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:
- According to The Guardian, “Kawaguchi’s story is gentle and touching, but it’s also a portal fantasy, laced with magic and existential wonder. […] It’s not a perfect book, but it has the power to make you lose hours of your life to it without a second thought.” (https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/sep/20/before-the-coffee-gets-cold-toshikazu-kawaguchi-review)
- In a review for The Japan Times, Iain Maloney writes, “Despite the book’s fantastical elements, the human stories are what really stand out. […] By the end of the book, I was in tears. Not just because of the emotional punch but also because, as with the tears of joy I shed at the wedding, I knew I was being manipulated. But so what? Manipulation can be wonderful when it’s done this well.” (https://www.japantimes.co.jp/culture/2019/09/28/books/book-reviews/coffee-gets-cold-toshikazu-kawaguchi/#.YJUWh6gzZPY)
- In a review for the Washington Independent Review of Books, John Senger writes, “Before the Coffee Gets Cold is a charming tale about the importance of human relationships, the power of regrets, and the acceptance of mortality. Kawaguchi writes in a simple and direct style, moving the story forward in a way that engenders empathy with his characters.” (https://www.washingtonindependentreviewofbooks.com/index.php/bookreview/before-the-coffee-gets-cold)
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?
What is the moral lesson of Before the Coffee Gets Cold?
What does Funiculi Funicula mean in Before the Coffee Gets Cold?
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
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?”
- “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.
- “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.
- “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.
- “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.
- “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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