano, a student fresh out high school in Yokohama city, Japan. With grades that aren't great, and with no further desire to study, neither his parents nor teachers ever suggested college. Instead, Yuki saw himself as a “freeter”- a temp worker. His parents, wanting more for their son, secretly sign Yuki up for a government-sponsored program called Green Employment. Yuki is accepted into the program and is allocated to work with a forestry crew (Nakamura Lumber) in the small rural community of Kamusari, located deep in the mountains. It is here that Yuki's education truly begins. He learns about all aspects of forestry; planting, pruning, thinning, harvesting, land preparation and clearance, and soon learns to respect the formidable landscape. Yuki begins to appreciate his life outside of the city and takes comfort in the serenity of the mountains.

I enjoyed this book. Narrated by Yuki in a fairly light-hearted manner, there is a more serious side given to the forestry industry and its role in relation to nature and the environment.

I understand The Easy Life in Kamusari was adapted into a film in 2014 titled ”WOOD JOB!”. I’m now on the hunt to track it down.
Profile Image for Anissa.
860 reviews258 followers
June 10, 2022
This was a sweet little book. A recent aimless high school graduate is shipped off to a remote mountain town by his mother to learn forestry. Told through the young man's journal, the town's people are initially quirky, the job impossible and all he can think of is escape. There's also an elusive and crushworthy girl so his existence he decides isn't entirely bleak. But that's all mere backstory to me because what really charmed me about this book was the trees and the tending to them. I have a short list of fiction books that have to do with trees and forests and the care or mistreatment of them and I was in the mood for one so this more than filled the bill. It was interesting and relaxing and just the read I needed.

I may read the second book. Recommended if you're in need of a slow, easy and calming read.

Profile Image for Rose.
264 reviews113 followers
September 26, 2021
I have just read The Easy Life in Kamusari by Shion Miura, Juliet Winters Carpenter (Translator)

The main character Yuki Hirano has just finished high school, and his parents enroll him in a Forestry program in rural Japan.

This is a young adult story that is very simple and engaging.

A Quick read, with an interesting story.

Thank you to Goodreads, Author Shion Miura, and Amazon Crossing for my advanced copy to read and review.

Profile Image for verbava.
978 reviews102 followers
July 14, 2022
напрочуд затишна історія про японське лісництво.

головного героя напів обманом, напів примусом запроторюють працювати у відрізане від цивілізації гірське село, і спершу він сильно брикається, але згодом починає відчувати, що серед дерев, лісників і духів йому якось домашніше, ніж у попередньому житті. принаймні тут ніхто не намагається відіслати його на край світу (і не тому, що більшого краю світу годі шукати).
Profile Image for Vidhi.
152 reviews16 followers
September 16, 2022
I really enjoyed this sweet slice of Japanese countryside. Yuki, the narrator, was a pretty interesting point of view and I thought the supporting characters were all very cool to read about. I especially liked the stories with Santa. He was just too cute

4/5 stars
Profile Image for Krystal.
1,454 reviews364 followers
September 22, 2022
I really loved the narrator of the audio, and I liked the idea of the story, but ultimately I was kinda bored by it.

It's set in the tiny village of Kamusari, where Yuki is sent to work for a year after finishing school. His parents hope it will help him find his way a little, learn discipline etc. Naturally he's very resistant at first but soon finds himself settling into the more relaxed lifestyle of the village.

The majority of the book details forestry work, and the rest is spent on festivals (SO. MANY. FESTIVALS.) and Yuki's lil crush on Nao, all of which excited very little interest in me I'm afraid. So content-wise, not really a lot to interest me.

What I did love, however, was the characters. There were so many vibrant personalities and I think the narrator did an excellent job of portraying each with their individual quirks without going out of his way to do ridiculous voices. It ended up being a lot of fun to lose myself in the discussions and arguments between the characters and imagine them all with their unique camaraderie.

I also did really love the idea of this quiet way of life, and that 'getting back to nature' vibe but I felt like this story didn't quite deliver on it. Yuki was too distracted by Nao and I felt that when he took the time to appreciate nature it really just went on for too long.

-great idea
-average execution
-fantastic characters
-doing mundane things
-teenage drama
-excellent audio presentation

Loved the authenticity in the narration - some of those Japanese words looked very challenging so it was nice to hear them pronounced flawlessly out loud!

Those with a better attention span than I may get more details out of this story and so appreciate it more, but for me it was just okay, and mostly saved by the audio.
Profile Image for meikoyim.
238 reviews
February 16, 2013
I bought it since late March, shortly after it was published. I have an issue of buying books quicker than I can read them, so there's always a massive pile of 'to read's in some corner. Paperback or digital.

