This is a story about a young man, Ueda Kazuo, who reflects on his family and his career and just why his life has been this way so far. When a woman with a big hat enters his life on his 35th birthday, he believes that now his life will turn around.
With more than 17000 characters, this is quite a long story that takes a while to really get going. Theres a lot of set up about Kazuo’s parents and his childhood before the story finally arrives in the present. And the titular woman with a big hat doesn’t even appear until the second half!
That being said, I really liked the ending of this story and think that it was worth the wait. Regarding vocabulary and grammar, I believe this story is on the simpler side of N3. The challenge here is to keep the overarching plot in mind over the length of the text and to comprehend new plot developments.
「起きな帽子の女」 can be read for free on the site Sakura Tadoku Lab. Creating an account is necessary, but only requires setting a user name and a password.
Users get access to 24 stories of varying difficulty (level A-H) and all quite extensive in length and with reading comprehension quizzes at the end.