This is a novel written by Yoshiki Shibata. The protagonist is Naho who runs a café in a highland. She left Tokyo to separate from her husband, because he persistently abused her until she suffered from depression. Although he had never accepted her requirement for divorce, Naho started her new life in the countryside anyway.
When people imagine a life in the countryside, it must be something rustic and peaceful. However, this book describes the severe realities. Kaho faced on many problems. First of all, running a café in the village was not a lucrative job. She struggled to earn a living in the deserted village. Although it had thrived as a romantic highland resort in decades ago, the boom was over, and ruins of souvenir shops, restaurants and accommodations remained in a desolate condition. Therefore, it was difficult for her to regularly attract many customers. Secondly, she found it was not easy to communicate with overly intrusive local people. In the countryside, many people are curious about newcomers. Finally, Kaho was amazed by the unimaginable cold in winter and high cost of indoor heating.
In this book, Kaho was supported by good village people and managed to maintain her business. Also, she could finally divorce from her husband. Then, in the last part of the story, her new love with a village man was hinted. I felt it was a little bit far-fetched. If this was a nonfiction novel, the ending might be different. She might have given up running the café and returned to Tokyo.
Nowadays more and more Japanese young people and young families have moved to the countryside. However, watching their YouTube or reading the blogs, some of them have already abandoned their new lives. That means only dreaming of an ideal pastoral life is dangerous. I highly recommend people to read this story before they make decisions.
I like traveling around highlands. However, they might be the best places to long for and visit occasionally just as a tourist.