It's a strange little story, it makes me laugh and cry, and often both at once. Most of the time, it makes me smile unstoppably. It is the story of another teenager, also 17. A Japanese boy left the city and started working deep in the woods, as a lumberjack, living with a strange group of people in a faraway village.

I can totally understand why Miyazaki thought of making it into an animation/movie. I can also understand why he chose not to in the end. Even though I do hope he changes his mind again. This story does fit his style of story telling.

This book is strangely enthralling, I picked it up at 3 this morning thinking "I'll go to bed after 20 pages" then it became 40, 60, and eventually a chapter.

And then I didn't put it down till half past 8, when I actually finished the whole book. I have a course to give in one hour, but strangely I don't mind. I feel good. This is one of them books that makes you feel good about life after reading it.

It's not available in English yet, though I hope it will be soon. :)

Profile Image for Mobyskine.
906 reviews114 followers
May 23, 2022
One of my wishlist to read and super glad that I decided to get it last month. This was such an enjoyable lifestyle and contemporary fiction that I love; the vibe reminds me a lot to both Sweet Bean Paste and There's No Such Thing As An Easy Job that I've read previously.

Imagine to just graduating high school and to get enroll into a forestry training program by your parents against your will and to be sent away to live in a remote mountain village that you have never heard before. Welcome to a daily life of Yuki Hirano living in the mountain village of Kamusari. He gets to stay under the roof of a young couple-- Yoki and Miho with an old granny Shige and a white fluffy dog Noko and to start as an intern at Nakamura Lumber; learning on forestry and woodsman works.

A heartwarming coming-of-age narrative to me-- totally in love with Yuki's way of narrating his days in Kamusari. It was so interestingly told, too witty (I love Yuki's mom; she was so bold and wicked!) and descriptive. The development was neatly structured in 5 parts with such an atmospheric and cozily aesthetic setting. I was so invested with both the characters and plot, and the beauty of nature in Kamusari-- love how the mythical mountain's legend reminds me to our folklore of 𝘣𝘶𝘯𝘪𝘢𝘯 (Santa to get spirited away was one of my fav scene). Fancy all the forestry talk (that was so detailed!) and the village community; though with few conflicts and Yuki's personal hurdles, it enthralls me still.

The characters were among the best bunch I've read in a fiction; their friendship and trust, the affection and how they taught me on respect, appreciation and love both to human and nature. I get to experience the change of seasons and the mesmerising festivals of its local culture and traditions, also of having that love at first sight moment for Yuki :')) (𝘯𝘢𝘢-𝘯𝘢𝘢, Yuki!)

Such a simple plot with an appealing and delightful themes, one that I might re-read just for its comfort (I should get book 2 from the series later). Definitely one of my memorable and fav reads this year, 5 stars to this!
Profile Image for Melanie.
552 reviews291 followers
January 1, 2022
This was a quick read. I said it reminded me of a favourite Japanese movie called Wood Job and that would be because the movie is based on this novel. And probably also why I read this so quick.
Profile Image for David.
Author 4 books74 followers
November 9, 2021
What I liked best about this book was its originality, and by that I mean the setting in a forestry village on a sacred mountain, with all its uniquely Japanese customs and traditions. I've never read a novel quite like this, and partly for that reason it was a transporting experience. (The incredible movie Himatsuri, based on a novel by Kenji Nakagami, takes place in a similar community, but is much darker and more serious than this story.)

Despite all the interesting and well-observed happenings in the novel, though, and also some of the intriguing supernatural events that occurred (spiritings-away, visions of mountain gods, etc.), overall I found the narrator more annoying than charming (which he seemed straining to be at times). His love interest seemed forced, and in the end carried no real weight for me, and the same could probably be said about a number of scenes in the novel. The dog was a good character. I liked good old Noko.
Profile Image for 【Afi】 (WhatAfiReads).
416 reviews317 followers
November 2, 2022
There's a sort of tranquility with this book that made me can't forget it at all. It was a 4.5 stars at first but the more I think about it, the more I feel that I had been super invested in this story, to a point that it opened my eyes to a lot of things, especially in the forestry industry, and hence, it became a 5🌟 read, solely because I can't seem to get over the book at all.

"The mountains are different every single day. Moment by moment, a tree grows or withers. The changes may be subtle, but if you miss those subtle signs, you can’t grow healthy trees and you can’t maintain the woodlands in optimum condition.

