Book review: 『ちょっと今から仕事やめてくる』by Emi Kitagawa

ちょっと今から仕事やめてくる (ちょっといまからしごとやめてくる)
Title: ちょっと今から仕事やめてくる (ちょっといまからしごとやめてくる)
First published: 2015
Published: 2015
Format: Bunko
Page Count: 258
I have already read another book by Emi KITAGAWA, which I liked very much, but I liked 『ちょっと今から仕事やめてくる』even better. I have only positive things to say about this novel, and I can only heartily recommend it to any Japanese learner (because it is easy to read) and anyone struggling with his work.

As the title suggests, the novel is about quitting one’s work. The protagonist, Takashi Aoyama is a young salaryman, who has been working for his company for 6 months. He spends most of his time at work, comes home only to sleep, has no friends, no girlfriend, no free time and only waits for the week to be over.

Now it is time to write something like “Then he meets a guy named Yamamoto and his life changes”, but it would give the impression that the novel is a kind of candid pursuit of happiness when it is much more than that. To put the record straight, one should say that the novel, instead of showing how you can change your life, shows instead how hard it is to do it.

Takashi is trapped in his situation and cannot find a way out. While his feelings are perfectly described, his personality and appearance remain loose so that it is easy for the reader to identify with him. I am sure that many people read their own story in this novel. After all, who never struggled with their work?

The very beginning of the novel immediately describes how it can sometimes feel that your work is taking your life away for you. It also shows that the novel is not difficult to read in Japanese:


I still don’t know how to define light novels, but I think that 『ちょっと今から仕事やめてくる』is one of these. All the elements at the periphery of the story have been reduced, and the novel focuses entirely on the protagonist and the plot. There are no descriptions or long narrative passages, the story turns around a few familiar places and situations. There are a handful of characters, with a lot of scenes involving only Takashi and Yamamoto. The working environment of Takashi is reduced to two main characters, and the reader is spared any complicated description of Takashi’s work. There are a lot of dialogues and frequent line breaks so that you never find yourself with a page stuffed with text.

It looks like if all the elements of context have been simplified to create a short novel (232 pages), easy to read. It naturally makes things easier for Japanese learners too.

I loved this novel very much because it really spoke to my heart. If you don’t have literary expectations and take this novel for the story and message it conveys, it really is worth putting in the hands of anyone who has a hard time at work, who needs courage and feel depressed. More generally, it is a nice story that will speak to a lot of people I think.