This review is for the novel Convenience Store Woman(コンビニ人間) by Sayaka Murata(村田沙耶香). This novel has won the Akutagawa Prize, which is one of the most famous literary prizes in Japan. It was such a hit in Japan, that is was translated into English as well. This is a review for the Japanese version of the novel.
I bought this book at Kinokuniya at Chicago for 9.99. It took me a few tries before I was able to purchase this book. I had a hard time paying so much for such a short book! I was finally able to do and am glad that I did. I am happily awaiting the day I am able to move back to Japan and spend all of my time in used book stores and libraries. I hope that day is coming sooner then later! But who knows with COVID.
US Kinokuniya Online Store has recently reopened! This is the first time that I am even able to see this site. The first few times that I attempted to use this site, it was under construction for what seemed like an extremely long time. Anyways, this is my first time buying Japanese novels online and I wanted to share my experience with you guys.
My shopping goals
My goal was to spend $100 on books, but I really fell short of that goal. $50 was the minimum for free shipping so as I soon as I was able to hit that goal, I just decided to purchase what I was able to find. While the selection on the site was great, many of the books were out of stock. For the sake of writing a review on my experience, I decided to stick with books that were in stock so I could include shipping time as well.
One of the other goals I had for this shopping spree was to purchase books for authors I have not read or bought before. I was able to do so! I tried to also include some award winning novels as well. I could have bought a few more books, but I tried to stick to one book per author as I was limited in my ability to flip through the books to get an idea of each authors writing style.
I wanted to only buy books that were around $10. There are many books that I want to read that sell in America for over $20, but those will have to wait until I move back to Japan. I cannot wait to go to Japanese libraries. I will be there weekly.
The book I will be reviewing and accessing today is 神去なあなあ日常. In this review, I will be referring to it in English as Wood Job, which is the name of the Japanese movie created based on this novel. It was written by the fairly popular Japanese author Shion Miura(三浦しをん). I am a huge fan of this author and love how she is able to showcase so many different worlds in her novels. Her writing style does different between novels and some are harder then others.
I bought this book at Chicago’s Kinokuniya for 10.99.
Why did I pick this book?
I decided to get this book because I loved the movie Wood Job. Back when I lived in Japan, my partner and I would often go to a DVD rental store and pick out random movies to watch. I fell in love with Wood Job right from the start.
Recently, I’ve been interested in story lines about people living in Japanese cities, and their journey moving to the country side and getting used to a new life style. This is most likely because that is what I am planning to do in the near future! I am not sure why it took me so long to decide, but hopefully by next summer that is where I will be living.
This is the review for 魔女の宅急便 Kiki’s Delivery Service by Eiko Kadono(角野 栄子). This is her most popular novel. After watching the Ghibli film adaption of her novel, she was inspired to continue to story and has written 5 additional novels to expand on Kiki’s story.
Kiki’s Delivery Service is by far my favorite Ghibli movie, although recently I did see Whisper of the Heart for the first time and really enjoyed it. When I first moved to Japan, I really related to Kiki’s story. I felt like I didn’t really have any skills or any specific plan, but just basically set out on my own and moved to a random new sea side location. I was really excited to live so close to the ocean as the area I am from is extremely land-locked. When I saw the novel that the book was based off of in a store, I quickly brought it. I think this may have been one of the first books that I bought in Japanese.
Last year, I did not watch animated films often. I think that I didn’t have enough knowledge of anime to find movies that I would be interested in.
I remember when I first started hearing about the movie Your Name. I saw it mentioned a few times in the news about breaking records in ticket sales. I read articles that mentioned that people loved the movie so much that individuals were going to the movie theater multiple times to see it. Even then I didn’t really look into it. I just figured that it would be too new to be available in America. And the fact that anime fans saw it multiple times? My image of anime fans is that they watch their favorite series on repeat. So I didn’t really see the big deal about that either. But I was wrong, and now I am a repeat watcher of Your Name as well.
I started watching it with no prior knowledge of the story line. I really enjoyed the music and the scenery shown in the movie. I did not expect the plot twist at all and over all really enjoyed the movie! This movie inspired me to start looking into other animated films as well and I have found a few that I really enjoy.
I purchased Your Name at Kinokuniya in Chicago for 10.99. Kinokuniya also had copies of novels based off of other popular movies directed by Makoto Shinkai.
Aoi Tori Bunko(青い 鳥 文庫) is a book publication that is created for Japanese elementary school children. The books are created by the publishing company Kodansha(講談社).
There are fiction books made for the readers enjoyment as well as educational books that can be used as supplemental educational resources related to elementary school classes. In these books, all of the kanji will have furigana and the story will use simple grammar.
I just want to say that I think this would be a great first novel for any beginner or intermediate Japanese learner.
Why did I pick this book?
Sometimes I lurk on the subreddit ‘LearningJapanese’ for inspiration and to find different media or resources that are out there. I saw that Penguin Highway was recommended as a great beginner novel, I looked into the author more and realized that I have other novels by him and decided to purchase it.
I didn’t really look too much into the story line before buying it, but I was interested in it mainly because it was labeled as a SciFi novel. I used to enjoy that genre when I was younger, and the idea of reading a science fiction novel in Japanese aimed for adults seemed a bit intimidating so I thought this would be a good place to start.
The review is for the novel 夏の庭(なつのにわ)・The Friends by 湯本 香樹実(ゆもと かずみ). This is her first and most popular most novel.
I will give a quick over view on the story line, but my main focus in this review is accessing the book as a language learning tool. I want to share my experience of reading the book and share with others what I feel the approximate level is and who this book is suited for.
Before I start, I just want to say that I think this would be a great first novel for any intermediate Japanese learner.
Why did I pick this book?
I was recently inspired to finally pick up and read this book thanks to a recommendation from someone on the Japanese book based social media platform, Bookmeter. Before I started reading a novel, I was reading a different one that turned out to be a hard read for me due to cultural references and random topic changes. I decided that I needed a break and asked online for novel recommendations. I have recently discovered that I tend to gravitate more to books that are set outside with descriptions that are more nature based. I just haven’t really been into reading passages describing Tokyo. I used to work there and didn’t really find it a visually appealing city. I was pretty excited when this book was recommended to me as I already had it on my book shelf! I do not remember my reasoning for buying this book, but I am really glad that I had it. I used to pick books at random to purchased based off of the cover or books that stood out to me based off of the amount of times I have seen them in prominent areas of libraries and bookstores.
I used to be worried about having too many books as I wasn’t really making use of them, but now that I am unable to get new books easily due to COVID, I am extremely happy that I have a small library of books waiting to be read.