There's something about Shion Miura's works that just... hits.
Its calming and provides you a sense of tranquility whilst reading it, and paired with the super witty narrative of the main character, I had found myself just enjoying every single moment in this book, from the very beginning that Yuki was 'thrown' to Kamusari to work in the forestry industry, to how he slowly fell in love with the culture, with the people and taking an appreciation to the mountains and forests.

One of the things that you'll find respect to Shion Miura, is that, she had done an extensive research on the forestry industry in Japan, and especially had interviewed multiple people who are currently working in the Mie Perfecture , as a resonance and reference to Kamusari, as it is an imaginary place that had been built by the author but had taken the references from mountains in the Mie prefecture. I found myself looking at the lens of an industry that is not by all means fabulous, but has its own importance, as without anyone working on the forests in our countries, there wouldn't be any nature and mountains left. The environmental aspects had left me just appreciating mother nature more, and paired with Miura's descriptive writing, its like I was there with Yuki, experiencing every single moment with him.

Miura had also included various aspects such as culture and beliefs especially when you're living in a village that is deep in the mountains. There are things that I can actually relate with some of the Malay beliefs such as 'bunian' and the belief that there are other spirits besides humans that lives in the mountains. I loved that we get super invested in the stories and that we somehow are growing with Yuki as a character as well.

Miura's writing is easy-to-read and serves the readers a sense of tranquility that I can't explain, but love dearly. Its a book that you can pick up at a time you need something light and something that can put a smile on your face. A book that had made me appreciate our forests more and had opened up discussions on the environment and especially the importance of management of forestry and mountains to be able to sustain the environment and Earth for the future to come.

“You can’t go around planting trees wherever you feel like it and then just forget about them,” said Iwao. “You’ve got to think in terms of the cycle. Not doing any maintenance, just letting things go—that’s not ‘nature.’ You’ve got to help the cycle along, keep the mountain in shape, and that’s how you preserve nature.”

Highly recommended!
Profile Image for Christian.
154 reviews30 followers
June 11, 2018
A nice little story. Yuuki just finished high school and has no plan what to do next, but surprise! His parents decided to send him to Kamusari, a little village in Mie prefecture, to work in forestry. Somehow he accepts his fate and despite the initial hardships, he slowly comes to like the work, the place and its people.

There's definitely a beauty in this simple story: connecting with nature, old traditions, "simpler times". On the other hand, it doesn't take long to lose the feel of reality. Right at the beginning, I wonder how his parents could so coldly send him to work for a year in some remote place without even asking him. He's a bit upset at first, but we don't touch on his relationship with his parents at all. It's just like in a fairy tale: the point is that he was sent to work in the forest and don't think too much about it. He meets a girl and she doesn't seem interested throughout, but you'll never guess what happens at the end. Ditching all modern values has some drawbacks: all women are housewives, for the festival they cook while the men go up the mountain, cut a tree and freaking ride it down to the village! Anyway, she makes it easy for us by setting the fairy-tale tone early on and it's like alright, it's just a feel-good story.
Profile Image for Dana.
683 reviews9 followers
November 7, 2021
The Easy Life In Kamusari is an engaging coming of age story. I have found such a love for translated books over the last year!

Yuki Hirano is just out of highschool. He's in that transitional period in every young adults life. Coming to terms with being finished school, and processing what's next. Only he isn't given the opportunity to choose because his parents have decided to enroll him in a forestry training program. Little does he know he'll also lose access to some of his comforts, like phone and internet...

Upon his arrival, Yuki is questioning everything. Especially what to expect in the remote mountain village of Kamusari. But time and knowledge begins to change his mindset and Yuki actually starts to accept the calm village life.

This was a strange and enjoyable story. I found the plot to be original and the characters very unique. My favorite was the change in Yuki from the beginning to end, his personal growth. He found confidence and started to believe in himself and that was really beautiful.

Huge thank you to Over The River PR and Amazon Publishing for my gifted copy!
Profile Image for Jeshika Paperdoll.
53 reviews10 followers
July 10, 2021
This story follows Yuki, a young man fresh out of highschool, who is sent away by his parents to study forestry in the mountains. At first Yuki is disgruntled and desperate to return to the city, but as time goes by he begins to embrace the calm village life.

This book is a blend of slice-of-life, comedy and folklore that all round feels like an anime. Vivid descriptions, wacky humourous characters and events with a little sprinkle of magical realism. A charm of a reading experience which I would highly recommend. Shion Miura is a master of her craft and I hope we see more of her works translated in the future.

