"Life is a performance, I thought. Perthaps the word "illusion" would have meant more or less the same thing, but to me "performance" seemed closed to the truth. Standing there in the midst of the crowd that evening, I felt this realization swirl dizzily through my body in a dazzling splendor of light, if only for an instant. Each one of us continues to carry the heart of each self we've ever been, at every stage along the way, and a chaos of everything good and rotten. And we have to carry this weight all alone, through each day that we live. We try to be as nice as we can to the people we love, but we alone support the weight of ourselves."
— Goodbye Tsugumi
I thought I would try some author recommendations as I've previously talked a little about books here on his blog.
I feel I don't express enough how much I love books. I love everything about them, the smell, the feel of the pages, the way they look, when you carry one or two or three at a time in your bag, old books, new books, vintage books, how you feel from reading something beautiful, sitting down somewhere and just reading in public, reading in bed, reading anywhere. It's something I couldn't live without. I would give up music and films and hell, I would even ration food but books is something I love. Now I feel a little bad as actually I rarely find time during term time to read but I usually read quite a few in a go when I get the chance. And let me tell you now, having read all of Yoshimoto's work, I can honestly say everything she writes is too magical to pass up on.
Literally, read A-N-Y of her works and I suggest leaving Goodbye Tsugumi or Amrita to read last as they are longer stories.
If you like Haruki Murakami but you feel like reading a book from a female perspective, Yoshimoto is the way to go (not that you should only read her if you feel like reading a female perspective, I'm just saying).
I wish I could discuss more about why she's fantastic but unfortunately I am not very eloquent with my words and no explanations could begin to give you an idea of what her work is like - just read it and you will understand.
If you want to read more on Japanese authors, I recommend taking a gander over at Keitii-chan's post. She gives much more detailed information and a good variety of authors to check out.