Saturday, 25 May 2013

Jun Machida

Time for another book post!

Today I’ll write about a Japanese author, Jun Machida, and his works Yan and the Pike and Yan and the Christmas Tree.
There is apparently a third book, Yan and the Pike’s Violin, but I can’t get hold of it (even though I pre-ordered it before its publication. Oh Amazon, you made my face sad...)

Anyway, small lamentations aside, these are some fantastic, surreal books. Apparently they began as illustrations (included in the books) that the author had on the walls of his café in Tokyo. The stories came into existence after the illustrations gained a lot of interest from his customers.

Yan and the Pike
Basically this book is about a cat named Yan, who goes to tea with Pike (yes, pike as in fish).
Yan does everything carefully, whether it’s making tea or cleaning his house. One day, there is a knock at his door and when he goes to answer, he finds a pike standing there.
They chat and become friends, and Pike borrows some salt and some butter from Yan. From that day, Pike appears at Yan’s door several times, and borrows several things from Yan. Then winter comes, and spring, summer and autumn...

This is a surreal but cute tale about two very strong characters! There are a number of references to Russian culture in the story, despite it being written by a Japanese author.

Yan and the Pike is a short yet charming book that can be enjoyed by any age group!

Yan and the Christmas Tree
Making a number of journeys to the Steppes of Russia, Yan makes new friends--a rook, and a rat. Once again the thoughtful cat has many adventures, and with the rook and the rat and his friend Pike, Yan find and decorates a fir tree for Christmas.

As with Yan and the Pike, this book makes more references to Russian culture and seems to take it a little more in-depth than before. It seems well-researched and the characters are very lovable.

If you only read one of these books, read: Yan and the Pike. It’s the first book, and is oh-so charming!


  1. Did you have any luck finding this? I have both of the first books and also have had no luck finding a copy of Yan and the Pike's Violin. I especially loved the Christmas Tree story, having traveled in Siberia in 2005.

    1. Sadly I never found it, and looking around online I wonder if it was never actually published.
      It seems the author wrote more than three books about Yan but only two are available in English! If you're any good with Japanese, Yan and the Pike's Violin is on under the title カワカマスのヴァイオリン―ヤンのノクターン


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