For fans of: Relaxing vibes, vivid descriptions, mild magical realism/folklore/traditions, rural life.

~ I received an e-ARC of this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to NetGalley&&AmazonCrossing. :)
Profile Image for Lata.
3,609 reviews192 followers
March 25, 2022
I loved this book of episodes of daily life at a bucolic forestry village in Japan’s mountains.

Young, callow youth Yuki is sent to the village of Kamusari for work by his mother. He’s initially poked fun at as he’s from the city, but as he becomes accustomed to the work and rhythm of the village he is accepted and enjoys his time there. He also developed a crush on a primary school teacher Nao, who is hopelessly in love with another.

Not that much happens in this story, but it’s charming and soothing reading.
Profile Image for Angel 一匹狼.
745 reviews43 followers
November 17, 2018
I am fast becoming a fan of Miura. My first book, "月魚", was a nice surprise, a little story about two men, their relationship and their world. "神去なあなあ日常" is a very different book, but it is as engaging as "月魚".

Curiously, one of the things I like most of "神去なあなあ日常" is that, even if it centers a lot on feelings and quirky situations, and silliness, and an obvious love for tradition and old Japan, it feels in many ways as if it was written by a very different writer than "月魚". Here the style is less contemplative, more humorous, tongue-in-cheek, and with lots of funny and silly situations.

We have poor Yuki, with apparent no future and sent to the middle of nowhere by his tutor and his mother, to work in the forestry industry. He is not very happy about it, but pretty soon things start to pile up and surprising developments make him rethink about his life, his believes and his future.

"神去なあなあ日常" is a breezy affair, a very superficial looking (but not really) novel that just tries to entertain the reader. And, heck if it does. Miura's writing style is amazing, it doesn't let the reader down, and keeps things so non-stop and so entertaining that it is impossible to put the book down. The love for the characters is easy to see in every page and even what could be silly explanations about woods and the forestry industry become engaging explanations that will make you want to go into your neighbor little wood to help clean it up. Miura has a knack for making you care for the characters and feel they are old friends.

The best: writing style, characters, plot development, it is pretty original; Miura is the real deal

The worst: it overstays a little bit its welcome; you know it is pandering to the 'the countryside life is better than the city's' crowd

Other options: "月魚", for now, is the best. Another great book by Miura, and with amazing characters and atmosphere.


(Original Japanese)
Profile Image for MiM Metwally.
454 reviews46 followers
April 28, 2023
Another book I discovered through Kindle free books. ِA coming of age story about a young Japanese being forced by his parents to move to a mountain community and work in the foresting business, and how he morphes from rejecting this way of life to embracing it and becoming a full member of the community, the journey goes through his personal transformation of his world view and looking at life without the flood of material possessions of life in the city.

Should be a 3 stars, but I'm taking away one star for the many details about foresting and wood work in the book, it was too much for me

Profile Image for Paulette.
354 reviews5 followers
April 6, 2023
This is a lovely charming coming of age story masterfully translated by Juliet Winters Carpenter. Yuki was a less than stellar student and after high school at age 18 had no ambitions. One of his teachers in Yokohama found him a job as a trainee forester based in Kamusari, a remote mountain village. As one might expect, Yuki initially had quite a hard time with the isolation and the work. He starts to keep a diary of his thoughts and experiences as his year of training progresses. This is a gentle book with memorable characters and some very funny situations. I found it hard to put down as I followed Yuki as he made a place for himself in Kamusari.
Profile Image for Ecem Yücel.
Author 3 books112 followers
October 17, 2021
Many thanks to NetGalley and AmazonCrossing for the ARC of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Yuki, who hasn’t worked hard a day in his life and has no plans for his future after graduating high school, is forced by his parents to leave his home in Yokohama to go to Kamusari and take a job there as a forestry trainee. The small community in Kamusari whose motto is “take it easy” first strikes Yuki as boring without any mobile phones, internet, shopping centers as well as weird due to the scarcity of public transportation that can carry him back to Yokohama. At first, he finds his job very hard, and not as his cup of tea since he lacks physical strength, knowledge, and experience. But after a few failed attempts to escape, working with his small but efficient forestry team teaches him how a good, honest day’s work, as well as nature’s beauty, can fill the emptiness in him and help him become a man. After some time, finding himself a true home there, Yuki works very hard to become one of the Kamusari people, mesmerized by the religious myths, local festivals, the people and the beauty of Kamusari, and a girl named Nao.

