Giovanni is having trouble concentrating at school because he's tired from his part-time job and he doesn't have time to play with any of his friends any more. His local village is getting ready to hold their annual star festival, but Giovanni feels as if he's been left out. But then the most amazing thing happens, and Giovanni finds himself riding on a train heading through the Milky Way.
A Story With A Message
At one time or another in our lives we must deal with the grief of losing a friend or loved one. Quite often it is difficult to move on after such an event. But what if we were to remember an amazing train ride across the Milky Way that we shared with that friend, each time we thought about them? What if we were able to turn our grief into a resolve to make a difference in the world and to live the life that our friend missed out on as well as our own? What if we made an effort to keep their memory alive by embracing life, wouldn't that make a difference? Wouldn't that help us move on? This is the story of Night on the Milky Way Railway.
About this Translation
This translation includes a simple glossary (just click on the featured word to jump to the explanation) to help you navigate your way through the galaxy, which can also be accessed at the back of the book after you have finished reading the story. I have also added the translation of the 'Cello Voice' sections that Kenji cut from the final version. The Cello Voice sections provide an interesting insight into the author's motivation for writing the story. A much more detailed glossary can be found on the Little J Books website.
All effort was made to create a translation faithful to the author's vision. No material has been used in this translation that wasn't written by the author, and the names of the characters have not been changed.
About the Author
Born in 1896, Kenji was brought up as the eldest child in a wealthy household in Iwate Prefecture, Japan. From a very young age he had an insatiable appetite for knowledge, with interests spanning geology, astronomy, through all types of flora and fauna, cinema, music, painting and literature. A devout Buddhist, Kenji turned his back on the family pawn broking and second-hand kimono business, becoming a teacher at the local agricultural high school, and writing poems and fairytales to help spread a Buddhist message of universal peace.
Night on the Milky Way Railway is his longest story, and is considered by many to be his best.