What are some examples in the text that reference what the kitchen means to Mikage?
Yoshimoto's novel Kitchen is about Mikage, who is bereft and alone when her grandmother passes away. She is invited by Yuichi Tanabe to go and live with him and his mother, Eriko; she agrees and moves in with them, finding comfort in the kitchen. The kitchen is not only a symbol of comfort for Mikage, it is a place where she can be honest with herself about her own challenges and struggles in life. You asked about some examples in the text which reference what the kitchen means to Mikage:
1) "I love even incredibly dirty kitchens to distraction-vegetable droppings all over the floor, so dirty your slippers turn black on the bottom."
The reason Mikage is not bothered with dirty kitchens is plain: it is a distraction from her grief and the pain of being alone. The kitchen offers her comfort and a sense of normalcy. "Now, only the kitchen and I are left. It's just a little nicer than being all alone."
2) "...I want to breathe my last in a kitchen. Whether it's cold and I'm all alone, or...
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