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Before the Coffee Gets Cold, a primer

Before the Coffee Gets Cold

What is “Before the Coffee Gets Cold?”

“Before the Coffee Gets Cold” is a novel written by Japanese author Toshikazu Kawaguchi. It was originally published in Japanese in 2015 and has since been translated into many languages. The story is set in a small, Tokyo-based coffee shop called “Funiculi Funicula,” where customers have the chance to travel back in time to visit loved ones or to change past events. However, they must return to the present before their coffee gets cold, or they risk getting stuck in the past forever. The book explores themes of loss, regret, and the importance of cherishing the present moment.

What happens in the book?

“Before the Coffee Gets Cold” by Toshikazu Kawaguchi is a novel set in a small Tokyo café where time travel is possible. The story is divided into four interconnected tales that take place in the café. Each story focuses on a different character, exploring their past, present, and relationships.

The café has a specific set of rules that must be followed for time travel to occur. The traveler must sit in a particular seat and drink a cup of coffee prepared by the café’s owner, which is infused with some special ingredients. The traveler can only travel back in time, and they must return to the present before the coffee gets cold.

The novel explores themes of love, loss, regret, and the importance of living in the present. Each character has a different reason for wanting to travel back in time, whether it’s to say goodbye to a loved one, mend a broken relationship, or fulfill a lifelong dream. Through their journeys, they come to realize the importance of cherishing the present moment and the people in their lives.

Tell us about some reviews of Before the Coffee Gets Cold”

“Before the Coffee Gets Cold” by Toshikazu Kawaguchi has received generally positive reviews. Here are a few examples:

Overall, “Before the Coffee Gets Cold” has been praised for its touching portrayal of human relationships and its blend of magic and realism.


Has Before the Coffee Gets Cold been turned into a movie?

“Before the Coffee Gets Cold” was adapted into a Japanese movie titled “Cafe Funiculi Funicula” that was released in Japan in September 2018.


What does coffee symbolize in Before the Coffee Gets Cold?

In “Before the Coffee Gets Cold,” coffee symbolizes the passage of time and the fleeting nature of human existence. The coffee shop in the book, which allows its customers to travel back in time for a brief visit, represents the desire to relive past experiences and change the course of one’s life. Coffee, in this context, serves as a metaphor for life and the way we experience and savor it. The book uses coffee as a way to explore deep emotions and the complexities of human relationships, especially those that have been impacted by the passage of time.

What is the moral lesson of Before the Coffee Gets Cold?

Before the Coffee Gets Cold explores themes of regret, missed opportunities, and the importance of living in the present. The book highlights the idea that while time travel may seem like a way to fix past mistakes or change the future, it ultimately shows that the present moment is the only one that truly matters. The characters learn that they cannot change the past, but they can change how they approach the future by learning to appreciate and make the most of the time they have in the present. Overall, the moral lesson of the book is to cherish the people and moments in our lives before they become part of our past.

What does Funiculi Funicula mean in Before the Coffee Gets Cold?

In “Before the Coffee Gets Cold,” Funiculi Funicula is the name of the café where the story is set. The name is taken from a famous Neapolitan song composed by Luigi Denza in 1880. In the context of the book, it represents a place where people can come together and experience something unique and magical, much like the experience of time travel.

Who has Alzheimer’s in Before the Coffee Gets Cold

In “Before the Coffee Gets Cold,” it is revealed that Nagareboshi’s girlfriend Kei has Alzheimer’s disease.

Toshikazu Kawaguchi bio

Toshikazu Kawaguchi is a Japanese novelist and playwright born in 1971. He is best known for his novel “Before the Coffee Gets Cold,” which was first published in Japan in 2015 and has since been translated into several languages.

Before becoming a novelist, Kawaguchi worked as a playwright, writing scripts for various theater companies in Japan. He has won several awards for his plays, including the Chūōkōron Prize for Newcomers in 1994 and the Tsuruya Nanboku Memorial Award in 1996.

Kawaguchi’s writing is known for its focus on human relationships and the emotions that drive them. He often explores themes of love, loss, and regret, and his stories are characterized by their sensitivity and emotional depth.

Kawaguchi has also written several other novels, including “Ore no Ude no Naka de Mieta Yume” (A Dream I Saw in My Arms), “Shashin no Kioku” (Memories of Photographs), and “Utsukushii Hito” (Beautiful People).

Is time travel a common theme in Japanese fiction?

Yes, time travel is a common theme in Japanese fiction. Japanese literature has a long history of exploring themes of time, memory, and nostalgia, and the concept of time travel fits well within this tradition. Some notable examples of Japanese fiction featuring time travel include Haruki Murakami’s “Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World” and Yasutaka Tsutsui’s “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time.”

Are there other books with themes similar to “Before the Coffee Gets Cold?”

Yes, there are several books with themes similar to “Before the Coffee Gets Cold.” Here are a few examples:
  1. “The Time Traveler’s Wife” by Audrey Niffenegger – This novel also explores the concept of time travel, but in a more traditional science-fiction way.
  2. “Replay” by Ken Grimwood – This book follows a man who dies and wakes up as his younger self, allowing him to relive his life with the knowledge of his past experiences.
  3. “The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August” by Claire North – This novel is about a man who is repeatedly born again with all of his memories intact, allowing him to relive his life over and over.
  4. “Life After Life” by Kate Atkinson – This book follows a woman who is repeatedly reborn into the same life, but with small changes that can lead to vastly different outcomes.
  5. “The Immortalists” by Chloe Benjamin – This novel follows four siblings who visit a psychic who tells them the exact date of their deaths, causing them to live their lives differently than they otherwise would have.

Is the book more popular in Japan than it is in North America?

It’s difficult to say for certain, but “Before the Coffee Gets Cold” has been well-received in both Japan and North America. The book was a bestseller in Japan and has been translated into several languages, indicating its popularity. In North America, the book has also received positive reviews and has been relatively successful. However, it’s worth noting that the book market in Japan is generally larger than in North America, so it’s possible that it may have more readers in Japan.



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