I really loved reading this book. The descriptions of the forestry work, the nature, the myths, and the easygoing village people gave me a sense of freshness and peace. One may expect the descriptions of forestry work can be boring, but I was intrigued thanks to the authors writing style. If you like slow-paced stories woven with nature imagery, a slice of life, and cultural elements, then this book is for you.
Profile Image for The Sassy Bookworm.
3,370 reviews2,306 followers
February 6, 2022


This was a really sweet little story about a young man forced by his parents to spend a year in a small village working in the forestry industry. Over that year, the author introduces us to a cast of quirky villagers. A beautiful and serene setting, and Japanese customs, myths, and celebrations. A simply written book that packs a heartwarming punch. My only niggle is that it ends abruptly. There is some confusion on if this is book 1 in a series, or just a standalone. So perhaps there is more to come for Yuki Hirano and the gang of villagers?

**ARC Via NetGalley**
Profile Image for Heather.
403 reviews28 followers
May 9, 2022
A touching novel that will be appreciated by those who love nature.
Yuki, having graduated from high school, is booted from his home in the city and sent to work for the government in forestry in an extremely remote village in Japan. He decides to document his first year as a forester in the small village of Kamusari. Descriptions of festivals, small town interactions, growing relationships and the hard work of a forester abound. It's a big transition! I especially appreciated Yuki's admiration of the beautiful plants, land, wildlife, water and air that surround him in his new environment.
Profile Image for Annika Unterberger.
320 reviews6 followers
August 28, 2022
You know the sales Amazon sometimes has where they basically give ebooks away for free? I got The easy life in Kamusari through one of those sales and therefore knew next to nothing about it. Not the best way to go about buying books but what will you do?

Anyway, imagine my surprise when I found out it was about forestry.

And then imagine my surprise when I found myself actually enjoying it!

We follow Yuki Hirano, a young good-for-nothing student, who gets shipped of to a small mountain village named Kamusari to work as a trainee in forestry. At first Yuki just wants to get back to his life in the big city but over time the people, the work, and the mountains themselves work their way to his heart.

The depiction of everyday life in Kamusari is interesting and charming really and Yuki himself is relatable and we’re slowly learning with him.

After reading you will definitely feel the urge to take a walk through the woods!

—> 3,5 stars
456 reviews29 followers
December 19, 2021
Some people call this book soothing, but I found it a bit boring to be honest... Characters are rather flat, the plot is predictable. Not all literature has to be innovative, but I need at least some stimulation. It did not help that I am not particularly fascinated by the lumber and logging industry.
Profile Image for Showering.
136 reviews4 followers
May 20, 2022
✨The Easy Life in Kamusari✨

In my personal opinion I enjoy this kind of laidback story about the journey of the mc. I stumble upon this book while I was browsing books at Kinokuniya last month. The first time I saw this book, I'm hooked but I stay calm and didn't buy it straight away. When the second time I came and I still saw this book, I know I definitely need to read it. I am not regretting the money spend on buying this book.

"I walked along in a trance, all but forgetting why we had come, thinking, I want to stay here forever."

What I love about this book
❤️ The simple yet beautiful writing describing in detail of Kamusari Village & also the forestry business. It is not just about Yuki Hirano journey but it is also to bring us, the readers along with the journey in Kamusari & learn more about forestry business.
❤️ You know how much I'm in love with books that bring me some benefits. I learn many things about forestry when I read this book such as how to decide which trees to cut down or why do we need site preparation before planting. It may seem not relatable or unimportant but for me it is a big deal especially because we live in urban city with a little knowledge about forestry. So reading this informative book about forestry really open up my eyes more. Other than forestry, we learn about the culture in Japan, specifically in Kamusari. We learn about the custom, the festivals and rituals.
❤️ We do have mc growth development in here 😮‍💨😮‍💨 We can see how much changes he gone through, the way he adapting to the surrounding and changing his mindset. And how he slowly falling in love with the village.
❤️ I love the side characters that always be there for Yuki Hirano. They care for him and took care of him like he's one of their own even though he is literally an "outsider". With them being by Yuki's side actually made his journey a bit better and not that harsh. Thankful for that.

In a nutshell, if you want to read a coming of age / slice of life book, go read this. This is the forst installment from the Forest series. The second book will be translated and published on 10th May. I am grateful to NetGalley and AmazingCross for the e-Arc of the second book (Kamusari Tales Told at Night) I am excited to finish it up ❤️
Profile Image for Chris Durston.
Author 17 books26 followers
November 18, 2021
I love this book so much. I read it in a day when I was off work sick and it was exactly what I needed.
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