Overall I really enjoyed the book. I was surprised to learn that the author lived in Japan until he was 5 and then didn't return until after this book had been published. He does a great job capturing the Japanese spirit and way of life. Even in the way the girls address their father conveyed the different level in which one speaks towards ones elders. I enjoyed the narration style, he talks like I do jumping onto different tangents and then coming back to his original point. With his continual reminiscing of the past and the way it seemed to be defended I was surprised by his announcement at the miai that he had made mistakes. Prior to that point I thought that perhaps the wedding would not go through.
I think the novel asks many good questions. One of which is about the American way. Is the American way really better? Did the Japanese way have to be so abandoned? Was it abandoned? Through Ichiro we see that embrace of the American way while playing cowboy and pretending to speak English. Ono-san asks him why he doesn't pretend to be a ninja or samurai. His mother says that Suichi believes American heroes to be better role models. I think the change we see in Ono is a better reflection of change. Complete overhaul isn't always best as is done to Taro's company, but an acknowledgement of the past and responsibility taken and then proceed to the future.
Migi-Hidari. I recognize that you guys probably don't know the meaning of the bar name. Literally it is Right-Left. When first described I thought that the name was appropriate because of the literal location of the bar. It seemed to be the center of the pleasure district and only natural that direction begins from the center. As I learned more about the military connection and ideal associated with the establishment I realized that perhaps the name has more to do with soliders marching in formation, right left right left.
I have other thoughts, but right now I feel at a loss to be able to adequately express myself. I guess that comes from both talking to kids all day as well as living in a foreign country where I don't speak very much more than simple conversation in English.