Kino's Journey takes place in a fictional world where the countries are surrounded by walls, and the rest of the land is a barren terrain where bandits lurk. Each country is very unique, with its set of culture and people. Our protagonist, Kino, is a girl in her teens, and travels around the world with her talking motorado (a 2-wheeled vehicle; in short, a motorcycle) named Hermes. She has one rule that she always follows upon traveling: to stay in one country for only 3 days and 2 nights. Kino insists that that is enough to get to know the country. For protection and hunting, she carries around 2 guns that she named "the Cannon" and "the Woodsman", as well as multiple knives.
The structure of this book is interesting; it is made so that one chapter equals Kino's stay in one country, and also is non-continuous, meaning that the time at which she goes to a certain country is very mixed up and random. But it is not the structure that made me want to write a review of this book. It is the philosophy that comes with each travel Kino takes.
"The world is not beautiful. Therefore, it is."
This is the one phrase that keeps coming up in this novel. It almost felt like that phrase was pushing me to think harder, deeper, about its meaning. My interpretation is this: The world is filled with oppression, tragedy, and hate. But that is what makes the happy, peaceful days all the more precious. And this is a theme well covered by the author, Keiichi Sigsawa. Throughout the book, Kino goes to countries stained with what we view as unnatural, immoral behaviour, as a result of following through what those people thought was right.
|Kino with Hermes|
The stories in this novel are disturbing, and yet you get drawn into it. I felt like I was a different person, somehow, when I read this novel. It urges you to open a new door to your way of thinking. And Kino's stance to different culture and way of thinking was very inspiring. She doesn't agree or disagree to them; she just takes them as they are. However, if they ever move to harm her, or put her life in danger, she doesn't hesitate to eliminate them. If this book has taught me anything, it is to never reject something, be it food, religion, or even an individual person, without first understanding what it is. In other words, don't judge a book by its cover.