“Snow Country” (Yukiguni) is a 1937 novel written by Kawabata Yasunari who is popular as one of Japanese foremost authors. And it lightly shows you a kind of natural philosophy which old Japanese smoothly used to have.
Now, I am here to explain about the plot a little.
One December day, a Japanese plump man is carried by a steam train bound for a snow country. He is Shimamura. He lives with his wife and child in Tokyo, working as a translator. But Shimamura is not pressed for money out of a legacy of his parents. Then, in a train, he finds a couple; a sick man assisted by a young girl. The two and Shimamura accidentally get down onto the same platform, not knowing a case is awaiting them.
In “Snow Country,” we feel our old natural philosophy. That is an appropriate way to be wrapped by nature as Japanese, in other words. Shimamura has some love affairs, but it is just insignificant when we are held by Mother Nature. Meeting, separating, loving and crossing; nature cold-bloodedly makes them only one scene. Snowflakes plainly fall down as caressing our temporary hearts gently.
Today, we are never on good terms with the Earth. So it looks Mother Nature has also snarled at human with great disasters. Our science and knowledge find no right answers to solve them. “Snow Country” makes you hear the suggestion that says “Why don’t you feel a grand stream of nature, leave yourself in the arms, and live on with giving up?”
Though Shimamura is a married person, he sleeps with another woman like he doesn’t live with his wife at all. Mysteriously, we don’t get him as a wicked womanizer, however. Why? That is he leaves himself in a flow of Mother Nature. He freely travels and screws with his favorite girl when she is there, rather than works for taxes and oppresses himself under artificial morals as marriage. That is naught but a scene.
By the way, you can still visit the room “Kasumi-no-ma”
which Kawabata stayed for writing the novel.