JFT Book Club (Hybrid) – Mild Vertigo by KANAI Mieko

Thank you to all those who participated in JFT Book Club (Hybrid) – Mild Vertigo by KANAI Mieko!

Sharing some comments from our participants!

“The book club was wonderful experience. Thank you for providing a hybrid environment, which makes it possible for people outside of Toronto and Canada to attend online.”
—Brianna K.

“Thank you so much for doing these!”

Please continue to check the JFT’s website and newsletters for future book club information.

Tuesday, February 13 2024  5:30 PM – 7:00 PM EST


For the upcoming JFT Book Club Online, we will discuss KANAI Mieko’s novel Mild Vertigo (the original Japanese version: 金井 美恵子著『軽いめまい』)!

Join us in person or virtually to dive deep into a mesmerizing exploration of everyday life in Japan depicted with an innovative storytelling approach! Whether you’re new to our library or a seasoned book club participant, this is your chance to connect, discuss, and discover the magic of Japanese literature. Let’s enjoy this unique novel together with fellow book lovers from different backgrounds! 

Kris Kosaka (Columnist, The Japan Times) will be also joining us as a moderator to guide us through the session.

For those new to the book club or if you just want to listen this time, we also have a small number of “Observer” slots!

Register Here

*Please be aware that space may be limited.

*Depending on the number of participants and how the discussion goes, we might extend the end time until 7 pm (EST). However, if you have other commitments, feel free to leave at 6:30 pm.


If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to email us at library_jftoronto@jpf.go.jp. First-time participants are always welcome!


You can read a book by yourself, but when you read something thought-provoking or moving, it’s natural to want to discuss it with someone else. This will be an exciting opportunity to connect with other book lovers from different cultural backgrounds, find new and interesting books, authors, or themes, and develop a richer understanding of Japan that you wouldn’t gain from reading alone!



1. Once you register for the event, you will receive guiding questions to help you think more deeply about the book.

2. On the day of the event, we will meet via Zoom and in person at Japan Foundation Toronto Library (2 Bloor St E #300, Toronto, ON M4W 1A8 Canada).

*How to find us: https://tr.jpf.go.jp/about-us/how-to-find-us/

3. We will start with a quick introduction & ice-breaking activity (*Light refreshments will be served for in-person participants)

4. Depending on the number of the participants, we will break into a few small groups to discuss questions so that everyone has a chance to share their thoughts.

5. After each breakout session, each group will share what they have discussed with other groups.

*There is no right or wrong answer. Different perspectives make discussion more fun and vibrant!


Mild Vertigo (physical book & ebook) is available at JFT Library! The checkout of the physical copy is limited to JFT Book Club participants only for a 1-week loan period (non-renewable). 

To get a new library card or to renew your existing card, please follow the instructions found here.

  Borrow Ebook   Email Library to place hold (physical copy) 

For more information about the book or where else you can get the book copies, click here.


Mild Vertigo (原書:『軽いめまい』)

Written by KANAI Mieko
Translated by Polly Barton
Published by  New Directions, 2023



In this intoxicating stream-of-consciousness novel, Mieko Kanai tackles the existential traps of motherhood, marriage, and domestic captivity.

The apparently unremarkable Natsumi lives in a modern Tokyo apartment with her husband and two sons: she does the laundry, goes to the supermarket, visits friends, and gossips with neighbors. Tracing her conversations and interactions with her family and friends as they blend seamlessly into her own infernally buzzing internal monologue, Mild Vertigo explores the dizzying reality of being unable to locate oneself in the endless stream of minutiae that forms a lonely life confined to a middle-class home, where both everything and nothing happens.

With shades of Clarice Lispector, Elena Ferrante, and Kobo Abe, this verbally acrobatic novel by the esteemed novelist, essayist, and critic Mieko Kanai—whose work enjoys a cult status in Japan—is a disconcerting and radically imaginative portrait of selfhood in late-stage capitalist society.

In the vertigo lurking at the depths of a very ordinary life, Mieko Kanai succeeds in uncovering the tranquility and cruelty that exist side by side.
— Yoko Ogawa, author of The Memory Police


from Publisher’s website


Born in 1947, Mieko Kanai is a novelist, poet, essayist, and critic. She has published around thirty novels and short-story collections, and her critical essays have been featured in Japanese newspapers and magazines for almost fifty years. In the English-speaking world, she is perhaps best known for her story “Rabbits,” a gory retelling of Alice in Wonderland where a young girl puts on a suit made of freshly skinned rabbit fur.


Polly Barton is a writer and Japanese translator based in Bristol. Her translations include Aoko Matsuda’s Where the Wild Ladies Are, Kikuko Tsumura’s There’s No Such Thing as an Easy Job, and Tomoka Shibasaki’s Spring Garden. In 2019, she won the Fitzcarraldo Editions Essay Prize for her debut book Fifty Sounds.


Writer Kris Kosaka moved to Japan in 1996 to accept a position teaching high school English at an international school. She fell in love with the country and soon met her future husband, Makoto. They made their home in Kamakura, where Kris continued teaching and writing while raising their two children. Although temporarily in Tampa, FL (her hometown) while their daughter completes her high school education in the States, Kris’s heart is in Japan. In her spare time, Kris enjoys reading and running. Kris is a frequent contributor to The Japan Times, and a regular columnist for their Books pages.


Previous Book Clubs

JFT Book Club (Hybrid) – With Silent Reading Time – Holiday Reading Recommendations – November 16, 2023

JFT Book Club (Hybrid) – Manga: Planetes by YUKIMURA Makoto – September 28, 2023

JFT Book Club (Hybrid) – With Silent Reading Time – LGBTQIA+ Books -June 20, 2023

JFT Book Club Online – Manga: After the Rain by MAYUZUKI Jun -April 24, 2023

JFT Book Club Online – Three Short Works by NISHI Kanako: On beauty, the Female Experience and Othering – February 8, 2023

JFT Book Club Online: Temple Alley Summer by KASHIWABA Sachiko – September 15, 2022

JFT Book Club Online: Manga – June 15, 2022

JFT Book Club Online: Bring Your Own Book – April 13, 2022

JFT Book Club Online: The Woman in the Purple Skirt by Natsuko Imamura
– February 9, 2022

JFT Book Club Online:
Colorful by Eto Mori
– November 10, 2021


JFT Book Club Online: Heaven by Mieko Kawakami – August 12, 2021

JFT Book Club Online: Manga – June 10, 2021

JFT Book Club Online: Bring Your Own Book – April 8, 2021

JFT Book Club Online: The Memory Police – February 11, 2021

JFT Book Club Online: Breasts and Egg – November 5, 2020

JFT Book Club Online: Travel Japan – August 20, 2020

JFT Book Club Online – June 11, 2020

Memoirs of a Polar Bear – February 20, 2020

The Little House – December 12, 2019

Mystery Book Club – October 10, 2019

Movies and Books – August 8, 2019

Books and Tea – June 6, 2019