Check-In - Snippets from Yoshimoto Banana's キッチン

Hi everyone!  How did you do this first week?  Were there any setbacks?  Did you manage to complete--or even surpass--the short-term goals you set for yourself?  How did you progress from day-to-day?  Please let us know in the comments!  If you have something to share, you can also comment to this post or create a new post of your own.  Please don't be shy!

For this week's check-in, I've included the first few passages from Yoshimoto Banana's キッチン in Japanese.  I think her writing is a good medium between easy and challenging to translate.  I'll give you all some time to try at the translations, and will then post the passage again in English, taken directly from the translated English edition of the book.  By the way, the kanji 田辺 is the family name Tanabe.

私がこの世でいちばん好きな場所は台所だと思う。 どこのでも、どんなのでも、それが台所であれば食事を作る場所であれば私はつらくない。できれば機能的でよく使い込んであるといいと思う。乾いた清潔なふきんが何枚もあって白いタイルがぴかぴか輝く。 ものすごく汚い台所だって、たまらなく好きだ。 床に野菜くずが散らかっていて、スリッパの裏が真っ黒になるくらい汚いそこは、異様に広いといい。ひと冬軽く越せるような食料が並ぶ巨大な冷蔵庫がそびえ立ち、その銀の扉に私はもたれかかる。油が飛び散ったガス台や、さびのついた包丁からふと目を上げると、窓の外には淋しく星が光る。 私と台所が残る。自分しかいないと思っているよりは、ほんの少しましな思想だと思う。 本当に疲れ果てた時、私はよくうっとりと思う。いつか死ぬ時がきたら、台所で息絶えたい。ひとり寒いところでも、誰かがいてあたたかいところでも、私はおびえずにちゃんと見つめたい。台所なら、いいなと思う。 田辺家に拾われる前は、毎日台所で眠っていた。 どこにいてもなんだか寝苦しいので、部屋からどんどん楽なほうへと流れていったら、冷蔵庫のわきがいちばんよく眠れることに、ある夜明け気づいた。 私、桜井みかげの両親は、そろって若死にしている。そこで祖父母が私を育ててくれた。中学校へ上がる頃、祖父が死んだ。そして祖母と二人でずっとやってきたのだ。 先日、なんと祖母が死んでしまった。びっくりした。

TRANSLATION:

    The place I like best in this world is the kitchen.  No matter where it is, no matter what kind, if it's a kitchen, if it's a place where they make food, it's fine with me.  Ideally it should be well broken in.  Lots of tea towels, dry and immaculate.  White tile catching the light (ting! ting!).
    I love even incredibly dirty kitchens to distraction--vegetable droppings all over the floor, so dirty your slippers turn black on the bottom.  Strangely, it's better if this kind of kitchen is large.  I lean up against the silver door of a towering, giant refrigerator stocked with enough food to get through a winter.  When I raise my eyes from the oil-splattered gas burner and rusty kitchen knife, outside the window stars are glittering, lonely.
    Now only the kitchen and I are left.  It's just a little nicer than being all alone.
When I'm dead worn out, in a reverie, I often think that when it comes time to die, I want to breathe my last in a kitchen.  Whether it's cold and I'm alone, or somebody's there and it's warm, I'll stare death fearlessly in the eye.  If it's a kitchen, I'll think, "How good."
    Before the Tanabe family took me in, I spent every night in the kitchen.  After my grandmother died, I couldn't sleep.  One morning at dawn I trundled out of my room in search of comfort and found that the one place I could sleep was beside the refrigerator.
    My parents--my name is Mikage Sakurai--both died when they were young.  After that my grandparents brought me up.  I was going into junior high when my grandfather died.  From then on, it was just my grandmother and me.
    When my grandmother died the other day, I was taken by surprised.
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