The 210th Day ( 二百十日 ) is my second Natsume Souseki’s novella. I was planning to read this book for my Japanese Literature Challenge 3, but somehow it always got push by other books. In the end, I read this for my Japanese Literature Challenge 4 (my second book for the challenge)
The book is very thin, only 100 pages including introduction by Marvin Marcus. There is not much to tell about this book because most of the story consists of long dialogue by the two main characters. This is my first time reading a book that emphasizes more on the dialogue rather than the explanation of the surrounding or the thought of the main characters. Most dialogues are written one after another without explaining who is the one speaking at the moment, so if I lost track of the dialogue I need to go back a little to see who made the conversation first. However, the more I read it the more I understand who is speaking at the moment.
Through dialogue, Natsume Souseki managed to create the personality of each character. I thought that is an impressive writing. Their dialogues are simple, the kind of dialogue we often encounter in our life…two best friends talking about many kind of things, including some of the most unimportant things.
The main characters were Roku and Kei. They were trying to reach the peak of Mount Aso. The story was based on Natsume’s real experience when he was climbing Mount Aso with his friend. At that time, Mount Aso was actively releasing smoke and dust. Roku was an easy going person, and Kei was a man who holds a grudge against rich people. Kei was a son of a tofu seller. Kei was determined to reach the peak of Mount Aso but Roku felt satisfied even if they couldn’t reach the peak. They faced hard times on the 210th day, the mountain was getting angrier than before, spitting more dust than ever.
At first, I found the book a bit boring, their dialogue seems so unimportant, but I kept on reading and it changed my perspective on the book. Their dialogue is quite funny, especially when they met a rather unusual waitress. I also enjoy reading about how long can a man pull out his hair.
In the end, my verdict for this book is, I kinda like it and therefore I rate it as a 3 stars book.