Twinkle Twinkle by Kaori Ekuni: A Book Review

twinkleMahal ko o Mahal ako? ( I Love or Loves me?)To make it grammatically clear, it means the man I love or the man who loves me? ) This is the title of the love song by our very own Filipino singer, KC Tandingan, which is now  popular in our country. According to the song, a woman has love affairs with two men. At the end , she has to choose between them: the man she loves or the man who loves her but she does not love. The story has complete resemblance to this book Twinkle, Twinkle. The only difference is that it is homosexual Mitsuki, who is in conflict with two personas: Shoko, alcoholic whom he married because of the pressure his parents foisted upon.; and Kono, his secret long-time boyfriend. Then, Mitsuki and Shoko will live together under one roof without making love. They will just live for the sake of companion love, but at the end, Mitsuki has to choose. ..

I could feel in the story the self-restraint of each character as though a lump in my throat blocked my desire to let off steam . Mitsuki is so understanding. He still considers Shoko’s feelings, whereas she can feel that he loves his boyfriend Kono more than her. I bet it is the conservative tradition that determines the personality of the characters. Mitsuki considers his parents’ and Shoko’s family values as well as prejudice against homosexuality. It is a matter of enduring love after all. So, such restricted emotional expression punches in my chest.

This is now my second Japanese novel, and reading another ones strikes my fancy more because I notice that Japanese novels- although I have not read Haruki Murakami’s completely yet, and I am now reading his first novel- seem to bear all the hallmarks of superficiality, gentleness, and idiosyncrasies. So I cannot brush the idea aside that Japanese literature has one distinction. Sooner or later I will get the wind of it.

Rating: 3/ 5 stars ( I liked it. )



  1. This review leads me to ask you a question: It is not a secret but I am a gay transgender man in my 50s. I transitioned 15 years ago and look male in every way, only an intimate partner would know otherwise (certain surgeries are, well, of questionable quality and every man makes his own decisions – enough said).

    All my ID is long changed, and although I am out within my own LGBT community, my awesome church, and in many other areas of life my past is not anyone else’s business unless I chose to make it so.

    Of course I am in the hospital at the moment recovering from a pulmonary embolism. I have always been treated with great respect in medical settings but today I had several confrontations with a couple of Filipino nurses who kept referring to me as “she” and “her”. They kept insisting that Filipinos switch gender all the time and use both he and she for anyone regardless of gender. Is that true? Any ideas how I can help them appreciate how offensive that is to most transgender people here in Canada?

    You are much younger than I am, of a different generation, but for people like myself it has been a long battle to earn dignity. Sorry for the off topic question but I would value your perspective. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello, Thanks for opening yourself up to me. Regarding your sexual preference as a transgender man, actually there is an LGBT group in the Philippines which has been advocating the notion that transgender men should be aptly called “ transwomen”. So, you are a transwoman. In this way, the group wants to change the consciousness of our society that transwomen are also women in all aspects. However, based on my observation, most Filipinos since the major religion is Catholic merely apply the notion euphemistically. Some may refer them as “she” , but in practicality, they don’t. For instance, public toilets still don’t provide ones for transwomen. Some bars or special gatherings don’t allow cross-dressers nor transwomen to enter the places. Therefore, there is still discriminatory atmosphere anywhere. For the sake of better harmonious relationship, friends or people around when meeting across transwomen are trying to be CIVIL. On the contrary, I don’t mean to say that Filipinos have negative stereotypes about transwomen. I bet my life that we are fond of anyone regardless of his/ her sexual preferences. It just so happens that sometimes we Filipinos tend to be confused by the misleading information disseminated by narrow-minded individuals.
      Thanks to LGBT group, they have never been tired of protesting naked around the cities in Manila, juts to let the holier-than-thou Church, government, and individuals hear their voices. Thanks to gay writers. They are like knights who have never surrendered to gain social acceptance by brainwashing the society with their works.
      I am happy that you fulfilled your dream to be a transwoman. Above all, I hope you get well soon. I know there are many things there you miss doing . I wish you luck. ^_^


  2. Ah, I see. Transgender men and transwomen are in the same boat in the Philippines. I think transgender man are more socially accepted than transwomen. However, Filipinos still aren’t used to referring to transgender men as “he”.


    • As a bald bearded man it’s humiliating to be called she. These nurses would have no idea that I was trans if I met them on the street. All my ID says M. Although I actually have no human rights protection based on gender identity here which is crazy I am fully accepted in practice and when I do “out” myself most people are surprised.

      Thanks again for explaining
      We have many Filipino working in health care here but it is disrespectful to call me “she”.

      Liked by 1 person

      • What a shame! I guess you could remind them about your situation. Those Filipinos could be open-minded to your suggestion.

        I respect you more as other transmen and women here , along with others around the world.


    • Actually, I wanna read other Kaori Ekuni’s books. There may be some available online, but I prefer real books.

      By the way, have you watched its Japanese movie adaptation? I checked it yesterday. I wonder how the story was put life into the movie. ^_^


      • I love Japanese film, but didn’t know there was a movie based on it! You should totally review it! I’d like to find more of her books, too. I found mine cheap and accidently but they’re kinda rare, huh? At least in English.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I love Japanese films too. I also love their culture.
        Definitely, I will do right off the bat.
        You’re right. His books are kinda rare. They are even pretty expensive at book stores. I just count on second-hand bookstores.
        Enjoy reading! ^^


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