by Yumi Unita
Rin is now in elementary school, which brings new challenges. She has new friendships to navigate. So does her caregiver Daikichi- who has to deal with a bunch of new part-time coworkers, one of whom is determined to flirt with him (which behavior he finds baffling). He discovers that some of his male coworkers are also parents, so there is more companionship there. There are more glimpses of his family- visits to his parents, his sister who wants to stay single and carefree… and also some of Rin\’s mother. While I don\’t like the choices this young woman had made, I do find her character intriguing (she\’s an artist), and I know there\’s more backstory to be revealed. There\’s some amusingly awkward moments when Rin invites her friend Kouki over- or he invites himself– and the parents are a bit uncomfortable with the suddenness of it. I like learning little glimpses of Japanese culture via the story- such as how some children have a \”commemorative tree\” planted on the day of their birth- so they grow up together. In Rin\’s case, Daikichi wants to buy her a young tree to memorialize the day she began school. She wants to plant a seed instead, even though it will take longer to grow. Endearing.
Rating: 3/5 224 pages, 2007